Technique Tips From Your Coach

Those of you who know me, Coach Rudnev is the exact same size, weight, and height that I am. So the bell that he is using in this video is approximately half of his body weight. Watch how impressively he Snatches it repeatedly without much rest during this set.

Pay very very close attention to his exact techniques and visualize yourself doing the same. Notice the small things that matter. Notice his hand positioning & grip, his elbow position, his foot/leg position, and his breathing patterns.

We will be having some Synergy Beginner & Advanced Workshops coming up in the beginning of September so I will teach you the exact skill set that he taught me on a few occasions when he was over here in the States from Russia.

Together we will refine your techniques so that when you lift any size Kettlebell it will feel easier, and you will reduce your chance of injury, solely because you will lift much more efficiently.

Keep an eye out on our Coaching website for the events and watch more technique videos there: http://BobGaronTraining.com

Synergy Stellar Snatch Challenge

Synergy Stellar Snatch Challenge

This is my favorite challenge that we have ever had to date! There are 2 categories to win to make it fair. Everyone and anyone can win a prize!! We are going to run this challenge from Monday, February 4th through Thursday, February 28th.

To download the entire challenge as an easy to read PDF file so that you can review it and keep it with you for motivation click here: Synergy Stellar Snatch Challenge PDF

1) RAFFLE ENTRY CATEGORY & QUALIFICATIONS Men and Women: every lift = 1 point = 1 raffle entry. The total number of points is determined by the amount of lifts performed by each hand. Ex. Right performs 50 reps and Left performs 50 reps = 100 reps total. That would then equal 100 raffle points.

Any bell weight can be used to perform Snatches for raffle entries unless you are attempting to achieve in the Kettlebell Sport Category.

NOTE: Snatches performed during a class do not count towards the raffle entries. Stellar Snatch reps must be performed above and beyond the regular workout set criteria. Stellar Snatchers may perform their reps before or after class as well as at home if they have access to a Kettlebell.

2) KETTLEBELL SPORT CATEGORY & QUALIFICATIONS Any reps performed within this category also count toward the Raffle Entry Category.

There will be a 10 minute time limit; however you may finish sooner than that depending on how many reps you are trying to achieve.

To qualify, look at the charts below and find your personal weight category, desired bell weight category to use, and then ranking category.  Next you use the chart to tell you what your rep goal will be. Perform your set and achieve your rep goal. Each time you do it attempt to climb up the ranks. There are 3-4 ranks within each Kettlebell category.

Chart Key: CMS = Candidate Master of Sport MS = Master of Sport MSIC = Master of Sport International Class

Body Weight Categories at the top = what your bodyweight is. It is in kilograms so that is 2.2 divided your bodyweight in pounds = your bodyweight in kilos. Or you can take 2.2 multiplied by your weight in kilograms to get your weight in pounds.

Bell Weight Categories is noted by kilos and color on the chart. Please note that the color blue on the chart is not the 10kg light blue Kettlebell, but in fact the, as the chart indicates, it is the 12kg darker blue that we will be using for this challenge.



Yes absolutely!


Entries will be given, as described above, to all participants for every Snatch rep performed during the challenge. There will be 1 Men’s & 1 Women’s Raffle Category prize winner for Aurora & St. Charles which will be awarded at the close of the challenge.


1) Men’s Overall AURORA 2) Men’s Overall STC 3) Women’s Overall AURORA 4) Women’s Overall STC

The Overall Best Lifter Award winners will receive the Synergy Kettlebell Camo Shirts, a Visa gift card prize, and a certificate to go on the new Synergy Wall of Fame.

Note: the Overall Best Lifter title is the highest score for any weight-class in the above divisions with regard to the relative weight of the lifters. Winners are determined via an algorithm which takes into account the competitor’s bodyweight. Thus, this can be thought of as a “pound for pound” title. So in reality, a smaller lifter might win over a larger more muscular lifter.



The following rules are set to ensure safety and consistency of all participants as well fairness among all lifters no matter their skill level, bodyweight, bell weight, or number of reps performed.

a. You must perform the Snatch with good technique, fully lockout, and fixate before the next rep. Fixation Occurs when the lifter’s bell and body come to a complete stop. If you have a medical restriction that prevents you from fully locking out your elbow you must notify your set judge prior. Poor flexibility does NOT qualify as a medical restriction.

b. The bell must never touch the chest or shoulder.

c. On each rep, the judge will announce the repetition number or "no count." A no count is given if fixation does not occur or if elbow lockout does not occur.

d. The free hand may not touch the bell or your body during your set.

e. You are allowed to make only 1 hand switch during your set. The sum of both arms is your scored. Ex. If you need 52 reps to achieve your goal rank for that day then you may perform 26 reps per hand, 20 with the right & 36 with the left, and so on. Remember there is a 10 minute time limit for the set so you can switch any time, but of course just once. You must switch during the set. You cannot perform all the reps on one side.

f. During the set the bell is not allowed to touch the ground ever. If the bell touches the ground the set is stopped. Any reps that you performed up until that point will be your score. If the number of reps you performed were above the minimum then they count towards your overall score for that set.

g. Extra Swings: You are only allowed to perform 1 swing to get the bell Snatched into lockout. If you perform more than one back swing (aka extra swing) your next subsequent rep(s) will be no counts for as many back swings as you peformed. Ex. If you swing the bell 3 times to get it up over head into lockout, your next 2 reps will not be counted. This is because you would have performed 2 extra swings.

h. Chalk, belts & wrist guards are allowed. Gloves or other attire is not allowed.


Here is a video demonstration from IKSFA President, Honored Master of Sport of Kettlebell Sport, Honored Trainer of Russia, Sergey Rudnev (Сергей Руднев) of Snatch with 32kg (70lb) Kettlebell. Coach Rudnev weights about 64kg (140lbs). He demonstrates proper lifting mechanics, proper fixation, and proper breathing pattern. The video progresses to show front, both sides, and rear positions.

Going Past 10: It's Been A Year In The Making

Here is a guest blog from my Kettlebell Sport student, Laura Machuca. I think she did a fabulous job expressing her experience with Kettlebells as her love for lifting the bells have taken her cross-country. Share in her experience and read what she has to say. I think you will gain a new perspective on this rewarding form of fitness. -Bob Garon

Going Past 10: It's Been A Year In The Making


“Kettle-balls? What are those?”

“I didn't know that kettlebell was a sport.”

“Wow! You have to do that for 10 minutes without stopping?”

“That judge was really mean. He should be more understanding of the people who compete with the 8 kg and 12 kg bells.”

These are things people say when they learn that I am a kettlebell athlete. I’ve competed four times now, and at the age of 50 I am getting ready for my fifth competition, all in a little less than a year. Some of what I’ve learned:

1. There’s a lot more to it than simply lasting 10 minutes.

Let’s not kid ourselves; kettlebell or girevoy sport (GS), as it’s sometimes called, is pretty darn tough. Many GS athletes say it’s the toughest sport in the world. In my first three competitions, I worried about lasting the entire 10 minutes, common for beginners. Yet, I now think that worrying about finishing means I doubt my abilities, which just undercuts all the time I spend training. I’m also disrespecting the work my coach and I do to improve my technique. Technique is so important—I can’t just get up on the platform and simply swing the kettlebells around for 10 minutes. I have to do the repetitions correctly, or they don’t count! Proper technique also helps me perform most efficiently, which also means less fatigue.

Laura Machuca

However, if you go to IKFF Nationals in Novi, MI to watch the competitions—and you should do this—you’ll see seasoned GS athletes lifting freaking heavy bells who don’t always finish their 10 minutes. But you know what? They get up there and do it anyway. When I competed in May 2012, a man only did one minute of the jerk with two bells that weighed 32 kg (~70 pounds) apiece. Did he look upset afterward? Not in the least. He wanted to prove to himself that he could get up there and do it for one minute, and he did. Next time, he plans to go for two minutes.

Laura Machuca

2. It’s not just about the numbers.

Depending on the event, your weight, the weight of the bell, and how many repetitions (reps) you do correctly, you can achieve a rank of 3, 2, 1, Candidate Master of Sport (CMS), Master of Sport (MS), and Master of Sport International Class (MSIC). When I began competing, I reached a rank of three, which is the lowest. I haven’t achieved a rank of two yet. However, rank isn’t the most important thing to me anymore. Why not? During the first few minutes of my last competition in May 2012, I saw I wasn’t going to make the number of reps I had as a goal. Instead of getting upset, I decided to relax—to experience the flow of doing the long cycle (clean & jerk) for 10 minutes while striving for my personal best technique. Afterward, I received compliments from the judges, with zero no-counts, which was quite opposite from my prior competition, I also won first place in my weight class in my event! If I had tensed up about making rank, I would have enjoyed myself far less—and shouldn’t I have fun while I’m lifting the bells? This is something I want to truly enjoy while I am doing it for as long as I can. It is about the experience of the moment.

Laura Machuca

3. The only competitor you should worry about is yourself.

It’s normal to want to be like the amazing GS athletes I see. However, if I compare myself to others, I limit things and miss out on so much more! That mindset also makes it easier for me to watch and learn ways to improve my technique. One example is Nathan. In May, Nathan performed the long cycle with astonishing precision. He reminded me of a clock, as his movements were very regular and accurate. When I told him this, he thanked me and revealed that he is a classically trained pianist. He thinks of Mozart playing in his head while he competes, and adjusts his rhythm to match. While I don’t know if I will adopt his method, he certainly helped me stretch my mind to consider new ways of practicing and competing. An analogy to the movie, “Field of Dreams” comes to mind—if I build and improve my technique, the rank will come!

Laura Machuca

4. The judges are there to help you get better at it.

Sometimes judges can intimidate, but only if you let them. Don’t let them! Judges often ask you to demonstrate a few reps so that they can see if you have any physical irregularities. Maybe you can’t bend your knees as far or straighten your arm. You want the judges to know ahead of time so they don’t count it against you while you compete. The first time I had to demonstrate, the judge made a comment about “not letting the bell spin around my hand” that rattled me. I now know that she was only trying to warn me so I wouldn’t get any no-counts. In my competition in March 2012, the judge at the IKSFA New York Open asked me not to make the same mistake as several other people that day. I started to worry about looking bad and not finishing. My focus was wrong and I violated a rule seven minutes into the set. The judge told me I had to stop and put the bell down. Later, two ladies approached me and said that they thought he was too strict, and that “he should be more understanding of the people who compete with the 8 kg and 12 kg bells.

I honestly did not feel the same way as they did. Instead, I saw myself at a fork in the road: I could point fingers, blame others, and complain about the judging; or I could work on improving my technique. Even though I felt a bit confused, did I want to be one who blames others when I don’t perform well? Was blaming the judge going to help me do better next time? I didn’t think so.

Kettlebell sport is a huge passion in my life, changing my life tremendously during the past year. My nutrition and my physique have improved because of my desire to be a better GS athlete. I’d love you to experience the joy of GS for yourself. Join me for my next competition at the “Bells Gone Wild” Kettlebell Sport competition on July 14 at Synergy Kettlebell Training in St. Charles!