My response to the IUKL's "scientific study" on how kettlebell lifting affects the female body


Over the weekend, a response from IUKL secretary Vasily Ginko to several Scandinavian countries' request for equal Kettlebell Sport lifting events for men and women was brought to light on Facebook. In his response, Ginko cited a "scientific study" that claims all sorts of damage to the female body from doing kettlebell jerks and long cycle including breast cancer and "prolapse of the vaginal wall."

Obviously, this post went viral, garnering comments from tons of outraged lifters. Additional insights came to light, including a post from Doug Seamans about how the IUKL and RGSF operate in Russia and how money comes into play on this issue.

Here's my opinion on the kettlebell drama:

I'm not going to comment extensively on the "study", as everyone knows the "science" behind it is ridiculous. Could the female body be damaged by kettlebell lifting? Of course, and so could the male body. At the professional level of any sport, the physical affect on the body often crosses the line from healthy to somewhat damaging, which can lead to injuries and overtraining. That's part of being an athlete at the extreme level - pushing your body to its limits.

I'm glad the response from the IUKL is being shared, though. Who is helped by keeping information secret, besides those individuals or organizations who have an ulterior motive they don't want anyone to know about?

One of my concerns about the response being circulated on Facebook, however, is the validity of the information. I don't feel I can comment or respond to the posts in a productive manner because I don't have all the pieces of the puzzle. I don't know exactly how the IUKL and RGSF operate, nor the exact reasons behind how exactly AKA is affiliated with them. I don't know what any one person's motives are behind posting information on the internet. I don't know the relationships certain organizations or people have with one another and the history behind those relationships. How can I know what is really going on when all the information put out on the internet is biased by personal opinions, he-said-she-said, and lies?

We need real discussions and solutions.

Anytime kettlebell drama escalates into a giant spiderweb of endless comments on a hundred different posts about the issue, I get a little frustrated. What is being accomplished by posting inflammatory comments that pit people against each other, especially when all those people ultimately have the same interests at heart? What fruitful solutions come from these internet discussions? (In my opinion, none.)

The main reason I am taking part in organizing the Women's International Kettlebell Sport Summit is to have in person discussions about the issues our sport is facing. So we can come up with REAL, tangible solutions that will move the sport forward. So we, as women, can decide where we want our sport to go and how we are going to get it there.

Ladies, if you want to be a part of a meaningful SOLUTION to the problems, instead of fueling the fire of a flood of internet arguments that pit people against each other, please come to the summit. (Guys, your opinion still matters, but ultimately this affects women and we need to discuss amongst ourselves first and foremost.)

As lifters, you and I have power.

We decide what events we want to lift, and which competitions offer those events. I don't know that I'm going to "boycott" any particular organization, because like I said, all the information I have is from Facebook, and I don't know how reliable any of it is. Personally, I just want to lift at events where the organization and the other lifters supports my goals. I want to have fun doing what I love with like-minded people. That's how I'm going to decide where to compete.

And as a lifter, I'm going to keep lifting and training for the events that I love competing in. All the politics of the sport can be annoying but honestly, it's not going to affect my training tomorrow. I have competitions to prepare for and goals to accomplish with those green monsters. And my vagina will be just fine, thank you.