Kettlebell Sport: The What, the Why and the How

Laura dec 2014 comp fixation

20kg Fixation/Lockout December 2014 Competition

Spring is in the air and summer body season is just around the corner!

Rather than spend hours on the treadmill, transform your fitness routine (and your body) with a killer Kettlebell Sport workout.

When people first hear the words kettlebell sport they imagine athletes frantically grunting, groaning and straining to swing a kettlebell back and forth, the stereotype will quickly melt away once you begin your own training. Kettlebell Sport — or Girevoy Sport — is an endurance sport that combines lifting and cardio movements through a range of relaxation, breathing, and efficiency techniques.

Interested? Here are the basics of what Kettlebell Sport really is:
The origins of the sport lay with the Russians and they still dominate in world kettlebell sport competitions each year. The sport is spreading rapidly around the world and countries as far away as Australia, Brazil, Korea, Kazakstan, Spain and Singapore. This means that, like CrossFit, KB Sport is reaching thousands of people worldwide!

Here’s why people are doing it:
The goal of Kettlebell Sport is quite simple: Without putting the bell down on the floor, keep the kettlebell moving for an entire 10-minute period while aiming for as many reps as possible. Like most other parts of the sport, the concept sounds relatively modest in comparison to other weight exercises. With proper technique, breathing and efficiency it can be broken down to such a simple concept but the training to get there is anything but that. Many athletes train for years before they have reached a professional or master level because the maximum number of reps during each cycle matters just as much as the amount of weight that athlete is using.

laura nationals 2014 snatch

16kg Snatch August 2014 USA Nationals

The weights range from 8kg to 32kg (about 18 to 70 pounds) and the the events are divided by weight class and gender. A quick guide to the various weights and your ability level would look something like this:

Women’s Kettlebell Weights:
Beginner 8kg, 12kg
Intermediate 16kg, 20kg
Professionals 24kg

Men’s Kettlebell Weights:
Beginner 16kg, 20kg
Intermediate 24kg, 28kg
Professionals 32kg

So how do you do it?
Good question! Three different lifts are used in Kettlebell Sport training and competitions.
1) Snatch is a one-armed move for both women and men. It involves moving the bell from a swing through the legs to fixation or lockout overhead in one fluid movement.
2) Long Cycle involves taking the bell through the legs from a swing to a resting front rack position — also known as a clean position — and jerked into a lockout or fixation overhead. This means the long cycle is two separate movements that require a pause on the hip crest for the clean and then a pause overhead in lockout. 3) Jerk is the final competition movement. While it is part of the long cycle movement, it can also be used on its own without the clean during competitions. Your gender can impact the way the move is performed during competitions, though. Currently, women compete with a single kettlebell, while men compete with double kettlebells, or one in each arm, for both the long cycle and jerk movements.


20kg Longcycle Photo Cred: Steve Burroughs

Through my training experience, I have come to respect how much physical and mental strength it takes to master the sport. You don’t have to go to competitions to enjoy it, though! Using the sport for general fitness is wonderful and will help you to lose weight and gain strength. Most importantly, the never-ending lessons on good technique can take years of training, making it a lifetime sport!   IF you are interested in learning more about the sport either find a coach in your area or check out

Want to see how I train or how I express my love for Kettlebell Sport? Checkout out my Twitter or Instagram!


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