Beast Tamer and Iron Maiden Challenge

Participants for the Beast Tamer and Iron Maiden Challenge

The three events are a strict military press, a strict tactical pullup, and a pistol. Men lift a 48kg kettlebell to become Beast Tamers. Women earn their Iron Maiden title with 24kg.

Many strong people are able to complete one of the events. Some can do two. But the ability to do all three is rare, as the three lifts favor different body types. A man or woman who has completed the challenge is one dangerous individual.


There are three events: the military press, the tactical pull-up, and the pistol.

The candidate may attempt them in any order and is allowed two attempts per lift. Two failed attempts in the same lift disqualify the candidate from continuing the challenge.

The press and the pistol are performed on the side of the candidate’s choice.

Men lift a 48kg kettlebell; women a 24kg kettlebell.

Chalk is allowed for all the events. Supportive gear of any sort (lifting belts, wrist wraps, knee wraps, etc.) is not.

The Press

• The candidate shall clean the kettlebell or place it in the rack in any manner.

• Once the kettlebell is in the rack, the knees must stay locked and the feet planted until the candidate has locked out the press.

• The fist of the hand holding the kettlebell must be below the chin level before the start of the press.

• There may be no downward movement of the kettlebell after the pause in the rack.

• The candidate and the kettlebell shall pause motionless before the press.

• A minimal back bend is allowed but may not increase in the course of the press.

• A moderate side bend is allowed.

• The candidate may not roll the kettlebell onto the shoulder and press from there.

• The candidate shall press the kettlebell overhead until the elbow is locked and pause motionless until the head referee’s “Down!” command.

• The candidate may lower the kettlebell in any safe manner of his choice.

The Tactical Pull-Up

• The kettlebell will be placed on a waist belt. The candidate may receive assistance.

• The candidate will grip the bar with an overhand thumbless grip. There is no restriction on the grip width.

• The candidate shall pause motionless in a dead hang, with the elbows locked, before the pull-up. The knees and hips may be flexed.

• The candidate shall pull up without kipping or swinging.

• The neck (not the underside of the chin) must touch the bar on the top of the pull-up.

The Pistol

• The candidate must be barefoot.

• The candidate may pick up the kettlebell in any manner and hold it in front with two hands by the horns or with one or two hands in the rack on either side.

• The candidate shall raise one leg in front of him. From that moment on, the foot of the working leg must stay planted.

• The airborne leg has to stay in front for the duration of the attempt. It does not have to be straight. It may not touch the ground or the working leg.

• The candidate shall pause motionless long enough to demonstrate balance, then lower himself at least to parallel: “the top surface of the leg at the hip joint lower than the top of the knee.”

• Neither the kettlebell nor the arms may touch the working leg at any time.

• A pause in the bottom position is not required. The candidate shall stand up until the knee of the working leg is locked and the hip is extended.

• The pelvis may not rise faster than the kettlebell.

• The candidate shall stand on one foot exhibiting control until the head referee’s “Down!” command.

Behold the list of Beast Tamers and Iron Maidens among currently certified SFG instructors:

Do you have what it takes?