We wouldn’t hold it against you if you’ve been doing your kettlebell swings or goblet squats and not thought about the life of a kettlebell. This versatile piece of equipment shouldn’t be overlooked though! Forged to be tough and strong, they might just have their own rich world of workouts and dad jokes...
Gary, our leg-day-loving kettlebell, may be a pun master, but did you know his love for working his pins has been honed over a lifetime? Gary has understood the benefits of toned calves and strong hamstrings since a young age. You see, his father and grandfather passed down the knowledge that strong legs mean a lower risk of injury while walking, running and working out. His family taught him that leg day sets you up better balance and a wider range of motion. He also knows lower body workouts are a great way to burn calories, reduce back pain and become a better athlete. There are plenty of benefits of leg day, and he never skips it...
Firstly, how on Earth are kettlebells made? The hard metal lumps must be faultless to endure the hammering they get (literally and figuratively), so let’s dive into the history of the humble kettlebell!
Kettlebells can be traced back to Russian origins, first appearing in documents around 350 years ago. The Russian people embraced the tool and today Kettlebell Lifting is the national sport of Russia.
Kettlebells can be made from cast iron or steel. Cast iron is expensive, so while traditional, with the kettlebell getting bigger as the weight increases and more iron is used, manufacturers have pivoted to steel. Steel is used in the manufacture of "competition" or "sport" kettlebells, and that’s what you’ll find in most of our clubs. Steel kettlebells are more durable than their cast iron counterparts and thanks to the density of steel being more malleable, they can be made all in one size despite the weight increasing or decreasing.
This is especially important in competitions and for workouts where form must be maintained to avoid injury - a stable size kettlebell allows this for activities like snatches and pulls. Despite being a ball with a handle attached to the top, kettlebells aren’t quick to make and can be rather complicated. The metal is melted in a forge, and then poured into a mould where a rise encourages any air bubbles to escape.
Even the smallest air bubble is a weakness that could cause the kettlebell to break, so it’s important there are none. Most bells are made as a single unit, but inferior types are made in two halves and then joined together, with the risk that the steel handle can come loose. If you’re swinging a heavy kettlebell and the handle comes off and it goes flying - that’s a disaster waiting to happen! As kettlebells in a mould cool, they may shrink (more common in cast iron bells), so more metal layers may be added. Pop it out of the mould, knock the excess metal off with a hammer and then sandblast them until they have a smooth finish and BOOM - you’ve got yourself a kettlebell!
Why not try a few of the best kettlebell exercises and see which you like and want to incorporate into your next workout! They’re great for circuits due to their versatility, and can be used for both upper and lower body work.
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Pistol Squat
Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry
Kettlebell High Pulls
Kettlebell Plank Pull Through
Kettlebell Front Rack Reverse Lunge
Need some more inspiration to get started? Check out our Kettlebell Workout below and get moving!