October 4, 2010

Kettlebell Training -vs- Kettlebell Lifting – Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 2:34 am

Kettlebell Training -vs- Kettlebell Lifting

To many, these two terms are interchangeable. Trust me, they are not.

Kettlebell Training is exercise with a kettlebell, which includes exercises like the Turkish Getup and the 2-arm swing.

Kettlebell Lifting is the practice of using a kettlebell in a precise way during the three competitive kettlebell lifts: the clean and jerk, the snatch and the jerk.

The difference between these two is like the barbell exercises performed at your local gym, versus the weightlifting events during the Olympic Games. Kettlebell Lifting is very precise, and skill is paramount. This does not take away from the benefits of Kettlebell Training. I will never quit doing the Turkish Getup, for example. It just makes one aware that there is another dimension of kettlebell fitness, that exists beyond what you normally see practiced in this country.

I recently spent three days at The Ice Chamber fitness facility in San Francisco, learning from the absolute best kettlebell lifters in the country. This particular facility has produced four Masters of Sport, which is more than any other location in this country. Master of Sport (MS) is a kettlebell sport ranking, which is attained during competition. Women use one 44lb kettlebell for a 10-minute set for a designated number of reps, and men use a 70lb kettlebell or kettlebells, depending on the event.

All three grueling days were spent on the clean, the snatch and the jerk. These movements have many small details, and 20 of us from around the world practiced them for 100s of reps in front of Head Coach Valery Fedorenko (who has standing kettlebell lifting records from the former U.S.S.R) as well as 4-5 other MS, including America’s first MS Cate Imes, and Master Trainer and Master Coach Steven Khuong.

I am now certified as a World Kettlebell Club (WKC) Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Coach and WKC Certified Kettlebell Fitness Trainer. Neither of these certifications were easy.

While I have been working these techniques myself for the past year, since receiving my coach certification, I will now begin sharing these techniques with others.

Why change?

Because in life and in the fitness world, you either move forward or backward. There is really no maintenance.

At some point, shear physical will is not enough to produce maximum work capacity. Technical details must be addressed. I have found that in kettlebell fitness, the kettlebell sport lifts are the safest way to train with kettlebells, which translates into more work done. I simply had to learn from the best in the world, and Valery Fedorenko is it.

While I was familiar with the accomplishments of some of the Russian kettlebell champions, I had never witnessed them firsthand. At The Ice Chamber, I personally watched Valery Fedorenko snatch a 70lb kettlebell for 150 continuous reps with only one hand switch. Every rep looked identical, and he was barely winded at the end. This is truly an amazing demonstration of physical power, but this power was channeled through perfect technique.

Technical excellence was duplicated by MS Surya Voinar-Fowler, MS Maya Garcia and MS Sara Nelson at different points on both days, proving that his methods are repeatable.

I will slowly begin to implement some of these technical changes into my training methods in the best way I can.
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