Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Kettlebell Sport World Championship gold medalist Jordan Tyjeski. Competing in various kettlebell events consisting of 16kg and 20kg weights, her efforts landed her not 1 but 3 gold medals. Now, several months later, that effort and dedication continued to pay off with impressive showings at the Arnold Sports Festival earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio.
Personally, I think that people unfamiliar with kettlebells might not fully grasp the difficulty endured during these competitions. For the average viewer, we’re used to seeing powerlifters hoist massive barbells with their veins protruding and faces bright red. While that’s amazing in its own right, kettlebell sport is a battle of strength, endurance, focus, and perseverance. It’s not just the size of the weight that matters, but how quickly and how long the lifter can perform.
Having worked out with smaller size kettlebells for over a year, I can attest to the exhaustion felt after each session. That’s with rest periods and breaks! My 35 lb. kettlebell feels like a boulder at the end of each workout. Muscles ache, sweat pours down my body, you get the picture. It’s both satisfying and grueling.
So whenever I read about what these kettlebell athletes are accomplishing, I have an immediate appreciation. Jordan’s feats, in particular, are really inspiring. Her acute sense of knowing what it takes to beat the competition and pushing herself to the limits is something we should all aspire to. I think she deserves plenty of recognition and I’d like to comment on some of these recent accomplishments of hers.
Winner of the Women’s VIKN Grip Challenge
VIKN Performance along with Kettlebell Kings sponsored an event at the Arnold Sports Festival that tasked participants with the challenge of gripping and holding a kettlebell in each hand for as long as possible. For the men’s event, competitors had to hold a total weight of 136kg (roughly 150 pounds per hand). Ivan Denisov was declared the winner, clocking in at an astonishing 3 minutes and 6 seconds. More than 30 seconds longer than the 2nd place finisher.
For women, they were asked to hold a total weight of 96kg (roughly 106 pounds per hand). Jordan managed to best the 2nd place finisher by more than 25 seconds with a total time of 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Those seconds quickly add up when holding such large weights. To put things in perspective, take a look at this 40-second workout featuring kettlebell coaches Marcus Filly and Eric Leija, each utilizing a 126 lb. kettlebell. You can tell the concentration and effort required just by looking at their faces. That was for less than a minute…
If you’ve ever had to carry your luggage across airport terminals, then you know what a toll it can take on your arms. After all, that’s why most luggage has wheels these days. Simply labeling both Ivan and Jordan as winners of this challenge is insufficient. It’s a testament to their strength and training!
GSPlanet Kettlebell FACE-OFF Absolute Winner
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The #arnoldclassic2019 was so fun! So happy that I set a new national record and was awarded absolute winner for the world championships 😁😁 I am so blessed . . . #worldchamp #newrecord #juniordivision #arnoldclassic #arnoldclassic2019 #arnoldsportsfestival #arnoldsportsfestival2019 #kettlebellsport #kettlebellkings #longcycle #doublemedals #trophy #absolutebest #soblessed #professional #bling #arnoldclassicchampion
Adding more hardware to her collection is starting to become commonplace for Jordan. As amazing as her performance in the VIKN Grip Challenge was, the finish at the Double 24kg (~53 lbs.) Long Cycle event is awe-inspiring. At first glance, it has the appearance of an “Oh crap!” moment. The more I watch it, the better I understand that all of her energy was put into those final reps until there was nothing left.
69 reps for 10 straight minutes is a hell of an achievement. I can only imagine the burn and pain felt during those last seconds. So congratulations Jordan! You’re an exciting athlete to follow. Keep breaking those records!