Gold medals aren’t really made of Gold

‘Gold medals aren’t really made of Gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts’.
Dan Gable

Love this quote. It perfectly sums up how hard my team work. Just like the worker bees they are named after. They represent not just myself, but Manchester, and they do it well. Very well! They deserve every victory they attain. Every victory is definitely made up of sweat and determination and a little thing I called ‘Bee Power’.
Over the coming months I plan to have each member write a post about the sport, it could be anything from their thoughts on where the sport is going, there training, goals and achievements or what the future holds. Lets say I’m feeling brave!
First up, we have everyones favourite Swede Anna, with her take on the success the team had at the recent GSU Welsh Kettlebell Championships 2015. Enjoy….

A much delayed write-up from from the latest competition comes from me, Anna, one of the Manchester Bees.

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The first GSU competition of 2015 saw us travelling down to Cardiff and the GSU Welsh Kettlebell Championship hosted by our friends at The Boat Shed Training Centre. Myself, Chez, Russ and Patrick were competing with Coach Steve acting cheerleader.

There’s always such a great atmosphere at these competitions, and this was no exception. Not even the problem with the display timers could put a damper on the day, with Pete and Kate making sure it didn’t affect the lifters. Everything ran so smoothly anyway and I wouldn’t be surprised if we finished right on the minute they said we would! It’s not an easy task, but they pull it off every time.

As always, it was great to see more clubs being represented by so many ‘new-to-GSU’ lifters – it is fantastic that this crazy sport keeps growing and that our ‘kettlebell travelling circus’ just gets bigger and bigger.

On to the ‘Team Bee’ results – as a club, we put on a great performance, all of us coming away with PB’s and gold medals and we also got one Absolute Champion.

Gold Medal No. 1 and No. 4
Anna Moeller (68kg+ Category)
12kg Biathlon – 178 reps Jerk (PB) and 192 reps Snatch (PB)
12kg Long Cycle – 151 reps (PB)
Gold Medal No. 2 and Veteran Absolute Champion
Patrick Greene (85kg Veterans Category)
24kg Biathlon – 70 reps Jerk (PB) and 138 reps Snatch (PB)
Gold Medal No. 3
Russell Dawson (85kg+ Veterans Category)
24kg Biathlon – 16 reps Jerk and 139 reps Snatch (PB)
Gold Medal No. 5
Cheryl Ballance (58kg Category)
20kg Long Cycle – 80 reps (equal PB)

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For me it was great watching Russ and Patrick on neighbouring platforms, spurring each other on and giving it their all till the very last second, resulting in snatch PB’s for both of them with only one rep separating them. And Chez, fighting to the very end to not put that kettlebell down, and still equalling PB. I’m sure it’s easy to tell how proud I am to be a part of our amazing Team Bee! And not because of the great results at the competition – although they were fantastic! – but the support you get at a competition, whether they’re there in person or not, together with all the fun we have training, putting up with the weekly torture Coach Steve throws at us. Banter and camaraderie in one wonderful mix 😛 What is a Friday night in the pub when you get to hang out with these guys!

Next up is the GSU English Championship in Newquay – can’t wait to mix the kettlebell lifting up with some surfing! Will you ‘bee’ there?

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Success. There is no elevator….

‘There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs’.

Interesting and thoughtful quote. Right? But what does that have to do with anything?

Basically, in simple terms, to be successful at anything whether it is sport, business or just life in general, you can’t cheat your way there. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy option. No matter how badly you want it you won’t get it unless you work your ass off. It’s not about how bad you want it, it’s about how hard you are willing to work for it!

My team, my athletes, each one of them has that work ethic. They have that desire to succeed. To not give up. It makes them easy to coach….most of the time!
Do they enjoy training? Some weeks, possibly, others, probably not. But they see that end goal and when they achieve it it makes all the horrible training, all the failed sets, the learning from mistakes, it makes it all worth it.

This past weekend saw athletes from the club attend the GSU British Kettlebell Championships 2014. This year it was held in Nottingham and hosted by our friends down at Kettlebells Nottingham. It was another big event for GSU, and saw, yet again, over 100 athletes competing. Laurence and his team at Kettlebell Nottingham did a great job putting on this event. I know how hard they are to run. So when it goes perfectly with no major hiccups it’s such a relief. It ran like clockwork as people have come to expect from a GSU event. A job really well done, I’m sure Laurence is a relieved man that it’s over but also a proud man. As he should be!

There was a small turnout this time from ‘Team Bee’ with just myself, Chez, Ronan and Patrick (online client) competing. Although Anna did come down to lend her support, and provide some photobombs.

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As you can see from the photo above….smiles all round. (Apart from on my face where I look like i’ve been out all night). As you can see by the medals and trophy it was another pretty successful competition for the team. Each of us taking home yet more medals. Everyone did such a good job, I really am super proud of them all. Those who do lift in this crazy sport, know how hard and brutal it can be, but they just take it there stride. None more so than Ronan.

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Ronan is only 14 and currently the clubs only Junior athlete. This was his first competition and not only did he win a Gold Medal he took home the trophy for Absolute Junior Champion. He put up a great set of 75 reps on 2 x 12kg Long Cycle. Only to walk off like it was nothing and declare he could of done more!! Bloody kids. I’m not even sure he broke a sweat! You can watch his set here. Myself, Chez and Patrick on the other definitely broke a sweat.

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Chez, who was really nervous and not feeling great before hand, had possibly the best set i’ve seen her lift. 80 reps on 20kg Long Cycle is a great result. A really solid, clean, performance, that brought her home a Silver Medal. Her first step towards CMS. You can watch her set here.

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Patrick, had another great result that brought him home a Silver Medal. He has spent much of the past year suffering from a shoulder injury, so to make his comeback on 24kg Biathlon was asking a lot. But as ever he smashed it and lasted the full 10 minutes on each set. 55 reps on Jerk and 134 reps on Snatch. Again another great start to hitting the rank numbers he needs. You can watch both Patricks sets here and here. They build these Irish strong!

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For myself, I was heading into the event as reigning Champion from last year. But suffering from numerous injuries and problems I knew there was very little chance of me defending the title. I just wanted to last the time and not give up. I managed to make it through the 10 mins and hit 66 reps, a little shy of what I was hoping for but i’ll take it. You can watch my struggles here. To be on the platform again though, and lifting next to some great athletes and friends, is all the motivation I need to keep grinding away. I just need to recover and come back next year and try and get the title back. After all, everyone loves a trier right?! 🙂

This event was also the culmination of the GSU Four Nations tournament. Where all the athletes, teams and countries competed against each other to see who the best lifters throughout the year were. You can view all the winners on the GSU website and by clicking the link here. Incredibly both Anna and Chez won there individual weight categories. Which just goes to show that hard work, talent, perseverance and a fine competitive nature really do help bring success. That and working your ass off week in week out.

Seriously though, I’m really pleased for the girls, they have both come such a long way in such a short space of time. Absolute stars. The whole team are stars. Who knows this time next year we may have more champions.

No pressure…

Looking back. Moving forward….

I usually write a blog fairly quickly after a competition, but this one has taken sometime and I still don’t know what to write. I could wax lyrical about how well the competition ran, how all the athletes performed with courage, strength and heart, how proud I am of my team for pulling off another near perfect competition.

But, I honestly wasn’t sure whether we could actually top our début competition last year, but somehow I think we managed it. The numbers can’t lie. Close to 130 competitors. Last year we had 70 compete. 9 countries were represented; England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Poland, USA, Czech, Norway and Andorra. As opposed to 4 the previous year.

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The Medallists at the GSU English Kettlebell Championships 2014.

Yet again, somehow, it ran like clock-work. No mishaps at all. Well, aside from one timer on the Jerk set of Andy Taylor (Yorkshire Kettlebell Club) deciding not to work. Thankfully it didn’t put Andy off as he made his way to a respectable 106 reps on 16’s. Oh and lets not forget about a damn rogue formula in Excel that had me baffled for a while whilst trying to figure out the final results. The less said about that the better! 🙂

I love this crazy ass sport. I love the way it tests all of us in so many ways, our skills, our hearts, the ability to bounce back after a bad set. Just ask our own athlete Russ. I swear when Russ manages to put together two solid sets he will hit high numbers. Unfortunately so far in his GS career he has one bad set and good set. In the case this past weekend, one bad set and one great set. Smashing his snatch PB on 24’s, after a disappointing Jerk set. His ability and desire to bounce back from a bad set is legendary, hopefully the next competition will be the one where it all comes together.

Not only does this sport test us, but it builds strong friendships. There is a respect there between athletes, a camaraderie not evident in many sports. As the great Jesse Owens once said…

‘Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust’

It’s always great to see new faces make the bold step up onto the platform. We had quite a few new faces at this competition, some nervous faces, some petrified faces. But as always once that clock started they all smashed it. I still remember my first competition so I know exactly what they all went through. The way I see it, and what I continually try to get across to my athletes, is that winning is great, but the ultimate victory is from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best on the day, and have got out everything you had to give at that moment in time. But yeah, who am I kidding, winning is gggggrrrrrreat!

As well as the regular faces we see at every competition, we had some athletes from afar attend. The wonderfully smiley Linda Opsahl from Norway, who picked up a well deserved silver medal in 16kg Long Cycle (58kg category). I promised to cheer Linda on but I don’t think she could hear me over the vocal support from her new friends at Hull Kettlebell Club. I’ve never seen anyone smile there way through a 10 minute set until this moment in time! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!
We also had an incredibly strong team visit us all the way from Andorra. Frank Morales and his team of Sara, Monica, Jessica, Cristian and Alexandre did a great job, each one taking home medals. In total Club Kettlebell Andorra took home 4 x Gold, 3 x Silver and 1 x Bronze from the day. Not bad hey? Much better results than there football team! 🙂

As for my rabble, not really much I can say. As always they did me proud, they always do. Each one bringing home a Gold Medal in there respective events, apart from me left with the Silver. Rich pipped me to the Gold. Well I say pipped, he obliterated my measly 36 reps on 28kg Long Cycle with a highly respectable 52. Nicely done pal, but I’ll get you next time Mr Whitworth!

Anna Moeller. The calm before the storm.

Anna Moeller. The calm before the storm.

For me though, there were two real stand out performances from the day. First our very own Anna Moeller hitting 106 reps on 20kg Long Cycle, giving her the CMS Rank (Candidate for Master of Sport). I’ve never seen Anna lift more confidently and as strongly as what she did on Saturday. She really rose to the occasion of her home competition. Amazing set.
Even more amazing, was Abigail Johnston with yet another World Record on 24kg Jerk with 163 reps. But rather than settle for one World Record, after her Biathlon sets she went and equalled the World Record on 24kg Long Cycle with 124 reps. If there is ever a case for women to start competing with two bells, Abi is at the very top of the list! Very, very, very impressive lifting.

Abi Johnston. New WR 24kg Jerk 163 reps.

Abi Johnston. New WR 24kg Jerk 163 reps.

Full results from the competition can be viewed by clicking on this link. I’ve added in the co-efficient score as well so all the athletes can see how they compared on a pound to pound basis (A strong showing by our own Mykie and Chez here).

So that’s it really. we did it. We put on the best competition we could. We did Manchester proud. The stress, the long days, the preparation, It was all worth it. As for next year, lets see….

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It’s nearly that time….

It’s nearly upon us. Saturday 26th April. The GSU English Kettlebell Championships 2014. Live from Manchester.

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It seems to have come round so quick. I can still remember all the trial, tribulations and stresses from hosting our first Kettlebell Competition last year. This time it’s been slightly easier to organise as I know what to expect, but still it’s a mammoth job. Last year we had 70 athletes visit us from all over the UK and Ireland. This time round we have athletes coming to us from a whole wide range of countries. We have a team visiting us from Andorra, if anyone speaks Spanish you may be called upon, as well as a visitor from Norway, luckily Linda speaks English! Phew!! It all adds up-to 100+ athletes visiting us from nine different countries.
The pie chart below shows the percentages of athletes attending.

Countries Represented

Anyone who has ever organised a Kettlebell Sport Competition will understand all the stresses involved. All the planning and prep work. Training up judges. Double checking and triple checking all the data to make sure everything is correct. Then re-doing it all when people inevitably pull-out at last minute. I can’t remember who said it but I’m sure…

‘It’ll be alright on the night!’

Last years competition ran better than I ever imagined and we had some awesome feedback from it. For me it was the best competition of the year, but then I may be bias. Can myself and the team pull it off again? I hope so. It sure as hell won’t be from lack of trying. We’ve tried to go bigger and better this year, which will hopefully be reciprocated in the quality of lifting and competition. We even have a couple of surprises up our sleeves.

As always it will be great to catch up with old friends, and watch some inspiring lifting. It’ll be interesting to see how the new faces get on. There is always one surprising performance from a débutante, who will it be this time round? I can’t wait to find out.

First up we have to get through the weigh-ins and the final set up on Friday and then we’re good to go. Roll on Saturday….

It’s time to get up. It’s time to compete. You’re competing against yourself, so just be better than you were last time round. Do things better than you have ever done them before. Make your time count. Always compete.

We’ve come a long way…

The great Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying…

‘I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.’

I honestly couldn’t be more pleased for my athletes that competed at the weekend in Glasgow at the GSU Scottish Kettlebell Championships. The above quote sums up not just Russ, Anna and Chez, but the whole team. They are the hardest working group of people I know. Each week they turn up and lift there hearts out in training, every competition they enter they hit the planned reps.

You know why?

Apart from the perfect programming provided by moi, it’s the dedication they show. They put the time in under the bells.  They persevere. They listen. Most importantly they apply everything they learn to yield the results that they get.

‘The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.’
Denis Waitley

I’ve already written a post about the whole happenings at the weekend. You can find it here if you’ve not already read it. This post is dedicated to there sets. You can watch the Gold Medal winning performances of all the team, including myself from across the pond!

Gold Medal No. 1
Russ Dawson (85kg Category)
24Kg Biathlon – 62 reps Jerk and 94 reps Snatch – PB

Gold Medal No. 2
Chez Ballance (58kg Category)
16kg Long Cycle 96 reps – PB

Gold Medal No.3 and No.4, and Absolute Champion in Snatch Only
Anna Moller (68kg+ Category)
16kg Long Cycle 138 reps – PB
8kg Snatch 250 reps – PB

Gold Medal No.5, and Absolute Champion in Weight Category
Steve Dawson (85kg Category)
24kg Long Cycle 74 reps

So there we have it. Two competitions. Two time zones. Five Gold Medals. I can think of worse ways to spend a weekend…

Unity is strength…

‘Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved’.
Mattie Stepanek

This weekend was a first in many different ways for Manchester Kettlebell Club.

  • The first time a selection of my athletes have competed without my presence
  • The first time I’ve competed without any of my team present.
  • The first time we’ve competed in two different time zones on the same day.
  • The first time we’ve had a clean sweep of Gold Medals.

Lets start with the performance of a select band of my athletes who attended the GSU Scottish Kettlebell Open Championships 2014; Russ, Anna and Chez. Words can’t really describe how proud I am of each of them. Without there coach there, they all smashed there respective PB’s in the events they entered and all came home with Gold Medals.

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Gold Medal No. 1
Russ Dawson (85kg Category)
24Kg Biathlon – 62 reps Jerk and 94 reps Snatch – PB
Gold Medal No. 2
Chez Ballance (58kg Category)
16kg Long Cycle 96 reps – PB
Gold Medal No.3 and No.4, and Absolute Champion in Snatch Only
Anna Moller (68kg+ Category)
16kg Long Cycle 138 reps – PB
8kg Snatch 250 reps – PB

As there Coach I would love to take the credit for their continued success. Yes, I provide the programming and a little of my own brand of motivation, but that probably makes up for 20-30%, if that, the rest is their own determination, dedication, perseverance, and willingness to continue to practice and improve. That’s all down to themselves, you can’t coach that. In reality I’m a lucky Coach, in that all my athletes show signs of these traits. It’s what makes them all an utter joy to Coach.

Across the pond, on the same day, with an 8 hour time difference, I was preparing to compete in the IUKL West Coast Classic Kettlebell Championships 2014 in sunny San Francisco. Well not so sunny, as it did nothing but rain the whole time I was there, but that’s not the point. Waking up in the morning and finding out the results from Scotland, not only made me feel incredibly proud, but also provided me with that extra motivation (not that any was needed), to win and bring back the Gold Medal for Manchester. Can you imagine the grief I would get if I didn’t!

I must admit it was a strange feeling being away from my team, that feeling of being alone. But the great thing about this crazy sport is CAMARADERIE. Everyone one in San Francisco made me feel so welcome, it was just like being at home, especially with all the rain!

One of the many highlights of my trip was that I finally met some athletes who I look up-to and follow from afar, guys like Paul White, Charlie Fornelli and Jason Sanchez. We’ve only ever spoke on facebook so meeting and chatting with them was a pleasure. As Teri Stabler, a fellow Team Kettleguard athlete said…

‘it’s great to finally meet you and put a voice to the face’

Obviously, it goes without saying, with the competition being held at the renowned Ice Chamber Athletic Performance facility meeting all the beauitful ICKB girls was a highlight; Incredible lifters who have inspired a nation of female kettlebell athletes, and it’s easy to see why.

As for my time on the platform, I never really suffer from nerves, but I must admit that knowing how well Russ, Anna and Chez had performed, and knowing that the event was being streamed live across the internet, as well as the live audience watching this skinny kid from the UK trying to out lift there own athletes, certainly had me pacing up and down behind the curtains. My set in general wasn’t pretty, but to finish with 74 reps on 24kg Long Cycle, after all the elbow, forearm and nerve problems I’ve had for the past 3 months, and only 3 reps shy of a new PB, I’ve got to be happy with that. It was a good battle with my American and Canadian friends. Happily one I came out on top of.

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The event itself, was without doubt, one of the best I’ve ever attended. Steve and Maya at Ice Chamber did an outstanding job and should be extremely proud of what they achieved. Along with Yuri Petunovs they are are doing a brilliant job in promoting the sport in the USA. I made them a promise I will be back, but next time with this brilliant team of Champions I have.

So Manchester Kettlebell Club now has…

  • 2 x GSU British Champions
  • 3 x GSU Scottish Champions
  • 1 x IUKL/AKA West Coast Champion

Next up is the GSU English Kettlebell Championships on home turf. I wonder what will happen there?

But this date, this special date for the Club, February 8th, is now officially known as ‘Golden Bee’ Day.

A new year and another new start…

What a year it’s been for myself and the athletes I coach at Manchester Kettlebell Club. We have had some fun times, we have had some tears, we have even had some strops, and towards the end of the year we had our first Junior come down to training. With just one team training session before the end of the year, I wonder what else is in store?

It’s been quite a year that’s hard to some up in words. So I will keep it simple…

  • 5 x Competitions attended
  • 9 x Gold Medals
  • 7 x Silver Medals
  • 1 x Bronze Medal
  • 2 x British Champions

I’ve said it before and I’ve no doubt that I’ll say it again many times in 2014, but I’m proud of every single one of you. You train like machines, you train with purpose, you put your heart and soul into lifting for yourselves, for your team-mates and for your coach. Thank-you one and all for being the bestest team a coach could ask for!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Neil Gaiman

Teamwork makes the dream work…

On Sunday 1st September myself and a few of my athletes, namely Russ, Chez and Anna travelled down to London to compete in the GSU British Kettlebell Championships.

What an amazing competition it truly was. A massive congratulations to Mark Stroud and his Brighton Girevoy Sport Team for organising the event. I know I speak for everyone who competed when I say what a great event it was.
The venue was incredible, a nightmare to find though being in Canary Wharf, and if you’ve ever driven round there you know exactly what I mean. But once found, the venue for the day; Reebok Sport Club was A-mazing! So plush, it felt a shame to cover it in chalk 🙂

Unfortunately this time round for Team Manchester there was no Mykie or Rich competing, and no Kimberley cheer-leading but we soldiered on reluctantly, and how…
My team never cease to amaze me. As there Coach I pride myself in giving them the best opportunity to perform, the best programming and advice I can from my experiences, and quite frankly half the time I don’t think they need it. They truly are the best team mates and athletes a coach could wish for. Yes, they moan there way through training half the time, yes they complain when it gets tough, christ they have even pulled strops! but who doesn’t? The thing that I love most about this team is that when it gets hard, they dig in, when things get tough they keep fighting, they keep going. This helps. The desire to do well, the dedication in training, the determination to succeed. It all helps. It all helps you become a Champion!

The whole team are Champions in my eyes. But for this competition in particular both myself and my athlete Anna became British Champions. Yes, British Champions!

For myself it was a great set, I redeemed my poor performance in Darlington by hitting 76 reps on 2x24kg Long Cycle. Special thanks to my own coach for leading my down the right path. For once, I stuck to the plan and it paid off, I honestly couldn’t be any happier. Now I move on for an attempt at CMS (Candidate for Master of Sport) in Long Cycle. For the record I need 60 reps with 2x28kg and it won’t be pretty…..at all!

Moving on from myself, I’m so proud of Anna’s achievement, to go from where she started a few months ago to lifting 16kg on Long Cycle for a solid and very respectful 106 reps is simply awesome, and to add a Gold Medal and the title British Champion makes it even more special. As I said to her she may have the Swedish strength but she has the Manchester heart and spirit. Outstanding job Anna! 🙂
The same can be said of Russ, he did a great job to retrieve a Silver Medal in Biathlon from what was not the best of starts with his jerk set. But his snatch set was so good it even got praise from the Champion that is Anton Anasenko, doesn’t come much more creditable than that.
So now we move on to Chez. She was disappointed not to manage her rank numbers hitting 76 reps on 16kg Long Cycle when she needed 90 reps. But you know what, it doesn’t matter, I don’t care that she didn’t make the numbers. Why? Because she had the guts and desire to step up on that platform and try! Like Anna she hasn’t been training for long so to be on 16’s so soon is an achievement in itself, I know plenty of female lifters that take years to even pick up a 16kg let alone compete with it! Chez you did a brilliant job, you did all you could on that day and that’s all I can ask for……next time!!

As a team we did another brilliant job, we came back with two British Champions and two Gold Medals, and a further Silver Medal. Plus Chez and Anna had there weightlifting boots signed by Anton! Not jealous much…

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It was also great to see some new lifters competing and stepping up, and also to meet up with old friends and watch some amazing sets. Not just from the likes of Anton Anasenko and Aleksander Khovstov, who once again were a total inspiration, such cool guys and the best lifters in the world, but from guys like Reece Armstrong, and the amazingly strong lady Katarina Helcmanovska lifting 28kg on Long Cycle. Inspirational lifting all day!

Before I sign out I would like to wish my friends Sebastiaan Bokhorst and Lisa Parker a speedy recovery and good health, after both suffered injuries on the platform. I hope to see you both fighting fit soon and back on the platform stronger and better than ever before. Best wishes from the whole of Manchester Kettlebell Club.

If anyone would like to view the teams sets from the day you can find them here at our YouTube page.

There’s no ‘I’ in team…

There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘U’ in suck!
As a team we sure don’t suck, we’re strong, we’re determined and we always give 100%.

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This past Sunday was no exception. Myself, Mykie, Rich and Chez travelled over the Pennines to Manvers Boat Club in South Yorkshire for the first ever Inter Club Team Championship. The idea of the competition was simple. 7 minutes on each lift; Jerk, Snatch and Long Cycle. Men were restricted to 20kg and women to 12kg. What a great opportunity to perform all the lifts without the added pressure of completing 10 minutes. If I’m anything to go by….still as achey!

What made this competition so unique was not only that you performed all 3 lifts, but that it was a team event. The eventual winning team was calculated by tonnage lifted by each athlete then divided by bodyweight. In other words; co-efficient. Girevoy Sport is a funny old sport, if you’re lucky you train with a team, but you always compete on an individual basis. So it was nice to compete as a team for a change.

‘The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.’

As coach I set the team some tough targets to hit to which they responded as they always do……by matching my expectations and more!
Everyone within the sport in the UK knows how strong an athlete team members Rich and Mykie are. Rich with a result of 96 rep Jerk, 156 rep Snatch and 70 rep Long Cycle, Mykie with 82 rep Jerk, 162 rep Snatch and 54 rep Long Cycle. Both did an outstanding job not just individually but for the team. I myself tried to lead the way and inspire my team to be the best they can. I managed 106 reps Jerk, 147 rep Snatch and 77 rep Long Cycle. Really pleased with my own personal result, I’m feeling strong and fit at the minute and its beginning to show.

I’m very fortunate to have such a strong team behind me, a strong bond between the athletes, with great friendship and camaraderie. No more evident than the performance of one of our newest members; Chez.
ChezShe did a brilliant job, no more so than on Snatch. Having barely trained snatch with an 8kg, she took the bold step of making the platform to attempt snatching the 12kg. Yes the individual result wasn’t as strong as the other girls, but having not trained the lift at all to then manage 58 reps, and put her hands on the line for the greater good of the team, was fantastic to see. A really strong showing and I couldn’t be more pleased for her. Without Chez stepping up at this point we wouldn’t of achieved the result we did as a team.
We eventually came in 2nd behind the Scottish Kettlebell Club by a mere 1.3 pts. Absolutely no shame in losing to such athletes of fine calibre.
The final result showed as follows…

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What’s interesting to me is when you look at the individual results of the team and the strong placing they all had. Mykie, as usual, would of won the Men’s Overall Co-Efficient with myself in 2nd and Rich coming in 6th. Chez would of come in 3rd in the Women’s Overall Co-Efficient. This shows to me how strong my athletes really are. Not only am I delighted with the team result, but individually that’s an equally outstanding result!

I must congratulate Liam O’Brien at this point from Yorkshire Kettlebell Club for the organisation of the event. The setting was superb. Being outdoors in some gorgeous weather certainly added to the spectacle (and it nearly lasted the whole day). Equally I must make a special mention to one of his star athletes; Rebecca Suaznabar.

Rebecca_2She has come such a long way since I first met her, with her fear/phobia of chalk, to now being an extremely fine Kettlebell Athlete. Rebecca led the way in all the lifts for the women. Hitting the most reps, 145 rep Jerk, 149 rep Snatch and 110 rep Long Cycle. Her individual result would of also made her the Women’s Overall Co-Efficient Winner. Fantastic lifting!

All in all it was a brilliant day, some amazing performances, some great laughs, and even some nice weather.

Manchester Kettlebell Club will definitely be back at the next one.

The team done good…

The team put in yet another awesome performance at the recent GSU North East Kettlebell Open. We only had 5 weeks to train up for an attempt at Long Cycle, not very long at all with what is a highly technical lift.

The venue itself was incredible, the Northern Echo Arena in Darlington. A great stadium, if somewhat eery with no crowd in the stands. I personally was staggered how big it actually felt when we took a strol on the pitch!

Anyway, we weren’t there to play Rugby, though Mykie seemed quite keen. We were there to lift kettlebells. In total the 5 athletes from Manchester Kettlebell Club that made the journey to Darlington all medalled. Mykie put in another Gold Medal winning performance by managing 74 reps on 2 x 20kg Long Cycle, Russ won another Silver Medal managing 62 reps on 2 x 20kg Long Cycle. Myself, well I had a nightmare of a set falling a long way short I was I was expecting only managing 51 reps on 2 x 24kg Long Cycle, the aim was 80! Bad day at the office.
I’m saving a special mention to the two debutants for the club, the two strong ladies we now have; Anna and Chez. Both did a brilliant job, and as there coach I’m very proud of the pair of them. Both won Silver Medals in there respective weight category which is a great acheivement at the first attempt, made even more astonishing in that they both have only been lifting GS style for 5 weeks. Anna smashed out a brilliant 123 reps and Chez 103 reps on 12kg Long Cycle.

What next for the team?
Well we move onto the next event, whether its the GSU Irish Championships in Kilkenny in July or the GSU British Championships in Septemeber down in London. We will do what we always do…

Train well and with purpose!

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