Heavy Lifting: Kettlebell Sports Competition Comes to PEI

Prince Edward Island kettlebell athletes are gearing up for the PEI Kettlebell Sport Open in April, an event that claims to be the first kettlebell athletic competition on the island – a sign the sport is gaining ground here.

“It’s the competitive side of the kettlebell,” said Susan Walsh, event organizer and certified instructor who has her own studio, Studio K, just outside of Georgetown, PEI.

“It’s similar to any type of weightlifting event, the difference being it’s done with a kettlebell as opposed to your big dumbbells,” she said.

Another difference is that competitors are tested on how many reps they can do in ten minutes – versus how much weight they can lift in one repetition.

“In a powerlifting event, that would be a repetition that you would do with as heavy a weight as possible, where the kettlebell sport is a submaximal, long-term weight.” said Walsh.

“It’s 80% psychological as opposed to physical, it’s a lot more spirit than matter because it’s a marathon type sport.”

Walsh competed in Halifax, NS, and Moncton, NB, but never on his own field. (Jennie Fougère)

Platform performance

Competitors are usually on a platform and a judge watches each rep’s form.

“The atmosphere is absolutely electric, I haven’t seen anything like it,” said Walsh, who has competed twice so far, since starting the sport in 2014.

“Kettlebell sport has an amazing sense of community, everyone cheers on everyone.”

There are three events in the sport of kettlebells: the jerk and the long cycle are done with two kettlebells, the snatch with one. Women compete with kettlebells starting at 8 kilograms, men at 16 kilograms, then increasing to 20 and 24 and more.

It’s all about personal challenge, says Walsh.

“You get to a certain level and then you just say, okay, let’s lift a little heavier.”

“That’s what keeps this sport fresh, it never really ends.”

“I had never competed with that weight for so long for me, just being there was the price,” says Susan Walsh. (Jennie Fougère)

Accumulate representatives

Experienced kettlebell competitors can rack up reps in ten minutes.

“In ten minutes when you’re challenged, for the snatch you look between 170 and a little over 200, and for the jerk a little over 100 and a long cycle again around the same,” he said. said Walsh.

“You are not necessarily competing with the person next to you, but rather with yourself and achieving any goals you may have,” Walsh said.

“So for some people it might just be able to last ten minutes.”

Kimberley Eagles owns a kettlebell studio in Moncton, New Brunswick, and coaches Susan Walsh. (Kimberley Eagles / Facebook)

Well done and sometimes tears

“You see everything, tears at the end of a performance, people literally jump and scream and sometimes that’s what gets people through those ten minutes,” Walsh said.

Kimberley Eagles is the owner and head coach of the Platform Kettlebell Club in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the trainer of Susan Walsh.

“It takes a lot for someone to get on the platform, everyone’s goals are different,” said Eagles, who will judge the PEI competition.

“To last ten minutes, because it’s a sport of strength and endurance, it takes a huge heart to get up there.”

“We’re all here to make sure everyone spends those ten minutes.”

In kettlebell sport, competitors stand in front of judges who count reps and monitor form, usually on a platform. (Jennie Fougère)

“No more lone wolf”

Until now, Susan Walsh has been the only kettlebell competitor in Prince Edward Island.

“I’ve been the only one training at this stage in Prince Edward Island and it’s loneliness,” said Walsh, who would be traveling to Moncton, New Brunswick, to visit. train or register with his Eagles by video or phone.

Last weekend, Kimberley Eagles and her husband Mike hosted a kettlebell exercise workshop at the TCAP Family Aquatics and Fitness Center in Montague, Prince Edward Island, where Walsh also teaches.

Nine people attended a five-hour workshop each day, introducing the kettlebell sport, and there are plans to form a team in Montague now.

“The days of being a lone wolf are over and that’s a good thing,” Walsh said.

“It’s all about the mind over the material because it’s a marathon type sport,” says Walsh. (Jennie Fougère)

Bring in the competition

The Eagles are hopeful that many Islanders will attend the PEI Kettlebell Open, which takes place on April 22.

“I want them to see the heart that is involved in the sport,” she said.

“I’ve been beating the kettlebell drum for a long time and always meet people who will tell me ‘what is a kettlebell’ or they will call it a kettleball,” Walsh said.

“This is the start of something big.”

Almost 20 people attended a kettlebell exercise workshop in Montague, PEI. in January 2016. (Susan Walsh / Facebook)

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Sara R. Cicero