Friday, 9 September 2011

Jad Marinovic Interview

Jad Marinovic is as strong, tough and committed as they come!  She has high ambitions both as an athlete and coach.  Jad has traveled to the USA and Europe to compete and also learn from the best, attending the IKSFA St. Petersburg Elite Kettlebell Training Camp in Russia becoming Australia's first female certified IKSFA Kettlebell Sport Coach.  She is not daunted at the prospect of hard training under Russian coaches, and already she has shown she has what it takes to mix with the very best. This combined with establishing and running Australia’s first dedicated Kettlebell gym that specializes in all facets of kettlebell training illustrates her commitment to promoting quality kettlebell lifting in Australia.

She is a powerful all-round GS athlete, not just adept at the traditional competition lifts.  Jad recently made history becoming Australia’s first international Girevoy Sport Marathon Champion in Milan, and is also head and shoulders above anyone else in this country in kettlebell power juggling. In fact she is close approaching the skill set necessary to be world class. A recent public performance can be seen below.  Moving powerfully and gracefully in all planes of motion, she has the ability to entertain as well as educate, and Jad is an absolute inspiration to others when it comes to her commitment, focus and generosity.

What is your training background? Were you a sporty child?

Since childhood my lifestyle has always revolved around exercise, strength training and dancing. I started conventional strength training at the age of 15.  I also have ten years experience in group exercise/fitness instructing, and had dance and gymnastics training during my childhood.  In addition, I also have two years Martial Arts training experience, and as a teenager joined in cross-country running.  Before discovering the kettlebell my goal had been to compete in a body building competition; and I have entered Kung Fu competitions in the past, but I decided to discontinue due to the risk of injury. 

It was in 2007 when I first picked up the Kettlebell I never looked back –  I have always loved training with weights and with kettlebells it’s really an obsession!  I made a commitment to learn everything there is to know about the kettlebell and so ever since I have been training with kettlebells and odd object lifting.

How did you get into girevoy sport?

When I started training with my coach Phil Kourbatski he always challenged me with kettlebells, and my strength and conditioning literally went through the roof in a very short period of time.  I was stronger than ever swinging 56 kg and doing the Turkish Getup with 28kg.  I really loved the challenges as well as the high repetition lifts for cardio.  It was in early 2008 that I performed 200 repetitions with 12 kg one hand switch and also did one hour-long cycle 600 reps without putting the kettlebell down.  I found out about the sport in 2007 and wanted to compete sooner but my first priority was to open up Australia’s first dedicated commercial Kettlebell gym.  When I was ready to commit to competing in GS my coach advised me to engage the services of an online GS coach for guidance.

 Who is your coach?

Since July 2010 I engaged the services of my GS online coach Sergey Rachinskiy,HMS, MSWS, HCR, 9-time World Champion,12-time Champion of Russia., who prepares me for kettlebell sport competitions; and over the last four years I’ve been training with Australia’s renowned leading expert kettlebell instructor Phil Kourbatski, for general strength and conditioning with kettlebells and other odd object lifting.

What are some of your personal Records?

Jerk: 28 kg: 16 repetitions, 24 kg 65 repetitions, 20 kg 100 reps 10 min, 16 kg 160 reps 10 min

Snatch: 24 kg 45 reps, 20 kg 80 reps, 16 kg 160 reps 8 min

Marathon (without putting Kettlebell down), Jerk 16 kg 1 h: 546 repetitions, Jerk 16 kg 30 min: 523 repetitions

Sprint:Snatch 16 kg 61 reps in 2 minutes,
Jerk 16 kg 76 reps in 2 minutes

Other Personal Records:28 kg Turkish Getup, 56 kg two hand swing for 10 reps, 60 kg barbell squat for 61 reps straight, 100 kg squat x 2, 75 kg deadlift for 35 reps straight

What do you like about GS?

Girevoy sport is the ultimate sport for me for many reasons. Training for GS is good for your health and well being and you also develop a functionally strong, lean athletic body.  It was a natural progression to want to compete because GS integrates everything I have enjoyed in the past which is my passion for strength training, my aerobics instructing which focuses on conditioning, together with my mental toughness—which is a trait of my character. I am also competitive by nature and love a challenge.

What is your current GS  rank / achievements ?

I competed as a professional using a 16 kg in my very first competition and won the Gold Medal in Biathlon at the AKC Classic Championship in Las Vegas on the 6th Nov, 2010.  I achieved the rank of Candidate Master of Sport (CMS). I also achieved WKC Strongwoman Biathlon Clean and Jerk rank with 20kg

In Europe I made history becoming Australia's 1st International Girevoy Sport Marathon Champion winning the highest title and setting a new record competing with the 16 kg performing a total of 546 repetitions in the 1 hr Kettlebell Marathon discipline at the Italian Girevoy Sport Federation Championships in Milan, Italy on the 12/06/2011. For me to qualify for the Master of Sport International Class (MSIK) achievement I had to perform the number of repetitions requested by MSIK Rank which is 500 repetitions with the 16 kg corresponding to my weight category which was 60 kg in the Kettlebell Marathon 1 hr discipline. In Europe I am  the first woman to represent Australian in Girevoy Sport.  I recently set a world record in my age and weight class completing 523 Jerks with 16 kg in 30 minutes.

What are your goals? 

I have so many goals which include achieving Master of Sport with 20 kg, CMS ( IUKL) to name a few, and also continue to promote kettlebell lifting in fitness, sport and power juggling.  In the long term MS with 24 kg, another Marathon

What do you like about kettlebell training?

The moment I discovered that you could train for strength as well as cardio I was very excited because the exercises and movement patterns are so much fun compared to the traditional weight training and cardio machines which I had used for years. The fact that you can train for all-round fitness, sport, and even perform power juggling to music is the reason I fell deeply in love with the kettlebell because it combines everything I enjoy into one.

Training with kettlebells delivers so many benefits including strength, fitness and flexibility which develop a functionally strong athletic body.  Also, training with kettlebells works the whole body including your core, which I can really appreciate after giving birth and suffering back pain for years.  In addition, because the kettlebell is portable and I can train anywhere it suits my busy lifestyle including juggling running my own gym and motherhood.  I used to be a gym junkie but I found out the hard way that I don't have the time anymore to spend hours in the gym and be consistent.  Although I own a kettlebell gym  I still have kettlebells in my car, hallway, lounge room, bedroom, and even at my mum’s house, and I train where and when I can at home, and at the gym, beach, or park and I even travel with my bell which is awesome.  Yes I live in a kettlebell world. A mother at school once called me “kettlebell” and I actually responded to her.

How long have you been doing GS for?

Although I combined GS sets in my training as early as 2008 and got great results, I only started training very seriously and consistently for the sport in 2010 when I engaged the services of an online GS coach.

What are your worst setbacks?

In February 2010 I had an accident six weeks before I was planning to compete in my first competition which I was hosting in my own gym “Kettlebell Athletica”!  I fell down causing a severe lower left-leg sprain and right-hand fractures which prevented me from training for 2 months and it took me another 3 to get back my fitness level.  In addition recently, in February 2011, I had another setback following a neck manipulation by an osteopath resulting in a severe strain, limited neck mobility plus a nerve impinging down my arm, all in all preventing me from training for two months and I only started training a month before I left for Europe.

You have a lot of natural strength and ability; is this a family trait and are there other strong athletes in your family?

There’s a legacy of feats of strength on my father’s side of the family so that’s why they say it is not a surprise for a Marinovic to be very strong.  For example in my dad’s town there’s a story that my relative picked up a heavy plough weighing 450 kg, and another relative had picked up a horse. My first cousin won Oceana & Australian boxing championships for the Australian Amateur Boxing Association during the 1990s. On my Mum’s side of the family my grandfather was a tennis star in Canada in the 1930s. 

Power juggling is one of the most engaging facets of the sport.  Why does this aspect intrigue you?

I believe that kettlebell juggling is an entertaining performing art in its own right, and you can have fun blending artistic expression and creative movement into workouts that combine strength, power and graceful movements to music. So, considering my range of training in all of the above from dance to fitness, it was natural for me to be intrigued by kettlebell juggling. Since I discovered kettlebell power juggling I am passionate about perfecting the art and developing it more in Australia.

In your opinion, the best GS athletes display the following qualities:

Learning the correct technique, focus, discipline, mental toughness and developing all round fitness which includes special and general physical endurance, strength, and flexibility.

There are many other sports and activities available for females, why should they consider having a go at GS?
Training for GS has many benefits for women because it focuses on learning flowing graceful movement and breathing patterns that connects mind and body to develop all round fitness, such as functional strength, aerobic fitness, flexibility and power that will improve your health.  Most female GS athletes are very lean, toned and strong. What is also great about training for GS is that you can train anywhere, anytime and at any age. Also GS is both a ‘team’ sports and an individual sport offering an alternatives for women, to express their competitive edge taking up the GS challenge. The sport also includes power juggling, relay races and marathon sets which adds lots of variety as well.

Do you think GS is a good sport for teenagers?

Yes, for teenagers GS is a very good sport for many reasons. Kettlebell sport is ideal for fitness, health and improved performance that will cross over into any sport because it focuses on athletic total body movement patterns.  Kettlebells are flexible and adaptable to a person’s age and weight and are gender-friendly.  Girevoy sport involves technique, coordination, power, strength & aerobic endurance, agility and flexibility—a set of skills which will teach mental toughness, dedication, discipline and perseverance to take them through life. 

Spending time with family, coffee with friends, listening to music, dancing,  going for walks, watching a chic- flick,& ‘retail’ shopping therapy,, kettlebells, kettlebells, kettlebell...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

GSAA National Competition - this Saturday September 10th

We're now counting down the hours to the inaugural National "one location" GS Championship held in Australia. There are 26 registered athletes , some more seasoned than others , but all have made considerable sacrifices to train up for this event. On a per capita basis this is a very good result and we are confident of bigger and better events to follow. For this is a sport that offers something for everyone , being categorised in weight divisions - with plenty of variety.

In this competition we are affiliated with the IKFF/IKSFA and our athlete's rankings will be formally recognised. Such rankings provide a accessible carrot of achievement which can be dangled in front of one's own nose for motivation or future athletes for inspiration. Soon , GSAA will post a records page which will further act to stimulate committed training and generation of our own band of heroes. Records will be set this Saturday , and as they say , records are there to be broken. So there are no limits to achievement if you really want to be a hero. Just competing is heroic! As we say in GSAA "Fortitudine Vincimus" - by endurance we conquer (and fortune favours the fearless!)

We are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by sponsors Punchfit Gym Randwick (comp hosted by Cindy Boniface & associates) and Stockade Training Centre - the latter are sponsoring our competition medals in 2011-12

Spectators are welcome; see you at 1.30!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

David Tabain Interview

Dave is a young guy who represents a certain demographic, those young easy going yet ambitious folk who keep us older bods on our toes!  The world is Dave’s oyster and he’s giving it a damn good shucking!   If the character and potential of this man passes to the next generation we should see ‘Team Tabain’ representing GSAA at the Olympics, certainly in my lifetime.  He is playing a vital role in stimulating enthusiasm for the sport in youth ranks, essential in creating a strong seedbed for the formation of state and national teams.  Dave Tabain is a veritable pied piper and already has a strong local team willing to commit to travel and competition!

What is your training background?
I’ve been training with Kettlebells and barbells for around about 5-6 years after being introduced to this type of training by Mark Elliot my old English teacher back at school when looking for a way to improve my swimming times.

How did you get into girevoy sport?

I think it was a natural progression to want to compete with Kettlebells after training with them for so long. Over time I saw a lot of posts by Paul Tucker on the AKB Forum that interested me and motivated me to step up to the platform.

Who is your coach?
I do not have a coach. I use my own body to test what works and what doesn’t.  I’ve always believed you have to practice what you preach so by training myself I try to be a product of my own coaching. I try hard to lead by example for my clients. Although I do ask Paul Tucker for advice from time to time and I never stop learning.

What are some of your personal Records?

2 x 40kg Jerks x 5reps
BW Deadlifts in 10min 147 @ 80kg with alternate grip
201reps 70kg Deadlifts in 10mins
1500 16kg snatches in 60min
2 x 24kg Jerk 114 reps
24kg Snatch 240reps
276 16kg snatches in 10mins
80kg windmill 2 x40kg
48kg Turkish get up R/L
56kg jerk 3 reps L/R
82 pistol Squats L/R one leg change

 What do you like about GS

The Technique, the challenge, the rewards and its something I can do that I cant kill my self doing.

How many competitions have you entered?

So far I have competed in 5 International and National Competitons.
GSAA March 2010: 2 x 20kg Jerk 110reps, 20kg snatch 242reps. GSAA April 2011: 2x24kg Jerk 110reps. 24kg Snatch 240reps.
1st Place
WKC Las Vegas 2010: 2x24kg Jerk 88reps, 24kg Snatch 197reps.
1st Place
GSAA December 2010: 2x24kg Jerk 104reps, 24kg Snatch 217reps.
1st Place
IKFF March 2011: 2x24kg Jerk 114reps, 24kg Snatch 232reps. 1st Place, pound for pound title and most reps winner
GSAA April 2011: 2x24kg Jerk 110reps. 24kg Snatch 240reps.
1st Place

What is your goals?

120reps+ 2x28kgs, 220+reps Snatch 28kg and continue to grow the sport.

Tell us a little bit about your training week:

My training week involves teaching 19 classes, and I manage to fit in 3 serious training sessions per week. These last 3 months I’ve just become full time focusing on my studio which is making it easier to train as before the majority of my training sessions happened around midnight just before going to bed.

What do you like about kettlebell training?

Its fun, rewarding, dynamic, challenging and so far I have found it to be one of the best training tools for the body.

How long have you been doing GS for?
Just over a year, first competition was March last year.

Do you think you have the qualities to become a world class KB sport athlete?

I guess time will sort that one out, let’s wait and see.

In your opinion, which one quality best defines a great GS athlete?


What advice can you give to guys your age contemplating this sport?

Train hard. Prove you’re self on the platform frequently. Don’t get caught up in “making rank” and then moving onto a heavier bell before you are really ready. Set your standards higher then the bare minimum required. always. Don’t wait for the perfect time, there isn’t one. You only get out what you put in. Do your best always. Don’t listen to people who say it can’t be done, if people tell u that prove them wrong every time and make a point of it.

What other sports and activities can directly benefit from cross training using GS methods?

Motorcross, skateboarding, snowboarding, kick/boxing, BJJ, MMA, rally cars, GS and anything that gets the adrenaline pumping.


Motorcross, skateboarding, snowboarding, kick/boxing, BJJ, MMA, rally cars, GS anything that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Sorry to ask this Dave , but you're a bit of a catch for the ladies; are you currently accounted for?

Haha um.. Recently single after 5 years.

Video Links below:

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

GS Athlete Interviews: Jad Marinovic & David Tabain

As we continue on our journey of discovery and development of girevoy sport, it gives me great pleasure to meet and watch people from all walks of life prepared to give this activity a red hot go.  For sure GS attracts a certain type of personality, some would even say masochistic though, to be fair, in reality that’s no different from any individual pursuit where one strives for one’s best result in competition.   Sacrifices must be made, often in the context of numerous other commitments, that is, if one is to enjoy a balanced and rounded existence.  The people whom I admire are those who don’t complain about workloads and knuckle down to whatever tasks are set before them--those people who are genuine and self-effacing, who achieve high results in life by sheer hard work and commitment--people who without favour give time to others and act to inspire similar qualities in others.

Two such people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves for GSAA are Jad Marinovic (‘Kettlebell Athletica’ gym in Melbourne Vic.) and David Tabain (‘Strength to Strength’ gym in Leeton NSW). They are contributing consistently and effectively behind the scenes to achieve, inspire and promote the development of this sport. They are infectiously enthusiastic about their goals and about what they wish to achieve to help our sport prosper. Jad and David are bright & innovative, and together with similar characters give us the drive and flexibility to enable us to achieve our aims which also include representing Australia at the Olympics one day.

I leaned on Jad & Dave to share some personal details, some insights, goals and their views of the near future so stay tuned for interviews!. Thanks guys!


Paul Tucker
President GSAA

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Travel broadens the mind , it is true! For me travel is as much about learning from incidents and negative experiences as it is about new and exciting ones. From these experiences you grow to understand other cultures and develop tolerance to attitudes and beliefs of others. The very fact that I can travel reminds me of how extremely fortunate I am, and even given the expense and effort of such travel, the rewards are always well worth the effort. From the outset of my foray into kettlebell sport in 2005 it was always my goal to forge bonds with sportsmen and women from around the globe , and to compete in a truly international arena.

I don’t tolerate inefficiency , but am not tempted by the devil of impetuosity - nor am I one to rush at a goal - whether it be a repetition number or ranking. For me , those achievements are secondary to the achievement of new skills , and learnings which I can help to disseminate to others. It is true that racing improves the breed , thus I never pass up the opportunity to compete - whether it be an internet virtual event or one I am able to travel to . Distances are frustrating , but short of emigrating I have no choice but to get off my posterior & commit! Russian guys thik nothing of hopping on a train from Siberia to St Petersburg. Competing at any level results in much greater potential for learning and ultimately achieving than any amount of navel gazing ,  blog browsing or watching You Tube .

Yes , I am overseas again , not competing – well,  not with kettlebells, but there lies another tale - but to observe , listen and learn. Jad Marinovic & I have participated  in the IKSFA training camp in Russia and successfully completed their requirements for Kettlebell Sport coach qualification. To learn directly from 7 multiple world champions and coaches was an incredible and humbling experience.

It is clear from analysis of results that this country is the seat of deep knowledge of kettlebell training for GS and other sports and activities. And no great surprise that another great font of knowledge lies a short distance away in Latvia , homebase of the IUKL.

Our  goals of establishing friendly bonds with federational representatives , coaches and athletes from many countries -  and importantly to improve personal skills of movement -  have been well and truly met by this course.

I am always interested in the most efficient and effective methods of training , but these vary greatly between individuals and with the passage of time. I want to know how to best organise and implement training programs , given that most of us in Australia are not exactly professional kettlebell athletes. Appropriate goal setting , ancillary training and recovery methods are major points of interest . From a purely selfish point of view I wish to find out if it is feasible to continue making headway with 32kg KBs at nearly 50 years of age. I am also continually fascinated by the potential for KBs to be utilised to enhance performance in other sports I enjoy and participate in.

World Champion athlete Vasily Ginko,  representing the  IUKL has already handed us a blazing torch that has potential inscribed around the sides. Jad & myself  have been able to add to the reservoir of that torch with the good oil of IKSFA , so that all our current athletes and those sniffing at the fringes can benefit . With this torch we shall light the cauldron of Girevoy Sport in Australia!

With the best knowledge and the most committed athletes , the possibilities are endless. Are you a spectator or a player? What is your mettle with metal? Human potential is endless and if you are made of the right stuff , you can be a champion.

Kind Regards,
Paul Tucker 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Welcome to the Girevoy Sport Australia Association Blog!

Hi & a warm welcome to the new blog of the Girevoy Sport Australia Association! 

Blogs are clearly the most accessible vehicles of communication these days and enable everyone to have their say.  We are keen to stimulate thought and action amongst the Australian kettlebell fraternity.  It is well known that “racing improves the breed” and thus a competitive approach to using kettlebells will surely bring out the best in our lifters and their coaches.

The GSAA was formed in 2007, and at the time it represented a personal dream, fuelled by a friendly directive from the legendary Ukrainian Girevik David Klenow whom I met in competition in Germany.  In 2007 kettlebell sport was in its infancy in theWest . A few sacrificial lambs, myself included, allowed ourselves to be humbled by the might of Russian and eastern European lifters in the knowledge that our experiences would ultimately benefit the development of the sport in our respective countries.

Being a new sport in Australia, and indeed not (yet) officially recognised by the Australian Sports Commission, the GSAA has been working to establish itself as a mother body of information, an evolving academy if you like, to empower groups of individuals to form clubs for the purpose of preparing lifters for competition. This is no simple task and being a not for profit organisation we rely on individuals to make sacrifices of time and money in order to obtain coaching qualifications, and prepare for, and travel to competitions.

Our mission is to gather information from a wide variety of sources, recognising that kettlebell sportsmen and women come in all shapes and sizes and from a wide variety of sports disciplines – or indeed off the gym street. This information must be comprehensive and contemporary, and early on it was apparent that the knowledge resided in the areas of expertise in lifting – in Russia and eastern Europe. These places have produced large numbers of highly performed lifters and coaches. The methods are effective and borne from extensive competition and gymnasium experience.

We are an official member organisation affiliated with the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL) based in Latvia, and have benefited greatly from comprehensive kettlebell-oriented sports workshops conducted in Australia by Latvian multiple world champion, the very talented and charismatic Vasily Gingko. Two of our athletes have recognised the value in further training opportunities and in July will attend a special training camp in Latvia under Vasily’s tutelage.

In addition our hard working GSAA secretary & professional Girevoy sport athlete Jad Marinovic, owner of Kettlebell Athletica gym & ‘yours truly’, president of GSAA are traveling to Russia in May to gain additional insights from a group of Russia’s most renowned kettlebell athletes and coaches – the International Kettlebell Strength and Fitness Academy (IKSFA) – including names such as Rachinskiy, Rudnev, and Mishin - and the wonderful power juggler Oksana Nikifors!

Kettlebell sport in the countries of origin is highly developed and coaches are not only highly professional athletes, they are qualified academics at universities and sports institutes - specialising in kettlebell lifting sports.

There has been much confusion in the promotion of kettlebells in the West – various ‘styles’ merely represent marketing methods.  The GSAA does not buy into marketing; rather, we provide guidance and allow our coaches and athletes to choose methods which suit their personal circumstances.

We encourage all new & experienced lifters to dip their toes into competition!  Our competitions cater for all levels of ability and provide a great opportunity to pick up tips and inspiration for free!  Please visit our official website and in this blog enjoy the interviews, athlete profiles, stories, words of wisdom, pictures and videos we will provide for the education of all.  We look forward to your support and encouragement as we progress on our mission to develop the sport at all levels, for all ages and all budgets.

Paul Tucker
Founder and current President GSAA