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2727 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, Il 60614

(773) 477 8400


a brief history of kettlebells

learn how kettlebells became a mainstay of working out.

By now, you've probably worked out with kettlebells on your own or in one of i.d.'s group-fitness classes. How did this odd-shaped device become such a central part of today's workout regimens? We hit the history books to find out. 

A kettlebell is a cast iron weight that looks a little like a cannonball with a handle. Unlike traditional dumbbells, a kettlebell's center of mass is extended beyond the hand, allowing for a wide variety of swinging movements that are designed to help you build strength and endurance.  Cold War era Soviet soldiers began using these weights to train for hand-to-hand combat, and while those days have since past, the benefits of kettlebells remain.  

"You don't need the physique of a battle-hardened soldier to train with kettlebells," says personal trainer and instructor Jennifer McGowan, who helped bring kettlebell workouts to i.d. in 2010. "We can start with the basics -- emphasizing the proper form and movement -- so that you can reap the benefits of kettlebell training."   

By their nature, typical kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.  The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once,  and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling.

Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettlebell exercises often involve large numbers of repetitions. Kettlebell exercises work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes at a time. This combination makes the exercise partially aerobic and more similar to high-intensity interval training rather than to traditional weight lifting.

... and for a different approach

We've got Rogue Thompson Fatbells! These unique weights were co-developed with powerlifting legend Donnie Thompson as a revolutionary take on traditional kettlebells. With this design, the handle is re-positioned inside each open-ended, cast-iron sphere. The result is a perfect geometric shape to maximize performance, allowing athletes to dramatically improve the efficiency of every swing and press.

We all know that the point of lifting weights is to get stronger and live longer -- and kettlebells are a great way to do so. By reformatting our kettlebell program, the i.d. team will help you master the kettlebell as a great way to step up your workout -- and help you achieve those fitness goals. 

all about kettlebells | meet the kettlebell team | a brief history of kettlebells | just a little bit of kettlebells...

This is a fantastic gym and a great value. This gym has a great facility with all of the requisite cardio and weight machines. The classes are fantastic.
— Melinda H. of Chicago on