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From the Platform to the Pitch, How Kettles Can Round Out Your Athletic Training Program

2 Junior lifters making it look easy with the 32's

2 Junior lifters making it look easy with the 32’s

Well, I’m still reeling from last weekends adventure at the European Kettlebell Championships, even though it’s business as usual here at WG-Fit, I can’t get the performances of those Russian Athletes out of my head.

To see these guys do what they do is magic. The strength, the power and the endurance on display was staggering.

I was especially blown away by the Juniors, they were incredible. Lads aged 18 and under stepping up and banging out reps with 32kg bells and making it look easy.

And then Ksenia Dedyukhina, a 22 yr old Russian girl steps up to the platform for the womens snatch event. Ksenia weighed in at 60.5kg and looks like butter wouldn’t melt. Then she starts.

Ksenia: making GS sexy

Ksenia, a very sexy Snatch

10 minutes later she stops. She puts down her 24kg bell, nice and gently after only 174 perfectly identical reps of the snatch. I’ll reiterate that for you.

174 snatches with a 24kg kettle in 10 minutes with only one hand change, by a 60kg female who walked away after the set as if she’d just spent the last ten minutes polishing her nails rather than throwing an accumulated 4176kg over her head in a mere ten minutes!

Here’s a video of her in Russia where she actually scored higher than she did here in Ireland and set a new Russian record:


Anyhow, that enough of me gushing about the awesomeness of these specialists.

Can we take anything away from them and apply it into our own athletic development?

For sure!

Most strength and conditioning coaches at the moment tend towards either Olympic Weight lifting or Powerlifting for their athletes strength development. And this is fair enough.

An athlete doesn’t need a double or triple bodyweight Snatch like you see in the Olympics. Neither do they need an Andy Bolton like 1000lb Deadlift. But they certainly can take from these feats and use similar training techniques and lifting protocols to develop their strength and power levels. It’s exactly what I do with my guys. The barbell in WG-Fit is used to perform Deadlifts, Squats, Power Cleans and High Pulls, nearly always for three or less reps.

So that’s maximal strength covered.

What about Strength Endurance or Power Endurance?

This is where the Kettle lives. This is what the Kettlebell Sports guys do best. In fact the Russians coined the term “Strength-Power-Endurance” to describe the special kind of fitness needed to survive the 10minute set.

It’s the ability to remain strong and to repetitively develop power in the face of fatigue. To just keep on pumping. To never lie down and die.

This is what makes a kettlebell lifter and it is this that we can take from them and apply to our athletic training.

Kettlebell lifts fill a gap in people’s training that can be hard to build. Most explosive type lifts are dangerous to perform for higher reps. Think Olympic lifts and Plyometric drills. The kettlebell lifts are very similar to the Olympic lifts but are cyclical in nature. The all utilise the stretch shortening cycle, similar to a plyometric drill, but without the impact of repetitive jumping.

correct swing technique loading the posterior chain and activating the stretch reflex

correct swing technique loading the posterior chain and activating the stretch reflex

Develop power and power endurance with bodyweight training

Broad jumps use the same force vectors as the swing

Training the stretch shortening cycle is a massive area of importance to any athlete, especially if their sport requires rapid direction changes, the ability to absorb, redirect and reissue force and be generally awesome.

This weekend I’ll be down in Dolan Fitness, Tullamore where I’ll be teaching the core kettlebell lifts and complimentary bodyweight training drills to help develop all round athleticism. That means by the end of the day you’ll have the tools to develop strength, power, endurance and agility using the Kettle and your own bodyweight.


Dave Hedges

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