On January 12, National Kettlebell Day 2023 honours the cast iron (or cast steel) ball known as the kettlebell. The kettlebell, which resembles a cannonball with a handle, can be used for a variety of activities, including sports, strength exercises, and other fitness applications. The organisers of this day, who will be introduced shortly, want to highlight the kettlebell’s use as a fitness tool. In their words, they want more and more people to embrace and feel comfortable using this tool.
National Kettlebell Day History
Popular belief places the origin of the kettlebell in Russia, as the word originated there and they had the most prominent use of this tool, but the truth may be more complex. Historians believe that this instrument’s simple design — it’s essentially a weight with a top handle — means that it could have originated in any society that has utilised a strength tool, from the Highland Game athletes in Scotland to the Shaolin monks in China. The haltere, a Greek tool from the fifth century B.C. that was radically different in shape and composition from modern kettlebells, produced swinging motions very similar to those of modern kettlebells.
During the 18th century, this metal weight was first observed in use in Russia, although some documents also indicate its use in Germany. Farmers who used these instruments as counterweights when measuring goods discovered that the kettlebell’s swing-and-press motion was ideal for strength feats. Thus began the inaugural Russian kettlebell competition. In the 19th century, circus strongmen frequently demonstrated their strength with a kettlebell due to the kettlebell’s growing recognition as a fitness tool.
Some of these circus performers even travelled to the United States with kettlebells, establishing gyms and introducing the American public to this trendy new fitness trend. However, by the 1950s, this trend had nearly disappeared from fitness centres and gyms, and it would not return for decades. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the Soviet Union established numerous kettlebell sports academies, which gained popularity. Part of its appeal was that it required no additional equipment, was relatively inexpensive, and did not require a large practise area. In 1981, the Soviet Union’s “Official Kettlebell Commission” mandated that all workers use kettlebells to create a fitter, healthier population. Only four years later was kettlebell officially recognised as a sport throughout the entire Soviet Union.
Then, in 2001, Pavel Tsatsouline, a native of Belarus, launched his certification course, the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, in the United States. According to popular belief, Tsatsouline’s marketing campaigns for his course firmly established the kettlebell in the minds of Americans, and its popularity has only increased since then. This increasing popularity prompted Amy Moreland of Kettlebell A.M.P.D to create a special day, a day to demonstrate that kettlebells can be utilised in a variety of ways, by individuals of all backgrounds and fitness levels.
NATIONAL KETTLEBELL DAY DATES