Category Archives: Kettlebells

Kettlebell Garage Comp 7/9/13

Yesterday was the KBG‘s 2nd comp in Melbourne. My original plan was to do the powerlifting comp a few weeks ago, then take time off heavy lifting to work on my kettlebell training for this comp. Unfortunately I had the flu for 2+weeks, and this past week was my first full week of training after 3 weeks off. I spent the week doing dedicated powerlifting training for my next PL comp, and only a small amount of kettlebell technique work.

So because of all this, I only entered long cycle at 14kg. I know I should easily be able to do 16kg or even 18kg by now, but I wanted to enjoy this comp, rather than suffer through it. I like to support KBG’s local comps. They have a good friendly vibe, and even if you are not planning to get a personal best, you can go along to have some fun and get a bit of lifting done too.

So I did 14kg with 50 reps on the left side and 53 on the right. I was going to stop at 50 on the right, but I had 30 or so seconds to go, so I just slowed down and did a few more. After the first 2 minutes I sped up a bit, and by the time I switched hands, I was quite happy with the faster pace.

I found it quite tiring towards the end. I joke with my clients that the last minute is the Death Minute. But yesterday it was the last 3 minutes that were Death Minutes! It was all good though. I just had to remind myself that it was only 14kg, I was not aiming for a set number of reps, and all I had to concentrate on was technique.

I did not video myself this time, since I was not making rank or anything. I could feel my left arm was doing an ok job of locking out. My right arm struggled at times, but with a lot of concentration, I could get that elbow to lock out about 60% of the time. That is much better than what my right side used to be able to do. I know if I added 1 or 2 dedicated KB sessions to my program I could improve more, but I am sick of getting sick (twice already this year!) so I need to think more about recovery than adding in more stuff. So for now I will continue to do KBs for fun when I feel like it.

Everyone got an orange KBG tshirt, which is really good quality. I’ll be wearing it a lot this summer!


There was also some peanut butter, from a guy there who’s from a peanut butter place.


There was a mini deadlift comp at the end. Of course, with 3 weeks off training, I shouldn’t’ve expected much, but I still hoped for a PB. I pulled 125kg easy, 130kg with some effort, and failed 142.5kg, putting it down after a long struggle at shin height. I was not happy with this, although I should not have been surprised. James pulled 160kg with one arm (both arms)!

Looking forward to the next KB comp! Hopefully it will fit nicely into my regular programming so I can make some dedicated effort into training 🙂

The Kettlebell Garage Competition 13/4/13

On Saturday was The Kettlebell Garage’s first comp. The organisers decided to break away from the WKC federation, and all federations, to create their own group without the bitching that goes on between federations.

I found it a little odd they wanted to create their own ranking system in the future – to be honest, I think they should not have one. But I suppose it will be more to enforce safe lifting and quality lifting than anything else. Of course, when you video your set, you can submit it to whichever federation you want in order to get a rank however you like. And this is the case with any comp anyway.

I entered long cycle, at the WKC’s lightest weight of 14kg. I already have rank 3, so could have attempted any weight up to 18kg, but I did not want to train seriously, and would not have been at a good enough level to give that a proper go. I’d prefer to keep kettlebell training as something to do for fun, and not part of a highly regimated training program, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever lift at a high level, but I do strive for quality lifts and always aim to improve my form.

My training in the lead up consisted of 2 or 3 kettlebell specific sessions and a few trail runs to increase cardiovascular fitness.

It was a really small comp this time with maybe about 1/2 the number of lifters as usual. I think it just wasn’t promoted very well/at all. One of my clients was competing, and another came to spectate – and help video a set when my hands were still shaking after my set! 😀

I don’t have much to say about it really, since I wasn’t trying to win anything or even lift a certain number of reps. I just wanted to do good reps.

My vid is here:

I can see I am much better than I was previously at long cycle. My arms are locking out better and fixation overhead is much better. As with previous times, I’ve found my neck and traps were very sore for the following 2 days. I think because I learnt to clean and jerk a barbell before a kettlebell, I move my head a lot out of habit, as you would when you are clearing your head of the barbell. Of course, this isn’t really necessary with a kettlebell, so that’s one thing for me to work on.

I didn’t really find it too exhausting. I mean, I was out of breath, and my arms were fatigued, but 10 minutes of long cycle with little specific training didn’t completely wreck me, which is what I expected. So I’m pretty happy about that.

As usual, it was great to lift alongside friendly lifters, see lots of good lifting, and walk away with some things to practise at home. I really love these events for this reason. You don’t have to have a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude. It’s really about giving it a go and doing the best you can, then walking away after learning a bit more about yourself and the sport 🙂

WKC Australian Nationals 25th Aug 2012

This past Saturday was the WKC Aus Nationals, held at Iron Edge. I decided to enter the biathlon at 10kg. Basically, I can’t snatch very well, so I thought it was about time I worked on it. I could not be bothered ranking beforehand so I could attempt a heavier weight, so I decided to train like a sensible person and simply try to get the lowest rank this time.

I felt very calm during the event, except for the 2 minutes before starting each set where I was very nervous and nauseous!

First up was jerks. I have been training strictly at 14 reps per minute so I knew exactly what pace I needed to be on the day. They only thing I had not done was train with a 10kg KB because I don’t have one! So I would do sets with both the 8kg and 12kg, and this worked out really well.

The jerks went pretty well, although I did slow down a bit towards the end. 70 reps per hand is the minimum required for Rank 4. I got 71 in the left hand and had to speed up to get 70 in the right. I was aiming for an extra 1 or 2 to allow for a no-count, especially when I send my vids in to WKC for official ranking.

I really didn’t feel tired at all afterwards. My heart rate was a up a bit, but I wasn’t out of breath and didn’t break a sweat. There was some minor fatigue in my delts, but really nothing worth noting. As usual, I did have some problems locking out my arms overhead at times. I am getting better at it, but I just lack the flexibility

I had a couple of hours break before snatches so I had a small snack.

Snatches went really well. They actually felt quite comfortable. Although I can see my body still twisting a bit on the release, I am getting it right more often. I got 73 reps in the left and 71 in the right hand so I was pretty happy with that. My pace felt good and comfortable throughout. Again, my heart rate was increased a little bit, but I didn’t break a sweat.

It felt really good to do a comp that I had confidence in and was not in over my head! I guess this is how normal people train.

I came 2nd!

It was great to see some really good lifting technique. Everyone had improved since the last comp. Although I still saw judges counting what I would consider no counts, the standard had definitely gone up since last time, so it will be good to see how much more it improves for the next one… in December!

So I have 4 months to decide what to do next and train for it. I am considering training hard and properly for Rank 2 in long cycle – that’s clean & jerk @ 18kg. OR train sensibly, get rank 3 in biathlon (12kg) and compete to aim for rank 2 in biathlon (14kg).  hmm actually now I have written that, it does make sense to do biathlon. It kind of depends if WKC gives me Rank 4 for this comp first.

One thing I have learnt is that your technique must be 100% perfect. Kettlebell Sport is like gymnastics with weights. There is no room for error or slight imperfection. So I can see from my vids I am not 100% perfect in my lockouts and I can’t be guaranteed ranking.

Week ending July 29

Work has been INSANE this past week so I only managed to train 4 times. There have been a few 14 hour days and didn’t even have time for breaky or lunch. Hopefully I will get into some sort of rhythm soon.

Monday – Insane-ness

Tuesday – KB1 & Light Bench Day
  • Glute isometric holds.
  • 3 x 6 Narrow grip bench @ 35kg superset with 3 x 10 glute stuff.
  • Thoracic mobility superset with some contralateral lunge/core stuff.
  • (KB) Jerk – 6 mins @ 12kg, 14RPM, one hand change (right arm doesn’t lock out too well).
  • Jerk – 6 mins @ 8kg, 14 RPM, one hand change (easy).

Wednesday – Another 14 hour day

Thursday – 20 mins various metabolic stuff in yet another 14 hour day

Friday – KB2 + Rehab
  • Glute isometric holds.
  • Snatch – 7 mins @ 12kg, 14RPM, one hand change (fatiguing & unco – see vid below).
  • Glute stuff.
  • Snatch – 7 mins @ 8kg, 14 RPM, one hand change (not fatiguing, but still slightly unco).
  • Thoracic mobility.
Saturday – Heavy bench day (at Al’s place – I think his weights are lighter than mine because I seriously doubt I can lift as much as I did before I needed assistance)
  • Glute stuff & shoulder dislocations.
  • Bench – 10 @ 40kg (too easy), 8 @ 45kg, 5 @ 47.5kg
  • Forced reps bench – 3 @ 50kg (too easy, not forced), 2 x 3 @ 52.5kg, 3 @ 50kg.
  • DB bench – 4 @ 17ish, 8 @ 12.5ish, 7 @ 12.5ish
  • Lateral raise – 3 x 6 @ 7.5ish
  • Lying tricep ext – 3 x 6 @ 15ish
  • Thoracic mobility.

Sunday – Laziness & paperwork so that next week is as streamlined as possible.

Total: 4 hours.

Nutrition: Stopped carb cycling and switched to one treat day per week. Will most likely give that up soon.

Disappointed I didn’t have the time to spend 3 x 50-60 minute sessions on rehab, but I have been incorporating it into my other work. If all I can manage is 2 bench sessions and 2 kettlebell sessions (one of those combined) then I will just slip my rehab work in my warm ups, as supersets and in my cool downs. Also feeling a bit antsy that I haven’t been able to hit the trails in a few weeks. This Friday I am free and there is NO WAY I am letting anything stop me running some trails.

Friday’s snatch fest:

  • Hard to lock out lazy right arm at times
  • Need to keep watching bell to make sure it tracks vertically
  • Instead of twisting body, need to lean back to let the bell fall

Aus KB Club Championships

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.

long cycle

Long Cycle 18kg

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.