May 27, 2022

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IUKL World Cup: Kettlebell Lifting

4 min read

On our website, we have been following Kettlebell Lifter Marty Farrell, as he shares some of his thoughts on kettlebell lifting. Why should athletes do kettlebells? For those who haven’t tried lifting them, it’s a good way to pack on a lot of muscle in very short time. Not only that, but you improve your balance, coordination and agility.

Studies in Russia, going way back to 1973, proves it increases your overall strength and endurance. It enables you to achieve a balanced development of all your muscle groups. If you continue with a long-term program you also fix those particular deficiencies that need to be fixed.

Kettlebells allows you to work muscles in ways that are different from traditional weight lifting. One of the biggest benefits that most lifters cite is improved endurance. Marty has trained for at least a decade in kettlebell lifting. Many muscular 200 lb men cannot lift a 70 lb kettlebell as many times as he can in a 10 minute round. But if they train like him, they will!

A single set, can be up to 10,000 lbs in total. For the competitors in the event, that is just one set! You don’t get the opportunity to place the bells on the ground in order to rest. Marty’s focus and inner strength has let him become the best in the nation. Just recently, Marty competed in Las Vegas against the best lifters in the world. So, how did he do?

Marty told me via email two days before leaving for Vegas that he was looking forward to going against the Ukrainians. He knew they were good. Kettlebell lifting is huge in many nations. He was going to give his best.

Mike (Ed)


Marty Farrell placed third overall out of 5 competitors.  Two of the lifters came from Ukraine, one from Russia and one from Kazakhstan.

Kettlebell Jerk

1.  110 repetitions (Russia)
2. 101 repetitions (Ukraine)
3.  93 repetitions (Ukraine)
4.  86 repetitions (US) Marty
5.   64 repetitions (Kazakstan)

Kettlebell Snatch
1. 169 repetitions (Russia)
2. 138 repetitions (US) Marty
3. 132 repetitions (Russia)
4. 119 repetitions (Ukraine)
5.  80 repetitions (Kazakstan)

1.  Jerk + Snatch/2 = 101 +84.5 = 185.5 (Ukraine)
2.  Jerk + Snatch/2 = 110+ 66 = 176 (Russia)
3.  Jerk + Snatch/2 = 86 + 69 = 155 (US) Marty
4.  Jerk + Snatch/2 = 93+58 = 151 (Ukraine)
5.  Jerk + Snatch/2 = 64+40 = 104 (Kazakstan)

Here’s what Marty had to say about his performance in Las Vegas

Rocky Balboa quote: It’s not about hard you hit, it’s about hard you can get hit.”

As long as you gave your best and left nothing behind, that’s all we can do and learn from mistakes in the kettlebell sport. In the sport there are three events: Kettlebell Jerk (one clean followed by consecutive jerks), Kettlebell Snatch ( swing the bell overhead in a position of fixation and switching hands one time in 10 minutes), Kettlebell Clean and Jerk( like the jerk except a clean after each jerk instead of one in the beginning.   Kettlebell Jerk and Kettlebell Snatch are separated by at least one hour of rest and the event biathlon is what it is called.

For the first time in my competitive life, I completed both 10 minute events.  I did 9 min 40 sec with Snatch before and 10 min Jerk.  This was 86 jerks with two 70 lbs kettlebell in 10 minutes and 138 snatches (75 right/63 left) in 10 minutes with one 70 lb kettlebell.

Here was the first time I did 10 minutes both lifts and the mental hurdle is over.  Physically I was exhausted due to travel and a dry stuffy room with loud noise and chaos.  From a technical standpoint, breathing takes over and allows us to focus and get set up.  Still, the physical exhaustion when increased battles mental fortitude.  In previous sets I had been stronger in my body and weaker in my heart/mind and gave out early.  To be perfectly honest, staying for 10 minutes as far as why was unknown to me.  I just had to.

It was for USA, it was for pride, it was for my coach, my students, my friends and my competitors.

As far as circumstances, they are distractions.  It doesn’t matter how we got there, how we felt, where we are, or even what is happening, but we must stay the course to keep calm and gut it out.  If we get our tail kicked we realize clarity.  If we win we celebrate.  Either scenario is positive but the common denominator must be to take it on.  “It you’re going through hell, keep going”  Winston Churchill.  If you’re going through hell, give it hell.  If you can’t win, make your opponent work to win.




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