What is Kettlebell Sport?

What is Girevoy or Kettlebell Sport

Kettlebell sport or Girevoy Sport is the traditional Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. Kettlebell sport evolved from athletic and military circles and slowly spread to the wider population. In Ireland the ” ALL Ireland Kettlebell Lifting Federation” is recognised as the single national governing body by the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (World Governing Body) of sport in Ireland, including its disciplines and events. The promotion of Kettlebell Sport ,development and foster of athletes in the 32 Counties of Ireland at international level is the core and primary objective of the AIKLF.

Male athletes traditionally compete in: the two arm Jerk and 1 arm snatch biathlon and/ or the long cycle. Female athletes traditionally only compete in the snatch event, but the AIKLF is working actively with the IUKL to have more lifts introduced for women, such as the Long Cycle & Biathlon. Kettlebells are known as “Girya” in Russian, and the athletes that lift them are called Gireviks. In Girevoy Sport, every athlete competes in a division according to body weight, kettlebell weight, age (from 16 to +80 yrs of age) and sex. The objective of each event is to complete as many repetitions as possible of the lift within a ten minute period without letting the kettlebell down on the platform. To accomplish this feat the athlete requires a tremendous level of endurance and strength, both physically & mentally. These qualities are achieved through thorough training. A judge is assigned to each athlete to ensure that only proper repetitions are counted and the winner is determined by the highest number of repetitions achieved in that weight division. Men compete with 32kg kettlebells for professionals, 24kg for amateurs and veterans, 16kg for juniors. Women compete with a 16kg for amateur or 24kg kettlebell for professionals.

kettlebells are colour coded as follows. Yellow: 16kg – Green: 24kg – Red: 32kg.

Note: At open and 5min competitions there is a greater selection of kettlebells, which will encourage beginners into the sport.

Five minute competitions are calculated using the co-efficient formula

This is calcuated as follows:

(reps x weight of the bell) / (square root of athletes bodyweight)

10 minute competitions are calculated as normal under official body weight categories.

The three traditional lifts are:

Kettlebell Jerk lift :requires you to clean the kettlebells to your chest once, and then jerk them as many times overhead as possible in 10mins

Irish team members performing the Jerk Lift at World Championships in Latvia 2012 :


Kettlebell Snatch lift : is performed by swinging the kettlebell between your legs and brought up to the overhead position in one uninterrupted motion. Only one hand switch is permitted in 10mins

Irish Female team members performing the Snatch Lift at World Championships in Latvia :

Video 1: http://youtu.be/kRUJCCO7Ngw ,

Video 2 : http://youtu.be/luxmWwplvTg

Video 3 : http://youtu.be/R0Mbn_Tmte8

Kettlebell Long Cycle lift : requires for a clean before each jerk for 10mins :

Irish team performing Long Cycle at World Championships in Latvia 2012 :

Video 1 : http://youtu.be/kqSVYMnSRys

Video 2 : http://youtu.be/PyF_0K6Lt_A

Kettlebell sport meets the Irish Sports Council’s definition of sport contained in the Council of Europe’s European Sports Charter 1993 as one of the primary criteria when assessing applications for recognising sporting activities.

“Sport” means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental wellbeing, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.