Om Kettlebell Sport

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Russian stamp with kettlebell lifting theme (snatch and jerk depicted).

Kettlebell lifting (Russian: гиревой спорт, girevoy sport) is a weight lifting sport performed with kettlebells. Competitive kettlebell lifting has a long history in Russia but developed as an organised, standard sport under the name kettlebell lifting during the 1960s.


The sport consists of three lifts: the snatch, jerk and the long jerk.

  • Snatch: A single kettlebell is swung using one hand from between the knees to above the head in a single motion.
  • Jerk: Two kettlebells are grasped in each arm at shoulder level and stabilised in the ‘rack position’, then jerked above the head.
  • Long Jerk: Two kettlebells are cleaned from knee level to chest level, then jerked to above the head.


Competition format is usually composed of two categories; biathlon and the long cycle:

  • Biathlon involves the girevik (kettlebell lifter) performing a set of jerks for ten minutes, followed by a set of snatches for ten minutes.
  • Long cycle involves the girevik performing a set of long jerks for ten minutes.

Sanctioning bodies require the use of 1-pood (16 kg), 1.5-pood (24 kg), and 2-pood (32 kg) competition kettlebells of similar size with identifying colours (yellow, green, and red respectively).