The Guide To Girevoy - The Kettlebell Workout Sport

The Guide To Girevoy – The Kettlebell Workout Sport

The kettlebell is one of the most widely used pieces of gym equipment across the world, but its origins began in Russia.

The Russians have further developed the use of this versatile accessory and turned it into its very own sport full of athletic and determined competitors, and its popularity is being noticed throughout the world.

Because it enjoyed so much success in Russia, we are now seeing the sport of Girevoy in the United States as well, and it’s extended far beyond just using the kettlebell at your local gym.

There are organizations now that specialize completely in using the kettlebell and there is a range of competitions both men and women can get involved in.

These organizations focus on a range of programs designed to teach effective use of the kettlebell and even offer competitions for people to get involved in.

Stack of kettlebells in black and white

The professional staff in these facilities are able to provide support and training for beginners right through to competition level, so there’s a way for everyone to get involved.

How To Get Into Girevoy

Whether you’ve been reading about it online or just used the kettlebell at your local gym and with great results, you might be interested to learn more about girevoy.

This unique sport is offered up specifically in a few centers around the country, mostly with the intention of having people compete for national and local titles.

Once you’ve trained to the adequate level for competing, you can enter into these competitions to see how you fare against other kettlebell users. These are divided usually into male and female classes with a slight difference in rules for each group.

Man doing girevoy swing

Before a competition, the entrant chooses a weight size and the type of lift they want to perform in advance to allow them to train months in advance.

Depending on the type of meet, there might be requirements for the weights lifted for both men and women in order to qualify.

The best thing about these competitions is that there is no age restriction so everyone can compete, and because the minimum lift size for women is just 17.5lb in the United States they’re a great way to build on your strength and skills to compete harder in the future.

What Are The Rules

The rule of the kettlebell sports workout are quite simple, and these are usually separated into either the biathlon or the long cycle.

In both the biathlon and the long cycle, a competitor has ten minutes to complete as many repetitions as possible in the time frame, provided they follow the set rules about how to use their kettlebell.

There are usually different rules for men and women, such as men usually using a kettlebell with both hands when they compete as compared to women who just use the one and switch sides. However, every organization has different rules on this and also in regards to the weight limits for each class.

Once everyone has completed their turn, the scoring is tallied up to see who takes home the medals. These scores are usually calculated by multiplying the number of lifts performed by the weight of the kettlebell used.

The winners are usually categorized into gold, silver, and bronze, however, each organization does this differently. When you compete and win at a local level, your kettlebell organization will usually have ties to a larger national league that allows you to compete further.

For those truly skilled at kettlebell sports, these competitions even have international meets, however, they usually involved far stricter guidelines for their competitors.

Three Lifts Of Kettlebell Sports

There are three main lifts performed in kettlebell sports, and each has their own technique to follow. When competing, you can choose to do only one type of lift and master this or compete in a biathlon where you must do a mixture of both.

These scores are then added together at the end in the same way to determine a winner.

Man lifting two kettlebells


The snatch is separated into four smaller movements: the swing, get up, the clean, and the press.

This is performed with one side at a time, and in competitions, it’s usually split so that an even amount of time is spent on each side. This isn’t a big swing like you see with some other kettlebell moves, so it can be a little trickier to master.


There are five main components to the jerk: the half squat, bump, under squat, stand to the lockout, and then drop to rack position. This should be strong, fast, and explosive when performed which makes it ideal for competing purposes.

Long Cycle

Also referred to as the clean and jerk, the long cycle can be performed with one or two hands.

Hand holding kettlebell

When getting in the ideal position for this move, you can imagine yourself doing a one-armed plank in which your entire body becomes straight and stiff.

A good clean is usually the starting point for most kettlebell moves, so it’s one that should be mastered completely.

Each of these moves requires a lot of practice to perfect, which is why a competitor usually chooses just one area to excel in.

There is usually a universal way to perform each of these moves, however, you’ll need to specify with your local kettlebell organization before a competition so you can be aware of any specifics required.

Kettlebell Sports Organizations In The US

For those who are ready to compete or want to build their skills in kettlebell sports, you’ll be pleased to know that there are now many organizations in the United States which offer this.

Depending on the area you live in, there might be centers close to you which offer training or competitions so that you can begin to get involved.

Some popular organizations include the American Kettlebell Alliance or the United States Girevoy Sport Federation, each offering events for those who are interested in competing seriously.

These are ideal even for beginners as they usually offer a lower weight class that allows you to build on your skills over time and eventually compete at higher weight levels.

If you’re serious about competing and would like to build on your skills, it’s generally recommended that you utilize the services of a professional coach.

These trainers can work with you specifically to meet your kettlebell competition goals so that you can build on your own strengths and make yourself a serious contender.

Final Thoughts

As the kettlebell is one of the only pieces of sports equipment that can offer a full body workout in an enjoyable and challenging manner, it’s no wonder that it’s become such a widely popular basis for this new sports.

Although the exact origins of the kettlebell are unknown, we have the Russians to thank for making it into a competitive sport.

Women lifting kettlebell

With more and more Americans becoming interested in the sport of kettlebell swinging, you can be sure that these competitions will be widespread eventually. The kettlebell gives competitors the perfect chance to build strength, balance, and agility, and compete in a friendly and non-contact environment.

The kettlebell offers one of the most versatile workouts with a range of moves and exercise regimes you can imagine, and when you add in the competition factor it gets even more exciting.

Everyone from beginners to professional athletes can get involved with this unique sport, and it takes no time at all to perfect the various moves involved with girevoy.

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