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The Rules of Kettlebell Competition

The Rules of Girevoy Sport Competition

I. Competition Classification and Events
Competition Classification

1. Girevoy sport competitions are classified into: a) Individual; b) Team; c) Individual and team combined.

In an individual competition only the personal results of a competitor are factored in; they determine his place in the meet. In team and individual/team meets the results of each competitor, as well as that of his team,are factored in to determine the placement of individual competitors and teams.

2. The type of each competition is defined in the given meet’s regulations.

Competition Events

There are two types of events in competitions with 12, 16, 24, and 32kg kettlebells:

  • The jerk of two kettlebells from the chest with two arms and the snatch of a kettlebell with one and then the other arm.

  • The jerk of two kettlebells from the chest with two arms with lowering of the kettlebells to a hang and a clean after each lift (the long cycle C&J).

In men’s division two lift competition first the jerk is performed; the snatch is performed second.

In women’s division two lift competition the snatch is performed first; jerks are performed second.

The meet must be organized to allow at a rest period of at least 30 minutes between the two exercises. (jerks and snatches).

As long as the minimum standard listed above is observed, the exact duration of the rest period is to be determined by the head referee.

Each weight class must compete within one day.

II. Competitors
The Competitors’ Age

The following groups of athletes are allowed to compete:

  • youths (14-18 years of age)

  • open(older than 18 years of age)

  • masters (over 40 years of age)

A competitor’s age is determined by his/her year of birth (as of Jan 1 of the current year rather than his actual birthday).

Weight Classes

The competitors are divided into the following weight classes:

Youths (in kg)

Men, juniors, masters (in kg)

Women, juniors, masters (in kg)









70 +










80 +

90 +


Each competitor may only compete in one weight class in any given meet.

The Weigh-in Procedure

  1. The weigh-in begins two hours before the start of the competition and lasts an hour.

  2. A dedicated room is provided for the weigh-in. The referees and one official representative from each team are allowed to be present.

  3. The weigh-in of the competitors in any given weight class is conducted by the referees who are about to referee that particular class.

  4. Each competitor is weighed in once. A competitor who did not make his weigh class during the first weigh-in is allowed another weigh-in. Naked weigh-ins are not mandatory, but no allowances will be given for clothing.

  5. During the mandate commission the order in which the competitors will be lifting is determined by a draw.

The Rights and Responsibilities of a Competitor

  1. The competitor must be familiar with the competition rules and the regulations of the given meet.

  2. The competitor may address the referees’ commission only through his team representative, the captain, or the referee-with-the-competitors.

  3. The competitor must observe strict discipline, be respectful to other competitors, spectators, and referees. A competitor who does not show up for the rules briefing is removed from the competition.

  4. The competitor is forbidden from using any devices that ease lifting of the kettlebell(s).

  5. The competitor has the right to prepare the kettlebells before his attempt. It is done in a specially designated space visible to the referees.

  6. The competitor has the right to endorse a commercial product. He or his team’s representative needs permission from the host organization and the referees.

The Competitor’s Outfit

The competitor shall wear shorts and a T-shirt or a lifter’s singlet and athletic shoes. Briefs must be worn underneath. Weightlifting belts no wider than 10cm(4inches) and wraps no longer than 1.5m are allowed. The wraps may be applied to an area no wider than 10cm on the wrists and 25cm on the knees. Wrist and knee braces are allowed.

Only magnesia and/or chalk are allowed in kettlebell preparation.

Belts worn by competitors may not be cushioned, padded, or wrapped to provide extra support to the lifter.

Team Captains and Representatives

  1. Each organization participating in an individual/team or team competition must have a representative.

  2. The representative appointed by the team leader is responsible for the members’ discipline and showing up at the competition.

  3. . The representative is present at the weigh-in of his team, at the drawing of the lot order, and the deliberations of the referees provided the representatives are allowed to these deliberations.

  4. During the competition the representatives must remain in a specially designated for them area or among the competitors.

  5. If a team does not have a representative the team’s captain takes over the duties.

  6. The representative (captain) has the right to address issues and protests related only to his team’s members to the referees’ body.

III. Equipment

The weight of the kettlebells may not deviate by more than 0.5 KG (+or--) from the specified weight and the handle of the kettlebell can be no less than 35 mm

(1.38 inches) in diameter or 110 mm in circumference (4.33 inches). The meet director has the final say as to which bells can be used as well as determining a method for which lifter uses which of the available bells.

Competitions are held on a platform (flat area).

Meet director(s) shall provide adequate flooring protection as well as a safe, stable, level lifting surface.

IV. The Referees’ Body

  1. The referees’ body is staffed by the organization conducting the given competition.

  2. The referees’ body consists of the chief referee and the referee-fixators (one per platform).

  3. A girevoy sport referee must be very familiar with these rules and know how to use them in a competition. He must be objective in his decisions, serve as an example of discipline and organization; he must be familiar with the regulations for a given meet.

  4. The organization conducting the competition will provide a meet
    commandant to take care of the competition logistics.

Original Version Date: July 18, 2004 Revised: July 4, 2005 Revised: August 23, 2006

The Chief Referee and his Deputies

1. The chief referee manages the work of the referees’ body. He is responsible for the following to the organization hosting the meet: good organization, discipline, and safety of the competition, providing equal conditions to all competitors, strict adherence to the existing rules, objective judging, scoring, and tallying of the results.

2. The head referee must:

  1. Have a meeting with the members of the referees’ body and a seminar with the representatives regarding the rules of the competition and the appropriate hardware;

  2. Together with the jury, determine the tasks of the referees’ body and the referees;

  3. Manage the competition and solve any political issues;

  4. Oversee the referees during the meet and when determining the winners;

  5. Rule on any petitions and protests.

  6. Provide a report and the required documentation to the organization conducting the competition within five days;

  7. Schedule and conduct a meeting of the referees’ body in the course of the competition.

3. The head referee has the right to:

  1. Change the schedule of the competition should the need arise;

  2. Disallow the competitors whose technical preparation, dress code, or equipment does not meet the requirements specified in the rules or the regulations for the given meet.

4. The head referee’s deputy follows the directions of the head referee. In case of the latter’s absence, the former performs the latter’s responsibilities.

Note: The chief referee has no right to change the established competition procedure.

The Chief Secretary of the Meet

1. The chief secretary performs the following duties:

  1. Prepares the necessary technical documentation and assures that it is proper;

  2. Makes protocols of the meetings of the referees’ body and files the directions and decisions of the head referee;

  3. With the head referee’s permission passes on information about the competition to the referee-announcer, team representatives, and the media;

  4. Logs new records;

  5. Processes all the competition paperwork;

  6. Presents the head referee with the materials necessary for the referee’s report;

  7. Keeps track and records the decisions on protests.

The Platform Referee

The platform referee performs the following duties:

  1. Conducts the weigh-in of the competitors of the weight class he is
    responsible for judging;

  2. Assures the proper appearance and dress code of each competitor;

  3. Loudly and clearly announces the number of legally performed repetitions;

  4. Announces technically incorrect lifts with “No count”;

  5. Loudly announces the final result of each competitor in each lift.

Note. At international competitions and national championships each platform gets appointed two referees; one is the senior and he keeps the score. His assistant counts the repetitions and makes the protocol. The final result is determined by a joint decision of both referees.

The Secretary

The secretary performs the following duties:

  1. Fills out the competitors’ cards at the weigh-in (the weigh-in protocol) and makes a protocol of the competition for the given weight class on the platform;

  2. Calls competitors to the platform and gives a heads up to the competitors whose turn is coming up.

The Referee-Announcer

The referee-announcer performs the following duties:

  1. Announces the decisions of the jury;

  2. Announces the results of the competition to the competitors and the spectators.

The Referee-with-the-Competitors

The referee-with-the-competitors performs the following duties:

  1. Makes a roll call of the competitors, checks their dress code, and presents the results of the inspection to the head secretary;

  2. Lines up the competitors and introduces them in the order of their draw;

  3. Notifies the competitors that it is their time to enter the platform in a timely fashion;

  4. Acts as an intermediary between the competitors and the referees’ body;

  5. Observes the preparation of the kettlebells.

The Technical Inspector

The technical inspector performs the following duties:

  1. Weighs the kettlebells together with the chief referee’s deputy and makes a protocol of their correspondence to the competition rules;

  2. Is in charge of the technical condition of the kettlebells and equipment.

The Meet Commandant (Director)

The meet commandant is responsible for timely preparation of the equipment (platforms, kettlebells, scales, etc.), places of competition, places for the competitors, spectators, referees, and the media. He is responsible for the space layout. He provides the technical means, banners, logos, etc. for the competitors’ presentation and takes orders from the chief referee and the representative of the host organization.

NOTE: if necessary (due to manpower limitations), the responsibilities of the positions of chief referee, chief secretary, secretary, announcer, referee with competitors, and technical inspector will be fulfilled by the meet director(s)


V. The Rules of the Lifts’ Performance

General Provisions

  1. 2 min before his attempt the competitor is called to the platform. A ten second countdown is given –10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 –and is followed by the “Start” command.

  2. The competitor is allowed 10 min per lift. The referee-secretary announces every minute. After 9 min he announces 30 sec, 50s etc, and each of the last five seconds.

  3. The “Stop” command is issued after 10min. The repetitions performed afterwards are not counted; the competitor must terminate the attempt.

  4. The referee on the platform announces every legally performed repetition.

  5. If the repetition is not technically acceptable, the referee on the platform gives the “No count” command and continues counting the legally performed repetitions.

  6. A competitor is forbidden to talk during his attempt.

The Jerk

The jerk from the chest is performed from the initial position that specifies that the upper arms are pressed against the body and the legs are straight. During the fixation of the kettlebells overhead the arms, the torso, and the legs must be straight.

The “Stop” command is issued if the kettlebell(s) are set on the shoulder joint(s) or the platform, or if the lifter allows the kettlebell(s) to fall from the racked position – recleaning the kettlebell(s) is not permitted(short cycle).

A repetition is not counted under the following conditions:

  1. The jerk is performed as an interrupted movement, i.e. with a press-out or a second jerk;

  2. The kettlebells are jerked from the chest alternately;

  3. The position of the arms changed during the first dip before the jerk;

  4. There is no fixation in the starting position or the lockout.

The long cycle clean-and-jerk with lowering of the kettlebells to hang after each repetition follows the same rules.

The Snatch

The lift is performed in one movement. The competitor must lift the kettlebell with one uninterrupted movement and pause with it overhead with his arm straight. The arm, the legs, and the torso must be straight during the fixation.

Following the fixation the competitor must lower the kettlebell for the next repetition without allowing it to come in contact with his torso.

The "Stop" command is issued under the following conditions:

  1. The kettlebell is set on the shoulder*

  2. The kettlebell is set on the platform.

The lift is not counted if:

  1. The lift is finished with a press-out;

  2. There is a lack of fixation overhead; the free arm or some other part of body touches the platform, the kettlebell, the working arm, the legs, or the torso.

Revised: July 4, 2005 Revised: August 23, 2006

* The kettlebell MAY be lowered to the shoulder before switching hands; when switching the kettlebell it is permissible to grip the handle with both hands during the exchange.

VI. Determining the Winners

The winner in each weight class is determined by the highest total in both lifts. In the men’s division the snatch the score is determined by adding the number of reps performed with each arm and dividing by two. Example: 40 right + 38 left =78, 78/2=39. In the women’s division the snatch score is determined by adding the totals reps performed with each arm. Example 35 right + 35 left =70.

If several athletes have the same total, the advantage goes to the following:

  1. The competitor who had the lighter weight at the weigh-in;

  2. The competitor who lifted earlier as determined by the draw;

  3. The competitor who has the lighter weight following the competition.

The representative of the team of the competitor in question may protest a decision of the referee of the platform; it must be given to the jury before the next competitor enters the platform. The competition is stopped for the duration.

A competitor who received zero points in the jerk is not allowed to snatch.

In a team competition the winner is determined by the highest number of points by the participating competitors. The points are calculated according to the rules specified in the meet’s regulations (according to the M. V. Starodubtsev’s table, based on the places in the competition, the total of all lifts, etc.).