Kettlebell Sport, also known as Girevoy Sport, is an endurance style of lifting kettlebells that is used in competition. The objective of a kettlebell competition is to complete as many repetitions as possible in 10 minutes, either with one switch (if you are using one kettlebell), or without setting the kettlebells down (if you are using two kettlebells).
The events you can compete in vary from competition to competition, but traditionally there are three main events:
1. Long Cycle: 10 minutes of Clean & Jerk with two kettlebells.
2. Biathlon: 10 minutes of Jerk with two kettlebells, followed by 10 minutes of Snatch with one kettlebell.
3. Snatch: 10 minutes of Snatch with one kettlebell.
Some competitions offer variations of the above lifts, including Long Cycle with one kettlebell (One Arm Long Cycle or OALC), Snatch with two kettlebells, Jerk with one or two kettlebells, 5 minute events, or events that allow multiple hand switches or setdowns.
How do you win?
At a competition, you will compete against athletes in your body weight class that are lifting the same event AND kettlebell weight as you are. Winning requires completing the highest number of repetitions in 10 minutes.
What are the governing organizations and how does one find a competition?
Kettlebell is a growing sport still finding its way, and as such there are numerous organizations that host competitions. Unfortunately, many of them don’t update their websites frequently or are hard to find via Google. Facebook is the best resource for finding competitions in your area.
Here are a few of the organizations out there:
World Association of Kettlebell Sport Clubs (WAKSC)
Orange Kettlebell Club (OKC)
American Kettlebell Alliance (AKA)
Canadian Kettlebell Alliance (CKA)
International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF)
International Kettlebell Lifting Federation (IKLF)
International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL)
International Gira Sport Federation (IGSF)
Girevoy Sport Union (GSU)
What are the ranking tables and how does one achieve a rank?
All the governing kettlebell organizations have ranking tables, where you can earn a rank based on the kettlebell weight and number of repetitions you do at a competition. The ranks you can earn from lowest to highest are: Rank 3, Rank 2, Rank 1, Candidate for Master of Sport (CMS), Master of Sport (MS), and Master of Sport International Class (MSIC). While you can achieve Ranks 3, 2, 1, and CMS at almost any competition, there may be guidelines on what competitions you can earn a MS or MSIC ranking (i.e. MSIC must be achieved at an international competition such as a World Championship). See the governing organization websites above for their ranking tables and details on earning rank.
Are there different categories at competitions based on age?
Many competitions have Youth, Junior and Veteran age divisions. Youth is athletes up to age 16, Junior is athletes up to age 22, and Veteran is athletes over 40 years of age. Age divisions are always used at World Championship events, but may or may not be in place at smaller competitions.