As you may have heard the coolest and newest things in weight training are the Kettle Bell and the Indian club. The only problem is they may be about the oldest things in weight training.
Resistance training began in India over 500 years ago. Wrestlers would perform numerous deep knee bends (what we call squats) to build leg strength and twirl and swing a short weighted stick called a Nal to build up arm strength. The Nal was used in pairs like a dumbbell and has since been referred to as an Indian club.
The kettle bell and the dumbbell, though not as old as the Indian club, have been around a pretty long time too. Long before there was Bodybuilding there was Physical Culture. English strongmen or physical culturists searching for items similar yet heavier than Indian clubs turned to hand held church bells. The bells were pretty common and came in sizes from a few ounces to many pounds. To keep the noise down, they removed the clappers from the bells (the clappers are the things inside the bells that make all the noise). The word ‘dumb’ as without sound and ‘bell’ became dumbbell. In the late 1890s when two equal weights with a handle in the middle began to be cast and forged into the now familiar shape of a dumbbell, the name stuck.
Those who could not gain access to church bells used items like tea kettles. Filled with sand or water and of various sizes, these kettles could be lifted and manipulated in much the same way as a church bell. To simulate the kettle, single globe-shaped weights with a handle on top were cast of iron and continued to be called kettle bells.
Today, Indian clubs and kettle bells are being heralded as the latest and newest forms of resistance training. It just follows the old saying that states, ”Everything old is new again.”