Pre-season trainings systems of kettlebell sport elite

Postgraduate student I.S. Belyaev1
PhD, Associate Professor A.V. Voronkov1
PhD, Associate Professor I.N. Nikulin1
I.A. Rutskoy1
1Belgorod State National Research University, Belgorod

Keywords: kettlebell sport, sport elite, training method, seasonal training, competitive progress

Background. Kettlebell sport elite performance analysis shows a wide variety of strength building methods in the training systems [1, 2], with most of them giving due priority to versatile strength endurance building elements as dictated by the training cycle and its goals [3, 4]. It is a common knowledge that excessive strength endurance trainings in an annual training cycle may prematurely drain athletes [5].
Special literature indicate that the a modern elite training system in kettlebell sports should offer a variety of special endurance training tools depending on the annual training sub-cycles [6-8], with the studies recommending even trainings in the transitional period; even and interval trainings in the general conditioning; interval and even trainings in the special conditioning; and mostly interval trainings in the precompetitive periods.
Objective of the study was to prove by an experiment benefits of a new kettlebell sport elite training system for a yearly training cycle.
Methods and structure of the study. The study included a questionnaire survey of the kettlebell sport elite. Sampled for the survey were the Russian national team members (n=30) including 6 Honored Masters of Sport, 21 World Class Masters of Sport, and 3 Masters of Sport, who informed us on the key points of their yearly training systems. The survey data were processed and analyzed to profile their training toolkits with the design and management specifics over the annual macro-cycle.
A new kettlebell sport elite seasonal training system of our design was tested by a yearly experiment in November 2017 through November 2018 to facilitate trainings for the 2018 Russian and World Championships in May and October, respectively, with the training system meso-cycles customized for these events.
Results and discussion. The competitive progress analysis of the sample showed that most challenging for many was the 2018 Russian Championship due to its highest competitiveness, excellent expert/ refereeing team and highly demanding and challenging competitive situations. Based on the special literature and competitive report analyses, we developed the new kettlebell sport elite seasonal training system to offer a competitive schedule customizable phased training toolkit. In the meso-cycle training design, a special priority was given to the main starts when the peaks of the sport form were to be reached. The key goal was to demonstrate the individual best competitive performance in the 2018 Russian Championship and make a success in the 2018 World Championship.
The first meso-cycle goal was to win the 2018 Russian Championship and qualify for the 2018 World Championship. The first meso-cycle (December 2017 through May 2018) included the following periods: conditioning (December 2017 through February 2018); precompetitive (March-April 2018); competitive (middle to late May 2018); and transitional (June 2018) periods. The conditioning period took 7 weeks from Dec 16, 2017 to Feb 3, 2018, with 5 trainings a week including three 2-hour gym trainings (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) with 32kg kettlebells and other (24/ 28kg) weights; and 30min cross country races in the other two days (with the HR maintained at 130-140 beats per min) followed by a sauna.
The special conditioning trainings included special even and interval kettlebell practices to excel the competitive techniques. The precompetitive trainings were free from the strength building practices with reduced general physical conditioning workloads albeit the competitive routine intensity was increased, with 28kg and 32kg kettlebells used in the trainings dominated by the interval practices. The training session time was reduced to 90min including 70min core training phase. The prime goal of the first meso-cycle was the 2018 Russian Championship (May 24-27, Saint Petersburg) and qualification for the 2018 World Championship. And the transitional period was intended to secure a good rest and full rehabilitation, with the even trainings and limited special conditioning tools. The second training meso-cycle was designed to reach a fair competitive form for the 2018 World Championship in early October.
The competitive performance data of the sample was compared with the prior (2017) competitive progress statistics since the competitive schedule of 2017 was much the same. The 2017/ 2018 competitive progress analysis was expected to show benefits of the new experimental training system: see Table 1. 

Table 1. Competitive performance data for the major events 2017 and 2018

The above Table shows that the sampled athlete made 84 lifts in 2017 (end of the first training meso-cycle) to win the Russian Championship and qualify for the World Championship. In 2018 Russian Championship (end of the first training meso-cycle) the result was the same (84 lifts) compared with 83 lifts (place 1) in the 2017 World Championship and 86 lifts (place 1) in the 2018 World Championship. The data may be interpreted as indicative of the versatile strength training tools in the new training system being beneficial as verified by the high sport form of the athlete and high competitive progress in the main events of the season. Apart from the major events, the sampled athlete competed in 3 ranking events every year: see the competitive results in Table 2.

Table 2. Competitive performance data for the ranking events 2017 and 2018

In the major event of the season, the sampled athlete showed his individual best competitive form to win or run up – due to the high-intensity training methods and tools, albeit could not avoid some sag of the competitive form by the end of the first meso-cycle in 2017.
In 2018 the athlete was trained as required by the experimental training system to reach the individual best peak by the end of the first meso-cycle and retain the sport form for the whole competitive period as verified by the great competitive progress by the end of the second meso-cycle.
Conclusion. It was found that the kettlebell sport elite training systems shall give a special priority to the strength endurance building practices in the conditioning and precompetitive training cycles customizable to the key events of the season – which are normally the Russian and World Championships for the national sport elite. It was also recommended to split the yearly training cycle in two meso-cycles, with the training process managed so as to secure the peak form for the top-ranking events in every season, with the high-intensity trainings and competitions being prudently limited to prevent premature draining.


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Presently the elite kettlebell lifters of the Russian national team apply many strength endurance building methods in their training systems. The article analyzes the seasonal trainings systems of the kettlebell sport elite; overviews the seasonal training design options and models in a yearly training cycle; considers distributions of different training methods and tools over the training stages; focuses on the strength endurance building methods applicable in every training stage; analyzes the body conditioning and special training tools and workload accounting in the strength endurance trainings; explores the rest/ rehabilitation program options; analyses the competitive progress data; and gives basics of the individual experimental excellence system of a Honored Master of Sport in the discipline.
It was found that the kettlebell sport elite seasonal training systems shall give a special priority to the strength endurance building practices in the conditioning and precompetitive training cycles. A special emphasis shall be made on the competitive routines (snatch and jerk combination or long cycle). It is also recommended to have two meso-cycles in an annual training cycle, with the training process managed so as to secure the individual peak form being reached for the top-ranking events in every season.