Before making its way to the United States, kettlebell lifting was (and still is) a highly competitive sport in Eastern Europe. Lifters step up on the platform in events such as the Jerk, Snatch, and LongCycle, execute their absolute best performance in ten minutes, for literally dozens (if not hundreds) of repetitions, with one or two kettlebells. High level technique is mandatory to allow the body to sustain such intensity, and still respond in a positive manner.
The First Kettlebell Comes to the US
When American Kettlebell Club head coach, Valery Fedorenko, brought the first kettlebell to America, and subsequently introduced the Fedorenko Method of Kettlebell Lifting for sport as well as hard core strength and conditioning, everything changed as Americans were introduced to the Art of Kettlebell Lifting.
The AKC has been holding competitions in the U.S. for the last four years, but kettlebell lifting in America has gone far beyond competition. With protocols for Strength and Condition, StrongSport, as well as Elite Fitness, the AKC features something for everybody.
As the owner of the first AKC Fitness Affiliate Gymnasium, I apply these, as well as other protocols every day. My members routinely develop sound lifting skills, which encourage a generally healthy progression. But for some, it's the lure of competition that keeps motivation high.
To Compete or Not to Compete
Most AKC Fitness LI members are from the surrounding area. When they first step into the gym, they know little if anything about kettlebell lifting. Rather, most new members just want to get in better physical condition, or drop a few pounds. As best we can, we accommodate every member's personal goals, but once proficiency reaches a certain level, there can be a shift in focus. As this fork in the road typically identifies itself, and we take the member down whatever road they desire - elite fitness, sport performance, weight loss, and more often than you'd imagine, Kettlebell Sport competition.
Why does competition appeal to so many people?
Eventually exercise of any kind can get boring. The lure of competition gives the lifter a reason to push, to get better, to excel, and to share this with dozens of other lifters. Competition-style training isn't the shortcut to fitness, but training to compete will always get you fit. When proper technique and performance are emphasized, looking good becomes an unavoidable side effect.
Competitive lifters maintain the kettlebell lifting standard every lifter strives for, whether they ever get up on the platform or not. They truly are the keepers of the technique, and the reason the AKC / WKC maintains such high standards when it comes to judging repetitions. We demand crisp, fixated reps and lockouts, because that's where the continuity of the sport, safety and excellence lie.
If you'd like to learn more about getting fit with kettlebells or how to become a competitive kettlebell lifter, please: CLICK HERE
Right now there are two competitions on the AKC Fitness LI calendar. On December 11 at 12 noon, we'll be hosting the WKC StrongSport Competition. On March 26, 2011, we're hosting the second annual LongCycle Championship. For more information on either competition, please contact us at: