The Kettlebell

The kettlebell is an iron weight to exercise with; it looks like a small bowling ball with a thick “tea kettle” type of handle on top. It’s a workout tool that’s been popular in Russia for a long time. I first heard about kettlebells about ten years ago via a Russian sport specialist who’d moved to the US and was promoting them.

The most basic exercise is the “swing.” You stand with a medium wide stance, holding the kettlebell in front of yourself with both hands. Then hinging at the hip, you swing the kettlebell up, like a pendulum, arcing until your outstretched arms are at face level and then arcing back down to crotch level, swinging through your spread legs. Then repeat. Most of the movement is accomplished snapping the hips and it works lots of muscles. It builds strength and endurance while burning fat. Pretty much what most people are looking for.

A kettlebell can weigh anywhere from 15  to over 100 pounds. But the standard one is about 36 pounds. There’s a size for everyone.

You can do most kettlebell exercises with a dumbbell instead. Which is what I’ve been doing because kettlebells were too expensive when they first arrived in the US. But the prices have come down. So, I finally bought one and had it shipped to a friend’s house in California who’s driving down to Mexico this week. I’m flying to Phoenix to meet him so he doesn’t have to drive for two days through Mexico by himself.

There’s going to be a visible display of globalization in action this week. If you know where to look, you might be able to see two Americans, wearing clothes made in South East Asia, parked on the side of a Mexican highway, standing next to a Japanese car, while doing a Russian exercise with equipment made in China.