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AKA Rules (pdf)



Competition Format and Program

Competition Format

1.1. There are three types of competitions in kettlebell lifting:

• Individual

• Team only

• Individual / team

In individual only events, the individual’s score determines his/her place in the competition. In team only events, the team score determines placing in the competition.

In individual and team events, the individual score determines the placing of that individual. The team score as a whole determines the placing of the team in the competition.

1.2. Events and rules of each competition will be determined by the regulations of IUKL and organizer of said competition.

1.3. Competitions are conducted with kettlebells weighing (kg): 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 Events in a classic competition include:

• Jerk of one (women) or two kettlebells (men) from chest level to overhead position (short cycle)

• Clean of one (women) or two kettlebells (men) to chest level, and jerk to overhead position (long cycle)

• Snatch of one kettlebell (men and women) into overhead position

• Classic biathlon (jerk and snatch)

• Team events (relay races) may contain a combination of jerk, long cycle, or snatch events

Competition Program

1.4. The sequence of events in competition will be determined by the host organization. The one designation is with biathlon: JERK set must be performed prior to SNATCH set with a 30 minute minimum rest between the two lifts.

1.5. The winner is defined in each weight category by greatest sum of rises (successful reps overhead). For the snatch portion in men’s biathlon ONLY, the final score is the average of the greatest sum (x) between left and right hand (x/2). In the event of a tie, the winner should be determined by:

• The participant having a lighter body weight before performance.

• Participant having a lighter body weight after performance.

• The participant who performed first according to schedule of flights

1.6. Team placing is determined by the results of individual participants based on the rules and regulation of the hosting organization.


Competition Categories

Age of Participants

2.1. Age categories:

• Youth up to 16 years.

• Youth up to 18 years.

• Juniors up to 22 years.

• Adults over 22 years.

The age of the participant is defined by year of birth (on 1st of January of current year). NOTE: youth (up to 16 years and up to 18 years) and juniors (up to 22 years) may compete with adults (of more than 22 years) with appropriate preparation and permission.

Weight Categories

Competition participants fall into the following weight categories in American competitions ONLY (there is a different weight category table for international events):

Individuals can only lift in one weight category. In cases of team competitions individuals may lift in another weight category if authorized. In smaller, regional events, if the number of participants is small, some weight categories may be combined.

*The Veterans Division for AKA competitions begins at age 50 for men and women. The Veterans Division for IUKL competitions begins at age 35 for women and 40 for men, and are distinguished separately in 5-year increments.

All American Weight Categories (used in all AKA or AAKA events in North and South Americas)


International Weight Categories (used in international events, qualifiers and world championships)




Applications are to be completed and submitted to the organizing body a minimum of one day before competition. The application should be certified by the head of the organization.




  1. Weigh-ins are conducted before competitions. Individuals participating in team competitions (i.e. relay race) participate on the basis of their individual weigh-in.
  2. Weigh-ins are conducted at a location designated by the host organization. Weigh-ins are supervised by an authorized member of the hosting organization and a representative of each team.
  3. Weigh-ins are conducted by an authorized member of the hosting organization.
  4. Participants have the option to be weighed clothed or unclothed. In the case the participant does not make weight in a particular category, the participant has the option to be weighed again within the limits of the allocated time as determined by the hosting organization.
  5. The sequence of flights and assignment of platforms for the competition will be made by the hosting organization after weigh-ins.


Participant rights and responsibilities

  1. The individual participant has the right to address the Main Judiciary Board (as defined by hosting organization) on all questions only through the team representative or the individual’s judge.
  2. The participant has the right to approach the platform to prepare to lift at a time designated by the hosting organization. Preparation of kettlebells and warm-up takes place at a time and location designated by the hosting organization. Only magnesia (chalk) is allowed for preparation of kettlebells and hands. Any other substances used may give reason for disqualification.
  3. The participant has the right to represent his/her sponsoring organization. The participant or the team representative should notify the hosting organization to receive authorization.
  4. It is the responsibility of the participant to know the rules and regulations of the competition.
  5. Good sportsmanship is required of all athletes. In cases of improper conduct or behavior, the participant will be warned. In cases of repeated violations, participant may be banned from competing.
  6. Good sportsmanship is expected in relation to other participants, and also spectators and judges. The participant is expected to follow all rules and regulations set forth by IUKL and the hosting organization.  
  7. The participant will prepare and compete with the kettlebells and on a platform designated by the hosting organization.
  8. The participant is forbidden to use any equipment which provides an advantage in kettlebell lifting (acceptable equipment is listed in this document).
  9. The participant is forbidden to talk to and approach the judge during competition.
  10. If the participant is removed from competition on the basis of health issues, the participant may not re-enter competition at a later time.


Athlete Uniform and Equipment


2.1. Participants are required to follow these guidelines regarding uniform and equipment:

• The uniform can consist of one or two parts: shorts / tights (showing the knee), weightlifting suit, a t-shirt, or a sleeveless shirt

• Sleeves of the t-shirt should not cover elbow joints

• Weightlifting belts are allowed: width no more than 12 cm and length no more than 1.5m. The belt may not be worn under the uniform. Fabric (towel/t-shirt) cannot be placed over the belt.

• Only flexible wrist wraps are allowed (must be bendable in all directions): width no more than 10 cm and length no more than 25 cm. Wrist wraps cannot be inflexible or consist of any hard molding of any material. Lifters are not permitted to use hand bandages/tape of any kind on the platform except by special advance considera- tion of the Head Judge. Consideration will be given on the basis of lifter class, type of event, and severity of injury. Lifters may be disqualified from competition due to hand injury, if the Head Judge deems them a danger to other lifters. In general, lifters are expected to show up to competition with healthy hands: Hand condition is con- sidered part of overall lifter preparation.

• Use of any support wrap or product must be accompanied by a doctor’s written authorization and must be approved by the head judge prior to the start of competi- tion. The lack of pre-approval can result in disqualification. Exceptions can be made for local competitions at the host’s and head judge’s discretion. These items include but are not limited to: elbow sleeves, knee wraps, and therapeutic tapes.

• Knee caps or knee wraps and groin protection is allowed by medical condition only.

• Appropriate athletic shoes are required.

• There will be no special consideration for a Veteran athlete who competes in Open/ Adult Category.

• Teams should be in identical uniforms.


Team Representatives

  1. Each organization participating in individual / team and team competitions, should have a representative.
  2. The representative is the head of a team and bears the full responsibility for the organization and the discipline of participants. The representative must be present at all meetings conducted by the main judiciary board. The representative is responsible for the on-time arrival of participants at these events: competitions, opening and closing ceremonies, drug testing, weigh-ins, and award ceremonies.
  3. The team representative can be present at weigh-in and the assignment of flights and platforms.
  4. Representatives, coaches and participants are forbidden from the lifting area during the competition. Representatives should remain in the designated area as assigned by the hosting organization.
  5. Team representatives are forbidden to interfere with actions of judges and competitors. The representative has the right to question and appeal to the judiciary board on behalf of his/her team.
  6. If a participant of a team does not have an official representative, the participant may represent himself/herself.3.1. Competitions are conducted on platforms no smaller than
  7. 1.5 x 1.5 meters. Distance between platforms should provide safety and not disrupt the competition process.

Equipment and Supplies



3.2. The weight of competition kettlebells should not deviate from the default standard by more than 100 grams.

3.3. Parameters and color of kettlebells:


3.4. For the purpose of score keeping, an appropriate system (i.e., electronic score board) shall be established by the hosting organization.

3.5. Before the beginning of a competition, the conformity of the equipment and supplies shall be made public to participants.

Area for warm-up and preparation


3.6. An area shall be designated for competitor warm-up and preparation. The warm-up and preparation shall be near the competition platforms. The warm-up and preparation area shall have sufficient space, kettlebells, magnesium (chalk), and other preparation equipment etc. for the number of participants.

Other equipment; etc., should also be available as designated by the hosting organization such as:

• Loudspeakers attached to a microphone for the announcements.

• A board displaying names of participants, participant body weight, order of flights, and names of teams.

• A table for the medical assistant on duty.



Judiciary Board

4.1. The Judiciary board is established by the hosting organization.

4.2. The judiciary board shall consist of:

• Head Judge.

• Head Secretary.

• Platform Judges.

• Secretaries for administrative and reporting duties.

• Technical Controller.

4.3. Judges are obligated to thoroughly understand the rules and regulations of the competition and apply them appropriately in a manner that is fair and objective.

4.4. Judges should wear uniforms as designated by hosting organization.

4.5. The hosting organization shall be in charge of the selection of judges for competitions.

The Head Judiciary Board

4.6. Structure of the head judiciary board:

• Head Judge

• Head Secretary

• Assistant to Head Judge

• Assistant to Head Secretary

4.7. Prior to the beginning of the competition, the head judge forms a jury of three or five people. The structure of the jury is brought to the attention of the judiciary board at a meeting prior to the beginning of the competition. The jury includes members of the governing body’s judiciary board (IUKL) or those given authority to judge. The chairman of the jury, his assistants, or the head judge of the competition will oversee the work of the jury.

4.8. The main judiciary board is authorized to form the final flight of the best athletes (group A) and best teams (in team competitions) based on results of performances from their last competitions:

• In the current year

• In the previous year

The Rights and Duties of Jury

4.9. The jury has the responsibility to enforce the RULES and REGULATIONS of competition. The jury does not have the right to change the conditions of competitions established by RULES and REGULATIONS.

4.10. The jury is responsible for hearing appeals and making final decisions on these appeals.

4.11. The jury has the right to make recommendations to the main judge to discharge any judge who is inadequate and has made gross mistakes in regards to the results of the competitors.

4.12. The jury has the right to make changes to the schedule of competitions if deemed necessary.

4.13. The decision of jury is determined by the majority of votes. The head of jury at voting has two votes.


Head Judge and Assistants

4.14. The main judge supervises the judiciary board. The main judge is responsible for the precise organization, discipline and safety of the competitions. He/she must also ensure the creation of equal conditions for all participants, strict observance of operating rules, objectivity of refereeing, calculation of results and summarizing of results of competitions.

4.15. Obligations of the head judge:

• Prior to the beginning of competitions, the head judge is responsible for holding a meeting with the judiciary board and a meeting with team representatives.

• Prior to the beginning of the competition, the head judge is responsible for inspecting the competition area, inventory of equipment and supplies, and ensuring compliance with competition rules and safety regulations.

• To ensure the proper operating procedure of the judiciary board.

• To supervise the competition and to resolve any matters or complications.

• To monitor the work of other judges during competitions and to determine the winners of the competition.

• To accept appeals or other issues for discussion by the jury.

• To submit within five days a report with final documentation and results to the hosting organization.

• To appoint and meet with the judiciary board during competitions.

4.16. The assistant of the head judge is guided by the head judge. In the absence of the head judge, he/she will carry out the duties of the head judge.

The Head Secretary of Competitions

4.17. The head secretary:

• Prepares the necessary technical documents and is responsible for their accuracy.

• Documents the meetings of the judiciary board and prepares the orders and decisions of the head judge.

• With permission from the head judge, gives competition information to the judge-informer, team representatives, and correspondents.

• Keeps official records.

• Processes all documentation of competitions.

• Presents the head judge with all necessary materials for the official competition report.

• Keeps accurate information and corrects any mistakes in documentation.

The Platform Judge

4.18. The platform judge:

• Precisely declares the quantity of properly executed repetitions. No verbal count is required unless there is failure with electronic equipment.

• Issues “no counts” when repetitions are performed improperly.

• Loudly declares the participant’s final score in each exercise.

NOTE: At international competitions and national championships two judges are appointed to each platform, as deemed necessary.


The Secretary

4.19. The secretary:

• Completes the cards of participants during weigh-in (the report of weighing) and reports the scores on the platform.

• Informs participants about flights and platform assignments.

The Judge Assistant

4.20. The judge assistant:

• Declares decisions, orders of the Main judiciary board.

• Informs spectators and participants of competition results.

The Judge Over Participants

4.21. The judge over participants:

• Takes attendance of competition participants, confirms that all competitors are wearing uniforms in accordance with competition rules.

• Assembles competition participants in accordance with their assigned flights.

• Gives participants sufficient warning before they are called onto the platform.

• Informs the secretary in cases where a participant is absent from competition or decides not to participate in the competition.

• Is the intermediary between participants and a judiciary board.

The Technical Controller

4.22. The technical controller:

• Is responsible for safety precautions in the area of competitions, warm-up and preparation of kettlebells: as well as the presence of weights, platforms, the judicial signal system, chronometers and other equipment deemed necessary.

• Together with one of members of the Main Judiciary Board prior to the beginning of competitions, confirms the weighing and measurement of parameters of kettlebells and makes the official certificate about their conformity with the rules and regulations.

• During competitions, supervises the technical condition of supplies and equipment and ensures they are in compliance with rules and safety regulations.

• Ensures the order of the immediate location of the competition: makes sure no one is in front of or behind platforms, in immediate proximity of the judges, or in front of video camera lenses, etc.

• Gives instruction to the supervisor (or hosting organization) of the competition about any identified or emerging shortcomings regarding technical aspects during the competition.

• Suspends the competition in the case of emergency until the cause of the emergency situation has been eliminated.

• In case of an occurrence of an extreme emergency takes measures to evacuate participants and spectators and to notify the appropriate authorities.


Medical Personnel

4.23. The competition medical personnel is assigned by the hosting organization.

4.24. The medical personnel of competitions:

• Checks doctors’ notes about admission of participants to competitions when necessary.

• Carries out medical supervision of participants at weigh-in and during competitions.

• Ensures sanitary and hygienic conditions at the location of the competition and in areas where participants reside and eat during competitions.

• Renders medical aid to participants in the case of trauma or injury and helps participants to continue to compete if possible.

• Coordinates with the head judge to make decisions in cases where a participant must be removed from competition for medical reasons, writes a report explaining the reasons for the participant’s removal from.

• Provides the head judge with a written report about the medical and sanitary services rendered during the competition.

Competition Supervisor

4.25. The competition supervisor is responsible for preparation of supplies (platforms, kettlebells, scale for weighing of participants and other equipment), competition location, warm-up area, and designated areas for participants, representatives, judges, and press. Provides a location and supplies for the opening ceremonies, and follows the instruction of the head judge, the technical controller, and the representative of the hosting organization.



Rules of Performance of Exercises

General Provisions

5.1. The participant is invited to the platform at least two minutes prior to the beginning of his/her flight. Five seconds prior to the beginning of the flight the time is counted down in seconds: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. During this time the participant must be on the platform. At the start of the flight the command “start” is given. After the “start” command the participant is obliged to begin the exercise: jerk, snatch, or long cycle. In the case that a participant lifts the kettlebell(s) from the platform before a command of “start,” the head judge will give the command “stop and place the kettlebell(s) on the platform and then begin the exercise.”

5.2. The participant who is late to the platform will be disqualified. In the case of biathlon competitors at regional and local American events, if the competitor misses the jerk portion of biathlon, they will be given the opportunity to compete in the snatch only event (pertains to both men and women).

5.3. 10 minutes is given as the time limit for competition exercises. The judge-secretary will announce time as each minute passes. After 9 minutes have passed, control time will be announced at 50 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds, and every second until time runs out.

5.4. After 10 minutes the “Stop” command will be called and the participant must stop performance of exercise.

5.5. Each properly executed repetition is accompanied by a signal of the platform judge. The judge declares the signal as soon as all parts of the body of the competitor become motionless.

5.6. If the competitor conducts a foul or violates any rules of the technical performance, the platform judge can issue a “no count” or “stop set.”

5.7. In the case of any part of the competitor’s body coming in contact with the platform, or in the case that the competitor leaves the platform, a “stop” command is given.

5.8. If a competitor cannot completely straighten elbows due to anatomical deviations, or a medical condition, he/she should inform the platform judges and/or jury before the beginning of the flight.



5.1. The JERK is carried out from the following starting position: kettlebells are fixed on the chest, arms are pressed to the trunk, legs are straightened. Kettlebells are then launched into the overhead position and arms, trunk and legs should be straightened. Legs and kettlebells should be in line and parallel to the plane of the body. After fixation in the over- head position, the platform judge will issue a point and the participant lowers kettlebells back to starting position.

Important note: fixation is punctuated by a dedicated, visible stop of the kettlebells and the athlete’s motion.

5.2. The “Stop” command is issued when:

• A participant conducts a technical foul.

• Kettlebells are held in a position lower than the hands (i.e. no cleans or farmer’s carry).

5.3. The “No Count” command is issued when:*

• There is additional push (with legs) or additional press (with arms) of kettlebells (the kettlebell must ascend in a continuous manner without stopping).

• Absence of fixation in starting and overhead position.

5.4. LONG CYCLE: A JERK of kettlebells from the chest with the subsequent lowering of the kettlebells into clean position - the kettlebell(s) must be re-cleaned between each JERK repetition. In this event the kettlebells can be held in a position lower than the hands (clean), but must be between or outside of the legs and in motion (clean action). Kettlebells can not be held motionless in a position lower than the hands. LONG CYCLE uses the same rules as JERK, but the “STOP” command is issued when the kettlebell touches the platform.

*More information on the technical aspects of a good lift versus a lift that is deemed a “NO COUNT”, refer to the Judging Manual.



5.1. The performance of the SNATCH is carried out in one step from the starting position between the legs. The participant should swing the kettlebell in a continuous movement upward into the overhead position and fixate. Fixation is achieved when the kettlebell is in the overhead position and arms, legs and trunk are straightened. The legs and kettlebell should be in line and parallel to the plane of the body. After fixation, the platform judge will issue a point, and the competitor will lower the kettlebell to the starting position between the legs without the kettlebell touching any part of the trunk. Change of hands can be made once in any manner. If the kettlebell touches the shoulder or trunk during the performance of the first hand, this will be considered the transition to switch the kettlebell to the 2nd hand, and a command to “switch” hands will be issued by the platform judge. If the bell skims across, skips across, or briefly taps the platform, but does NOT come to a complete stop, the next rep WILL count as along as all other technical aspects are met. ONLY if the bell touches the platform and comes to a complete stop, will that signal the end of a set.

5.2. The “Stop” command will be issued when:*

• There is a technical foul.

• The kettlebell touches the shoulder or trunk when held by the 2nd hand.

• The kettlebell touches the platform and comes to a complete stop.

• The kettlebell is held motionless in the position lower than the hip (kettlebell must be in motion during swing phase).

5.3. The “No Count” command is issued when:*

• There is an additional press (with arm) of the kettlebell.

• Absence of fixation in overhead position.

• The free hand touches any part of the body, platform, kettlebell, working hand, legs, or trunk.

*More information on the technical aspects of a good lift versus a lift that is deemed a “NO COUNT”, refer to the Judging Manual.




5.17. The weight of kettlebell(s), exercises, timing, number of legs of the relay are defined in the competition rules and regulations.

5.18. Performance of exercises follows the general rules included in this document.

5.19. Performance of exercises begins with the light weight categories. The participant is authorized to compete only in one leg of the relay.

The order of relay races:

• Before the beginning of the relay race participants are line up in teams in order of the relay legs they will participate in. 5 seconds prior to start the control time is announced in one-second increments: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then the command “Start” is given to partici- pants in the first leg.

• 15 seconds before the start of the next leg, the judge allows the next participant to come forward.

• 5 seconds prior to the termination of the leg, the control time is announced in one-second increments: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

• Next, the transfer to the next leg and next competitor is made after the “change” command. The participant who has just finished the leg should place the kettlebell(s) on the platform.

• If a participant of the previous leg fixates the kettlebell(s) after the “change” command, the last lift (rep) will not count

• The count for the whole team is shared with a cumulative accruing score.

The winning team is defined by the greatest number of lifts – in cases of a tie between two teams, the advantage is given to the team with a lower total body weight of all of the team members.

Registration of Records and the Maximum Achievements

Records and top achievements among young (boys and girls), juniors (men and women), and adults (men and women) are officially registered and recorded only at the competitions included in the official schedule of the IUKL. In those competitions, the judiciary board should be made up of no fewer than 3 judges of the international category. Registration of records and top achievements occurs according to the relevant regulations of the IUKL.