Kettlebell Sport for Weight Loss... Effective or Not?

Guest post by Jay Trunzo from Punch Kettlebell Gym.

Most readers of this blog are familiar with Kettlebell Sport, but let’s get this out of the way for newcomers: Kettlebell Sport is a competitive event in which athletes lift one or two kettlebells as many times as possible in ten minutes. When lifting one kettlebell, one hand switch is allowed. If the kettlebell is put down or dropped by the athlete, the set ends.

Easy, right? Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or not, you’re thinking, “yeah...right.” Kettlebell Sport is one of the toughest events an athlete will attempt and yet it is strangely satisfying and rewarding. And if an athlete can hold and lift something weighing between 18 and 53 pounds for women or 52 to 140 pounds for men (competing with two bells), then it must be a great way to lose weight, right?

Well... yes and no.

First, it’s important that athletes understand that there is a difference between “training” and “working out”. Training involves very specific movements and programming. Kettlebell Sport is highly technical, and one of the goals of training is to make the lifts easier. “Efficiency” is a word you’ll hear tossed about often when discussing Sport competitions and training, and for good reason: an efficient lifter is capable of performing over a longer period of time. An efficient lifter can also lift more weight, more often. We train to be more efficient in each lift.

Working out is less specific. Maybe you go to a gym, you ride a stationary bike for five minutes or so to warm up, you hit the weight machines for 30 minutes, and then you wrap it up with a slog on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes. If you belong to a cool gym, a coach leads you through a blast of bodyweight exercises, kettebell work, plyometrics, barbell work, and a host of other body-blasting activities. You’re working hard, and that’s the goal. It’s less specific than training.

A good coach will tailor your workouts to improve your strength and conditioning. There should be a method to the madness even if your goal is simply to “get in better shape.” At our gym, we hold daily classes that focus on strength and conditioning. We set up a game plan for the year, for each quarter, for each month, and for each week. Our classes are the foundation that we build our Kettlebell Sport athletes upon.

A typical training day for a Kettlebell Sport athlete might look like this:

Long Cycle, comp bell, 8:00, 10-12RPM, 4:00 rest, LongCycle, 6:00, comp bell less 2-4kg, rest as needed, 1H Swings 10+10 on the minute 10:00

If that looks like a foreign language to you, fear not. The important point is time under the bell. Note that the actual “work” time is only about 12-14 minutes with some accessory work added. Total workout time? About 22-24 minutes, three days a week. “You mean I can lose weight and get in great shape in only 24 minutes a day, three days a week?”

No. This isn’t a late night infomercial. Remember the classes I mentioned above? Before any of our members even think about competing in Kettlebell Sport, they attend our classes for at least six months to improve their overall fitness. If a member wants to explore Kettlebell Sport, we’ll put him or her through a test set or two to see where they stand. The member also gets his or her first taste of what it’s like to move weight for a significant chunk of time.

Then the member starts training. This is the 24 minutes a day you got all excited about above. But when a lifter is finished training for the day, the lifter jumps into one of our classes. On days the lifter isn’t training, the lifter works on strength and conditioning in one of our classes. In other words, the lifter is training and working out.

This is the key to our success - this is how you lose weight through Kettlebell Sport. You are forced to set goals. Which event will I be best in, how much weight do I want to lift, and how many reps do I want to get? Once the goal is set, everything from that point forward is tailored to help meet that goal. This keeps lifters engaged and accountable.

Kettlebell Sport also provides the motivation to endure a months-long training cycle. Believe me, if you don’t have a goal, you won’t be interested in performing thousands of repetitions in training while still getting your butt kicked in one of our classes. With a goal in mind, our lifters earn success on the competition platform while hitting their fitness and body composition goals.

Kettlebell Sport is not a magic bullet. But if training is approached seriously while continuing to address strength and conditioning goals, it’s the closest thing to a magic bullet you’ll find. You’ll look better, feel better, and move better. Plus, it’s a sport you can pursue for a lifetime.

Here’s two of our lifters at very different ends of the age spectrum. Meet Teri and Kayla; both have lost a ton of weight through Kettlebell Sport, and both have enjoyed success in competition.


Amazing, right? If you’re interested in learning more about Kettlebell Sport, find a good coach nearby and dive in. A coach is important. I’m a coach, I have a coach, and my coach has a coach. And remember! Strength and conditioning combined with Kettlebell Sport training are the keys to your weight-loss success!

Want to find a Kettlebell Sport coach in your area and get started? Email