Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Girevoy Sport!

Its been quite a gap since my last post. I've been experimenting with quite a few things and trying to find a focus to my training since finishing with Enter The Kettlebell. I've looked into Scott Sonnon's CST training, reading his "Big Book of Clubbell Training." I found the text fascinating, and full of the type of in depth exercise science that I love to read. I plan to incorporate several of the exercise modalities and routines outlined in his book into my own training regimen. However, diving full tilt into CST training has been put on hold due to a sudden interest in pursuing the Girevoy Sport seriously. I briefly explained some of what GS is in a previous posting, but will now expand on the subject briefly, and will then explain some of what my own training has entailed.

The Sport
Girevoy Sport is a kettlebell lifting sport revolving around two events that can be entered into. You may enter one of the events, not both.

The Biathalon
  • Consists of the double kettlebell jerk and the single kettlebell snatch
  • The two lifts are separated by at least 30 minutes rest time
  • Only one hand switch is allowed in the snatch
  • One can only rest in the rack position for jerk and in the locked out overhead position for snatch
The Long Cycle
  • Consists of a single lift, the double kettlebell clean and jerk
  • One can only rest in the rack position
  • Every jerk must be preceded by a clean
Competition Format
  • Regardless of event entered, each lift has the same format.
  • The goal is your max repetitions of the lift in good form within 10 minutes
  • The bell cannot touch the ground and one can only rest in the approved positions
Rankings can be found HERE

My Training
I experimented with Russian Escalating Density Training (REDT) wherein the total work remains the same but over time you decrease rest and how many "sets" you perform the work in.

For example, your reps per minute (RPM) would remain the same throughout this cycle, but your set scheme would look like this over the course of several weeks:

  1. 6 rounds of 1 minute each
  2. 5 rounds of 2 minute each
  3. 4 rounds of 2.5 minutes each
  4. 3 rounds of 3 minutes each
  5. 2 rounds of 5 minutes each
  6. 1 round of 6 minutes
  7. 1 round of 7 minutes, etc.
You can do a few more rounds of smaller increments after the sixth step to increase the volume, and once you reach 1 round of 10 minutes straight, you'd start at the beginning with an increased RPM or a heavier KB.

This allows you to get better at the sport by DOING the sport, but I found that it took a LOT out of me, and it was tough to do any sort of supplementary work.

I stumbled upon the book "Kettlebells for Sport, Strength and Fitness" written by an AKC and GS guy named Scott Shetler. Stay tuned for a full review, but the book had some pretty interesting info on the sport in general and had some great routines in the back of the book both for GS enthusiasts and for Powerlifters/athletes looking to incorporate GS style training into their current routine. His program for GS athletes involved shorter, less taxing KB workouts with assistance exercises done several (up to six) times per week. I like the idea of working the exercises as if it were strength practice, not a workout, so I liked the approach and decided to give it a shot. I'll be posting my results in future posts.

More than likely, the wise sensible thing to do would be to shoot for Rank IV or III in the Sport since I'm just a beginner, but not only am I foolhardy, I'm also limited by my budget and lack of kettlebells. The only truly matching set of KBs I own are my 20 kg ones, so those are the ones I"m currently using. If I can reach 35 reps in the Long Cycle Clean and Jerk with my 20 kgs that means I can qualify for Rank II, and since that's all I have to work with, that's what I'm going for.

Let me know what you think! There's a meet in GA in December that I plan to go compete in!


  1. Check out the RMAX Kettlebell Foundation DVD. There's some great stuff on there. Detailed instruction on the GS lifts plus joint mobility and yoga flows designed specifically to compensate for KB training. Good luck!

  2. Hey Deanmc,

    I have a huge amount of respect for Scott after viewing some of his material. His KB Foundation DVD is definitely on my "must buy" list. I also would like to incorporate some Clubbell swinging as an active recovery tool in between sessions.