Quality Reps, a Judges Perspective

I had the honor of attending and serving as judge at the 2009 World Kettlebell Lifting Championship in Chicago on August 29th. This was the first World Kettlebell Club competition that mandated the athlete rank in order to qualify for the event. Athletes were allowed to compete at one Division above their ranking, and they did an amazing job! I was blown away by the performances by the athletes and their coaches.

Quality reps should be the goal of every set; safe, sustainable, quality repetitions with crisp lockouts. Judging almost 20 sets, I got to see many good reps, and a few not so good ones. As judge, it was my job to count only legitimate reps and issue "no counts" when necessary. Head Coach Fedorenko explained at our judges meeting the night before, the lifter is paid or rewarded for every good repetition.

picture at right, Kettlebell Strongman, Andy Fitting

And What Makes a Rep Good?
The word of the day was fixation. All three events, Jerk, Snatch, and Long Cycle feature a lockout position. Although there are many points involved in judging a clean repetition, the necessity for full fixation of the kettlebell while in the final lockout position is crucial. The bell needs to stop moving completely, even if only for a fraction of a second, and there needs to be a discernible pause that the judge can see. At this point the judge issues the count, and the lifter is given permission to drop the bell (either to rack, or to repeat another snatch).

A locked elbow should accompany the fixated bell. But all locked elbows look a little different, and there may be some anatomical issues that do not allow what appears to be a hard lock (slight bend). Judges are not doctors with x-rays to see what's going on internally. We're looking for bell fixation as the main point to distinguish a legitimate rep. Good, strong lockouts make it easier to fixate the kettlebell, and it's what all lifters should be working toward.

Catherine Imes (MS) wrote an on-the-money article about this a few months back. Athletes heeding her advice performed quality, easy to judge reps. Go To: ARTICLE

For more information on Kettlebell Training: CLICK HERE

I'd like to mention it was an honor serving as judge at this event. My athlete Vanessa Turner had a great outing in Long Cycle, doing 126 total repetitions in ten minutes with 16kg. Great job V! My wife Kimmy also judged tirelessly, like a true professional, all day long. And thanks Joe Cosmo, my close friend, AKC Coach and one of my top instructors who worked all day at everything.