Physical Culture

The Kettlebell


For a while now, I’ve worked out almost exclusively using Russian Kettlebells. The Kettlebell, or Girya, is basically a cannonball with a handle. Its a convenient homegym and I feel that the creativity and variety that goes along with KB training makes it a tool I will never get sick of.

I do not advocate using ONE single tool. I’ve used barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight, and other exercise modalities to great effect, I am simply stating that for the past several months I’ve used kettlebells almost to the exclusion of all else. This doesn’t mean I won’t mix in some bodyweight exercises or Indian Club exercises (more on this later).

If you are interested in giving KBs a shot (and I think everyone should) I will direct you to http://www.dragondoor.com and Pavel Tsatsouline’s book “Enter the Kettlebell.” Buying a kettlebell is expensive…they aren’t cheap and shipping always gets you. However, they’re beginning to crop up in Sports Authority or other locations. Please realize the quality of these store bought KBs will usually never approach what is available through Ader, Dragon Door, Lifeline, or other sources. Probably the cheapest source are the Grey Series from http://www.muscledriver.com

You may note that authentic KBs are in funky sizes and weights. KBs were originally manufactured based on the Russian Pood. 1 Pood = 35 lbs. The weight increments have remained even though that unit of measure has been abandoned.

As a rough guide for what size to get:

Average Lady = 18 lbs/8 kgs
Strong Lady = 26 lbs/12 kgs
Average Man = 35 lbs/16 kgs
Stronger than Average Man = 44 lbs/20 kgs
VERY Strong Man = 53 lbs/24 kgs

Start out with ONE KB at first, and Pavel’s book. A good companion is the ETK Workbook from http://www.artofstrength.com. The AOS book takes the guess work out of Program Design from Pavels work and is intended to be a companion not a standalone volume.

Hope this helps!

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