Periodization for GS, Part 2 (the natural periodization of Kettlebell sport ranks)

In most cases, Kettlebell sport has a natural periodization structure provided you follow a somewhat conventional approach. As I have previously mentioned there are many different types of periodization you can use in GS. I really like the structure of the ranking system in GS because it may provide a natural periodization. The idea is that unless you are at Master of Sport level (using 24 or 32 kgs bells etc), there is a natural phase potentiation when you move through the GS ranks. Many coaches suggest hitting various bench mark numbers before moving up competition weights, such as 100 jerks, 200 snatches, which may function like a ‘block’ periodization. The natural periodization of the rank works for each event and also transfers between events!

Within the same event, the natural periodization is caused by a focus on the competition weight kettlebell, which correspond to the ranks that you were attempting to reach. Once rank is achieved, your goals should be to either increase reps/points (reach benchmark numbers) with the same weight, move up competition weight or change events. Increasing reps/points could be viewed as an endurance phase, moving up in kettlebell competition weight could be a (relative) strength phase, whilst changing events could be general preparation phase.

If you are trying to increase your points within the event, it will be assumed that your strength levels are adequate and improving endurance should be the major focus.  However, improving efficiency through increased strength may help greatly. When you move up in competition weight you will have to start using heavier bells, thus increase the force output per reps and reduce the RPM. This will require greater levels of strength endurance and local muscular endurance. Having achieved higher numbers with the previous kettlebell weight, you may benefit from delayed transference/phase potentiation. Basically, because you have just gone through a relative endurance phase, you should be able to develop higher levels of strength endurance as endurance shouldn’t hold you back. Another way to think about it is that you have laid a strong foundation with higher volume training and are now building upon this with lower volume higher intensity training.


My name is James Ross, I’m a qualified personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach and sports scientist. I am a founder and coach at The Richmond Gym in Melbourne and started the website

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