Hi friends! I’m excited about this afternoon’s post because it was written by a good friend of mine, and a kettlebell powerhouse: Brittany! You may recognize her from the Summer Shape Up pics from this year and this Kettlebell Rock video. I first met Brittany last year at our gym, and was instantly inspired, as she’s an incredibly talented athlete. We’ve been meeting up for occasional green juice dates ever since. 🙂
A little bit about Brittany: she is a personal trainer (NSCA-CSCS) and professional Kettlebell Sport lifter based here in San Diego. She is the head coach for Kettlebell Sport lifting at KOR Strength and Conditioning. Brittany holds a National record in 24kg Biathlon, as well as Master of Sport titles in 24kg Long Cycle and 24kg Snatch. Right now, she is actually on her way to the World Kettlebell Championships in Dublin! I hope you enjoy her post.
When I attempt to explain to someone the sport I compete in, I tell them that I lift something that looks like a bowling ball with a handle, over my head, somewhere between 100 and 200 times in ten minutes. Sounds a little crazy, right?
Here is a video of me (green shirt) competing in Long Cycle with two 16kg kettlebells. I completed 84 repetitions for a total of 84 x (16kg + 16kg) = 2,688kg = 3 tons lifted overhead in 10 minutes!!
Kettlebell Sport, also known as Girevoy Sport, is a sport prevalent in many Eastern European countries (think Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus). While it started as a training method for the Russian military, in 2014 the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL) World Championships hosted over 500 athletes from 30 different countries.
While I’ve only been competing in the sport since 2012, in that short span of time I’ve seen a huge growth in the sport. Kettlebell Sport competitions are on the rise, and for good reason.
Training with a goal: While we all know that staying in shape is good for us, working out for the sake of working out may not be enough to motivate many people, especially those who have been a part of competitive athletics throughout high school and/or college. Training with a specific goal or competition in mind provides a huge amount of motivation to be consistent–and consistency is the key to health and longevity.
Low injury risk: As long as proper form and progression of weight is used while lifting kettlebells, the risk of injury is low. Since the goal of Kettlebell Sport is to get as many repetitions as possible, testing the athlete’s work capacity, a submaximal weight is used. In contrast to powerlifting and Olympic lifting, which test an individual’s one repetition maximum, Kettlebell Sport is much less likely to produce traumatic injuries.
Open to all ages: One of the best aspects of Kettlebell Sport is that the age range of competitors is all over the map, from children to seniors! There are very few sports where both young and old compete alongside one another, and often times the “young bucks” aren’t even the top lifters at the competition. Many of the top U.S. Kettlebell Sport athletes did not start lifting until well into their adult life, which leaves no reason why a person of ANY age can’t lift kettlebells.
Efficiency: Life in modern society is busy, with many people juggling full-time jobs, rearing children, and socializing–not to mention staying in shape. Kettlebell Sport training is simple and efficient. You can get a killer workout in just ten minutes! Endurance training with kettlebells builds strength AND cardiovascular endurance, with the added benefit of increasing your mental tenacity.
While I hope this article gets you intrigued and interested to learn more about Kettlebell Sport, I want to emphasize the importance of finding a good coach to teach you the fundamentals. There are tons of bad YouTube videos out there demonstrating what NOT to do with a kettlebell, and even the good videos won’t teach you everything you need to know. Everyone’s body is different and requires a different approach to acquire appropriate technique. Learning Kettlebell Sport technique is a lifelong process, but it will get you fit like nothing else!
This is a clip of my Snatch training set with a 24kg (53lb) kettlebell. I will be competing in this event at the American Kettlebell Alliance (AKA) Nationals in Chicago on August 1. If I qualify by winning my weight class, I will travel to the World Championships in Dublin, Ireland. [Spoiler alert from Gina: she’s on her way there RIGHT NOW!] Want to learn the basics of Kettlebell Sport the right way? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a workshop at your gym or attend one of my classes.