On Saturday was the first Australian WKC endorsed kettlebell comp. I had wanted to enter a KB comp for ages and the last comp clashed with a race so I was really happy to give this one a go.
In order to compete with a heavier weight than the lightest one available, you have to have made Rank for the level below. I wanted to compete with a heavier weight so in the months beforehand I had to get ranked. Because my snatch sucks, that meant I would not do biathlon (10 min jerks and 10 min snatches) so that left long cycle to compete in (10 min clean and jerks).
I originally submitted a 12kg set for ranking but failed on technique. After a few months I realised that I was not going to make it at that weight so resubmitted an 8kg set for Rank 3. So glad I got it! But they did comment on my overhead lockout and suggested some shoulder mobility work. This meant I could aim for Rank 2 by competing with the 12kg.
Just a few weeks before the comp, the whole ranking system changed. Now the lightest KB weight for female long cycle is 14kg!!! So it’s heavier than what I was even planning to compete with. On the up side, you don’t have to do as many reps (I think about 5 less per hand, which is significantly easier to nail technique). So then I had the dilemma of: Should I compete at what would be a sensible weight for me? OR should I take my Rank 3 for granted and try and aim for Rank 2 with the 18kg?
Well, I figured I already had Rank 3 so why try and do it again? Competitions are for pushing yourself and what better way to do that than lift a weight that is way beyond my capabilities, throw my technique out the window, get my heart pumping so much I feel sick, and possibly not even be able to complete 10 minutes? Oh… and put my name to shame since I would also be bringing 2 clients with me for their first comps, and we’d all be wearing matching T shirts representing Wild Fitness. HA! – Great way to make an entrance into our first KB comps!
I had done some vague training. Like, a couple of sessions where I’d do 4 minutes at 16kg and 2 or 3 minutes at 20kg. I think I did that twice. So I had the tempo right for 54 reps per hand to get Rank 2. I just didn’t consider that 10 whole minutes with 18 heavy kilos is a lot of work. And 2 training sessions doesn’t cut it. Essentially I was relying on my strength from powerlifting and my cardio from running to get me through.
My tempo was right on target for the first 90 seconds or so. After that I just felt sick. It was so damn heavy. I wasn’t fast enough. My shoulder was fatigued. My terrible shoulder flexibility and inability to lock out my elbow threw my technique completely out the window. I realised I was not going to make Rank 2 so no longer had to rush through the set. When 5 minutes was up I was relieved to switch to my right hand. It got a bit easier for 30 more seconds but it was still very exhausting. Towards the end I was taking longer rest breaks in the rack position and struggling to lock out properly in the jerk. I was shaking my head and was told later I may have been influencing the judge not to count those reps. I did notice the judges were very lenient. All I could do was shake my head and laugh at my sloppy reps. I could not finish the set so just let the bell swing at the end so at least I was still in the game.
I walked off the platform beaten, shaken and totally wiped out. I had also entered the strongsport comp with the aim of 4 minutes at 20 kilos. I have to say thanks to one client who was going to do this one too. Unfortunately she made the smart decision at the last minute not to compete due to injury, and this was my cue to sit it out too. I was totally spent and had nothing left in me.
Previously I had already watched a client in the pentathlon event. So now we were both wandering around shaking! btw her technique was excellent until she burnt out. I am super proud of her and if there were prizes for best technique in pentathlon then I’m pretty sure she would have won that.
Later on I had a couple of stints judging. The judges were too lenient for my liking, but I felt I had to go along with their standards. It definitely wasn’t at the standard required for ranking but I only gave one no-count – it should have been a lot more though!
I decided to sit around for the rest of the comp to watch. There was a mix of standards – everyone was very strong and fit, but quite a few rushed through the sets and so were not to WKC standards. My clients and I watched and learnt from the people with good technique, and critically discussed those that needed to improve. Technique is everything with kettlebells. Even if it is not to WKC standards, there is a steep learning curve to make sure it is safe and effective. They were going to be giving out prizes at the end and I wanted to see who they thought deserved prizes based on good technique.
To my surprise, I got best female lifter in long cycle! So although I felt my technique was shoddy, it clearly didn’t look as bad as it felt. I also won my weight class in long cycle because I lifted the heaviest weight! I was completely shocked and surprised! And of course, totally stoked that I won something sporty.
I was hoping after this I could get back to powerlifting and running, but they may do another comp in September with Fedorenko and Denisov judging and that is something I don’t want to miss out on. At first I was thinking I will just do strongsport because that is only a 4 minute set. But now I am re-considering aiming for Rank 2 at long cycle again. Unfortunately I will have to train properly for this, so I really don’t know.
Here is the vid of my set. You are welcome to critique it and tell me how dodge it is! I am fully aware my elbows don’t lock out very often – it’s always been a struggle for me – bench press is ok, but overhead press is not. And my arms just don’t like to be directly overhead especially with elbows locked out, and especially right side. I can’t even raise my arms above my head properly without any weight. I know I tried a few too many times to get those reps in at the end. I am also well aware of my less than stellar rack position towards the end. This is a good example of ok technique disintegrating into a bunch of nonsense 🙂
Kinda pathetic, but at least I gave it all I had.