The history of Kettlebells

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The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ade on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:45 am

Hi Dave,
I've just started training with Kettlebells and have been wondering about their "roots".
I've read that they've originated in Russia,Scotland,the Viking countries,and a few others....

What do you know of their history mate?

Ade
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:11 am

sort of mate ... my research is incomplete so I can only tell you what I know now.

They seem to have come from ESTONIA in the 17th Century.
They were named (in english) as they did indeed come from kettles... in Estonia (apparantly) kettles were big and they used old ones to fill with stones and lift as they do now.

In England they were first used in the early 18th century as solid objects first by albert attilla... in the US sig klein in the early 1900's

the same with dumbells .. literally "slient bells' they took the clappers out of cracked church bells, put shafts through the top rings and made dumb-bells

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Socrates on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:47 am

Strangely enough, Chinese martial artists have used stone padlocks, which are similar to kettlebells, for hundreds of years...

http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/blog/2009/02/chinese-stone-locks.html

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=SP25 (scroll down for a video)
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:29 am

the Greeks especially the Spartans used 'halteres' ... different sizes and shapes of stone, some very like dumbell shapes

man has always used some form of progressive resistance training, even the old Archers in England used to strap 2 or 3 bows together to practice their 'pulls' .. the orgin of chest expanders

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ace Ventura on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:25 am

Hi Dave

Where did you hear that about archers? I have read a fair bit on them and never heard that?


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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ade on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:30 am

David Turton wrote:the same with dumbells .. literally "slient bells' they took the clappers out of cracked church bells, put shafts through the top rings and made dumb-bells

Well that's a revelation! I'd often wondered how they got their name.

...so it would follow that a "Barbell" was simply a longer bar with a bell on each end?
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:00 am

actually they were first called long dumbells or two handed dumbells

the archers using two or three bows?

My friend at the Royal Armouries mate ... a very useful contact

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ace Ventura on Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:51 am

That is an awesome place! Will revisit this year on my honeymoon Very Happy

Owing a 100lb warbow, thinking of pulling anything more is errrr, NUTS! I know it can be done and MArk Stretton pulled a 200lb one (insane), but that was first I'd ever heard about it, so any more info greatly recieved!

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  stevie b on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:13 am

I take it these guys must have been very strong. Did using the bow lead to much muscle developement?

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ian S on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:45 pm

Stevie, there is archaeological evidence for extreme muscle development and even bone deformation in medieval professional archers, particularly the ones who practised from childhood. Some good info in this article on the Towton mass grave project:

http://www.economist.com/node/17722650?story_id=17722650
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  stevie b on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:43 am

Thanks enjoyed that article intresting they certainly made sure he was dead!

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:58 am

the famous "V" sign with the two fingers also stems from archery.
during the may wars between england and france, when the french caught english archers they would hack off the two'bow pulling' fingers.

when the two armies faced off the englsih archers would raise their trist two fingers to show they could stil pulla nd shoot theirbows.

with the two bow 'strand/expander' thing the interesting (well to me at least) was that the swapped hands and pulled the two bows with right and left hands..... balanced strentgh training

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  stevie b on Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:07 am

Did that mean they could use either hand to use the bow on the battle field?

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:29 am

Arrow not sure about that although there are records of it
I meant they TRAINED both arms so they didnt get unbalanced development
like shot putter do presses etc with both arms

the Middleton Archers at Crecy and Agincourt averaged 15 shots per minute

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ace Ventura on Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:04 am

Steve, they would all shoot with the same arm forward (being right or left handed didn't matter) as that would mean that you could get more guys into a formation.

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ade on Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:34 am

15 shots a minute is an outstanding rate to load (is that the right term?),aim and shoot a longbow.
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ace Ventura on Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:53 am

For this there wasn't much aiming as it was for the arrow storm.....

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  Ade on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:16 am

"Up" is aiming,isn't it? Laughing
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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  stevie b on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:19 am

So it was basically get as many arrows in the air / ultimately the enemy! as fast as possible to overwhelm them?

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Re: The history of Kettlebells

Post  David Turton on Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:36 am

just about
and the quiver idea you see in films was only to transport the arrows.. they stuck them in the ground and just tugged them out, notched and fired

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