- Quick intro to getting started with kettlebell sport.
- How to work your way up to Kettlebell Sport?
- What to do with my kettlebell?
- I need a goal to work towards.
So you want to get more out of your kettlebell—you want to get serious!?
You want to participate in a sport that’s awesome, you want to feel the camaraderie, and work towards a specific goal. I’ve competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Kettlebell Sport, I can truly say that competing is awesome in any sport, but especially kettlebell sport. It gives you purpose and a feeling of accomplishment.
Before you go any further, I need to warn you: Anyone can do this, but it’s not going to be easy! You have to cultivate some serious mental toughness to participate in kettlebell sport. If you’re ready to do that, then read on.
How easy is it to get signed up and involved in Kettlebell Sport?
This is probably the easiest part. It can be as simple as Googling kettlebell competitions in your area, contacting them for the next comp and entering. Following is a small list of kettlebell sport organizations to get you started:
- English Kettlebell Association
- Girevoy Sport Union
England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
- All Ireland Kettlebell Lifting Federation
- Kettlebell Sport España
- Kettlebell Sport Bond
- Girevoy Sport Australia
- American Kettlebell Alliance Inc.
Entering a competition
Some organizations will just take your word, if you say you’ll enter, you’ll enter, others might require up-front payment. Choose your discipline to compete in, provide your bodyweight and the kettlebell weight you’ll be using. Once you get to the competition, kettlebells will be there for you to use. Most organizations allow you to bring your own kettlebell, but it will have to be officially weighed and there can’t be too much of a weight difference. When you get to the event, find the registration area, register and pay (if you haven’t already), then get changed and weighed. You’ll be told at what time you’re on, or at least after who you’ll be on, this gives you enough information to warm-up in time. You’ll also know your platform number. Your name will be called, then you’re up, get to your platform, prepare your bell, wait for the judges to give the go, and off you are!
How to get started with kettlebells?
No matter what you choose to do with a kettlebell, whether you use it in CrossFit, in the gym, at home, or plan to use it for sport, the fundamentals are what you need to learn first. Things like grip, safety, injury prevention, basic techniques, and more. Lucky for you, I’ve put out a lot of free information on our website. You’re welcome to read through it. Or if you prefer to have it all in more details and one handy location like a book, ebook, video, audiobook, or even online course, I can also help you.
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of kettlebell training, it’s on to step number two of your awesome journey.
If you’ve seen kettlebell sport events, and you’re already drawn to one of the disciplines, then you want to start training specifically for that discipline. For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume you’re not yet hooked into one specific discipline, and that you want to get familiar with all to then decide on one. But as we know, once you get specific, you get better results.
- Jerk 10 minutes—with one or two arms
- Clean and jerk (long cycle) 10 minutes—with one or two arms
- Half snatch 10 minutes
- Snatch 10 minutes
- Biathlon is 10 minutes of the jerk (one or two arms) and 10 minutes snatch
- Half or full marathon (30 or 60 minutes) jerk, snatch or long cycle
- Kettlebell relay (3 minutes per athlete)
The fastest path to entering competitions
Start with progressions.
The first requirement is pressing overhead. Yes, push pressing is easier, but if you can’t press and hold a kettlebell overhead, you have no business push pressing it, hence, press first. The push press is the progression to the jerk because the first part of the jerk is a push press. Once you mastered the push press, it’s time to enter the jerk. Time to add a dip and come under the weight. Now that you know how to Jerk, you could enter your first novice comp, either a 10-minute jerk or half marathon. Yes, I said half marathon. 30 minutes is crazy, but in some cases, and for some people easier than 10 minutes with just one arm switch. Remember, with the marathon you can switch an infinite amount of times, in 10-minute events you can only switch once.
However, this is all great for getting started, but if you want to get serious, you really need to be able to do your 10 minutes. It’s not just a rite of passage, but it will also help you get more reps out. The less you have to switch, the more reps you can usually do. Switching from side to side takes time, it can mean one or two less rep each time you switch.
With all that said, we approached this with the objective to enter a comp as quick as possible. In reality, one should always learn to swing a kettlebell first. From the angle of “as quickly as possible”, we’ve now arrived at the stage of progressing to the swing. You have to learn to swing, as the clean is a swing movement, the snatch is a swing movement. Well, in reality, it’s not that black or white, but let’s keep it simple for now. One thing I can say with certainty, the Hardstyle swing is not the swing to start with, that one is specific to a certain goal and that goal is not kettlebell sport. I’m not saying it’s a bad swing, quite the contrary, but I am saying it’s not the one to focus on for our goals right now.
Should you hire a coach?
If you want to get serious about Kettlebell Sport you should hire a coach. A coach will know how to program specifically for you, work on your weaknesses, whether that is cardio, mental toughness, mobility, endurance, or strength.
Some great online coaches are, but not limited to:
- Valerie Pawlowski
- Brittany van Schravendijk
- Sergey Rudnev
- Hetmanenko Serhiy
- Igor Morozov
- The list goes on…
Upping your reps
If it’s time to up your reps, find the pace that you can maintain and work on increasing that pace. Or find the pace you want to reach, and increase that. To find the pace you want to reach, set a number, i.e. 120 reps in 10 mins. That’s 12 reps per minute, set that pace, maintain it for as long as possible, record where the pace veers off, from there you know your pace limit, then increase that over time through proper programming. Example: You’re able to maintain the pace for 3 minutes, 12 reps a minute for 3 minutes, and the fourth minute you get to 10 reps a minute. 3 minutes is the max you can maintain that pace. Your next step is reaching 4 minutes, 5, and so on.
If you need to increase strength, then work on fewer reps with heavier weight. But if you’re just getting started you should not have to worry about heavier weight yet. Work with a weight that works for you right now.
If you already have the technique down and need to work on your cardio, you can stick to the discipline at hand, i.e. use what you’re going to be competing in, or mix it up. It’s almost the same concept as for upping your reps, find the number of max reps you can do at a fast pace, i.e. get to that point of being out of breath and having to put the kettlebells down. Let’s say that’s 20. Deduct 10%, that’s 18 reps, program 6 to 10 rounds of 18 reps of work, 30 seconds rest for the first half, then 60 seconds rest for the second half. End with a max rep sprint. Increase the number of reps over time, pushing those boundaries each time.
You can also mix it up, I have several videos on our channel, cycling and long cycle (CLC), rowing and long cycle (RLC), and others like skipping, sprinting and long cycle, etc. Take note: These workouts were programmed to work on my own weaknesses, as with any workout/program, if you want the best for you, get a coach and your own workouts/programme.
How easy is it to obtain a rank?
It all depends, ranking varies from organization to organization. This means that the number of required reps might be different, the weight, the categories, etc. Check with the organization you’ll be working with. Also, check the requirements, some will need you to tell them that you’ll be aiming to get a rank, in which case they’ll have a special representative judging you. If you’re only just getting started, don’t worry too much about ranking. The ranks MS or CMS will be out of your league for a while, but perhaps you’re lucky enough to get a rank 3, 2, or even a 1. If not, set a goal.
Check out – Kettlebell Sport, and all the questions you’ve been afraid to ask: www.cavemantraining.com/caveman-kettlebells/kettlebell-sport-questions-youve-afraid-ask/
I hope that some of this basic info will help you get into the world of kettlebell sport, don’t forget to share and like. Get others interested.
I do have to say again, this is all generic information, there is not one program that works for everyone. If you just want to get started, this is great info, if you want to get serious, get a coach, or dig deeper and learn all the science behind kettlebell sport yourself. Learning takes time, time equals money, you decide to spend your money.
If you want to save yourself money, prepare yourself for a coach, get the kettlebell fundamentals down and give them something awesome to work with.
Feel free to ask questions in our kettlebell forum or on Facebook.
I leave you with what I believe is in the top 5 of the most important things to learn correctly with snatches, hand insertion:
Motivation to get you wanting it more: