It’s part fitness, part weightlifting and Corissa Sivorot is out to spread the word about the emerging sport of kettlebell.
Sivorot, a Colwood- and Victoria-based fitness trainer who competed for the first time in this unique test of strength and endurance in May 2014, has shown to be a fast learner.
She began with a first-place finish in her category at the Victoria Kettlebell Classic at Saanich Commonwealth Place last year and has shown in subsequent tournaments that she is among the best women lifters in the country.
Her performance at the 2015 Canadian nationals in Edmonton, only her fourth official competition, earned her a spot on the national team heading to Dublin, Ireland next month for the World Kettlebell Championships.
Sivorot finished third overall and was bettered only by two professional lifters in the 16-kilogram (the size of the weight) snatch event. She ripped off an amazing 159 reps, or individual floor-to-overhead lifts, in a span of 10 minutes.
The sport, which has deep roots in Eastern Europe, has been growing quickly in North America, especially among women. Asked to describe it, Sivorot says, “It’s weightlifting with momentum; it’s Olympic lifting with endurance.”
Sivorot has been working with the loop-handled round metal weights for fitness since 2010, having used them to rehab an injury. After being invited to compete in the Victoria tournament, she says, “it inspired me to learn more.”
She found herself getting hooked on the sport aspect and sought more information on technique and competitions, as well as how to use the bells in her fitness classes.
In the months since, she’s worked on honing her technique to the point where she can teach others.
A Sunday morning class she hosts in Colwood is proving to be very popular with those interested in a different form of fitness, as well as those keen to learn more about the competitive side.
“It’s definitely a niche and I think when people try it, they fall in love with it,” Sivorot says. “It’s exciting to see so many people get motivated and start lifting weights.”
Of seeing more women taking up kettlebell, she says, “It used to be strictly for cardio or for losing weight, but getting stronger is more of a focus now.”
Cathy Kubanski of Metchosin was introduced to kettlebell in Sivorot’s class. She has taken to watching YouTube videos of lifters in action and says she works out with the bells up to six days a week, either on technique or simply to keep fit.
“There’s more to it than it might seem at first,” Kubanski says. It’s best if you do it with someone who knows how to properly teach it. But you won’t find a much more complete workout.”
From a competitive standpoint, the popularity of kettlebell in Canada can be seen in the number of national team members travelling to this year’s world tournament.
Last year, Canada’s first appearance at the event, only a handful of lifters travelled to Hamburg for the world championships – Canadian Kettlebell Alliance regional organizer Linda Gilmour, masters athlete Jean Whitney and junior Tijanne Ross, all from Greater Victoria, were among them. Next month 18 Canadian athletes will compete in Dublin, including 10 women.
Sivorot points out that the team members are various body types and sizes, testament to the fact that anyone can take up the sport, at virtually any age.
The size of the weights vary, with women using anywhere from 12 to 24 kg balls, as does the length of time to allowed for repetitions.
As a way to raise awareness of the sport and raise funds for her trip to the world championships, Sivorot is hosting a fun competition starting at 10 a.m. at Strength in 2 Fitness, #105-2675 Wilfert Rd. across from Lee Valley Tools.
While women in international competition can only do the snatch event, this recreational tournament will feature every event: the snatch, jerk, biathlon and long cycle (clean and jerk). Sivorot and others will be available to give direction to newcomers.
For more information or to pre-register for the competition, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-514-6584.