Ludmilla Nuzhnykh Interview

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Master of Sport, Ludmilla Nuzhnykh

Master of Sport, Ludmilla Nuzhnykh

Ludmilla Nuzhnykh, age 22, recently earned her Master of Sport rank at the European Championship in Saint Petersburg 2009, coached under S.V. Merkulin.  At only 56 kilograms, she is one of the lightest female kettlebell competitors in Russia today.  Check out what Ludmilla has to say about her training schedule, staying sport specific for the snatch, and discovering Kettlebell Sport from one of its early pioneers…

Maya: How were you first introduced to Kettlebell Sport?

Ludmilla: I started to practice Kettlebell Sport when I was 15 years old under the guidance of my school gym teacher, Yuri Gennad’evich Fironov, who was one of the first people to cultivate Kettlebell Sport in the region [Belgorodskaya region]. I crossed the threshold of the sports hall [gym] without fear and with the approval of my parents. I continued practicing the sport and I didn’t have to wait long for results. In 2003 I completed the standard for Candidate for Master of Sport, and in the same year I debuted in adult competition at the Cup of Russia in the city of Tuapse, in Krasnodar.

"To practice Kettlebell Sport you don't need a lot: a weight, a 4x4 meter square, and of course... desire." -Ludmilla

Maya: List some of your personal achievements.

Ludmilla: 227 reps in the snatch with a 16kg kettlebell and 115 reps in the snatch with a 24kg kettlebell.

Maya: Tell us about some of the titles you’ve won in competition.

Ludmilla: Two-time Champion of Russia (2005 and 2008), winner of the Championship of Russia in 2009, two-time World Champion (2005 and 2008), winner of the World Championship in 2009, winner of the European Cup in 2006, winner of the Championship of Europe 2007 and 2009, Champion of Europe in 2008

Maya: How do you structure your training schedule?

Ludmilla: My kettlebell training happens three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for approximately two and a half hours. I run on Tuesday and Thursday; on Saturday I go to the banya [Russian bathhouse], and on Sunday I have a day off.

Maya: Do you train with other female kettlebell lifters?

Ludmilla: In my city and in my region there are other girls who practice kettlebell lifting under the guidance of different trainers and using different programs.  In our group, I’m still the only girl.

When not training, "I read, listen to music, and hang out with friends." -Ludmilla

When not training, "I read, listen to music, and hang out with friends." -Ludmilla

Maya: What do you think of female competitors performing jerks and participating in the Biathlon?

Ludmilla: For me, it’s wild!  Here girls only do the snatch. With the snatch, I still have more to figure out. :)  There is still so much more for me to examine and learn about the snatch without having the other lifts to worry about.

Maya: Do you perform jerks in preparation for the snatch?

Ludmilla: No, in order to improve the snatch, you need to snatch more.  My coach [S.V. Merkulin] doesn’t include that exercise [jerk] in my training.

Maya: Do you go to school and/or are you working?

Ludmilla: This year I entered a graduate program at Belgorodskiy State Technological University (named after V.G. Shukhova). I work in my specialty as an engineer-designer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Maya: What do you enjoy outside of training and competing?

Ludmilla: I read, listen to music, and hang out with friends.

Ludmilla's Championship Medals

Ludmilla's Championship Medals

Maya: What advice do you have for someone thinking about competing in Kettlebell Sport for the first time?

Ludmilla: To practice kettlebell sport you don’t need a lot: a weight, a 4×4 meter square, and of course… desire. From the very beginning, you need to pay attention to technique and work a lot on this, but you also should never forget general physical and strength training.  I wish you luck, health and great personal victories!

Maya: What are some of your competition goals for 2010?

Ludmilla: I hope to complete the standard for MSWC (Master of Sport World Class) in Kettlebell Sport.


  1. Gena True

    July 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I’m fairly new to the competitive side of the kettlebell sport; I’m only in my first full week of training for my very first competition. My hands are really taking a beating and I was wondering what suggestions you might have to alleviate the pain while training.

  2. ICKB Girls

    July 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Gena,

    The hand pains are most likely due to gripping the handle too hard. Proper gripping technique is critical to avoiding pains. Here are two tutorials that might help: