There are very few exercises that challenge the strength and endurance of both the upper and lower body together, as a Girevoy Sport event does! For those that do not know, Girevoy sport, or GS is a sport that is based on competing in different events/exercises that involve lifting kettlbells. There are three basic exercises in which the competitors compete, which are, the snatch, the jerks, and the clean and jerks. The competitors try to do as many repetitions as they can in a 10 minute time limit in their chosen event, and the winner is the one who does the highest number of reps. To get a better idea, check out Youtube for some cool clips of people participating in the Girevoy Sport event, and be ready to be amazed at what some Girevoy Sport athletes can do.
For those that do not wish to compete, but are into general fitness, it will be useful to know that all the exercises in Girevoy Sport involve using multiple muscle groups, and that makes it a great form of workout which gives great results, in lesser time. If you have any experience in doing some kettlebell work, then you will know how rewarding the exercises can be. However, unlike training for general fitness with kettlbells or even with dumbbells/barbells, training for the Girevoy Sport event involves doing longer sets for an exercise, rather than stopping after 5-10 reps. In Girevoy Sport, one generally trains for time, and does the reps in a paced manner.
So, for eg in Girevoy Sport, you may do something like 1 minute of kettlebell snatches at the rate of 12 reps per minute (rpm), or you may do something like clean and jerks @8rpm. Also, you are not allowed to keep the bell down till the set is complete. This type of training has multiple benefits, which include:
Develops great cardiovascular fitness
- Burns fat
- Improves muscular endurance
- Builds strength
Here is what master trainer Steve Cotter has to say about the benefits of Girevoy Sport training:
“As for benefits to the participants, whether they compete or simply train alone at home or the gym, there are many physiological and mental benefits. First of all, girevoy sport is a higher level of development with kettlebell training. Like in all other sports, the best results are demonstrated by the active athletes. If kettlebell training for fitness gives us a sum of 10 then girevoy sport will give us a sum of 100. Meaning it is fitness plus. It is a very high level of fitness.”
As you must have guessed by now, that Girevoy Sport training is not easy, but then again, anything worth having is never really easy. If you really wish to take your fitness to a high level, then you will be willing to give the best that you can in terms of effort and dedication. However, it is also important that you start by taking baby steps, and not try to rush yourself into problems with technique and injuries.
If you are interested, and are just starting out, then begin with light-moderate weight bells, and start slow. Generally, for men the 16 kgs, and 8 kgs for women is a good weight to start with. In the first few weeks, I suggest that you train for reps, rather than try to do paced work. Then, after a few weeks or a few months, move onto proper Girevoy Sport training involving paced work.
Here is what a sample workout focusing on snatches could look like in the early stages:
Warm up with joint mobility and low rep snatches
Kettlebell snatch practice-
1 minute (men-20 kgs, women-12 kgs) @12rpm, left, right
1 ½ minute (men-16 kgs, women-8 kgs) @16-18rpm, left, right
1 minute (men-16 kgs, women-8 kgs) @18-20rpm, left, right
1 arm kb swings- 2-3 sets of 30-60 seconds (men-24 kgs, women 16 kgs)
Note- snatches are to be done one arm, and hand change is to be done only after the required time and reps are completed on one side
Similarly a workout of clean and jerks, also known as long cycle could look like this:
Warm up with joint mobility and low rep clean and jerks
Long cycle practice-
1 minute (men-20 kgs, women-12 kgs )@6-8rpm
2 sets of 1 ½ minutes (men-16 kgs, women-8 kgs) @8rpm
25-50 push ups in as few sets as possible
Note-long cycle can be done with one or two bells. In contests men use two and women use one bell.
While on paper these workouts look very simple and easy, in reality however believe me that they are not. In your early stages, even 1-2 minute rounds will be very challenging and will force you to work hard. Of course, as you get better technically and learn how to relax between repetitions, it will seem a lot more manageable. Thus as you get better you should try to do longer sets, go at a faster pace, and eventually move to heavier bells.
And if you have been doing some kettlbell training, and would love to try a kettlebell contest, then you can participate in the Kolkata kettlebell meet on 19th January, 2013. This is possibly India’s first ever kettlebell meet where participants will be competing and testing their skills. However, unlike professional contests, this event will have a 5 minute time limit, so that even newcomers can compete and not just the seasoned pros. For more details you can check out the following link- http://www.sarkartraining.net/p/kolkata-kettlebell-meet-2013.html
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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