If you’re new to kettlebell training—or even when you’re not new—then you might have never heard about Kettlebell Sport, Long Cycle, Girevoy Sport AKA GS, Competition Kettlebells AKA Comp Bells, and so on. In this article, I will answer questions and cover topics like:
What is a Kettlebell Long Cycle?
If you’re just getting into the kettlebell training world then you might hear some words you’ve never heard before, one of them being “long cycle”. Generally, this will refer to the kettlebell clean and jerk as demonstrated in the video below with two competition kettlebells.
If you just ask someone to complete “Long Cycle” then most people will assume it’s a clean and jerk, but, you should know that a Long Cycle simply means to add a Clean to what you’re doing and that can be Clean and Jerk, Clean and Push Press, or Clean and Strict Press. The clean that you add will be a Swingclean and generally a Pendulum Swingclean but it can be any other swing style as well. The reason for it being a Pendulum Clean is because a Long Cycle is usually performed for endurance, i.e. 10 minutes or longer. So, you add a clean, and then you cycle the kettlebell exercise combo and you have a Long Cycle.
How Long is the Kettlebell Long Cycle?
A kettlebell long cycle is one rep of a swingclean and a strict press, push press, or jerk. But in general, it’s assumed that you’ll be doing 10 minutes of the long cycle unbroken. However, you can also do any other duration and it’s still a long cycle. For amateurs, it can be 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and there are even marathons of 1 hour like this video demonstrates.
- Extending for a considerable distance.
- Having greater length than usual.
- Having greater height than usual.
- An interval of time during which a characteristic, often regularly repeated event or sequence of events occurs.
- A single complete execution of a periodically repeated phenomenon.
Combining the clean and an exercise that goes overhead makes it longer. Repeating the combo over and over again makes it cyclic.
Kettlebell Long Cycle in CrossFit
For a very long time, I have personally promoted the Kettlebell Long Cycle in CrossFit but failed hard. After speaking with the owners and athletes to figure out what it is that stops them from starting something so awesome and suitable I have come to the following conclusion:
- Most gyms don’t have enough kettlebells
- The majority of the audience does not want to spend the time into the higher learning curve that comes with the kettlebell
- The gym owners don’t have the experience or coaches to teach kettlebells
Kettlebell endurance work is something we need to see in CrossFit gyms. If you run a box and need help with getting kettlebell endurance events in your gym then contact us. We’re also moving past the classic lifts and have been working on more exciting and unconventional lifts in our UKC.
What are the Benefits of Kettlebell Long Cycle?
There are an immense amount of benefits that you will receive from training kettlebell long cycle, some of there, but not limited to:
- Highly increased mental toughness
- Muscular endurance
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Increased strength
- Increased flexibility
- One push and pull combo to hit all the major muscle groups in one workout
I listed mental toughness as one of the first benefits because I truly believe that is one of the major benefits you simply do not get in the same manner as you do with having to hold two heavy kettlebells up overhead, in racking, or swinging without putting them down for an x amount of time.
YOUR First Long Cycle
You might have been training with kettlebells for ages, and you might be familiar with the clean, and even the jerk, but what you’ve probably never done before is complete a 10-minute long cycle! When you start, you will probably grab two 16kgs and fail. Then you might get to only putting it down 3 or 4 times during the set, then perhaps only twice, but you’ll still fail. The reason is that you didn’t leave your ego at the door, just like I didn’t when I attempted my first kb long cycle.
You need to go down in weight and focus on the endurance part, the pacing, and the mental game before you even start thinking about weight. There is a process, a path to follow, and if you don’t, you will fail time and time again. Put your pride aside and complete 5 minutes with one kettlebell multiple switches and work your way up to just one switch. Then 10 minutes one switch. Reduce your kettlebell weight and complete 2 minutes unbroken and work your way up to 10 minutes. Of course, before you do all that, you first need to master the clean and jerk. There is absolutely no use in trying to work on endurance when your form and technique are lacking.
A couple of things you should know:
- It’s a mental game and the brain wants to give in long before the body does.
- Ten minutes doesn’t sound very long but it is when you can’t put them down.
- Looking at the clock will play with your mind.
- You can’t be focussing on counting reps.
- Finding the right pace is important.
- If you can’t breathe in racking then you start your next rep.
- Learn to rest in overhead lockout and breathe.
- It’s ok to clang the bells together.
- Flexibility comes into play for your overhead position.
- Leg drive is crucial.
- Proper racking for efficient power transfer is crucial.
- The lower back is the highest risk area for injury if you start skipping progression.
- The foundation for clean and jerk is;
- push press
- Minimum requirements are;
- strong core
- good shoulder range of motion
- Top athletes have;
- Mental toughness
Kettlebell Sport or Long Cycle for Beginners
The fundamentals of kettlebell training need to be mastered before progressing to more advanced things like high reps of a kettlebell combo, which is what the long cycle is, a combo of two kettlebell exercises. A progression that one can focus on without investing any money is as follows:
- Master Kettlebell Grips
- Master Kettlebell Racking
- Master The Kettlebell Swing
- Master The Kettlebell Clean
- Master The Push Press
- Master The Jerk
- Work on pacing
- Work on endurance
- Work on strength
- Work on flexibility
We’ve created an online course called Kettlebell Sport For Beginners and that includes coaching from a qualified kettlebell coach.
The 10 Minute Long Cycle
The 10 minutes in duration for the kettlebell long cycle is the most popular and generally the one used at classic kettlebell sport competitions. We’ve put an online kettlebell challenge together that you can be part of. Everything you need is here.
Start shopping for kettlebell knowledge and workouts today.