A Brief Explanation of the Sport

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First used to train Olympians and Eastern European strongmen, kettlebells (weighted balls with handles) can be traced as far back as the 1800s.  Kettlebell lifting methods were designed to increase strength, stamina, and coordination by challenging our muscular, cardiovascular and central nervous systems simultaneously.

They have proven throughout history to be a powerful training tool involving multi-joint movements requiring full body integration.  This specialized form of weightlifting expands our strength-endurance capacity under a submaximal load over time and requires athletes to work under tremendous stress while remaining calm in order to focus on technical precision and energy conservation.  Spectators marvel at the sense of relaxation elite kettlebell lifters display while accomplishing seemingly supernatural feats of strength.

Kettlebell sport (or Girevoy Sport as it is called in Eastern Europe) is an organized weightlifting contest that emerged in the USSR out of the original methodologies pioneered by elite Russian kettlebell lifters from the military.  In international IUKL competitions (across all age groups) today, men use kettlebells weighing between 16kg – 32kgs for the Biathlon and Long Cycle Clean & Jerk while women use a single kettlebell weighing between 8 – 24 kgs. Winners are determined by the highest number of repetitions executed and fixated overhead without setting the kettlebell(s) down within ten minutes.  A single hand-switch is permitted for snatch and one-arm long cycle events.


According to the rules and regulations of the American Kettlebell Alliance / IUKL

Kettlebell Sport Divisions – Men:

  • Biathlon: double kettlebell jerk & single-arm snatch
  • Long Cycle: double kettlebell clean & jerk
  • Snatch Only

Kettlebell Sport Divisions -Women:

  • Biathlon: one-arm jerk & snatch
  • Long Cycle: one-arm clean & jerk
  • Snatch Only