Many new developments have been made since this article was written with many more groups setting up ranking systems and I will be rewriting this article shortly to reflect that
Getting an International Kettlebell RankKettlebells are great if you want to get in shape, loss a bit of weight or put on a bit of muscle. But for the more competitive amongst us the World Kettlebell Club provides a 7 tier ranking system for you to aim for, starting at the bottom with "Rank IV" and going all the ways up to the top with the illustrious title of "Master of Sport World Class"
For men there are two lifts in which ranks are awarded, the Jerk/Snatch total and the Long Cycle. For women the two events are the One-handed Jerk/Snatch and the One-handed Long Cycle. Below is a link to the WKC Ranking Table:
World Kettlebell Club Ranking Table
Now to explain what all that means.
(Note: Videos are linked to for demonstration purposes. Don't just blindly copy what you see, get an instructor to show you how to properly execute these moves)
This event is also called the Jerk/Snatch total. For men and women the kettlebell is snatched overhead for 10 minutes.
You must change hands once (ie, if you start with the right hand you must swith to left at some stage) and you are only allowed to switch hands the one time! This is very important because when you switch
from the one hand to the other you can't switch back. The way your snatch score is measured is by doubling the score with your weakest arm. So if you do 35 snatches with your right and and then 41 with
your left your Snatch score is 70 (35 x 2). If you do 35 with your right and 100 with your left, your score is still 70!
The Jerk differs for men and women. For men they jerk two weights at the same time (one per arm).
So an example for men: According to the WKC table above, if you weigh 90kg or over, you must perform 78/75 + 75 with 12kg kettlebells to get the "Rank IV". This means that, using a 12kg kettlebell per arm you must do 78 Jerks in less then 10 minutes. After a recovery period you must then perform 75 snatches per arm in less then 10 minutes. That's a total of 140 snatches!
For Women they perform the jerk on each arm independently. So where men jerk both weights at the same time, women lift first with one arm, then with the other.
An example for women: According to the WKC table above, if you weigh 75kg or over, you must perform 60+60/60+60 with 8kg kettlebells to get the "Rank IV". This means that, using an 8kg kettlebell you have 10 minutes in which time you must perform 60 jerks with your right hand and then 60 jerks with your left hand (or vice versa). I can't find a definate answer, but it is best to take it that, as with the snatch you may only change arms once and that unlike the snatch your jerk score is your total of each arm (89 + 87 gives a score of 176 instead of 174 (87 X 2)). After a recovery period you must then perform at least 60 snatches per arm in 10 minutes.
As far as I know the Jerk is always performed first. If anyone can give a definate answer please email me.
This is basically an Olympic Clean & Jerk and differs between men and women.
For men both weights are cleaned to the chest or "racked" position and are then jerked overhead, completing one movement. The weights are then swung under the legs and the second rep begins. For our 90kg athlete from the above example he has to peform 69 reps in less then 10 minutes with a 12kg kettlebell per arm to acheive "Rank IV". Below is a video of Valery Fedorenko, President of the WKC, performing a 3 minute Long-Cycle test
For women the Long-Cycle is performed one-handed like the Jerk in the Biathlon. Holding a kettlebell in one hand the kettlebell is cleaned to the chest and then jerked overhead. This counts as one rep with that hand. The kettlebell must be switched to the other hand at some stage and can only be switched once
An example for women: According to the WKC table above, if you weigh 75kg or over, you must perform 50+50 with an 8kg kettlebell in less then 10 minutes to acheive "Rank IV". This means that holding the 8kg kettlebell in your right hand you must perform at least 50 reps and then switch to your left (or vice versa) and perform another 50 reps (at least) in less then 10 minutes. An example can be seen in this video (note in the side bar it's stated that in this competition they were allowed to switch hands multiple times. Anyone know the official ruling? Also, the yellow kettlebells are 16kg, so the women using them are either trying to acheive or have already acheived "Candidate for Master of Sport" which is the 3rd highest of the 7 ranks!)
Rankings and CompetitionsThese lifts can be performed either to acheive a rank from the World Kettlebell Club or as parts of competitions. A ranking is required to compete at a World Kettlebell Club championships, but there are many other international governing bodies that do not require you to be ranked, such as the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting and the International Gira Sport Federation. Results from recent World and American Kettlebell Club competitions can be found at The American Kettlebell Club Blog
Sadly, doing the required lifts when you have some spare time and boasting about your acheivement to your friends wont get you a ranking. You will either have to do the required lifts at a WKC approved competition or video yourself and submit the video to the WKC. I have no information on Irish people who have acheived any WKC ranking but hope to have a go myself soon and I will update this page when I have further information.
General RulesWhen lifting you are not allowed to put the kettlebell on the ground to rest. Doing so signifies that you are ending your attempt. So when you take up that kettlebell it can't touch the ground again until you are finished. If you put it on the ground and attempt to continue lifting you are liable to disqualification.
You are not allowed to rest the kettlebell on your shoulders or any other bodypart (crouching with the kettlebell on your knees, etc). If you are tired and want to take a break in the Long-Cycle you can do so with the weights racked on your chest. In the snatch you can do so when you have the weight locked overhead. These techniques can be better explained by an instructor.
When getting a ranking or taking part in a competition you must wear shorts and a t-shirt so that your knees and elbows can be seen. This is so that the judges can see you are properly "locking". Again, this can be better explained by an instructor. When jerking or snatching a weight the arm has to be fully extended overhead with the elbow locked or the rep will not be counted.
If you have any information relating to WKC Ranking's not included above please contact: