How are kettlebell competitions judged? 

Every lifter has a judge who sits in front of them for the duration of their competition set and counts their repetitions, monitors their technique, and gives “no counts” if any technical fouls occur (click here for specific details on rules and regulations, which are fairly uniform across organizations).

Judging at a competition is based on whether the athlete achieves “fixation” in the overhead position, meaning both the bell and the lifter freeze for a moment in time with all the joints locked out and in proper alignment. Additionally, the lifter must demonstrate knee lockout when the bells are in the rack position. A lifter may receive a “no count” if fixation or rack lockout are not achieved, or if any other technical fouls occur. Each lift has specific criteria for technique that must be met, and particular mistakes that must be avoided or else a no count will be awarded. The lifter will be told to stop their set after a certain number of no counts (typically five). 

To recap, the following must be completed for each repetition to achieve fixation:  

  •   Entire body and kettlebell visibly stop moving in the overhead position.
  •   Knees and elbows are locked out.
  •   Knees are straight in the rack position.
  •   Joints are stacked to the best of the athlete’s mobility (straight line from wrist to elbow to shoulder to hip to heel).

How are events scored?

In Long Cycle, Jerk, and Snatch, the person with the highest number of repetitions wins.

In Biathlon, the person with the highest combined score will win (Jerk = 1 point, Snatch = 0.5 point; the highest combined score wins).

In the event of a tie, bodyweight will determine the winner (the lighter athlete wins).

Most events will award first, second, and third place within each respective event AND weight class. Since there are typically 8 weight classes for men and 7 weight classes for women, plus 3-4 events offered, the number of medals can become quite extensive. Therefore some events utilize a coefficient style of scoring which accounts for the different kettlebell weights and weight classes. Coefficient scoring means there is only one winner for each event. The decision to use a coefficient score is usually up to the discretion of the event organizer.