The Art of Kettlebell
Story by: Marc Palmano / Shuttersport - Photo by: Evan Barnes
Nelson lays claim to a lot of firsts:
· The first recognised game of rugby played in New Zealand back in 1870
· The first WOW exhibition
· First in annual sunshine hours
and it may well be that Heath Bowman has added another in being New Zealand’s first certified Kettlebell coach.
Heath, whom works out of the Results! Athletic Centre, recently returned from the World Kettlebell Club Strength & Conditioning and Sport Coach Certifications in Melbourne with his World Kettlebell Club Coach accreditation.
Shuttersport took the opportunity to watch Heath and some fellow Kettlebellers go through a pentathlon exercise and learn more about this sport, which has to have one of the best names going.
So just what is a Kettlebell and what is Kettlebell Sport?
Kettlebells date back hundreds of years, and Kettlebell Sport with its Russian and Eastern European origins was formalized around fifty or sixty years ago. It is now gaining popularity throughout the world both as a fitness regime and a competitive sport.
A 24kg Kettleball
The kettlebell as the name suggests is a kettle shaped weight, generally cast in steel or iron.
Kettlebell Sport, also known as Girevoy Sport involves repetitive lifting of the kettlebell for a set period of time, typically 10 minutes. One key rule is that a competitor may not set the kettlebell down during the set.
Main competition events are the biathlon which includes both jerk and snatch lifts and a long cycle clean & jerk where the bell is swung between legs, cleaned to chest then jerked overhead.
Sheena Jones cleans the 12kg bell
With the lifts paralleling that used in weightlifting you may think that the power lifters would find Kettlebell Sport a walk in the park. Not so, explains Heath, “The sport is not just a test of power but a combination of strength and endurance. Initially the power lifters, whilst having plenty of strength, struggle with the endurance aspect. Interestingly it is rowers who adapt well as their sport is also based on strength and endurance.”
During competition the points scored are derived from the number of repetitions achieved in the ten minute time period. A lifter receives a ranking (similar to a karate belt) when they achieve the required repetitions for their bodyweight category. The bell size used and repetitions required increase with each ranking level. The bells vary in weight from the 8kg, coloured pink, to the gold at a staggering 48kg, with the green 24kg the bell of choice for most male competitors.
Heath runs Kettlebell training on M/W/F evenings at 5:30pm as part of the Top of the South Lifting Club. The focus is currently on preparing for the upcoming competition in Nov and he encourages anyone who may be interested to come on down for a look and benefit from the best coaching around. Contact Heath on 0276967544 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.