Interview with Valerie Pawlowski

Kettlebell Sport Interview With World Champion Val-zilla


This is a genuine, feel it, get in the groove, focus and mind connected sport. Along with that it’s a relaxed strength which requires submission to the technique. This is NOT weight lifting as we generally know it, rather movement with power and yet a calm composure, intended to be endured for the full 10 minutes. I have come to realize that participation plus training for Girevoy Sport will allow any athlete from any sport to improve and excel at their particular sport but the training for any other sport could not prepare you for GS.
~ Valerie Pawlowski


Interview With 52 ½ Years Young
GS World Champion
Valerie Pawlowski


What age were you when you first started with kettlebell training? Do you remember something particular about that day?

I was 43 years of age, about 9 years ago now. Yes, most definitely I recall how it came about. It was while I was ordering some training equipment from a catalog and noticed the Kettlebells. A colleague had always warned me “don’t use kettlebells, you will rip your arm out of its socket“. Concerned and shocked at that possibility I had not used kettlebells until noticing them in this catalog along with the Providence kettlebell workout DVD from Anthony DiLuglio. I decided to order his video and kettlebells —LOL— a 4kg, 8kg along with Anthony’s Providence video which strongly attracted me. Funny, the weight sizes selected were so small, I had no idea about the appropriate weight and conversion of kg to pounds. I added the 12kg later, still too small but learned and progressed into more.

Interview with Valerie Pawlowski
World Champion Valerie Pawlowski with her coach Hetmanenko Serhiy


At what age did you start taking training seriously, or were you serious from the moment you stepped into the world of kettlebells?

As soon as I met Anthony at a seminar I knew I wanted to pursue the training and use this Kettlebell weight to train with. It damn near killed me the first time, huffing and puffing swinging and struggling to catch on. It wasn’t until after opening my Punch Kettlebell gym that we discovered there’s a sport to go with it. When the NYC WKC competition was publicized, there was a moment I thought “hey, let’s go see this” and before I could get those words out of my mouth, I said “let’s go DO this”. Things became serious at that point and a few of us decided to compete.


What records have you set? Do you intend to break any this year?

Interestingly there’s an entirely new pathway and precedent being set at every step of this tremendous journey due to my age. At 52 and 1/2 years of age I’m the first lifter in the veteran age category to go the course of achieving Master of Sport in 24kg Kettlebell Long Cycle and now closing in on master of sport in 24 kg Kettlebell Snatch very soon.

Recent accomplishments are 101 Kettlebell Snatch 24kg on May 2016 which adds me to the rank of becoming one of only 5 women in North America who have achieved 100 or more in 24kg Snatches. And most recently at our NJ Iron Bell Challenge I bettered that PR by 4 reps having achieved 105 in 24 kg Kettlebell Snatch on June 25, 2016.

On a side note, in Women’s Two Arm Long Cycle I set unofficial world record of 113 in (2) 12 kg Long Cycle.

Valerie Pawlowski world records


What one or two adjustments have you made to your kettlebell snatch over the years that drastically improved your technique/reps, if any?

Relax, eyes and chest up, leaning back, and gripping as little as possible for only most crucial moments necessary on drop and backswing return. It’s magnificent when it all comes together.


A GREAT day is just beginning…EVERYDAY


Future goals? Anything in specific you want to achieve and why?

Setting goals is of the utmost importance. My sights are set on conquering the biggest goal possible and that is to do what the best in the world has done, the ultimate measure of what’s achievable by any woman, Ksenia Dedukina has shown that a woman can achieve 202 Snatches with 24kg Kettlebell. I strive to make progress in pursuit of this goal, and therefore all the success along the way to achieving this would also be magnificent. The immediate goal or stepping stones along the pathway are USA Nationals qualifying in 24kg Snatch to represent Team USA and on to Kazakhstan for the 2016 Kettlebell Sport World Championship.


Do you currently follow a particular program?

Yes. Very specified training as instructed by my Coach Hetmanenko Serhiy, primarily sport specific in the proper formula to advance and progress without injury.


What workout on the Cavemantraining channel speaks to you and why?

Wow, I really love Hermosa. It contains an advanced progression with TGU and Windmill. These are both vital drills which are great for helping produce strength for a solid lockout while being beneficial in mobility with good flow throughout each of the movements.

Best achievement that you’re the proudest of?

Achieving Master of Sport 24 kg Kettlebell Long Cycle. The unwavering determination and commitment to accomplishing that goal came no matter what it would take, because I declared that I would do it and hold to my word with persistence.


Do you feel like the more years you put on, the better and stronger you get?

Most definitely, I agree with time being in your favour given the right formula. In Kettlebell sport results do not come overnight, therefore consistency through a commitment with undying determination is what gets you there. Finding enjoyment, accomplishment and significant results over time is what keeps you there. The complete strength at this age with greater movement ability never leaves me debilitated, sore or incapacitated, rather it continually makes me stronger and invigorated. I couldn’t bear to go back to things that had previously wrecked havoc on my body. A major contributing factor is in the nutrition system formula I’m following with Isagenix. It gives absolutely magnificent recovery and abundant energy that’s real. I truly keep young this way and I’m grateful to feel better than ever in my entire life at over 52 years!


Training with bare feet, your thoughts?

It’s ok with me mainly because you can be rooted and connected with proper levelled balance the way nature intended. I no longer wear any commercially marketed major brands of sneaker type footwear. I prefer to wear zero level footwear except my lifting shoes but I selected the lowest heel rise possible. So in essence it’s almost barefoot but my feet can stay warm.
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Do you ever do anything outside of GS with kettlebells, a turkish get-up, windmill or other kettlebell training exercise?

Prior to my increased intense desire to compete at the higher levels I was training in all of those moves as part of general workouts. For the past two and a half years I agreed to abide by my coaches wishes to do ONLY what he prescribes, which is a very good thing, because otherwise I would be wasting critical ability and over training. I only do GS 24 kg Snatch 3 days per week.


You have achieved a lot as a woman in GS, what would you say to motivate other women to join the sport?

I follow in the footsteps of the very first women who accomplish outstanding results. I highly admire and respect the pathway they paved and consider if they could, so can I. To motivate others I support everyone’s desire to begin this sport and recommend this as an exceptional training method which complements all other sports. We see all type sizes and ages of women coming to the platform and should anyone relate to my age or philosophy of “where there’s a will, there’s a way” all women can succeed in GS. I believe the former barriers some may have thought of which initially existed for women performing limited lifts in relation to the men’s are slowly becoming a thing of the past as we have women driving the cause by lifting double in long cycle. There’s progress and much more to come as evolution is inevitable, I believe we will see barriers continuously broken as more women embrace this sport.



Interviewee: Valerie Pawlowski

ACSM, ACE, AFAA, AOS, WKC, RKC Certified Trainer, IKSFA, AKA, Certified Kettlebell Coach

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