T Nation

Anyone Competing in Girevoy Sport


I started training with KBs a few weeks ago and it's fun!
Anyone here competing in Girevoy?

For traditional weight training, I found that adopting a powerlifting mindset of just a single goal of lifting big numbers helped me progress a lot, even though I've never competed.

Ditto for KB. While I have no desire to compete, I want to base my routines on increasing my numbers in the C&J and Snatch. Can you share some of your routines with me? Or perhaps guide me to some site or DVD where I can find them? I'm looking at some routines which would have the C&J and Snatch at their core + assistance work. (5/3/1 for KB!!)

It seems all the KB resources and DVDs out there are based around 'working out' and getting 'fit' a concept I've never been able to define properly. I want clear numbers to pursue.


Look up Valery Fedorenko. He is the master when it comes to girevoy sport.


Valery has a ton of great GS material - you may even wish to consider his cert. I have worked with many great GS athletes - a sport that certainly requires incredible mental fortitude!

As with any other sport be sure to learn the technique and practice, practice, practice. Expect to spend a hell of a lot of time jerking and snatching.

Other than that from the other GS athletes I've worked with, some recommend supplementing your GS work with other heavy lifts (Squats, deads, etc) while others have argued that it's better to simply invest that time in the GS lifts.

I have never personally competed in GS, but if I were ever to do so, I would certainly focus on upping my limit strength with big auxiliary lifts at least once a week and spending the rest of my time performing timed sets, speed sets, and heavy sets of both long cycle, short cycle, and snatch. Hope this helps


Thank you James and Pat. I'm now going through Valerie Fedorenko's material available online. Although a certification under him is out of question for me at the moment- a little too much out of my budget.

Pat: Rkc? Cool. From what I've read RKC training is completely opposite to that of GS training. Am I correct? Just for curiosity's sake if nothing else, I'd like to look at your training template. Can you share what you do with me?



RKC is quite different from GS. Hardstyle(RKC) training would be more beneficial to those looking to increase limit strength and power, where as GS is a softer style involving an incredible amount of strength-endurance.

I'd be happy to share my training template - it's actually quite simple. Check out my website at chroniclesofstrength . com , I have many eBooks and free training regimens available on there currently.

As for what I'm doing right now, I'm following a relatively easy strength cycle with two days of conditioning.

I perform squats and military presses on monday - never any more than 5 reps per set. Conditioning (typically kettlebell complex training and sprint work) on tuesdays and thursdays. Deadlifts and Weighted Pull Ups on Friday - again never anymore than 5 reps per set.

I like to make things as simple as I possibly can to achieve the results that I am after. Hope this helps!


Check this video of Ivan Denisov jerking the beasts!


^what cross-fit wishes it was


Pat I don't want to get into a debate, but I would definitely not label kettlebell sport as soft style (witness the video above).

As far as training for kettlebell spor, the way Valery recommends (I have done his certs and competed in my first kettlebell sport meet this year) is one set of jerks, one set of snatches done 5-6 days a week.

You would start at 5 minutes for the jerk, working at 6 rpm and then build the time up to 7 minutes. Once you can do that, up the rpm and drop back to 5 minutes.

Similar for snatch. 6 minute sets to start, one hand change, start around 12-14 rpm and build up to 16-18 rpm. Then gradually increase to 8 minutes.

Once you have the basic technique down and can do a decent volume, you would add in heavy (4-12 kg heavier than your working weight) one arm jerks (one set of 10-20 per hand) and swings (1-2 sets of up to 50 reps per hand).

If you are doing long cycle, you would replace the jerks with long cycle, and possibly the snatches with cleans - if you need the extra work.

I'd highly recommend going to the WKC store and downloading Valery's video "An Introduction to Kettlebells". It covers a lot of technique points that are important for safe lifting. If you can get a WKC coach in your area for a couple of sessions, that would help tremendously too.

Also check out Scott Shetler's book "Kettlebells for Sport and Fitness", it outlines a lot of training templates, including modified Westside and 5/3/1 type programs with kettlebells as well as kettlebell sport templates.

As far as 'regular' strength work, I was relatively strong, not earth shattering, but deadlifted 229 kg at 87 kg and squatted 150 kg before starting kettlebell sport training, but it's a different ball game with the 'bells.

Your limiting factor isn't strength if you come from a weights background, it's technique, speed and endurance in varying degrees of each. I work solely with the 'bells now and you'll find that is the fastest way to make progress, whether you want to compete or not.

Of course, if you are training solely for enjoyment and fitness, and you enjoy barbell training, by all means, include it, but most top end kettlebell sport lifters do little to no barbell training (*outside of 'jumping squats' to build the legs for jerks).

Remember the joints take a longer time to adapt to the high volume of lifting, so don't be in a rush.

EDIT: extra info, both times


Nick - I hope you didn't take my "soft-style" out of context. GS is about efficiency and strength endurance. Steve Cotter was the one who used the terms "fluid" and "soft" style to contrast GS to Hardstyle, I simply lifted the terms from him - I was not by any means saying that GS competitors are "soft".

GS is most certainly a sport, and if you want to get good at a sport, well you have to practice it. Nobody got good at golf by playing tennis... that I know of at least...

So if you want to have solid GS numbers, then you have to snatch and jerk.


Get Mike Mahler's in the Age of Quarrel. Lot of GS stuff. Steve Cotter and the IKFF boys doing cleans, clean and jerks, long cycle as well as snatching. It's a great dvd for GS.


Hey Nick. Thanks for this.
I have purchased Intro to KBs just this week- but have been having internet issues and have not been able to download it. Hope to do it this weekend.

12-14 rpm for the Snatch???!!! man! I can manage only 4-6 /min and only for a set currently.

Is this routine the same one that's been outlined in the video? If so, cool.
If not, can yu please provide some more details? As to- work on the snatch and jerk everyday for 5-6 days or to alternate? Any other tips?

I googled the book and the author.I think you meant "Kettlebells for Sport, Strength and Fitness".
I won't be able to get the book though- at least not anytime soon. This book is more costly than the video!
KB sport templates: does the author have articles/ interviews online where he gives basic outlines? (Kinda like Jim Wendler does/did for 5/3/1)

Yeah..max strength is really not a big factor with KBs. When I 1st went to purchase a KB, I push pressed a 28kg KB multiple reps with some discomfort. So I decided to purchase a 24kg KB. I guess I won't have to tell you what happened when I tried to perform timed sets for swings, jerks etc. :frowning:
I then purchased a 16kg and use that mostly now. I use the 24kg for 2 hand swings and for some heavy overhead pressing. My advice to 1st time purchasers would be to err on the side of a lighter KB. 10 min sets- hell!


Hey again Pat. Nice website. Cool videos. Thumbs up to your site!


I've been doing the WKC beginners routine- what's outlined above:

Snatch v/s Jerk:
What was confusing then and is confusing now too is how come the rpm for Snatch is more than the C&J? For me its the reverse.

Forearm pain:
On the Jerk, what really stops me is the ball pressing against my forearm. The weight is just too much and I have to stop after 2-4 minutes max. In C&J I don't think I've ever given up because of cardio limit or shoulder strength problem. It's ALWAYS because of the weight pressing against my forearm in the rack position.

Any tips on the above?


The snatch is a a lot faster because a) there is no proper rest position, unlike the long cycle clean and jerk, or the jerk, where you can rest in the rack and b) because it is one fluid movement, not the combination of two movements as in the long cycle.

As far as rpm goes, 12 reps per minute is actually quite slow, doing one snatch every 5 seconds means you are holding it for a relatively long time at lock out.

I'd venture to suggest that you are not fixating the 'bell overhead long enough, and not stopping in the rack after the clean, both are requirements for a rep to be counted in competition. Whether you are competing or not is beside the point, you want to ensure the highest quality of lifting for both safety's sake, and the sake of higher numbers down the track.

Here is a good video from the Ice Chamber Kettlebell Girls (worth checking more of their stuff out, they are very high level lifters and coaches) with Ivan Denisov demonstrating good versus bad technique in the long cycle:

Here is my teacher/coach (who is also MS in biathlon and long cycle) with same snatch technique drills:

Start with the low swing to get the leg movement:

The high swing starts integrating the upper and lower body and adds a rotational component:

The final video talks about lockout and finishing the rep:

Here you can see the best in the business in slow motion, notice the rotation, which is quite subtle: his shoulder comes forward on the back swing, back on the upswing and then forward again at lockout.

As far as building speed, like I said, 12 rpm should feel about right to start with, anything slower than that likely means something is awry. I can't really suggest anything without seeing you lift.

Regarding your forearm pain, there is often some initial discomfort when adapting to the weight of the 'bell resting on your arm, but it shouldn't be pain. Is the 'bell contacting your biceps first on the clean to absorb some impact?

There is also the case of the way the handle (and thus the 'bell) is placed. It should be diagonal across your hand, resting on the 'heal', roughly where the pisiform would be. You will notice Valery, Ivan and Emily all do this.

Again, it's really hard to comment without seeing.


See my above post re: snatch speed.

To be honest, I haven't actually seen the video, I'm going to purchase it though, because I want a reference point.

I'm going to assume, if it's 15 exercises, they are one handed lifts, and the routine is 3 exercises done for time? That is the WKC Fitness Protocol of which I'm familiar.

This is a good starting point, and depending on your goals, a good ending point as well. Double bell work is really only necessary for KB sport training, although it is pretty fun I must admit.

You can start the snatch with one minute per hand, build speed, then go one and half, build speed, two minutes etc. etc.

Yes, jerk, then snatch, everyday.

For the 5/3/1, think triumvariate with jerks after the assistance work on squat/deadlift days and snatches on bench press/press days.

Yeah, start light. I snatched with a 12 kg for the first few weeks, and still refer back to it now to refine technique, flaws really get exposed after about 3 minutes on each hand for me.

Good luck.


Head on over to the WKC Store and pick up some VF Kettlesheilds (get the heavy duty ones) I broke 2 pairs with the 24kg. Sometimes you may even have to get an extra set of padding under the sheilds, they work like a charm. An open hand at the top of fixation, getting the bell just right across the plam makes a huge difference. Emily is amazing of course Valery is the bomb but dont forget (my coach) Catherine Imes watch her stuff on Ice Chamber.
Valery has some interesting theory's on there is no hard/soft style..

Kettlebell Sport training works, and they are tough. Nothing can compare to trying to survive a 10min set with a 24kg bell.

Bringing Kettlebell Sport to Canada!

Master of Sport Longcycle


nick.down.under: Thanks for the videos! Have cleared up more points for me.
Snatch time: Yes- it seems like I stayed at the top for too long.
Also my shoulders and sometimes my grip give out on snatches. Need to work on them.

No..its not because of the impact. It's because the actual ball of the KB is resting on my forearm extensors area in the rack position. But from what I'm seeing it seems a lot of athletes rack it on the chest..kindda...


Hey Misty.
no shields with me- so I wrapped my forearams with a towel and did my jerks today. It works! I think I'll be investing in a pair of cricket forearm guards. Ordering stuff from the US always hits me hard for customs duty and the postage. :frowning:
HS v/s GS: yeah..I've seen that video.
Btw I saw on another post that you've opened youw own gym. Cool! Best of luck with that.



Cricket forearm protectors, wow not something we would get here! I also took an idea from US Lifter Andy Fitting, he's crazy strong and was having forearm issues to..

He shaped a peice of PVC pipe to fit his forearm then use a tensor bandage so he could wrap it, I tried it to, I split a 1 1/2 inch pipe and with a lot of patience started forming it a sanding disk on my drill, it took awhile but once I got the shape it was just tweaking it to get the ends to curve so it would not cut my skin.

It worked like a charm it cost me under 10 bucks the sanding disk is what cost the most I had the pvc pipe hanging around.

If you want to see a pic let me know,

Good luck


Pic: yes plz!