Pyotr Kryloff was a strongman, wrestler and athlete who lived from 1871 to 1933. He was best known as The King of Kettlebells, performing incredible feats of strength using kettlebells on a circus stage. Pyotr (also known as Pierre) was born in Moscow and his father was an avid fan of physical culture and sports in general. In fact, he setup rings and practiced on them on a regular basis, which is something Pierre tried to imitate at a very young age. Like other kids his age, he also liked to climb trees, wrestle, fly kites and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.
During his school years, Kryloff spent many nights watching circus strongmen perform and that’s when he first saw his idol, Emil Foss who performed feats of strength like chain breaking, kettlebell juggling with 48kg kettlebell, clean & press, etc. Motivated by his idol, Pyotr started training regularly at home with an improvised barbell and real kettlebells.
After he graduated nautical school, Pyotr Kryloff journeyed to England, India, China and Japan as a navigator. Pyotr would wrestle natives in every port he went, but he also trained with kettlebells which he brought along with him. This is when Pyotr started performing various feats of strength using a pair of 32kg kettlebells, like crucifix, presses and juggling. Three years later, he decided to come back to Moscow and start performing as a professional circus athlete.
During this time Kryloff’s popularity rises with many offers from various circuses. Apart from being amazing with kettlebells, Pyotr became good at other feats like
- breaking horseshoes
- bending coins
- chain tearing
- harness lifts
Still, he specialized in kettlebells and no one else was able to replicate his feats at that time.
Pyotr had his own way of training and living. Let’s take a look at his usual training day. Every time he’d woke up, Pyotr would breath deep fresh air for about ten minutes. After that he would train using rubber bands, followed by 100 push-ups and 15-minutes running session. He would then perform something similar to squat jumps and take hot/cold shower. Keep in mind this all happens before he even have a breakfast, which usually consisted of couple of eggs, 2 glasses of milk and a cup of tea.
After a walk and dinner at around 5 pm, Pyotr would wait about two hours before heavy training session, which included everything from various kettlebell exercises, clean & press to squats and dumbbell curls. After two hours of heavy lifting, Pyotr would go for another walk. He claims that he used to eat a lot of meat, but overtime he transferred the focus on fruits & veggies. Keep in mind that he only trained this hard once a week!
Some of his best records include crucifix with two 90 pounds kettlebells, 282 pounds neck bridge press, 252 pounds one arm overhead press and 70 pounds one arm kettlebell military press for 86 repetitions. Pyotr Kryloff performed for the last time at the age of 60, still incredibly strong and powerful. Want to learn how the rest of oldtime strongmen trained? Check out this resource.