What is the Kettlebell Pentathlon?

The Kettlebell Pentathlon is a strength and conditioning test/competition designed by Valery Fedorenko of the World Kettlebell Club. It consists of five exercises each performed for a six minute set, with a five minute rest between. The one arm variation of each exercise is used and multiple hand switches are allowed. A maximum repetition range is given for each exercise for the purposes of safety and fairness, it helps to stop cheat reps. Scores are allocated dependent on the weight kettlebell being lifted and the repetitions achieved. This provides a less technical platform than traditional Kettlebell Sport where 10 minute sets are performed with only a single hand switch. Sounds easy right? Well those 5 minute rests seem long at first but you’ll quickly find yourself wishing you had more time. The Pentathlon tests your GPP, kettlebell specific skills, and maybe most importantly, your spirit.

Exercise One – Clean (Max 20 RPM)

The kettlebell is swung from between the legs and cleaned into the rack position at the shoulder. The kettlebell must pause motionless in the rack before being dropped back into the swing and re-cleaned for another rep.

Exercise Two – Clean and Press (Max 10 RPM)

The kettlebell is cleaned to the rack position as in the first exercise, paused, and then pressed overhead to lockout. The bell is then lowered to the rack and again to the swing position in order to re-clean. You must pause in the rack position before the press and there is no leg drive allowed during the pressing motion.

Exercise Three – Jerk (Max 20 RPM)

Clean the kettlebell to the rack position to start. The bell is then sent overhead via a leg drive (first dip and drive), a fast dip into a quarter squat (second dip), and then an extension of the knees and hips to stand upright. At the second dip point the kettlebell is caught overhead on a straight arm, the elbow is locked out before the knees. From the lockout the kettlebell is lowered to the rack and paused before another rep is performed.

Exercise Four – Half Snatch (Max 18 RPM)

The Half Snatch requires the bell to be snatched to the overhead lockout from the swing in one continuous motion. The kettlebell should be caught at the top on a straight arm, not pressed. From lockout the bell is lowered to the rack and then back to the swing position between the legs before another rep is performed. This differs from Snatch where the bell is dropped from the lockout and caught at the bottom position.

Exercise Five – Push Press (Max 20 RPM)

The Push Press is similar to the Clean and Press. The difference is you only have to clean the bell once to the rack position and when you press you are now allowed to use your legs to help power the bell overhead. The knees must lock out before the elbow and the feet must stay flat, this is not a Jerk.


The Pentathlon is scored on a points per rep basis. Kettlebell weight is also a factor. You will receive one point per rep, per eight kilograms lifted. Eg. 20 reps with 8kg = 20 points. 20 reps with 16kg = 40 points. This points breakdown applies to the in-between bells as well eg. 20 reps with 10kg = 25 points.


The Pentathlon point system obviously leaves you with a few options. Which bell to choose? How fast to go? Your first Pentathlon is not usually optimal and it will take some practice to make the right choices. See the table below as a guide. If you lift too heavy you will not make enough reps, if you lift too light you will leave points on the platform.

Pentathlon Points Table

The full Pentathlon may seem daunting to those who have never tried it before. There’s no doubt about it, it is hard work. That’s why we are offering the option of entering selected Pentathlon events for the Physical Culture Kettlebell Sport Open. There are no excuses now. You may enter just the first event (Clean), just the last (Push Press), or any single or multiple events in between. Enter HERE. Good luck! We’ll see you on the 26th of April!

By | 2016-12-19T17:05:14+00:00 January 28th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

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  1. Pentathlon Series Part One – Clean February 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

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