Follow by Email

Friday, December 20, 2013

IKSFA Holiday Open 2013: gifts and surprises

Last weekend was the first Girevoy Sport event ever hosted at QCrossfit in Randolph, NJ. Gym owner and organizer Eric Reyelt did the amazing by getting all of us out-of-town people in to the event and also preparing his own team, QKB Club. Co-hosted and officiated by IKSFA, this event was attended by lifters from several U.S. locations and clubs, a team from Kazakhstan, and World Champion Kettlebell Juggler, Coach Oksana Nikifor. The greatest gift for me was the chance to meet with my coach, Sergey Rudnev, for the first time in a year!
The whole gang after awards.
This event was an end-of-year gimme to some of us striving for specific ranks. Coach Nikifor dazzled us with an incredible juggling routine at the start of the event. Though there were a few surprises, (the most obvious being random glitches in the electronic timer technology, and a few clerical errors that left the correct medal recipients unrecognized at the awards ceremony) participating lifters showed good sportsmanship and support for each other throughout.

Many personal bests were achieved, including
Tatyana Potemkina of Team Kazakhstan (72kg weight class)
 World Record in Women's 24kg Snatch (170 reps)

Jeff Martone of Team IKSFA USA (100kg weight class)
North American Record in Men's 24kg Snatch (234 reps)

The Biathlon turn out was down-played due to a whole team withdrawal at the last-minute. Apparently they did not want to risk life and limb in the New Jersey snowstorm. Two lifters, one male and one female, did perform the double event and gave us a great demonstration of the mental fortitude required of GS Biathletes. Sergey Karpenko of Team Kazakhstan 32kg Biathlon (score of 179.5: Jerk 90 + Snatch 179), and Julia Lui, under coach Lorna Kleidman 16kg Biathlon (score of 172: Jerk 145 + Snatch 199).

These two shared the first and last flights with an intrepid first time lifter and the only competitor with two single events, Aaron Lassiter of Team OKC: 16kg Men’s Long Cycle (93 reps); 16kg Snatch Only (213 reps). These three kicked off the event in the first flight and finished it 3 hours later.

Long Cycle dominated the day with 35 participants.
A majority of the Men’s division lifted 16kg LC in a demonstration of the fun and easy nature of this event.  My teammate Slava Barsuk, under Coach Denis Vasilev, took the opportunity to practice the faster pacing required for greater achievements planned for early next year, lifting Men's 16kg LC x 97. Heavier loads were represented, and top numbers turned in by Mike Sanders of Team NJ KC with 20kg LC (81 reps), and Juan Pellot of Team KB Athletics with 24kg LC (69 reps).
With Sergey Rudnev seconds after the set.

Among the women we saw a range of weight loads from 8 – 20kg, again, representing amateur athletes starting into the sport, logging personal records with non-professional weight loads, or (like myself) making use of the soon-to-expire IKSFA rank table. I took this last opportunity to achieve MS with 20kg LC (123 reps).  My student, avid One-Hour Long Cycler Kimberly Hodes took the moment to earn her Rank 1 with 12kg LC (120). Meredith Riccardi, under the guidance of Coach Mike, put up the highest amateur (16kg) Women's LC numbers with 117 reps.

Kudos to my Colorado team mate Alison Zemanek, under Coach Slava Barsuk, on her first major event! She achieved Rank 1 her first time out with 16kg LC (88 reps).

There were 11 Snatch Only lifters and every one of them seemed to have something to get done. 
The lowest rep count of this group in both divisions earned the lifter MS rank. Marty Farrell of Team IKSFA USA put up 32kg x 109 reps. The highest rep count for Men’s Snatch Only is the above mentioned by Jeff Martone, 234 reps. Coach Sergey Rudnev of Team IKSFA Russia, played into the new international ranking table with a 28kg set yielding 167 reps.
The Women’s division kept up the pace, the highest coming from Lorna Kleidman of Team IKSFA USA, lifting 16kg x 232. Her student, Avery Wittkamp snatched 20kg for 119 reps and a rank of CMS. Amazingly, this respectable effort was the lowest Snatch Only rep count of the Women’s division. 

Starting in 2014 all AKA/IUKL affiliate organizations will be using the new table, which can be found here.

Results of this even are available on the QCrossfit website: click the "Protokol" link

From Colorado, Kimberly, Alison, Slava and me.
Placement awards for the Holiday Open were given based on co-efficient.* This seemed to have been a surprise to many participants, who anticipated the long ceremony of first, second and third place for each weight class/weight load based on rep count for each event. Last weekend's IKSFA event concluded with a fairly brief awards ceremony. Trophies were given for Men and Women for best in all events: Biathlon; Professional and Amateur Long Cycle; Professional and Amateur Snatch Only; medals given for first, second and third co-efficient factor in all events; Best Absolute Professional and Amateur Male and Female lifter (I believe this is based on rep count regardless of co-efficient); and medals given for ranks CMS, MS and MSIC.

*The co-efficient factor is the result of the entire weight load times the number of reps divided by the lifter’s body weight. With this method of scoring a lifter using less kettlebell weight may prevail over one with a heavier load.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Guest writer explains the One Hour Long Cycle fundraiser event

This post was written by a Girevoy Sport athlete with a personal investment in this year's One Hour Long Cycle event's recipient, The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Please click the links and donate what you can. You may give any amount, and may choose to be anonymous if you'd like.

"Hi everyone-

Many of you know that I took up kettlebell sport this year and competed in several competitions.  It’s been a lot of fun and a lot hard work, and I’ve enjoyed the challenges of training.  It has also been fun winning medals and achieving my ranking goals, but so far, it’s been all about me.
This past August, I competed in an event in Berkeley, California, and had the honor to meet, compete and train with the founders and members of the Orange Kettlebell Club (OKC).  These folks are a hard-working bunch who also know how to have a lot of fun.  During my visit with them, I learned about an annual event they do, the One Hour Long Cycle (  As the name suggests, it’s a one-hour event in which the participants pick up a single kettlebell and perform continuous repetitions of the kettlebell clean and jerk without putting the kettlebell down for the entirety of the hour.  The main location is in Costa Mesa, California, and the event will commence at 11:00 a.m. PDT on Saturday, October 19th.  There will be satellite locations all over the country and all over the globe, with groups in Japan, Singapore, Canada, Russia and others.  We will all be lifting at the exact same hour. 

The One Hour Long Cycle is not a competition.  It’s a fundraising event (you knew this part was coming, didn’t you?).  This event began in 2010, and every year, the OKC selects a recipient charity for funds raised as part of this event.  Please take a minute and read this page:  to learn about what we are lifting for this year, The V Foundation for Cancer Research ( 

So now it gets personal … when I decided to participate in this event, I wanted to set a goal number of repetitions that I’d like to achieve during that hour on October 19th.  I thought about how cancer has touched my life.  My father, unfortunately, lost his battle.  I’d like to think that I’ve won mine, but I remain vigilant in the hopes that if it does return, we can catch it early and deal with it.  This summer, a very dear friend’s eldest daughter was diagnosed with Lymphoma.   At the age of 26, she has suddenly found herself in the deep end of the pool, undergoing chemo and facing a tough battle.  In her honor, my goal number is her birthday, June 12th, so I am shooting for 612 lifts during that hour.

My coach put this event in perspective beautifully:

We are giving only an hour of our lives, albeit an hour that we may have prepared for up to a month to endure, as a gesture of support for people who are living full-time in difficulty.

We’ve all been touched in one way or another. We’ve lost or fought or supported someone.   I would like to humbly ask that if you were thinking about making any charitable donations to a cancer-related organization this year, think about this one.   Consider just a small donation -- $5 or $10.  It all adds up and it all helps.  None of the funds raised are going to support the event – all of it is going directly to The V Foundation.

Thank you for reading this!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Girevoy Sport Information for Spectators!

As our sport grows in popularity more spectators want to know what competitive kettlebell lifting  means. As with any sport, it has taken a few decades to fine-tune the lift requirements and rules, and put a 10-minute time limit on a competitor's set. This post is dedicated to the friends, family and students of Girevoy Sport lifters. Here is some basic information to help you understand what is going on.

Girevoy Sport Terminology:

  • GS Events: Long Cycle, Biathlon, Jerk Only and Snatch Only.
  • Set: The lifter's set is the number of repetitions counted and the portion of the 10-minute time limit utilized.
  • Set Termination: A lifter may terminate his/her set by dropping or putting down the weight before 10-minutes have elapsed. In most cases all completed repetitions count toward the score for a lifter-terminated set. A judge may terminate a set if the lifter's safety becomes a concern, if the lifter makes too many errors or outright brakes the rules. Depending on the reason for a judge-terminated set, the completed repetitions may count toward a lifter's score in the competition. A time-terminated set is preferred, meaning the lifter utilized the entire 10 minutes and all counted repetitions comprise the lifter's score.
A flight of lifters, coaches seated behind the platforms.
  • Hand-switch: In any event with one kettlebell, one hand switch is allowed. This means the lifter switches the kettlebell from the start side to the other side. The hand-switch may occur at any point in the 10-minutes at the lifter's discretion.
  • Flight: A group of lifters who will all begin their 10-minute lifting duration at the same time. Flights are usually numbered, and the event announcer calls the lifters to their flight by that number. A competition may have as many as 30 or as few as 5 flights.
  • Platform: The specific area designated for a lifter to perform a set during a competition. In many cases this is a 4x4 foot area. It may be a portable stage-like piece of floor or a space marked off in tape on a gym floor. In any case, in a competition the platforms are aligned in such a way that the lifters are all facing the same direction, as pictured above.
  • Divisions: This is a general grouping of competitors by gender and age. The most common divisions in local and regional competitions are Mens Open, Womens Open, Youth/Boy, Youth/Girls, Men Masters/Veterans, and Womens Masters/Veterans. In World Championship qualifier competitions there may be a further division of Professional, Amateur or Beginner. 
  • Weight Categories: Also called weight classes, this refers to the lifter's body weight. In all divisions each competitor falls into one of several 5 to 10kg weight categories. Each hosting organization has it's own body weight categories. A lifter's weight category is determined before each competition at the weigh-in.
  • Kettlebell Load: The kettlebell weight is in kilograms. Depending on the competition, loads may range from 8 to 40 kg. At current qualifier competitions the kettlebell load for Professional Men is 32kg, for Amateur Men is 24kg, and Beginner and Veteran Men lift 16kg. For Women, the Professional load is 24kg, Amateur load is 16kg, and Beginner and Veteran Women lift 12kg. 
  • Score: In general, each lift is one point. For the Biathlon, the score is determined in a number of different ways. Each hosting organization uses a designated set of regulations made publicly known with the announcement of a competition.
  • Prizes: This varies with each competition and is made publicly known with the announcement of a competition. Prizes range from bragging rights to medals, trophies, rank certificates, qualification to higher level competition, and cash prizes. There may be additional recognition for Best Lifter, Absolute Winner or Co-efficient.
The traditional weight loads: 16kg (yellow), 24kg (green) and 32kg (red).
The Lifts:
The components of GS lifts resemble and are named after Olympic Weightlifting moves.
  • Long Cycle: This is a GS event known as Clean and Jerk (C&J) in Olympic lifting. Due to the number of lifts involved in a GS set we refer to it as the Long Cycle. The components of this lift are Clean, Rack and Jerk.
    A swing between LC Cleans.
  • Clean: The lifter moves the weight from the floor to shoulder/chest height. In GS, there is one Clean from the floor at the beginning of a competitor's set. Once the weights have left the floor for the first Clean, the kettlebell/s must stay in the lifter's hands. For all subsequent Cleans the lifter drops the load into a swing and then brings it back to the Rack position.
  • Rack: this is the shoulder/chest position mentioned above. This position is a required stopping point for the LC/C&J, but looks very different for each lifting sport. GS lifters bury their elbows deep in a lower body resting point.
    Olympic weightlifting Rack position.
    If an Olympic lifter attempted this, he/she would drop the load or cause back damage. GS lifters develop strength and flexibility to launch the weight from Rack to overhead and then return to the Rack. Olympic lifters only return the bar from overhead to the Rack position in practice sessions. In a competition the load is too massive to safely return a loaded barbell to the Rack.
Arm lockout in Olympic Jerk.
    GS Rack position.
  • Jerk: This is an element of both GS and Olympic lifting, and also a stand alone event in GS. The Jerk starts in the Rack position. To practice this, Olympic lifters either Clean the bar from the floor or begin with a loaded bar sitting on Jerk Boxes. GS lifters Clean the weights from the floor once at the beginning of a set. Otherwise the Jerk for both sports is identical in required elements. The lifter must launch the weight into a straight-arm overhead position and then straighten his/her legs to complete a Jerk. The arms must be straightened before the legs straighten for the repetition to count. This is a form point known as "lockout." For the repetition to count the lifter must hold a stable lockout position under the weight long enough for the load to stop moving. This is referred to as "fixation" of the weight. In both Olympic and GS lifting, a lifter may achieve a good lockout, but if he/she does not establish fixation after a Jerk attempt, the repetition will not count.
    Jerk fixation.
Swing between Snatch reps.
  • Snatch: This is a lift performed in both sports, and until recently the only women's event in GS. As with the LC/C&J the Snatch begins with the weight on the floor. The weight is moved continuously from this low position to overhead lockout and fixation bypassing the Rack. This lift appears very different between the two sports. Olympic lifters use two hands on the bar and drop the bar from overhead once the repetition is judged complete. GS lifters use one kettlebell for this event, and after the first repetition the kettlebell does not touch the ground until the lifter's set is complete. It is a cyclic exercise with no pauses aside from the required overhead fixation. The lifter and kettlebell are in perpetual motion with one hand-switch for the duration of a set.
  • Biathlon:  For this GS event the athlete performs one Jerk set and one Snatch set with the same kettlebell load.  Currently most local, regional and some qualifier events invite both men and women to participate with a Biathlon. Men use two kettlebells of the same weight for the Jerk set and one kettlebell for the Snatch. (ie. Mens 32kg Biathlon, the Jerk set, is shown above right, Snatch set shown lower left.) Women use one kettlebell of the same weight for both sets, shown lower right. For men and women, there is equal time to rest between the Jerk and Snatch sets for all Biathlon competitors. This amount of time varies with each competition.
The Competition:
24kg Biathlon, Jerk set.
32kg Biathlon, Snatch set.
  • In current GS competitions Men and Women compete in all events. Men lift two kettlebells for Long Cycle and Jerk, and one kettlebell for the Snatch. In traditional competitions Women lift one kettlebell in all events, though recently women are invited to compete in a 5-minute Double Jerk event.
  • Each competitor only competes directly against other lifters in the same division and weight category who are performing the same lift with the same kettlebell load. This also applies to events specific to certain competitions, such as the 5-minute Double Jerk, 5-minute Snatch and Chair Press.
  • Though GS is mainly an individual sport, the traditional team event is a Long Cycle Relay. This event is not available at every competition in the U.S. but is part of Russian Girevoy Sport Championships.

I hope this post gives new meaning to Kettlebell Sport for the friends and family of GS lifters. Thanks to all who support this intense strength endurance sport, and best wishes to beginners who are training for their first competitions!

**Photographic acknowledgement: most of these pictures came from my own camera. The pictures of Sergei Merkulin came from Nazo Okc's pictures of my LC flight in 2012. The images of Olympic weightlifters and Aleksander Khvostov were pilfered from internet and facebook posts.**

Sunday, September 15, 2013

In case you didn't hear about the floods in Colorado:

Hello Strong People,

It occurred to me that people outside Boulder, CO, need to read this. It started raining early on Tuesday last week. In a tropical environment it might be more or less normal to get almost 12 inches of rain all in one go, but in the mountains we now know this as an earth-changing flash flood.
Flood waters eroded roadways, stranding individuals and communities above flooded areas with internet or cell phone access being the only connection people had to a possible rescue.  To see the extensive public updates provided to keep everyone aware of the situation, see the link below.

Boulder Emergency Status updates

As with any natural disaster, there are many people who were unprepared for both the event, the consequences to infrastructure, and the aftermath. It has been stated repeatedly in the media reports, though the rain has passed out of the Boulder County area, the flood is still a major presence for hundreds of families. Those of us local to the affected areas are doing everything possible to support displaced communities, but as you can imagine there are weeks of unsettlement to come. I want to pass the opportunity on to everyone who reads this blog to contribute if it is in you to do so.

Please do what you can, either donate to one of the support organizations at the above link, pray, stay tuned and pass along this post to your friends. The rain has moved to other areas of Colorado. It has been said over again, at the end of the day all we really have is each other.

With great gratitude for the Kettlebell Sport community, and for those who allow this to open you to how completely connected we all are.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bay Area Open/OKC Instructors Cert.: Kettlebell Lifting with a Smile

Saturday, August 17th in Berkeley, CA. The event took place in a slice of John McNeil's Studio. I wish I'd thought to take "before and after" readings on the heat and vibrational frequency. My guess is the air above the platforms gained 15 degrees, and the vibration went from "friendly and helpful" to "best ever, bottle some of this for a rainy day."

GS lifters from US and Canada had their Kettle Game on that morning and into the early evening. Guests looked on in awe, who could blame them?

Represented were Strong Ladies of Canadia (if these are your women, I'd like to meet your men, eh?), Women of Underground Athlete from D.C. and Virginia (again, the guys?), from Dallas, TX, Full Throttle sent a co-ed team, Team Colorado (myself and three others!), KBNic's party from Grit City, Tacoma, WA, brought formidable force, gireviks from all around California representing Orange Kettlebell Club and Juno Fitness flocked in, and from KETAcademy (Kettlebell Endurance Training), Head Judge, Coach and World Class lifter Denis Vesilev.

As someone who first noticed the OKC team in 2011, the small herd of lifters in the trademark "snatchman" t-shirt revolving around a Great Big Guy and tiny Japanese photographer lady, I've come to deeply admire this incredible team. At the 1st Annual Bay Area Competition I learned that the leadership of this group includes epitome of "gentle giant," CEO John Wild Buckley, impeccably graceful Head Coach Nazo, impressionist/coach/co-founder Jason Dolby, and owner/coach/asskicker at Juno Fitness, Juliet Lederle. For this second annual meet the four of them took the event by the horns, knowing there would be at least twice (make that three-times) the turn out as last year. Maybe it's the unconditional love and genuine friendship constantly offered, maybe it's something in the Berkeley water, but every single person in an OKC or Juno t-shirt took the needs and comfort of visiting lifters and guests as his/her personal responsibility.

At this event OKC rolled-out the new KETAcademy Universal International Ranking Tables. Head Judge Denis Vesilev verified the specific requirements of a "good" lift vs. "no count" or "warning" calls at the pre-flight judges meeting, demonstrated how to use the snazzy electronic timer/rep counters, and kept a close watch on all the flights up until his own lifting events.

Timer/rep counters as seen from three of four platforms.
Considering this was a small regional meet, the event equipment and judging standard easily exceeded my experience of National level competitions minus the tension and seriousness. Almost everyone had a competitor in his/her weight class, but in the spirit of sporting fun people outright admired each others great lifting and shear grit. Though I was the only representative of IKSFA, many lifters at last Saturday's event have at some point learned directly from IKSFA President, Coach Sergey Rudnev, and complimented his influence on my technique.

It was mentioned at the awards ceremony that Personal Records were set by the dozens, and first-time event attempts were a main theme of the day, including myself and all my Colorado GS Team mates! One Master of Sport was awarded (earned by Juliet Lederle), a handful of CMS,  and well-earned Ranks 1, 2 and 3 given to individual 10-Minute sets and Biathlon lifters. 5-Minute events with multiple hand switches were run for PRs.
(As a side note, the KETAcademy ranking tables award up to Master of Sport International Class for Men and Women 5-Minute events (with one hand switch where applicable), 30- and 60-Minute Marathons, and 5 - and 7-person Team Relays.)

Denis demonstrates the under squat.
Which leads me to the OKC Instructor Certification event hosted at Juno Fitness the two days following. As with any certification course, you just had to be there. Learning how to teach foundational technique is as much of an obsession as achieving personal goals for many of us. Guest Instructor Denis added his years of experience to the OKC teachers enthusiasm making this a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Once we had all completed the written exam, the highlight for most participants at last weekend's event was the practical test. The official requirement is for each candidate to perform a Rank 3 set with either LongCycle or Snatch. Because many of us had achieved Rank 3 or above at the competition, and had the skin trauma to show for it, John and Jason took a great idea to the platform and conducted Men and Women 7-person Jerk Relays for a combined score of Rank 3. It was the first time most of us had done this event and took a moment to explain.

In a relay all the team members use the same kettlebell(s) for the duration. From lightest to heaviest bodyweight class, each team member has 3 minutes to perform as many correct repetitions as possible for the team. The total time for this event is 21 minutes. For the Team Jerk Relay last weekend the Men lifted two 16kg kettlebells for a total of 341 reps and the Women used one 12kg kettlebell for 501 reps!

As you can see by the scores, the most recent OKC Instructor class blew the Rank 3 practical test out of the water. By the table, Men's requirement is 300, Women's requirement is 370.
At the end of the seminar there was not a single person left un-inspired. Yes, we were all completely toasted after the competition, but whether by new technique, a feeling of new friendship and support, or a sense of the bigger picture we all represent, everyone had an enriching experience at the 2nd Annual Bay Area Kettlebell Competition and OKC Instructors Certification course last weekend.


*Thanks again to Tricia Dong for the top three photos.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GS Practice with Oboe

It's getting to be time, yep, time to go compete again. I know this because it's Stage 4, the only part of my training where I show up at the gym on Sunday. I happens once in an entire training cycle, and last Sunday was that day.

Perhaps because I was there earlier than usual, because I have sworn off "Saturday Night" until after the meet, I was the only person in the gym. As is my habit, after joint mobility and basic core warm-up I take my kettlebell and the entire chalk bin outside to prepare the handle and lo, an oboe player in a nearby apartment is doing the musician's parallel of my warm-up routine, scales. Somehow there was a feeling of shared artistry in this moment.

Those who appreciate the benefits of chalk sympathize with the following sequence:

I put a base layer on the "Work Set" bell, then go inside to begin the progressive warm-up with weights. Starting with a drop weight, basic movements in sets of 5 each side.
Put down, shoulder mobility, pick up and complete 5 reps each side with focus on recent technique corrections.
Next weight, 2kg up. This time including basic movements with the full lift, 5 rep sets on each side, special attention to the most recent corrections. Put down.

Go look at the "Work Set" bell. It's still there with a base coat of chalk. As I apply myself to covering the holes in this first coat, I notice Oboe Player has gotten into a different set of scales. Some of it has a resemblance to familiar classical music, but just as I start to pick out the tune the scale resumes.

With the second layer of chalk secured, I go back in to continue my weighted warm-up.
More shoulder mobility before hefting the next weight up. This time straight to the lift, suddenly aware that this kettlebell is not chalked. I space out one rep thinking about potential hand damage, so add one to be certain I'm still able to incorporate that new material. Second side, put down.
Then it gets serious. I happen to have doubles of each weight, so am now onto warming-up with the Work Set weight, the one that is not under a protective coat of magnesium.

My general rule: chalk the bell if doing more than 5 reps each side, chalk the hands if less.

So off to the chalk bin.

Outside, Oboe Player has gotten the reed warm and is doing an improvisational set of scales which allows for pitch errors. When a note is played off, the scale shifts to that different key for a few notes, then returns to the original scale. I've never heard a musician do this before, but haven't spent any time in a symphony. It's an incredible feat of training and intuition happening in my ears, my "practice partner" is doing exactly what I'm doing, using the warm-up as a practice. Just to hear the next measure I finish chalking my handle, thus re-coating my hands for the final warm-up set.

Me, the bell, the chalk bin, my sand paper and shop towel all come in this time.
A short set of arm circles, then grab the extra bell. After rep 3 I feel the new technique feature doing it's work: the drop down results in a straight line from the top of my shoulder through the center of the kettlebell. The last two reps confirm that I have enough energy to complete the set given with this weight. Switch hands and repeat.

At this point I might do something like take a picture of the chalked kettlebell with my phone to procrastinate. But today I am the only person in the gym, have the best spot in the house, no music blaring at me and an oboe accompaniment. The GymBoss starts and paces me for the Work Set. I can maintain the minimum rep per minute count on side 1, no flesh tear, change hands. It works just as well on side 2, new technique keeps me in the set, finally GymBoss tells me "Put Down!" and I'm sweating like I just finished a Bikram Yoga class.

There is a short rest between this and the assist set for the training session, so I take my kettlebell outside to remove the chalk and perhaps hear the piece my practice partner is working on. But alas, apparently the piece was the same length as my set, there is no more music outside! Well, no excuse to extend the rest segment, either. Like a Tibetan sand painting, it takes 5 seconds to undo what took 25 minutes to accomplish on the handle of my working weight. Back to work, the 10-minute glove set.

A different day -  the chalk that remained just had to be documented!
Okay, it's not such a glamorous sport. We spend more time preparing for the Big Event than actually competing. But just as my musician partner demonstrated, it's the time given to refining the art that makes a performance so amazing.

Now that I know the weight I plan to compete with will not take all the flesh off my palm in the first three minutes (God willing!), the last training sessions of this cycle don't feel so ominous. I'm looking forward to the Second Annual Bay Area Kettlebell Competition!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 5, 2013

For my friends on the Mat and Platform this weekend:

"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead....."
Morihei Ueshiba (O Sensei), founder of Aikido*

Competitions, tests, challenges, what are they really?
As a fellow-student and friend of several people who are competing or being tested this weekend, I offer this perspective in the hope of supporting your progress.

Having been a martial artist for only a short time, and kettlebell lifter even shorter, I have relied on wisdom of great teachers such as O Sensei and Gandhi to help me understand how I feel during tests and moments of maximum effort.

Whether you succeed or fail, let the test develop your character.

First, you may be asking "What does Gandhi have to do with this?"
Have you ever been in the middle of a test and realized that you are seeing your own commitment or lack of commitment to the subject through the examination? This, I think, is the true usefullness of tests, to show us what we have learned or not even noticed about our field of study.
M.K. Gandhi submitted a list called "Seven Deadly Social Sins" in which he covers all the basis of conscious social awareness (easy to find on Google). The "sin" that answered my heart about being humiliated by a test was "Knowledge without Character."

The test allowed me to acknowledge my human-ness, if you will. The most amazing athletes in history have walked away from botched attempts expressing awareness that they hadn't done the homework. While many of those who succeeded had the character to acknowledge both commitment to practice and Grace as factors in the outcome.

Whether you have studied all the material or not, perform with confidence.

Second, in the midst of a competition it really becomes obvious when I have stepped out of my depth of experience. Many Girevoy Sport coaches will train athletes to physically peak a growth phase at the competitive event, meaning it's very likely that the lifter will step out on a limb and do something completely new on that day. The coach or teacher knows this will happen and believes his or her student has deep enough training to cope with the unknown.

From the athlete's perspective if I am truly where I need to be I will re-set my center in mid-flow. If I am in over my head I will maintain on the foundation that I have already built. Something I have witnessed at aikido tests: the martial artist is ready to advance in rank when he/she can notice new levels of pressure and make adjustments during the moment of challenge.

Whether it's a new test or a re-test, you are not the same person this time.

Last thing, because I know you all have better things to do than read this blog. I wish for you all to have this moment before beginning your test. Remember a time when the challenge you are about to face was unthinkably above you, and acknowledge the practice, understanding and growth you have accomplished between that time and now.

My thoughts are with you this weekend, wishing you all a great time and a turning point for even greater things to come!


Friday, June 14, 2013

What to do if you cannot Clean....

It's a horrible conundrum but Cleaning a kettlebell is still wrong for me this week. 

It's been 3 and a half weeks since I finally admitted that my wrist was sprained from heavy and intense LongCycle practice. After the first week of total anger subsided I gave up my "scoop-of-the-day" membership at the Glacier Ice Cream store, dusted off my training manuals and came up with something to do in the gym.

Two main momentum drills came immediately into play, the Squat Swing and the Crescent Swing. Both exercises demonstrated in the video below.

Squat Swing (may be called something else) first showed up on my radar as a warm-up drill for GS athletes in the Mother country. I used it as a 60 second interval in my classes with great success, if you call nasty looks from the students a mark of success, so started putting one and two-kettlebell sets into my intervals.

Back in my RKC days a Senior Instructor, Brett Jones, mentioned this evil exercise he used to train football players to move their feet faster, a Crescent Swing.

Other weighted exercises on my list:

  • Turkish Get-up with a bar
  • Windmill with lower arm kettlebell and a bar
  • Barbell Jerks
  • Overhead Squat with a bar
  • Russian Twist
  • Bent Row

Unweighted exercises:

  • Pull-ups 
  • Dips
  • Push-ups
  • Ab Wheel
  • Side Plank
  • V-Snaps
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Ashtanga Yoga

Fellow trainers in the gym are asking "Who are you and what have you done with Christian?" - never having seen me workout with anything other than kettlebells. All I have to say is thank God for Jason Busch's Body Balance Gym being fully stocked with everything you need for on-season and off-season training!

In the mean time I've caught up with rest and am almost through a cleanse (today is eight of ten days). Even had time to learn Google Spreadsheet and write programming for other GS athletes.
It's been productive.

Best wishes to everyone for a great month!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Early warning signs of injury in GS

I was Novacaned at birth. Apparently it was a needless choice on the doctor's part to speed up a delivery already underway. Justified or not, uncovering this detail has helped me make sense of my capacity for endurance sports, Girevoy Sport in specific.

Recently I achieved Master of Sport rank in Women's 20kg LC on my third attempt. I was viewing this as a stop along the way while training for the same event with 24kg. I was feeling pretty dialed into the form, had the routine down. But this one nagging ache keep cropping up in my left forearm when working with 22 and 24kg sets.

20kg LC 2nd attempt. CMS set.
"Meeh, wrap it up and call it good," says I.

20kg LC MS set.
It worked moderately well all the way up until the week after the MS set. Looking at the timing for the next event I felt impatient to carry on despite the Stage 5 mandate we all know and love. With a 5 day rest I went back to the program. Two days in I felt a pain that blinded me. It didn't go away no matter how many wraps I added to my left forearm, the command from every nerve in my hand was "PUT DOWN!"
The forearm sprain was going to happen. Not just because I was ignoring the discomfort. My left arm was previously injured. I was going through a growth phase that transferred new patterning into my hand. And I asked a coach known for high-level programming to get me ready for the next kettlebell weight. And we were working remotely.

Two notes before continuing on with the warning signs.
First, for the coaches: As a bodywork therapist, I have learned to see unconscious pain cues. People touch a place where they feel discomfort, protect it with supports and layers, and keep it farther away from potential hazards. Depending on a person's relationship with discomfort, he/she may ask an "expert" about it earlier or later. Those of us with less-healthy habits will wait until later.

Second, for the athletes: Many kettlebell lifters have great success with online coaching. If you can find a remote coach who programs you well you can succeed through many competitions with excellent results. Even better if you find a local coach! Either way you cannot count on him/her to notice early signs of injury. Seasoned lifters will recognize an overtrained athlete dragging around the gym (pictured above right) and express their concern. But please learn from my example and acknowledge your pain.

Most of what I have to share is through my own training or working with other GS lifters. All the GS lifts are full-body efforts, so if you have an isolated area of pain there is a weakness in the chain. The difference between muscle fatigue and joint damage can be a fine line, so here are typical problems for beginner/intermediate level lifters. I do not guarantee my solutions, as everyone is different.
Consult a trainer in person if possible.

  • Soles - Allowing the arch to fall can cause pain here, also heavy Jerk sets. Examine foot positioning on the bump and under squat. This pain is acceptable only at a competition/max effort. Do not train with it. Stretch calves thoroughly and massage the feet before finishing the training set and use less weight.
  • Toes - Cramping could be due to dehydration. Also gripping the floor during part of the lift. Back off weight load and evaluate areas where you hold your breath until this habit is corrected.
  • Achilles Tendon - Are you wearing weightlifting shoes? Excessive pull from the calf muscles will micro tear this tendon. Also evaluate your foot-to-knee positioning in the under squat.

Advanced positioning.
  • Front Knee pain - Check initial squat from the rack position. This is a knees-forward-hips-locked stretch. If the heels lift in this movement there will be shear on the front knee ligaments. Another cause of Front Knee pain is weak heel drive into the under squat. Isolate and practice these movements with a manageable weight. Invest in weightlifting shoes.
  • Out side Knee pain - If you work with double weights, what are your feet doing as they pass through the swing? Often lifters will bow the legs to the outer side and lift the inner foot which begins a stress pattern on the lateral knee ligaments. Examine foot positioning and stance. 
  • Inner Knee pain - Did you hit it with a kettlebell? For Jerk, check leg movement through the entire bump and into the under squat. If one or both feet rock toward the middle at any point, this will accumulate stress on the inner ligaments. For Snatch, examine foot-to-knee position coming out of the backswing and in the under squat.
  • Back Knee pain - In getting out of the under squat, if you straighten your legs without adjusting your hips forward you will eventually feel pressure in the knee. This technique can be seen in many advanced lifters (pictured right) to save time getting out of the under squat. Practice standing out of the under squat in a vertical line to start. This takes more time but will build core strength and flexibility.
  • Back and Side Hip pain - May be caused by too much squat in the back swing, or a deep under squat with weight overhead. This is not the worst pain to have in the conditioning phase. Examine form, develop pre-work mobility and dynamic flexibility to condition your inner legs and allow hamstring extension in the backswing. Practice full-range back-loaded squats to condition the thighs.
  • Inner Hip pain - May be too much contraction in the acceleration pull to the rack position or overhead. Work with less weight, use more leg and abdominal strength. Examine your feet at the point of acceleration pull. Correct this before it becomes a hernia.
Low Back:
Abs engaged!
  • Not enough core stability in undersquat and overhead positions. This will not go away with out form correction. Shift the base/pelvis forward when straightening out of the under squat. A low-slung weight belt may help remind you of this correction plus add support for the sacrum under load.
  • Insufficient abdominal power when launching the Jerk. Hyper extension of the chest over arches the lower back and accumulates stress. Use your abs.
  • Examine your posture in the descent. For Snatch, rounding the shoulders and taking the maximum velocity of a descending kettlebell in the lower back will wear you down. For Long Cycle, when lowering from the rack if you round into your back you will not last long. For both of these cases examine core and leg stabilization, and allow your arms to extend before going into the backswing.
Weight racked too high.
  • Above the Shoulder Blades pain - Over extending the arms upward in the lock out position and/or not resting in the rack position. Develop shoulder flexibility through full-range of motion and mobility drills before work. Be diligent with shoulder flexibility, it will only cause you pain to ignore this part of your training.
  • Above the Breast Bone pain - Weight is racked too high causing chest muscles to overwork. Usually a flexibility concern, this will effect efficient breathing. Use mobility and dynamic stretching to warm up the chest before work. Static holds with heavy loads may help stretch the back of your chest.
  • Upper Arm outside pain - For Snatch, inserting the hand late. For Jerk, arms extended out of the resting position, also a growth pain due to the nature of the lift.
  • Upper Arm inside pain - Lack of shoulder flexibility: bumping with the elbows lateral puts stress on the inner arm in the under squat. Lack of stability: you may be allowing the weight to roll your arm open at the lock out. Another sign of this is the head pitched forward. Train your arm into the bottom of the shoulder socket when you lock out.
  • Forearm Grip pain - Welcome to the club. Learn everything you can about refreshing the grip through out your lift, also examine hand positioning overhead. This is everyone's weakest link. Sadly, the grip strengthens best with overload training.
  • Forearm outside pain - My pet issue. Increasing weight load or pacing without learning to relax forearm muscles under the load. Repeated kettlebell impact on tense muscles will sprain the tendon. Focus on relaxing your hands with the weight on your forearm.  If you don't want the "knuckles" below your wrists, start early with wrist coverage. Efficient hand insertion will help. 
  • Blisters - Gonna happen at some point with the Snatch. Examine your leg movement at the three points of friction through the swing. Use assist exercises, glove sets to develop timing and perfect the acceleration pull. For LC, refine the three points of friction and develop a chalking routine.
  • Callouses - It's the nature of the beast. Use chalk in exercises with a swing. Manage your callouses with a file or razor so they do not tear in training.
  • Did you hit it with a kettle bell?
  • Over training or dehydration. Jaw tension will cause head pain.
  • For Jerk, if you use the "throw-the-head-back" method, examine your timing in the bump. The firing sequence from tailbone to occiput must be smooth to maximize this movement.
Another worthwhile note:

  • If you are a convert from other sports you will be bringing old habits and injuries along. Warm up thoroughly, practice sport-specific mobility and assist exercises to mold yourself to GS lifts.
  • If, like me, you had a numbed birth or similar experiences that affect your ability to detect discomfort, be real about your pain threshold. Learn to read your body's signs.

Please comment on this list of symptoms and solutions. Questions are welcome. It is my aim to support Girevoy Sport as it grows in popularity, thus hope to pass around some inside information on how to stay in training and avoid unwanted setbacks.

Contact me for information about GS training in Boulder, CO.

Best wishes for safe, effective training!

Monday, April 29, 2013

NW Kettlebell Spring Invitational + Big Iron Balls Challenge! Yeah!

April 27, 2013
Rainier CrossFit Gym, Sumner, WA.

Here it is, the moment I've been training for. My third Master of Sport attempt with 20kg LongCycle. And what a joy that it's at an event hosted by KB Nic and the NWKB crew!
Nic congratulating the CrossFit Women and Men's Champions!
Nic came to my attention in 2011 at my first NW competition. He defines Indomitable Spirit, that one! One of the few people I know who could MC an event in an echo chamber without a megaphone, his enthusiasm is up lifting and his coaching is spot-on. Last Saturday his team was able to run simultaneous KBSport and CrossFit events with Nic alone as the announcer!

So what else happened? We had a fairly small but committed turn-out of KBSport lifters and a determined gang of 5 Men and 5 Women on the CrossFit challenge. One first-timer, Bethany and her coach flew from New Jersey! Slava and myself, representing IKSFA, traveled from Colorado, and my KettleTeam mate Tricia traveled from Canada just to help run the event! Many of the 19 KBSport lifters came from the NWKB and OKC teams, located in Washington and California.

IKFF team member turns out to judge with Tom and Misha.
Because I was so focussed on my goal I beg total obliviousness toward the other competitors. I missed most of the Jerk and Snatch sets, and all of the 5-Minute Chair press. But did see an impressive final half of a 20-Minute OneArm LongCycle set from a last-minute entry on Team NWKB!

I saw lifters from the entire 2 + years of my KBSport world setting up for personal records as well as first-time lifters watching in awe. What a great meet to start with! Every one of the lifters turned in great sets, everyone learned and had a moment to grow at this competition.
The chalk-pit/warm-up area.
Of special significance to any KBSport athlete are the organizers and judges. We must have rules first and foremost, and we've got to have a standard for our achievements. At this point in the US not every weight class/weight load and lift has a field of competition at regional meets, so we use ranking systems to qualify our massive efforts. Nic chose the IKSFA standard: IKSFA Unified International Ranking Table At National/International events first, second and third place awards are given for each category listed on the table being used.

The judging rules have been refined into a fairly consistent standard in the US, so at the Rules Review (before the first heat) many of us heard and saw the same information we've been hearing and seeing about No Count, Warning calls, and what it takes for a judge to terminate a set. Those of us headed for higher numbers were held to strict standard, and I did hear Tom Corrigan calling one of my heat-mates on No Counts. Happily, I didn't get those calls from Misha Marshak, who judged my set....
Several people, including Coach John Wild Buckly, Coach Jason Dolby and Tricia Dong all put in time in the judges seat and supported their team throughout the event. Misha did the noble act of judging and then competing!

I feel so blessed to be in this picture! The kettlebells being all the same color seemed to make us equal as competitors.

I want to express my gratitude for the choice to play the National Anthem before we started the competition. This doesn't always happen at KBSport events in the US, and was a welcomed addition.
My last word is in reference to a comment made at the Rules Review. Tom gave the obligatory rule that good sporting conduct is expected, quickly followed with a statement that it is never a problem. Luckily, my team mate and best friend Slava was raised speaking Russian, and later translated this quote next to our Coach Sergei Merkulin:

"In Girevoy Sport - there are no bad people;
all the junk sweats out under the weight of kettlebells, especially on the 10th minute."

(This must be why so many people attend the OKC Annual One-Hour OneArm Long Cycle event!)

Thanks again to KB Nic, KB Nic's Mom (Jan - yeah! 12kg!) and the many unsung heroes of the NW Kettlebell Spring Invitational! You gave us a stage to play our sport, to connect with ourselves and each other more deeply. Many happy returns!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Athletic Mind as a Horse

A friend once used this analogy to illustrate how our bodies respond when learning new skills. With the help of a knowledgable horse woman,* I've tweaked it to represent general temperaments of our minds as athletes. As a disclaimer, I know that generalizations are never the entire picture, but I'm particularly fond of this "Athletic Mind as a Horse" concept. I see my own mind in each horse type as I've moved through a few years of Girevoy Sport training.

One last thought about the Mind as a Horse: This equation is symbolic of mental maturity and evolution. It acknowledges the potential power of the well-trained mind, and the potential chaos it creates when the mind is left wild. In my perception this addresses Girevoy Sport athletes. None of us are exempt from physical discipline and hard work, and any one competition can illustrate the mental game involved. See if you can relate with some of the descriptions below.

The Light Horse: Most commonly known as Thoroughbreds, these include Arabian or other riding breeds. These horses, known to be "spirited," twitchy, and distractible, have been painstakingly domesticated from their wild, lightening-fast ancestors. Historically these horses were a main force on  battle fields. Horse and rider developed a symbiotic relationship as they faced victory or death together. Through time Light Horses were bred specifically to maintain the "hot blood" qualities that make them excellent racing and riding horses. Now they are seen in equestrian events such as jumping, hunting and show riding competitions, sports requiring subtle cues from the saddle thus a well-trained rider. These light-weight horse are not suited to haul a heavy load, but will pull a light carriage or work in teams. They are likely to throw an inexperienced rider rather than endure that person's learning curve.

This athlete's raw skill shines in individual sports. As a mental perspective, this is when I want to perform according to what I already know. As a learner my Light Horse Mind has difficulty learning from someone who is not attuned to my subtlety (horse-people joke about this quality in Arabians). I expect to be the star even if I'm on a team. When I am in Light Horse Mind, I do not like excessive prompting. I would rather be appreciated for the hours of training I've already done. I want helpful reminders of my training like "slow down" or "active breathing," not overplayed encouragement like "Okay, that's 2 minutes! Only 8 more! Good job, Christian!" And I do not want to be recruited to count someone else's reps.
Poor attitude and resistance is to be expected when I am this type of athlete. You can see how this is a problem...

Just because the mental space of this athlete is light-weight does not mean he/she is physically delicate. For instance a Light Horse Mind athlete might be able to compete with 32kg LongCycle, but refuses to do cardio conditioning between seasons - it's outside the comfort zone. Or perhaps it's a light-weight lifter who refuses assistant strength training for fear of going up in weight class. In essence, the Light Horse Mind puts up resistance to skills that could change his/her relationship to that specialty move. In the world of horses it's a matter of matching the task with the animal; in Girevoy Sport reality this Mind-set will only last so long (unless the lifter only plans to do exhibition meets). If this is you, or one of your athletes, I advise a Reality Check. Check out your competition. What is your closest "rival" doing to win? Also, how long do you plan to be in this sport? As we know in GS versatility supports longevity. Maybe this is your Year of Snatch, but next year, Biathlon-a-thon!

The Warmblood Horse: This includes several breeds of stock horse, including the Quarter Horse, that are carefully crossed between sure-footed Light Horse breeds and sturdy Work Horse breeds. In riding stables, "warm bloods" are known as the "nannies;" naturally agile and patient, they are safe for beginner riders due to the willing, even temperament of these animals. In history, these mid-weight horses were loved for their versatility, having capacity for long distance running and cattle drives. Now they are used to race, carry riders, pull in teams, herd cattle and in equestrian shows. This type of animal has a bond with its rider, and needs surprising little prompting to do new tasks. Because they are willing and intelligent, these horses can be pushed to injury, which could be their only weakness. If a rider is confused, the Warmblood Horse will go the way it sees fit.

This athlete's natural physical awareness seems to grant innate skills. This is when my mind is "grounded in my body" and I am interested in refining technical skills that will improve my lifting. In my Warmblood Mind I will persist, incorporate new movement skills and enjoy the fruits of intense concentration. As with my animal counterpart, I can take corrections constructively and integrate new physical awareness with familiar techniques. I want to use training sessions interactively, alternating between physical practice and cognitive processing. In the Warmblood Horse Mind-set I am inspired to train outside my comfort zone, share training sessions and support my team at competitions. This is the phase that has me preparing two different events for three different competitions.

The athlete with Warmblood Mind has mental patience and agility, but might not immediately excel at all physical skills. In Girevoy Sport this could be an athlete who wins the Absolute Lifter award (for total volume) but does not win all three events. The Warmblood Mind is coordinated, so a trainer might attempt to pack too much into one lesson. This will frustrate the athlete, being unused to repeated failures. He/she will eventually  change coaches rather than follow erroneous guidance. My advice to this athlete/coaching team is to examine challenging techniques as a composite of various awarnesses: body positioning; breathing; and visual/mental focus. Using physical compartments the athlete will improve skills in solo-practice and look for fine-tuning in coached sessions.

The Work Horse: Well-loved for strength and patience, in history the draft and pony breeds were used for pulling heavy carts and plowing fields. Also called "cold bloods" these heavy-weight horses can pull immense loads alone or on a team, and carry riders. Historically these animals hauled loads and carried the cannon-wagons on the stage of battle. They were, and are, a staple of agricultural cultures. Strong musculature and power are the most notable attributes of this horse type. These calm, docile animals perform best with a handler who interacts with them as they work, thus avoiding the tendency to plod along into complacency. This quality is seen in the Pony Ride at a circus, where the horses are harnessed to a central hub and prompted by the ride boss. Out of laziness rather than a dull mind a Work Horse will come to a stop with lack of guidance.

This athlete's work capacity produces impressive results. When my mind is a Work Horse I need to be guided with technical accuracy. Once in gear I will run to exhaustion, and once out of gear I will rest until directed to move. As with my four-legged counterpart, the most effective training style for me in this Mind-set focusses on efficiency. This is when my trainer and I need to agree on the goal. In my Work Horse cycles there are only two words in my vocabulary: "Okay" and "Coach." I train with staunch determination, devoid of emotions, to master my one lift. Eh, one lift....

It is inaccurate to say an athlete with Work Horse Mind is big and slow. This person might be amazingly adept with one skill-set but stumbles over less complex tasks. For example, a lifter who can LongCycle (Clean+Jerk) but lacks capacity for Jerk Only may be a natural Work Horse, or in a Work Horse Mind stage. This lifter will power his/her way to the Co-Efficient (Relative Strength) award in one event with the right coaching. And the coach is key. Work Horse Mind will do whatever the coach wants. It is important for an athlete's longevity in GS to not burn-out with one lift, so if this athlete/coach team hopes to make use of our sport's extremely long athletic career potential I suggest changing events every few seasons. This may translate into less-than-perfect results for a few competitions, but it will round out the athlete's physical repertoire. A time-tested training method that is well suited for the Work Horse Mind is "chunking:" a complex movement sequence is segmented into smaller parts and trained as separate movement skills. Over time, the segments come together with technical precision.

So what are you saying, Christian?.....  Although I did advise a GS athlete to only stay briefly in the Light Horse Mind, I am not saying it is "bad." My real purpose for this article is to suggest that athletes consider their natural mental tendency. Once you can honestly recognize yourself, then you can endeavor to look outside and refine your Mental Skill-set. Ultimately, we will all do our best work if we allow a variety of perspectives to enrich our original natures. This does require some self-examination and the ability to be uncomfortable with new ideas while their value becomes apparent. In the long run, looking at the Mind as a Horse helps to make it a little less personal and vital for our true being. And this, in my opinion, is an important step in living up to our potential as athletes.

*Thanks to Rachel Jarvis, who knows more about animals than anyone I know, and her friend Christina for helping direct my comments on horse training. To contact Rachel for riding lessons in the Sugarloaf Mountain area, or advise on your horse, dog, cat, snake, or whatever creature you love, email :

As always, your comments and opinions are welcome. Please see my website for more information about my services :

Monday, April 1, 2013

Put it where it counts

What with so many big GS competitions going on this season I've noticed plenty of footage and comments circulating about great lifting feats. As a perpetual student, I've learned to consult my teacher before considering the actual excellence claimed from any one lifter's peer group.

My first Kettlebell Sport coach Ken Blackburn recently reminded me of the good old efficiency-in-action principle: Say you have 10 units of energy to complete a lift. How do you distribute those units through all the parts of that lift? And is there any energy being saved for consecutive lifts, or are all 10 units being thrown into each lift?

So this has become one consideration of my own training, that is, how much effort does it take to get the kettlebell into a lockout with fixation (AKA. a rep that counts)?

The second teaching that has impressed me is my programming coach Sergey Rudnev's assist exercises.
Specifically LongCycle drill: 1swing + 1clean + 1jerk + 5second fixation hold = 1repetition.
(At first I videoed these sets because it takes some practice to keep track of the count!)

I really enjoy the ingenuity of this exercise because 1) it is tailored to over-eager lifters like myself who get too excited at the beginning to maintain a pace, and 2) it provides a full-body teaching of the most important places in the lift.
The first swing helps me find the dead point on the upswing (important point #1). There is a delineation between how little effort it take and how typical it is to pull early. Most kettlebell lifters were trained this way, but in Girevoy Sport the early acceleration pull throws the weight beyond the dead point. This causes me to then de-accelerate the downswing and work too hard to control the weight for the next clean.
The 5-second fixation hold (important point #2) reminds me to emphasis the main event of the lift, that is, where it gets counted. It also emphasizes the overhead position as a rest position.

To add one element of urgency to the above drill complete 6 repetitions per minute. Either by calculating the seconds or doing it yourself, you quickly figure out there is one place not to linger in this exercise: the Rack.

Thus inspired with the teachings of my coaches, I've enjoyed looking in on my fellow-lifters. And the World Champions are still my ultimate role-models in the seamless execution of 10 or more minutes of one Classic Lift.

Wishing all my fellow-lifters excellent results!

Please contact me for more insight or training with kettlebells!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring training and competitions!

Kettlebell Private Training in Boulder @ Body Balance Gym, 2747 Iris Ave.:*
Personal Training Schedule:
Monday times available after 3:30 pm
Wednesday times available after 3:30 pm
Sunday times between 10 am and 4 pm
Contact me to reserve your times!

Kettlebell Fitness (for whatever your level is): $75/hour
$350/pack of 5 training sessions

Girevoy Sport (for people already familiar with kettlebells): $60/hour, trainers pay $40/hour
$280/pack of 5 training sessions, trainers pay $185/pack of 5 training sessions
(trainers = personal trainers and CKTs)

*Special prices for Body Balance gym members and Body Balance trainers! 
Check the link below to pre-pay for great deals.

**Competition reminders and new KBSport competition announcements!**
Local Competition
Sunday May 26th, BOLT Standard, Denver, CO
$25 to compete in up to 4 10-Minute events!

Competitions in US
Saturday, April 6th IKSFA NY Open KB Sport Championships, Long Island City, NY
$85. Registration closes March 24th.

Saturday, April 27th IKSFA Northwest KB Open Spring Invitational, Sumner, WA
Registration cost dependent on the number of events performed.
Traditional and Additional KB events available. Check the links below for your event!
Link to registration

Saturday, May 18th KettleBell Classic Pro/Am, Dayton, OH
Registration: Single Event $25, Multiple Events $45, Relay Only $15
Biathlon, Long Cycle and 3-Person Relay
Link to registration

Saturday, June 1st Mid-Michigan Open KB Sport Competition, Spring Arbor, MI
Early Registration: $55, goes up (April 2 to May 1) to $65, late registration $85
Grand Opening event of the official IKSFA training facility in the US!
Link to registration

Saturday, June 8th IKFF Chicago Kettlebell Classic, Chicago, IL
Early Registration: $50, goes up (March 17 to April 20) to $60, late registration $70
Link to registration

Contact me for more information, if you are ready to train kettlebell fitness or GS with me, or have comments/questions:

Best wishes for safe, strong training!