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By | In Articles, Kettlebell | on
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The attached pic is me competing in Hongkong Open Kettlebell Sport Championship back in July’12. With it I became the 1st Indian to represent the country in an International Kettlebell Sport championship and got all necessary international …exposure and a chance to make very good friends belonging to this sport. I have not competed in any competition since then as some niggling injuries kept me away from training. My training has started now and I plan to compete again in 2014 end. But this time I don’t want to be alone to represent India, I want a team to represent the country. For that it requires awareness, and this post of mine is a general introduction & brief history about Kettlebell sport in a bid to spread awareness.

Girevoy Sport (or Kettlebell sport) is the official sport of kettlebell lifting.

Kettlebell sport/ GS is the traditional Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. The sport originally evolved from athletic and military circles. A girevik is a kettlebell lifter.

Kettlebell sport is becoming very popular around the world. It is one of the toughest sports in the world which involves the elements of strength-power-endurance and requires tremendous anaerobic threshold and mental toughness. Efforts are being made to bring this sport to Olympics.

Unlike Powerlifting or Olympic lifting, where the maximal weight is lifted for 1 rep, in Kettlebell sport the maximum reps without keeping the kettlebell(s) down in the allotted 10 minutes makes you the winner. Sometimes (in case of light weight athletes), the weights are almost 1 x body weight which they have to keep lifting for a duration of 10 mins. This becomes extremely demanding for the body and requires conditioning of all 3 energy systems of the body, and not just one.

In 1948 the first kettlebell competition took place in Russia where the most repetitions, not 1 rep strength, made you champion. It was attended by 200000 persons, participating in 4 weight categories with 32kg bells.

Up to through the 80’s rules have been in constant evolution, and specialized training for kettlebell sport competitions developed. In 1985 the first official championship of the USSR was held, and with it came the opportunity to win the prestigious and rewarding title of “Master of Sports”. This helped attract new competitors and widespread the sport even more. Since then, many other nations have entered international competitions.

Athletes compete according to weight category, and this can vary from organization to organization. There are 2 main events – Biathlon (Jerk first and then Snatch later) & Long cycle (Clean and Jerk in every rep).

Men use 2 kettlebells in Jerk & Long Cycle and 1 kettlebell in Snatch. Women use 1 kettlebell for all the events.

Each event is tested for repetitions in a 10 minute time period without setting the kettlebell(s) down. This time limit rule was installed in 1989.

• The two arm JERK requires you to clean the kettlebells to your chest once, and then jerk them as many times overhead as possible.

• The SNATCH is performed by swinging the kettlebell between your legs and brought up to the overhead position in one uninterrupted motion. Only one hand switch is permitted.

• The LONG CYCLE calls for a clean before each jerk.

Men compete with 32kg kettlebells, 24kg for amateurs and over 40s, 16kg for juniors. Women compete with a 16 or 24kg kettlebell.

Because athletes cannot set the kettlebell(s) down, coordination and energy efficient techniques are used to last the event. Ranking is determined by weight class and the number of repetitions achieved in the 10 minute time frame.

In competitions, kettlebells are color coded. Yellow: 16kg – Green: 24kg – Red: 32kg.

The spirit of competition is enhanced by special feats such as odd lifts, juggling, and kettlebell relay races after the main program has been completed.

Abhinav Malhotra

Founder, CEO and Master Coach

Ballistic Kettlebell Fitness Academy


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