Kettlebell – noun
(weightlifting) A weight consisting of a cast iron ball with a single handle for gripping the weight during exercise.

Kettlebells are ‘old school’ cast iron weights that originated in Russia centuries ago, and are currently very popular in Eastern Europe. They have been around for decades but only recently have caught the attention of mainstream athletes in the U.S.

Kettlebells look like bowling balls with handles. They offer an efficient full-body workout. They weigh between 2 and 106 pounds each, start at $25 and are available at most sporting goods stores.  They come in very pretty colors if that helps your workout.

If you ever meet a kettlebell in a dark alley, run for your life!  They are really heavy and a little unpredictable.

The instructor in my ‘intro’ class told us to pick up two kettlebells –  heavier than the free weights we use at home.  I chose 18 lbs. and 15 lbs.  I was so exhausted just carrying them to my place on the gym floor that I asked him if I could trade in for lighter ones.  He said no.  I feared for my life.  It turns out that because there is a lot of swinging of the bells, you can handle heavier weights.

The idea is to hold the kettlebell in one or both hands and go through a variety of swinging or pulling motions.  In some moves you pass the weight from one hand to the other.  This requires body stabilization and a strong core.  They work all muscle groups.  They are great for building strength, flexibility and cardio all at the same time. Balance and hand-eye coordination are also enhanced.

It is important to understand the proper training form, so ideally you should begin with a class or session with a personal trainer/ instructor. If a personal trainer or instructor is not available there are routines available online.

Check out these sites to find a Kettlebell trainer near you:

American Kettlebell Club


International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation

Dragon Door

For a review of the ‘10 Best Kettlebell Workout DVDs” go to

Steve Cotter comes highly recommended as the guru of kettlebells.  For his kettlebell fitness training DVDs go to

To buy Kettlebells try

Dick’s Sporting Goods

And Target