“My only goal for starting the Rotterdam Kettlebell Academy was to grow Kettlebell Sport in the Netherlands.” – Barry Andre, owner
A small country of 16 million people is not exactly where you would expect a “hot spot” to be located. Especially not for the little-known sport of kettlebells, which is most often practiced in eastern European countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the Rotterdam Kettlebell Academy on Sunday, December 20 to find my workshops packed full of enthusiastic new students ready to learn the nuances of Kettlebell Sport technique.
As far as I know, the Rotterdam Kettlebell Academy is the biggest Kettlebell Sport focused gym in the world.
The gym is one of a select few in the world that focuses solely on the Kettlebell Sport lifts (the only other one I know of is the Texas Kettlebell Academy in Austin). While many gyms have a Kettlebell Sport program, kettlebell lifting is usually just one training method among a huge variety of others that are offered.
The Rotterdam Kettlebell Academy is empty except for a set of pull up bars and several rows of brightly colored competition kettlebells. That’s all you really need to stay in excellent shape, according to owner Barry Andre (and I agree!). Clearly, Barry’s training method is working. His gym in Capelle, just outside of Rotterdam, has only been open since September 2015, and Barry already has 80 members excited about improving their fitness with Kettlebell Sport lifting. While Barry’s classes combine different styles of kettlebell lifting with body weight training, the workouts focus mainly on the Kettlebell Sport lifts.
It’s not hard to understand why Barry has been successful so quickly. His infectious enthusiasm for the sport and special attention to the technical details of kettlebell lifting, coupled with a great location and a unique training protocol, have allowed him to obtain a large following without doing any real marketing. His gym is also the only place to learn Kettlebell Sport in a large city in the Netherlands – you can’t even find a place in Amsterdam to learn at this point.
The sport of kettlebells is growing, and not just in the Netherlands. Last year I wrote about why Kettlebell Sport would grow in 2015, and the sport HAS grown. While the number of lifters at the World Championships did not increase exponentially from 2014 to 2015, the quality of lifting has definitely increased. At the World Championships in Hamburg in 2014, there were 22 lifters in the 68kg+ weight category, while this year at the World Championships in Dublin there were 35 lifters in the same weight category. In 2014, a score of 191 in 16kg snatch would have earned a silver medal in the 68kg+ weight class, while this year that same score would not even get a top 5 finish.
There is increasingly more information to be found about Kettlebell Sport on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and the rest of the cyberspace world. With numerous fitness professionals and brands such as Kettlebell Kings bringing awareness to the sport, there’s no telling where the future of the sport could go. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the kettlebell movement and look forward to seeing the sport’s growth continue in 2016!
If you need guidance on Kettlebell Sport technique and programming, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.