Competition Rules

The Rules of World Kettlebell Club® are the toughest in all the kettlebell community. Attention to quality, safety, fairness, longevity and simplicity amount to the best Kettlebell Sport experience for any level athlete. Don’t worry, we’ll still find the most superior athletes, but the system allows for a more accurate depiction of their level differences. This is mainly accomplished by allowing lower weight Ranks at the start, continuing with gradual progression through the Ranks. You’ll notice repetition milestones for Rank remain relatively stable across the board, but can change slightly based on body-weight only.

It has always been the policy of WKC to ensure safe lifting at our meets. To this end we continue to require non-ranked lifters to adhere to the Rank 4 weights or lighter. The specific weights can be found in the tables provided. This would mean, for example, an unranked female wishing to compete in LongCycle may only lift 14kg or less. The rule for ranked lifters is that they may lift one weight heavier than they have previously ranked with.

Judge Mike ShermanJudge Mike Sherman


Global Policies and Rules

  • JUDGING CRITERA

    The Judge has a serious job to do. Athletes have trained extremely hard for months (sometimes years) to display their best effort, on a certain date and time, for all the World to see! The Judge greatly determines the validity of their performance. The first goal of the Judge is to control to the best of their ability the safety of the Lifter on the platform. The goal of next importance is fairness to all the Lifters in regards to impartiality and “judgement” of the Lifts. Simplification of the tasks of the Judge is important to the growth of the Sport of Kettlebell Lifting, so for that reason the Judge’s Board will discuss changes to the official rules of the World Kettlebell Club® after the competition. However, on the day of the Competition, the Judges ruling is final!

  • LIFTER CONDUCT

    The Lifter should respect fellow Competitors, Judges and the audience. No profanity should be used. Any disputes should be directed to the Head Judge for consideration. Under no circumstances is the Lifter or their Coach permitted to confront the Judge about a ruling. Clarification of a ruling is allowed, but they must accept the Judges decision. Lifters should be “on-deck” and appear on the Lifter Stage immediately after the completion of the previous Lifters performance. The Lifter will be given at least 5 minutes between flights final preparation and Judge inspection. Dropping the kettlebells should be avoided. NO purposeful dropping at the conclusion of the performance. This could result in disqualification and/or cancellation from future Meets.

  • JUDGE CONDUCT

    The Judge should first take a moment to inspect the lifter and their equipment, and introduce themselves. They are looking for illegal equipment such as tape on the hands or a high riding lifting belt that could make contact with the elbow, but mainly they are establishing a rapport with the Lifter. This is the time the Lifter must rectify any misunderstanding about the rules and ask questions. The Judge may or may not give a verbal count. If a digital counter is available, the lifter should see the display or the Judge should give a firm, clear and quick verbal count. If need be, a loud NO-COUNT or STOP will be verbal given even if a digital counter is available. The Judge has no reason to speak with the Lifter, nor does the Lifter have reason to speak with the Judge during the performance.

  • COUNT

    A digital or verbal count is given by the Judge when the Lifter gives a satisfactory repetition of any given exercise (see below for each exercise description). The Judge should do their best to determine the fixation quickly, and develop a “count rhythm” if the lifter continues to show control. However proper fixation and alignment must both be exhibited together before a count can be given on any rep.

  • NO-COUNT

    If a verbal No-Count is given, the Lifter must return to the starting position and determine on their own what the cause of the foul was and correct it.

    Some specific reasons why a repetition may not be counted:
      – not separating and completing the Clean during LongCycle
      – A male jerks kettlebells are Jerked from the chest alternately, meaning unevenly or one at a time
      – There is no fixation in the starting position or the overhead position
      – There is no alignment in the overhead position

  • STOP

    If a verbal Stop is given, the Lifter must set the kettlebell(s) down and remove themselves from the Platform area immediately until such time the other competitors finish and their time runs out. The Lifter’s results will be frozen at the time of the violation. The “Stop” command is issued if the kettlebell(s) are set on the shoulder (i.e. dropping to the shoulders from extension to readjust) or if they touch platform. There is also a Stop-Set issued if the Lifter allow the kettlebell(s) to fall from the racked position (regular Jerk only, i.e. no “re-Clean”). In the case of Clean portion or Snatch, the bells cannot stop moving and go in a “hang” position. Multiple Cleans or Swings may be be attempted before completion, but a Stop-Set will be issued in the Lifter rests in the hang position. The Lifter is not permitted to touch the kettlebell with the other hand, so should it fall forward from rack and the Lifter uses the other hand to keep it from falling, it is also Stop Set.

  • FIXATION

    Fixation Definition:
    The kettlebell maintains <= 0.08G acceleration for >= 0.3 seconds, after the body is aligned and still.

    Fixation is the final factor in a Judge issuing a Count. It proves proficiency in the lift, keeps the Meet fair, and aids in safety for the Lifters in the short and long term. The Lifter must control the kettlebell(s) in the overhead position. A noticeable pause, without wobble, drifting or bounce, must be displayed. The Judge may at their discretion anticipate the stable pause and give the qualified lifter a quick count, but at any time the Judge may give a No-Count if the Lifter fails to control the Kettlebell(s). Being fatigued later in the set is no excuse for poor fixation. Fixation is the end of the rep.

  • ALIGNMENT

    Alignment is reached when the lifter is standing up straight and the upper arm(s) is generally in line with the head/neck. Any excessive leaning that a judge determines to create too much space between the head and arm(s) may result in a no-count. It is not necessary to completely “lock” the elbow to get proper alignment, as some have varying degrees of flexibility. If the Lifter is unable to fixate the kettlebell, in any plane of movement, once it has reached the proper alignment, the Judge may issue a No-Count.

  • HAND VIOLATION

    The Lifter is not permitted to touch the kettlebell with the non-working hand, and it is further disallowed to use the non-working hand as any support for the execution of the exercise (i.e. on the knee, ground). It is permitted to adjust clothing, clear sweat or scratch an itch etc.

  • DRUG POLICY

    The World Kettlebell Club® is a drug-free organization, and any of it’s Sanctioned Competitions are subject to drug testing. The WKC® follows the WADA or “WADA Compatible” testing guidelines and reserves the right to ban or retract a Title, Rank or prize for a failed test result. The chain of custody will be handled by a third-party (uninterested).


Equipment

  • PLATFORM

    The Lifting Platforms should be no smaller than 4 feet × 6 feet (for safety, we suggest 8×6 ) and be made of hard rubber and/or wood. There should be a minimum of 2 feet between Lifter Platforms. There should be a chalk stand and a spray-bottle of clean water available to Lifters. Take special precaution to keep kettlebells on the Platform or special rubber mats, as to protect the floors.

  • CLOTHING

    Only approved clothing is permitted on the Lifter Stage. Approved clothing consists of shorts that expose the knees and shirts that expose the elbows. Shirts and pants that are skin tight may be longer if the joints are clearly visible. Athletic underclothes like briefs, socks and sports bras are worth considering out of respect for your fellow Lifters and the spectators. Sponsor’s clothing is permitted as long as it’s not offensive to the general public.

  • GEAR

    The gear of a Kettlebell Lifter is minimal. It’s possible to perform the exercises without any special equipment, but approved gear includes knee and elbow sleeves/wraps, wrist wraps, sweatbands and headbands. Chalk is the only thing allowed for the hands, and a belt is permissible if it falls within WKC® specifications*. No gloves allowed, and tape is not permitted past the wrist. Shoes are required. If you choose to wear a belt, it cannot be used to assist the lift in any way, including brief rest. Resting the elbows on the belt or using it to launch the weight is not permitted and will result in a Stop at the Judge’s discretion. It’s strictly up to the Lifter to convince the Judge they are not using the belt illegally, and they should consult the Judge in the minutes before the performance to clarify that Judge’s standards of proper use. The Lifter is advised to have the belt below the hip bones (iliac crest) as to not risk unintentional use of the belt. Belt “use” is completely the Judges call, and the Lifter must accept their judgement. Sometimes a Lifter will use the “side-rack”, as to reach deeper on one side with the elbow. This can easily be reason for a Stop. Consider this in your place and use of the belt in practice and confirm with the Judge prior for their opinion and expectations.

    Shoes: Any closed toe shoe is acceptable, lifting shoes are recommended
    Belt: <10 cm wide
    Chalk: Magnesium
    Wrist or Elbow wraps: <1.5 meters long and 10 cm wide
    VF KettleShields™ or similar forms of arm protection or sweat wraps are allowed
    Knee wraps: <25 cm wide


Lifts

  • SWING

    The Swing action is defined as a back and forth motion (between the legs, around knee level) of the arm holding a kettlebell with the shoulder acting as a hinge.

  • CLEAN

    The Clean is defined as a Swing action of the Kettlebell, catching it in the “Rack” position. The Rack is the V position of the bent arm cradling the kettlebell between the hand and shoulder, with the elbows reaching towards the hip and triceps against the body.

    Fixometer rules for Clean:
    An athlete using Fixometer in Pentathlon or StrongSport must wait for the green light in rack position after cleaning the kettlebell. This is not required when competing in standard LongCycle, the legs must only be extended.

  • RACK POSITION

    The rack position is universal for all exercises. It is defined as the position when the arm(s) are bent and the upper part of the arm is making contact with the torso while holding the Kettlebell(s). This is considered from the chest. The Lifter may not rest/park the Kettlebell(s) on the shoulders after the start of the first repetition. It is permissible to “Clean” the Kettlebells to the shoulder(s) on the initial start of the Jerk only. The Rack is maybe universally known as the V position. The bent arm cradling the kettlebell between the hand and shoulder, with the elbows reaching towards the hip and triceps against the body.

  • JERK

    The Kettlebell Jerk is defined as Lifting two Kettlebells overhead from the “Rack” position with use of the legs via a “double-dip” action. The Lifter must first “Clean” the Kettlebells from the floor to the “Rack” one time, but it is legal to adjust the grip before beginning the first repetition by Cleaning the Kettlebells to the shoulders, and then back to the Rack for the start of the performance. A repetition is counted when the arms are first extended overhead, parallel to the head, followed by the legs being extended, with a final fixation of the Kettlebells. The Kettlebells must be returned to the rack position before commencing the next repetition. The Lifter may not rest the Kettlebells on top of their shoulders during the performance, however the lifter may adjust their grip on the Kettlebells by rolling the Kettlebells off the shoulders in one continuous movement to the rack position. WKC will not penalize lifters who perform a press or push press instead of a proper jerk.

    JerkJerk
  • ONE ARM JERK

    The Kettlebell One Arm Jerk is defined as Lifting one Kettlebells overhead from the “Rack” position with use of the legs via a “double-dip” action. The Lifter must first “Clean” the Kettlebell from the floor to the “Rack” one time, but it is legal to adjust the grip before beginning the first repetition by Cleaning the Kettlebell to the shoulder, and then back to the Rack for the start of the performance. A repetition is counted when the arm is first extended overhead, parallel to the head, followed by the legs being extended, with a final fixation of the Kettlebell. The Kettlebell must be returned to the rack position before commencing the next repetition. The Lifter may not rest the Kettlebell on top of their shoulder during the performance, however the lifter may adjust their grip on the Kettlebell by rolling the Kettlebells off the shoulder in one continuous movement to the rack position. WKC will not penalize lifters who perform a press or push press instead of a proper jerk.

    One Arm JerkOne Arm Jerk
  • DOUBLE DIP

    The double-dip action is defined as a quick two part movement that begins with a short range squat (first dip), followed by a push of the Kettlebell(s) out of the rack, a quick reversal away from the Kettlebell (second dip) as it launches upwards from the push, the arm extends, and then legs extend.
    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 extended. During the fixation of the kettlebells overhead the arms, the torso, and the legs must be extended.

  • SNATCH

    The Kettlebell Snatch is defined as lifting one Kettlebell overhead from the “Swing” action in one continuous movement. A repetition is counted when the legs are extended, the working arm is extended and parallel to the head, with a final fixation of the Kettlebell. The Kettlebell must be returned to the Swing position in one continuous movement, and although the Lifter may Swing the Kettlebell one or multiple times before Snatching, they may not rest with the Kettlebell in a hanging position. The Lifter may not touch the Kettlebell to their body or touch the body with the non-working arm.

    SnatchSnatch
  • LONGCYCLE

    The Kettlebell LongCycle is defined as lifting two Kettlebells in two different phases, the “Clean”, followed by a “Jerk”, to comprise one exercise cycle. In the first phase, the Lifter must Clean the Kettlebells between the legs directly to the Rack position, not to the shoulders. In the second phase, the lifter must Jerk the Kettlebells overhead from that same rack position. A repetition is counted when the arms are first extended overhead, parallel to the head, followed by the legs being extended, with a final fixation of the Kettlebells. The Kettlebells are then returned to the rack position, then swung between the legs for another Clean to the rack position and another Jerk. The Lifter may not rest the Kettlebells on top of their shoulders or rest with the Kettlebells in a hanging position during the performance, however the lifter may adjust their grip on the Kettlebells by rolling the Kettlebells off the shoulders in one continuous movement to the rack position. Any time bells drop to the rack from a jerk attempt(count or no count) they must be cleaned again. WKC will not penalize lifters who perform a press or push press instead of a proper jerk.

    Fixometer rules for LongCycle:
    An athlete using Fixometer in Pentathlon or StrongSport must wait for the green light in rack position after cleaning the kettlebell. This is not required when competing in standard LongCycle, the legs must only be extended.

    LongCycleLongCycle
  • ONE ARM LONGCYCLE

    The Kettlebell One Arm LongCycle is defined as lifting one Kettlebell in two different phases, the “One Arm Clean”, followed by a ” One Arm Jerk”, to comprise one exercise cycle. In the first phase, the Lifter must Clean the Kettlebell between the legs directly to the Rack position, not to the shoulder. In the second phase, the lifter must Jerk the Kettlebell overhead from that same rack position. A repetition is counted when the arm is first extended overhead, parallel to the head, followed by the legs being extended, with a final fixation of the Kettlebell. The Kettlebell is then returned to the rack position, then swung between the legs in preparation for another Clean to the rack position and then another Jerk. The Lifter may not rest the Kettlebell on top of their shoulder or rest with the Kettlebell in a hanging position during the performance, however the lifter may adjust their grip on the Kettlebell by rolling the Kettlebell off the shoulders in one continuous movement to the rack position. WKC will not penalize lifters who perform a press or push press instead of a proper jerk.

    Fixometer rules for LongCycle:
    An athlete using Fixometer in Pentathlon or StrongSport must wait for the green light in rack position after cleaning the kettlebell. This is not required when competing in standard LongCycle, the legs must only be extended.

    One Arm LongCycleOne Arm LongCycle