Kettlebell sport requires competitors to complete the most repetitions in 10 minutes of traditional lifts, such as the long cycle. In this lift, each rep consists of a swing clean to the rack position under the chin followed by a jerk -- a move to bring the kettlebell overhead. Training for this phenomenal power and endurance challenge brings rewards including a body of shapely steel -- and a mind to match.
Women perform the long cycle jerk with a single bell, changing sides one time only, while their male buddies work with two bells. Women are only allowed a single bell to avoid crushing or impacting the breast tissue by having two kettlebells in the rack position. Certain meets require qualification via video submission prior to competition, while others do not.
Who Can Compete
There are no age restrictions in kettlebell sport, with competitors from ages 5 to 75 on the platform. As with other forms of resistance training, providing you don't have any medical issues or acute joint problems, the sport is available to all. A good coach can provide crucial support, advises Lorna Kleidman, a kettlebell trainer and champion based in New York City, who works herself with Sergey Rudnev, a champion and a coach of other champions.
Within a training week, perform your long cycle jerk and any other competition lifts in various timed sets, as well as supporting drills to improve flexibility, timing, grip strength and tempo. Conduct a full-body resistance-training program as well as cardiovascular exercise, Kleidman recommends. Rowing, running, spinning, swimming or tennis can develop the cardiovascular capacity necessary for kettlebell sport. Women can compete with kettlebells weighing from 8 to 24 kg -- 18 to 53 pounds -- depending on their weight and the rank they seek to achieve; so your training can include progressively higher weights as you become stronger.
For novice lifters with no prior weight-training experience, Kleidman recommends a minimum of 6 months’ preparation before your first competition. More experienced lifters can train and be ready in 4 months, depending on factors such as age, work, family demands and motivation. Workout sessions are performed an average of 4 days per week, with each lasting approximately 2 hours, to build stability, endurance, conditioning and mental focus.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.