October 6, 2022

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Kettlebell Styles and Methods: Interpretation of AKC/WKC Method

6 min read


When someone demonstrates a lift, what matters are the mechanics of the exercise and how much weight.

Bodybuilding: 7-20 reps with weight. Muscular hypertrophy and strength gain with an emphasis on hypertrophy

Powerlifting: 1-5 reps with weight. Muscular Hypertrophy and strength gain with an emphasis on strength

Kettlebell lifting(WKC method): 30 reps – beyond with weight. Strength/endurance gain and the emphasis depends on duration(3 min to 3 hours or anywhere in between) from 8kg to 48 kg.

A kettlebell can be used for strength training provided the kettlebell is heavy enough for that rep range. But the best kettlebell lifters can do more reps with heavy kettlebells.


I can use kettlebell for different purposes.

But, let us not confuse variety with resultsThe higher the intensity and the duration of that intensity determines the work output. Work output is the ultimate goal and work output in a the least amount of time determines an optimal workout. Heavy weights are key if the rep range is enough with increase joint resiliency, endurance(aerobic capacity), anaerobic capacity(mid distance and higher heart rates) and our explosive power(10-20 second bursts). People want variety but variety comes from the concept of bodybuilding. I get to work “all my muscles”. With a few lifts I work all my muscles already so I’ve accomplished what “variety” intended to.

How is this accomplished?

I will explain the jerk utilizing three energy systems.
This lift is not cyclic in that these three components(explosive power, anaerobic and aerobic) are all used.

Explaining energy systems and explosive power from the jerk:
I believe that with kettlebell lifting, we can increase the duration of our anaerobic capacity and even explosive power. If I lift 5 reps per minute a lift called the jerk, the majority or most of my energy is aerobic. With 10-20 reps per minute I become more anaerobic.

Most people who had seen a kettlebell before had no concept of how to explode with the legs in the lift known as the jerk when they came to the certification and that’s ok. With most of those it is like starting over.

Each time I project the kettlebells overhead the explosive component of the jerk I use a fraction of that explosive power endurance( taking something out of that 10-20 second burst). The range of motion for the vertical component of force is a handful of inches varying on the power of the individual. It may look “soft” because it is fast(the concept of the one inch punch).

The next question is how do we get such speed and power and the answer is practice. I practice the one inch punch concept every time I do a rep. I have to think about it. I have learned to contract and relax so fast that it is automatic. That destroys the misconception that we don’t use tension. We do. We use the right amount and you can’t see it because it is enough to get the job done. The weight goes up. Of course with max efforts(1 rep) I have to tense like crazy and there are techniques.

Let us not confuse looking strong with being strong. 

Mastery of relaxation and tension is key for athletics. 

This is why kettlebell lifting for time is NOT mundane or cyclic but mentally taxing as well as physical. I have to explode with the same amount of power for rep 66 as I did for rep one. I can’t “Slow down” on the explosive component of the lift or I am a goner.


This concept of style implies a lot of myths about WKC methods that I can explain.

1. More work is being done per rep with the same weight, distance and time
2. It is more explosive because there is more tension involved in the lift.
3. Good technique takes away from conditioning.
4. Density training versus hanging on to the bell.

1. More work with the same weight means unfocused energy which means I train my body to become nonathletic. I’m sure there a lot of accomplished athletes who argue the point but read the words of this blog before you respond and think about what they convey. Real life is about efficiency. If I am more efficient than the next guy in the boxing ring and our strength is equal than guess what: I will hit harder. Nothing prepares you more for real life than efficiency of technique. Technique is in everything. 100 reps with 16 kg doesn’t measure against 100 reps with 48 kg. 

2. If I perform an explosive lift with more tension I get in the way of my power. I slow down because I cannot relax. It “looks” harder. I see people in YouTube do a set with the half the weight I use and I find myself noting how hard they look like they’re exerting when they are working. And even though I feel like sh$# I look like I’m ok and it’s almost disappointing at times;) You learn how to deal with hell with a semi clear head. 

3. Good technique enables us to potentially do more reps and safe reps. This means I can do more work and thus have my body adapt to be better.  If I see a heavy kettlebell I want the technique that has the least likelihood of injury.  Heavy weight in any endeavor will by its nature carry more risk.  

4. Let me clarify about switching hands, as it has been brought to my attention.  I meant to say putting the bell down.   I’ve been informed that in grappling switching hand position occurs.  Let me say this.  Putting the bell down relieves the body from time under duress.  In a UFC fight they are under duress for quite some time.  

Let me bring up a story about functional strength in use

I don’t have technique.  Technique would certainly help.  

I don’t know how credible this kid’s story was but he claimed to be a North Carolina state competitor in wrestling. My cousin talked me up and the challenge was on. I am not a good wrestler and worse grappler but it is something I would like to potentially get into at some point in my life. I don’t know any submissions so I can’t submit someone without hurting them. Wrestling you can hold the person on their back and they give up. This guy put a cradle on me and was very very quick and clinical. A cradle is when he locks hands holding one leg and behind the neck. I simply straightened my leg out of it and wrestled him using brute force and ignorance. 

I am not saying that Kettlebell lifting makes you great at wrestling but imagine if someone my size and my level (Master of Sport  and beyond in kettlebells) competed in grappling or wrestling. since Russia has hundreds of MS in kettlebells it could be very likely.

I can’t take a break during a contact sport or carrying someone from the field to the helicopter or someone out of a smoke-filled house.

Time under tension enhances joint (connective tissue) strength/durability. Time under tension is about the aerobic portion and joint resiliency enhancement of timed sets. Reps of 10 the body tries to bodybuild as an adaptation. But the joints will not be as taxed, strong or resilient compared to an individual who does timed sets with the same weight.


“GS” style refers to the technique we use and people who try to validate mistakes in technique say they use both without ever having been to a seminar. Again nothing personal but the key points are being missed in what they consider what they do a “GS” style snatch. People ask questions, some wanting honest answers and others in challenge. For the latter, I am not sure what to say. I am not being personal, only trying to help others avoid the same mistakes I made. These mistakes are technical mistakes and are easy to fix and understand as mistakes with an open mind.

For the record, the original methods in the Russian Military reference WKC methods. WKC is a name but it represents high level athletes.

There is more to methods than variances in body postures. WKC methods(Denisov, Fedorenko, Fugelev, Anasanko). I repeat there is more than body posture variances when it comes to methods.



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