EKA Pentathlon UK Open

35 competitors, 5 lifting platforms and a whole lot of determination, The English Kettlebell Association UK Pentathlon Open was on! 

October 6th, 35 competitors converged on The Ferrers School in Higham Ferrers to once again push themselves to their limits in the Kettlebell pentathlon. This was the second Pentathlon to be co-hosted by The Rushden Kettlebell Club. The club itself had very strong representation with 11 lifters taking part, many of whom were first time competitors.

The Pentathlon consists of 5 lifts

  • Cleans 
  • Long Cycle Press
  • Jerks
  • Half Snatch
  • Push Press

Each lift is carried out for 6 minutes with a 5 minute break between each lift. The Pentathlon lends itself very well to beginners and experienced lifters alike. The Kettlebell Pentathlon is like a spiritual home for me as my first 6 competition lifts were all Pentathlons. It’s where I learnt the art of lifting kettlebells, not just from a technique point of view but also how to handle the pressures of competition.  

Please see my Pentathlon article here

As usual for such competitions, there is a good deal of preparation before hand. We set up the night before and I was ably supported by several Rushden Kettlebell Club members. Platforms, Kettlebells, music/PA system all had to be up and running so as to streamline the day itself. I had fantastic support from the English Kettlebell Association as well both in promoting the event and on the day itself with the scoring and various other admin duties. 

All the medal winners from the day 

On the day, we had some fantastic performances. A new UK record was set by Tim Joseph with 2109 points surpassing his own PB from the last Pentathlon we hosted. Marcin Filipiak who travelled over here from Poland also put in a very strong performance with a score approaching 1900 points. Also a PB for me with 1819 points! Not bad for a 52 year old  in the under 79 kg category.


Star of the show though was an 8 year old called Coral Cox. Her mum and dad were also competing and she showed very impressive technique in all the lifts. Mum Angela scored a very impressive 1119 points and was beaten only by seasoned competitor Tracey Howson.

Lifters in action

The event ran without a hitch and I’d like to thank Bill Toyer for the music and PA, Elaine Buckby for supplying the fab cakes and rolls and all my friends and clients for all their help and support on the day. 

Most of all though, massive thanks to the 10 members of Rushden Kettlebells who took part. They have all trained so hard and so consistently in the run up to this event and it showed in their performances. Well done to you all.


One of Rushden many entrants in action

A Personal Perspective

I lifted on the last flight. It can be tricky when you’re helping to run a competition and also competing. Although to a degree, it kind of runs itself once started. Just as long as there are good people in place sorting out the scoring, the music and PA etc, then it all seems to just click into place. 

My target score was 1800 points. On a good day I knew this was possible. Previous comp PB was 1760. Best training score was 1795.

I used 36 kg for cleans. This is heavy but I’ve been heavier at 40 kg. But the intention was to use 28 kg for both jerks and half snatch so I wasn’t keen to murder myself on the first discipline.

24 kg on Long Cycle Press. This should always be an easy (ish) set. It’s not a big point scorer at 60 reps max so I always go with what feels comfortable and 24 kg is still fairly easy for me.

The work really starts for me on the jerk set. Prior to this, I am fairly relaxed. This was a great set for me on this day, nearly maxing out at 117 reps. 

Half snatch was a little disappointing. I really wanted to max out here but could only manage 102 reps which was 17 rpm. Not shabby by any means and a decent effort on the 28 kg bell. 

Finally, Push Press. In the past, this has been my undoing. Today, it felt strong and I finished on 111 reps. 

Total reps were 510. Total weight lifted was 14556 KG. Final score 1819 points. Very happy with this. I always aim to choose weights that I can have a chance of maxing out with. Total reps possible in a Pentathlon competition is 528. I aim to supass 500 as a minimum. This is always the best way to maximise your score. I believe if your reps are down at 80-90 for a 120 reps set, then you should go down a weight. Never sacrifice a high score by going too heavy on your weight choices.

Please see my Pentathlon training guide here

Full video of my set here along with Oli Mell and Chris Guyll

Keeping a close eye on one of my lifters

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