A lot of the focus on this website emphasizes weight loss and health benefits from using kettlebells. However, there is another aspect that deserves recognition. Kettlebell sport, where lifters compete against one another, is becoming more popular every year. This is especially true for countries in the western hemisphere such as the U.S. and Canada.
Kettlebell Kings recently wrote an overview of kettlebell sport and what it entails. The goal is to complete the most reps of a specific lift within a certain time frame, typically 10 minutes. Each lift needs precise form and technique or it doesn’t count. It requires a lot of strength, endurance, and mental toughness.
Unless you’ve personally used kettlebells, it may be difficult to fully appreciate what athletes accomplish in both preparing for and competing in kettlebell sport. An article from the Daily Citizen caught our attention detailing Wisconsin native Jordan Tyjeski’s journey to competing in the Kettlebell Sport World Championship held in Latvia earlier this month. It’s a remarkable story that left us wanting more.
Shortly after the competition ended, we reached out to Jordan hoping to learn more about her experience. She graciously agreed to answer several of our questions regarding what her time was like at the Kettlebell Sport World Championship. We certainly learned a lot about the competitive side of training with kettlebells!
Jordan Tyjeski Interview
In the Daily Citizen article, it’s stated that you’ve been using kettlebells for roughly 10 years. However, about a year ago you decided to train for kettlebell events and competitions. What prompted you to make this decision?
You’ve given a lot of credit to your coach, Tom Dade, for your training and preparation for the Kettlebell Sport World Championship. What was it like working with him?
Jordan with Coach Tom Dade
Photo courtesy of Jordan Tyjeski
Speaking of training, what’s your kettlebell collection like? How many would you say you own and what range of sizes? Do you train solely with competition kettlebells or do you also use the regular style too?
Before we get into the events, let’s talk about your time in Latvia. Did you have time for any sightseeing or exploring? The Daugavpils Olympic Center seems impressive in its own right.
You won gold medals in the 16kg snatch, 16kg long cycle, and 20kg long cycle. Two of those events were won by 2 reps or less. What’s it like being on stage competing at that level?
For 16kg TALC I was incredibly nervous. I watched the flight before me, where a girl in my weight class lifted for 115 reps, which was 8 reps over my previous PR! That is the first time I felt real pressure. I was running the numbers in my head for how many reps per minute I needed to get to win and it was way faster than my coach and I had discussed for my pace. I started my set with 12 reps per minute and by minute two I was not sure I could keep the pace up, especially with having judges so strict on form. But I have never wanted a number so bad in my life. I had already won one gold medal and I was so hungry for more that I worked harder than I ever have. The pressure and adrenaline combined to win by one rep.
My 20kg TALC I had no pressure for. I had less than an hour after my 16kg set, had 4 open blisters on my hands, got called on to the platform after being chalked and belted to receive my second gold medal, and did not get added to this event until a week before the competition. Getting on to the platform, I was only thinking about doing my best… that made a difference in the first 5 minutes. However, when I realized that my pace was good enough to potentially win, I started getting more amped. I knew my coach realized the same thing because he started yelling louder and encouraged me to pick up my pace.
Overall, there is almost no difference for me competing in a big meet or a small meet. Wherever I am, it is me versus the clock; I keep my pace, control my breathing, and make sure every rep is perfect. This meet is the first time I have ever noticed what is happening to the audience. The last stretch of my 16kg TALC I heard a “USA” chant from up in the bleachers and I used that energy to speed up and finish my set. I later learned that the members of Team USA did not even start that chant!
Posted by Jordan Tyjeski on Saturday, October 20, 2018
Video courtesy of Jordan Tyjeski