How Do Kettlebell Competitions Work

Elaine Sutton
• Friday, 30 October, 2020
• 9 min read

When your love for a sport is all consuming and you live it and breathe it every day with a passion, it can be easy to forget that not everyone understands what it is about, or even knows about it. So you can imagine that I can still be taken by surprise when someone tells me they haven’t got a clue about kettle bell sport.

competition kettlebell 12kg 10kg kettlebells 14kg 8kg
(Source: kettlebellsaustralia.com.au)


These peculiar looking weights are not the novelty they were ten years ago and now have a place in many training facilities. Many athletes remain oblivious that they have been used for over sixty years as integral tool of a fully-fledged sport.

This advancement came mainly from the military, who had seen how this form of training benefited the troops. All lifts are carried out for a maximum of ten minutes in which the athletes aim to complete as many quality reps as possible without placing the kettle bell (s) on the ground.

Whenever using one kettle bell, be it in the snatch (for both gender categories), or in the women’s jerk and long-cycle, the athletes are allowed to change hands only once during the set. The choice of kettle bell weights decreases dramatically at international level.

The weights used can vary depending on the federation under which the meet is being held and also with the lifters age. At the moment, women’s competition at international level only involves snatch.

Without efficient technique it is not possible to achieve the high numbers of repetitions required to be successful in the sport. All the lifts are performed aiming to use only the exact amount of energy needed and using momentum to the lifter’s advantage during the concentric phase.

kettlebell competition kilo weight workout bodybuilder training workouts commons wikimedia kettlebells fitness muscle wikipedia history bff let strength routine loss
(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

To achieve such efficient technique, the jerk, snatch, and long cycle need to be patiently and consistently drilled. This also explains the relatively small amount of hypertrophy seen in kettle bell sport athlete when compared to powerlifters or Olympic weightlifters, despite the vast amount of weight lifted in each session.

The sport requires specific flexibility, muscular strength endurance, power endurance, and a well-developed aerobic capacity, so all of these components should be present in the athletes GPP program in some way. To anyone interested in competing, I recommend seeking out a reputable coach so you can learn the technical details of the lifts and how to best program training cycles.

A great first step is simply to go and watch a competition, and get a feel for the sport. Kettle bell Sport rules require every lifter has a judge who sits in front of them for the duration of their competition set and counts their repetitions, monitors their technique, and gives no counts if any technical fouls occur (click here for specific details on rules and regulations, which are fairly uniform across organizations). Judging at a competition is based on whether the athlete achieves “fixation” in the overhead position, meaning both the bell and the lifter freeze for a moment in time with all the joints locked out and in proper alignment.

Additionally, the lifter must demonstrate knee lockout when the bells are in the rack position. A lifter may receive a no count if fixation or rack lockout are not achieved, or if any other technical fouls occur.

Each lift has specific criteria for technique that must be met, and particular mistakes that must be avoided or else a no count will be awarded. Joints are stacked to the best of the athlete’s mobility (straight line from wrist to elbow to shoulder to hip to heel).

kettlebell competition 20kg kettlebells wrist
(Source: kettlebellsaustralia.com.au)

In Long Cycle, Jerk, and Snatch, the person with the highest number of repetitions wins. If this is your first time reading one of our posts, we create kettle bell workouts in collaboration with kettle bell experts designed to give you maximal results and not take up much of your time.

We recommend you read more about receiving a quick, free, dynamic kettle bell workout every week you can click below. Also, we recommend you subscribe to our posts so you can be notified when we publish more in this series.

She learned how to lift kettle bells at one of the top Kettle bell Sport gyms in the United States, Ice Chamber, which has produced seven female Masters of Sport lifters to date (Brittany is the most recent one). Brittany is the Head Coach of Kettle bell Sport at KOR Strength and Conditioning in San Diego, California.

She has traveled all over the world to teach Kettle bell Sport workshops. Brittany is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSA.

Silver medalist in 16 kg Snatch at the UK World Championships, Junior category The AKA puts on kettle bell sport competitions all over the United States and is responsible for the national event each year, this year in Chicago, which determines who will represent the United States at the International Competition.

kettlebell competition orange
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

The winner is defined in each weight category by greatest sum of rises (successful reps overhead). In snatch, the final score is the average of the greatest sum (x) between left and right hand (x/2).

Team placing is determined by the results of individual participants based on rules and regulation of hosting organization. The participant is invited to the platform at least two minutes prior to the beginning of his/her flight.

Each properly executed repetition is accompanied by a signal of the platform judge. The judge declares the signal as soon as all parts of the body of the competitor become motionless.

If the competitor conducts a foul or violates any rules of the technical performance, the platform judge can issue a “no count” or “stop set.” In the case of any part of the competitor’s body coming in contact with the platform, or in the case that the competitor leaves the platform a “stop” command is given.

If a competitor cannot completely straighten elbows due to anatomical deviations, or medical condition, he/she should inform the platform judges and/or jury before the beginning of the flight. The JERK is carried out from the following starting position: kettle bells are fixed on the chest, arms are pressed to the trunk, legs are straightened.

kettlebell competition gymstick training
(Source: www.gymstick.com)

Kettle bells are then launched into the overhead position and arms, trunk and legs should be straightened. Legs and kettle bells should be in line and parallel to the plane of the body.

Kettle bells can not be held motionless in a position lower than the hands. LONG CYCLE uses the same rules as JERK, but the “STOP” command is issued when the kettle bell touches the platform.

The performance of the Snatch is carried out in one step from the starting position between the legs. The participant should swing the kettle bell in a continuous movement upward into the overhead position and fixate.

Fixation is achieved when the kettle bell is in the overhead position and arms, legs and trunk are straightened. The legs and kettle bell should be in line and parallel to the plane of the body.

After fixation, the platform judge will issue a point, and the competitor will lower the kettle bell to the starting position between the legs without the kettle bell touching any part of the trunk. * Multiple swings between the legs shall be allowed as long as the kettle bell is motion.

kettlebell competition kettlebellkings
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Performance of exercises follows the general rules included in this document. Performance of exercises begins with the lightweight categories. The participant is authorized to compete only in one leg of the relay.

5 seconds prior to start the control time is announced in one-second increments: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then the command “Start” is given to participants in the first leg;– 15 seconds before the start of the next leg the judge allows the next participant to come forward;– 5 seconds prior to the termination of the leg the control time is announced in one-second increments: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.– Next, the transfer to the next leg and next competitor is made after the “change” command. The participant who has just finished the leg should place the kettle bell (s) on the platform.– If a participant of the previous leg fixates the kettle bell (s) after the “change” command, the last lift (rep) will not count– the count for the whole team is shared with a cumulative accruing score.

From AKA-Sport.org, a great source for kettle bell sport in the United States Let’s compare the two exercises based on three categories: cost, strength gains, and effective weight loss.

So, people turn to indoor options like purchasing a treadmill ($900 on the low end) or going to the gym ($20–100 monthly). If that seems too heavy for your current strength level, start with a lower weight and work your way up.

It also makes you much better at an incredibly practical skill and burns tons of calories. There is a very clichéd picture that I feel compelled to show that illustrates this point perfectly.

kettlebell champion competition fitness
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Kettle bell swings are one of the single best exercises a person can do for multiple reasons: It drills the hinge pattern, one of the best ways to improve your ability to pick things up off the floor.

It can be done for an aerobic or anaerobic workout, meaning it totally counts as cardio and lifting. When done properly, the kettle bell swing teaches you how to brace and forces you to do many short interval planks.

It works your whole posterior chain, specifically targeting your hamstrings and glutes, but it even gets your lats firing. Figuring out the number of calories burned is far easier to do for running than it is for kettle bell swings.

Both running and kettle bell swings are incredibly effective calorie burning exercises. I think it’s fair to say that performing light to moderate weight kettle bell swings for 15 minutes burns roughly the same amount of calories as a 40-minute jog.

While the calories burned will only change slightly, the heavy resistance training will have a gradual effect on your resting metabolic rate (i.e., calories burned throughout the day when not exercising). In a study that observed the changes' strength training had on Mr in men ages 50–65, researchers found that after 16 weeks of heavy-resistance strength training, Mr increased by an average of 7.7 percent.

competition kettlebell kettlebells performance
(Source: hangarhpc.com)

Then you do a 16-week heavy-resistance strength training program, and boom: your Mr is now 7 calories short of 2,000 (an increase of 142.45). With that same information, we can estimate that you would burn about 137 calories as a 5’10, 180-pound, 60-year-old man running a respectable nine-minute mile pace.

So theoretically, thanks to weightlifting, your body burns additional calories equivalent to running an extra mile every day. Although kettle bell swings are not the same type of simple resistance training used in the study, it is safe to say that performing them routinely will also lead to an increase in Mr.

And because there is nothing better than burning more calories sitting on the couch, this category has to go the way of the previous ones. Overall, kettle bell swings dominate running in the categories that most people are concerned with.

But if your goal is to get the most efficient workout with the least amount of equipment, you can’t beat the kettle bell swing. Kettle bells come in all shapes and sizes, and it is hard to know which ones are top-notch when starting your home gym.

Don’t be deceived by soft handles and bright colors, the best kettle bells are simply a big piece of coated metal. Beginner Budget Option : This is a bundle of lightweight bells that you can start off with.

kettlebell competition sport strategies success breakingmuscle
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Premium Option : Kettle bell Kings, Dragon Door, and Rogue make the best bells. Kettle bell Kings is the only company with extensive options on Amazon, so I featured them.

If you ever intend to start competing with Kettle bells I strongly recommend exclusively training with competition bells. Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in healthy 50- to 65-yr-old men.

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1 www.nbcnews.com - https://www.nbcnews.com/shopping/fitness/best-kettlebells-n1246049
2 heavy.com - https://heavy.com/sports/2020/02/best-kettlebells/
3 fitterliving.com - https://fitterliving.com/best-adjustable-kettlebells/