Archive for the ‘RKC’ Category

Hello everyone! We have 5 RKC hopefuls that will be attending the Level I Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification this summer and wanted to post some finer points on training for and passing the RKC snatch test.

1. Have a Functional Movement Screen

  • Yeah, Yeah, I know. I am the corrective guy. But think of it this way. You have an asymmetry that is inhibiting from you using your body at its finest. The metabolic load that you place on your body when you are banging up against an asymmetry can lead to gassing you out very very fast! Do not pass go beyond this point until you get screened and correct your asymmetries.
  • Example: I had a shoulder mobility issue. I was getting gassed and ripping up my hands when I first began training for the snatch test. I was basically catching the kb wrong (probably a no count half of the time) and the load it was putting on my system was too much let alone I was setting up my shoulder and neck for disaster. It wasn’t until I took a step back, worked on my shoulder mobility daily and worked on Kalos Sthenos Get Ups and overhead walks did I overcome my issues. Then the 100 snatches came naturally and I wasn’t as gassed!

2. Know the RULES of the snatch test!

  • Why would anyone ever want to train for the snatch test let alone test out without knowing the rules? That is beyond me!
  • Now that you looked up the rules, train like them.
    1. Get a timer that beeps on the minute
    2. Get someone to count for you and you go on their count and not your own pace
    3. If no one is around to count for you then, YOU count out loud at the top of every snatch
  • This will help prepare you for the snatch test and also will allow you a little rest break at the top

2. Have the snatch technique down first, THEN start pushing towards the Snatch test.

  • One of the biggest problems we see is too many individuals going after the snatch test with crappy form. Get the form down first with your snatch test weight, THEN move into the snatch test.
  • One method that has helped our hopefuls is from Phase II of Kettlebell Burn. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then perform 3 snatches on the Left, then 3 snatches on the Right. Then set the kettlbell down. Repeat and pace yourself. Go for perfecting technique. Video yourself to see if you need to fine tune anything.
    • This is a great way for women to move into using the 16kg for the first time and for men to progress to the 24kg. Then after you have mastered that particular weight, you can even progress to heavier bells on “variety days” to make the snatch test kb seem lighter and easier to handle
  • Another huge help for preparing for snatch test is the Enter the Kettlebell Rite of Passage and/or Kettlebell Burn. These programs help you to handle the 1 arm swing and being able to perfect this technique and handle the load with your snatch test kb will help you pass your snatch test.

3. Its not a sprint, think more of an 800 meter dash.

  • Pace yourself! I see too many hopefuls who fly through the first 20-30 and then are too gassed to finish. Find a pacing method that works best for you!
  • I like the 10/10 method. I do 10 snatches on my Left, then 10 on my Right and keep switching. If I feel I am getting a little to sloppy to get a good 10/10 then I switch to 5/5

4. Try not to set the kettlebell down.

  • Just eats up too much time. I have seen people do it and pass, but I prefer to rest at the top as needed. Then I don’t lose all the momentum I have started.
  • What works best for me is I work myself ahead of the timer. Example when the first minute beeps on the timer and say I am at 24 snatches, I am ahead of the timer. Then I use a little time to rest with the kettlebell at the top. Then I just keep going after that. This has been huge for me!

5. It’s all about the HIPS!

  • I am borrowing this from Master RKC, David Whitley. When people start to lose it towards the end of their snatch test they totally forget to use their hip snap to get the kettlebell overhead. I believe this has alot to do with the drop and throwback of the kettlebell. If you don’t throw the kb back far enough (on my video you should be able to see the handle of the 24kg on the backswing) which robs you of some important energy to get the kb back overhead.

There are some great videos and article posted by some of the best in the business that very much helped me with understanding the finer points of the kettlebell snatch. RKC Team Leader, Jordan Vezina (you tube averagetoelite), RKC Team Leader, Dr. Mark Cheng, and Master RKC, David Whitley (my big brother sort of speaking).

Here is a video of my snatch test I performed today where I tried to perform all the principles above.

Here is my 5 minute snatch test with some fine points mixed in. Hope this helps.

Hello again everyone.  Hope all of you are doing well with your lives and training smart.

Today I want to review a DVD/Workbook combination by Master RKC Brett Jones and Gray Cook, RKC.  It is called Kettlebells from the Center: Dynami.

This workbook/DVD is a progression from the Secrets Series and Kalos Sthenos.  If you have not previously watched these before videos and workbooks I highly suggest to watch them as it makes a seemless transition into Dynami.  This workbook does a fantastic job of building your exercise skills through a proper progression.

Pattern Building>Slow Strength>Symmetry> and then Dynami (power).

Many of you may have heard that it speaks about the Kettlebell Swing and then its power counterpart, the Push Press.  But you would not believe how so much more is contained in this book.  They begin with the basics of movement as a great review that even includes often overlooked principles of movement screening and clearance tests to proper breathing (biomechanical and anatomic).

The DVD and workbook covers so many drills and progressions that are vital to myself not only as an individual but as an instructor.  I have progressed many individuals through the deadlift, swing and single leg deadlift much more efficiently with the use of the drills in this workbook/DVD.  SO MUCH is covered and it is great once again that I can see it on DVD and then be able to read the information and refer back to it in a workbook.

Items covered in Kettlebells from the Center (includes instruction, pattern building, slow strength, power and common mistakes)

  • Deadlift and variations
  • Swing and variations
  • Single leg deadlift and variations
  • Squat
  • Bottoms up squat
  • Press
  • Bottoms up press
  • Push Press
  • and Squat to Push Press
  • fantastic movement prep drills you have not seen anywhere else!

One thing I ABSOLUTELY LOVE about the bottoms up progression is that it is a fantastic way for you as an individual to address symmetry and be able to clean those things up.  Those of you going through the ROP ladders to get your clean and press numbers should really consider using some of the bottoms up progressions during your off weeks or your variety days to help you to address your symmetry.  You WILL notice that with these particular drills will help you improve quickly and avoid injury as well!

Again I highly suggest Dynami for you to purchase for yourself and for your clients.  All of you will greatly benefit from this series.  It is a must for those individuals who are training for RKC Level I and II to help you progress efficiently and get the strength you need to complete the requirements of your certification.

Hello everyone.  Hope all is well for you and your families.

Today, Nikki and I were scheduled to perform a session of the Kettlebell Burn program we purchased from Geoff Neupert, Master RKC.  Nikki is doing great and was ready for the program.  Myself on the other hand was coming off some low back/SI joint pain from playing sand volleyball last week.

Most people do one of two extremes when faced with this sort of problem:

  1. They don’t do any sort of workout and take anti-inflammatories and rest.  MAYBE ice.  The pain may improve but the dysfunction remains.
  2. They do the workout anyways and push through any pain that may arrive and suffer the consequences in the following days after (usually can end in a visit to the doctor or chiropractor)

Now for me and my understanding how my Functional Movement Screen Score goes, I knew what exercises I could do and what needed to be modified.

Here is how our program was laid out and what Nikki did:

  • Clean and Press Ladder (1,2,3) for time
  • Version of TGU for reps each side followed by reverse lunge each side for reps for a specific period of time
  • Swings for time

Now here is what I did instead:

Warm Up

  • Checked shoulder mobility and cleared thoracic rotation
  • Noticed that hip flexors were dynamically tight, performed 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch followed by cook hip lift

Clean and Press Ladder

  • Performed 10kg press ladder in tall kneeling position
  • Performed 5 wall push ups outlined in convict conditioning
    • Repeated the process for the remaining period, tried one set of clean and press to 3 with 16kg which felt “ok” so returned to tall kneeling position for presses
    • You think this would be easy but I was sweating bullets due to the fact that I really had to concentrate on getting my hips and trunk stable for the press without falling on my face

TGU version and reverse lunges

  • I did 5 reps of get up to elbow each side really concentrating on proper form and not “plopping” down at the end.  I tried my best to do what Gray Cook says by “owning the movement”
  • Followed that with 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch for 5 breaths from relax into stretch
  • Reverse lunge 5 reps per side with KB in goblet position
    • If this exercise would have caused any problems in my back I definitely would have thrown it out
  • Brettzel each side
    • Repeated the whole process for the prescribed time


  • Performed the following in alternating fashion
    • static stomp deadlift (averaged about 7) with 20kg
    • regular swings (avg 15) with 16kg)

Was it a smoker of a workout?  Heck no, it was not meant to be (remember I made it corrective instead of conditioning).  But I did break a good sweat, felt good that I did something and I walked out of the workout feeling much better than coming in.

If you want to learn more about the FMS, Dragon Door has a terrific DVD set that covers the whole CK-FMS progressions.  There are also seminars available to sign up for FMS seminar events as well through perform better.  If you would like to learn more about the Turkish Get Up corrections check out Kalos Sthenos.

Also, check out Geoff Neupert’s new book, KETTLEBELL MUSCLE – The Secrets to Compound Lifting. I have been able to see a taste of the book when Nikki and I were test subjects for Geoff and it is a terrific strength and conditioning workout!

Hope everyone is dong very well. I just returned from a fantastic event, the RKC’s Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist Workshop. What a wonderful 4 days Nikki and I had with our RKC brother/sisterhood.

Throughout all the lectures, labs, and exercise breaks I started thinking to myself: “who would not want to be FMS screened and/or attend CK-FMS?”

Think about it for a second. For those of you who have trained for RKC level I or II, how many of you had to deal with some kind of setback/injury? How many of you when training or attending RKC was informed that your technique was sub par and really struggled with proper technique?

Did you ever think that your setback and/or injury may have been due to a limitation that may exist in your body? How about the thought that this limitation puts your body in a position that you cannot perform the RKC standard for exercise technique?

That is the beautiful thing about the FMS.
It sets a baseline that gives you an idea about what your limitations are (be it asymmetry or imbalance). It provides you with a proven method of correcting these limitations whether it be improving on mobility, stability and/or motor control.

The reason why I am talking about it is because I have seen it as well as experienced it. I have seen individuals training for HKC and RKC get setbacks in their training due to a limitation. I have seen those same individuals fail their certification because they would not take the time to work on that limitation.

I am no better!!! I had alot of trouble getting my snatch numbers as well as being able to demonstrate RKC competency in my press and snatch in the lockout position. I was very fortunate enough to understand my shoulder/thoracic limitation in my FMS score and addressed it during training and taking a step back from training to get my shoulder mobility score to where it needed to be. Then I slowly progressed back into proper technique with corrective exercise and help from my instructor Master RKC David Whitley.

So if you would consider some advice:

If you are planning on training and attending a RKC level I or HKC. Take the time to get a FMS and work with an RKC. Better yet, get with a CK-FMS and get the best of both worlds. Then you can make sure that you are limitation free and that your technique is solid.

If you are RKC Level I, attend CK-FMS. This is a terrific opportunity for you to better yourself as a Kettlebell instructor. Knowing your clients FMS score helps tremendously with guiding you as a RKC to determine what patterning will work best to get your clients training with proper technique. Remember what I said earlier, poor technique may be due to your client’s limitation

Also you are giving your clients more value to your training by helping to get them in fantastic shape AND prevent injury!

Nikki and Imade a very good decision and went to CK-FMS before attending RKC II.  This gives us all the tools to keep our limitations at bay and have the optimal ability to train for the rigors of Level II.  Also, another smart thing we have decided is to attend the Summit of Strength to help us get our technique on target to train limitation free and with solid technique!


Since we truly believe that the FMS is a very important system to have when training for ANYTHING, including HKC/RKC.  If you sign up through our affiliate link, you will get a free functional movement screen, corrective session and prep session.  HKC = 1 hour, RKC = 2 hours.

Nice little write-up on kettlebell training by Nicole Nichols with SPARK PEOPLE.

Spark People is a free website that a new Nebraska Kettlebell Bootcamp member brought to our attention.  This website has the following benefits. 

  • Personalized diet & fitness plan
  • Calorie counter and exercise tracker (includes kettlebell training!)
  • Answers from our dietitians & trainers on message boards
  • Connect with others like you on our active teams
  • The article, termed “We Iron Out the Facts on Kettlebell Training” gives a good idea on kettlebell training.  Here are some of the finer points.

    • Full body conditioning
    • Big results in less time
    • Increased resistance to injury
    • Work anaerobic and aerobic systems in the same workout
    • Improved mobility/range of motion
    • Increased strength
    • Enhanced performance from everyday activities to sports
    • Major Calorie BURN! **

    (**This is all due to the article that the American Council of Exercise put out on the benefits of kettlebell training.)

    They provide a list of qualified kettlebell instructors including the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (which is the first to arrive in the US, the best in my opinion, and who we are certified under).  Click here to see Nikki’s Instructor Page and My Instructor Page.  You can also watch the video to see what we went through to become certified.

    This article also stresses the importance of proper kettlebell instruction.  I would like to say that all of our members would agree that there is no substitute for proper kettlebell instruction.  You will get a better workout cause you will be using your muscles more efficiently.  Plus this is much safer.  I know too many individuals (myself included) that tried learning kettlebells on their own and who have suffered from back pain or other ailments due to improper technique.  This is because your body thinks it is doing the movements correctly, but you are not.  Here at Nebraska Kettlebell we teach with proper drills and cues how to communicate better with your body to get you moving optimally.

    If you are interested in becoming a member of Nebraska Kettlebell Bootcamp or you just want to learn the basics of kettlebell training, email us ( or call us at 402-490-4793 to set yourself up for a free kettlebell orientation.  This way you will learn basic kettlebell exercise technique and can practice and learn from certified instructors.  Even if you don’t join our bootcamp (you do get to try 2 weeks free after attending orientation ya know) at least you can train at home with an idea on proper technique.  This is our gift to you!

    Terrific post by one of my mentors, Dr. Mark Cheng. Really helps to explain what the FMS and RKC systems are applying to help improve individuals imbalances, asymmetries and pain.

    I am very excited to announce that the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification is coming to our homestate! Please see below for some of the details.

    Dr. Mark Cheng is wicked smart! I consider him to be one of my mentors, please sign up! You will so thank me for it!

    Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

    Taken from

    • A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
    • A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
    • A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
    • A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
    • The ability to competently perform the three foundational kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
    • The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
    • The unique HKC template for designing an unlimited number of effective kettlebell workouts.

    And discover all this and more in the course of your HKC training:

    • Understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing is fundamental to high-level HardStyle practice
    • How to develop power through compensatory acceleration and overspeed eccentrics
    • How to train hip extension for back and knee health and athletic performance
    • How to employ bracing and neutral spine—for injury prevention, enhanced performance and optimal transmission of force
    • How to recruit the lat as a “core muscle” to improve the spine safety and glute strength
    • How to increase power with the biomechanical breathing match
    • A safe, effective modality for developing different types of endurance
    • Explosive training techniques for more effective fat-loss
    • The deadlift: the most “functional” exercise of all
    • The two-arm swing and corrective exercises
    • The concept of rooting and two key drills for developing it
    • The one-arm swing
    • The hand-to-hand swing
    • Russian relaxation exercises to enhance the acquisition of skilful movement, increase power and endurance
    • The two hundred year history of the get-up
    • The get-up as an assessment tool
    • The strength and health benefits of the get-up
    • How to correctly perform the get-up and teach corrective drills
    • How to move from mobility to stability, then from stability to strength—and why this progression is crucial for truly effective kettlebell work
    • The get-up, shoulder mobility and stability exercises. The role of the lat in shoulder stability and strength—and advanced lat facilitation techniques
    • How to employ and teach steering strength
    • The concepts of leakage and linkage—and their importance for effective kettlebell lifting
    • How to perform the goblet squat and corrective drills
    • “Strength stretching” for the hips
    • How to overcome gluteal amnesia
    • How to most effectively stretch the hip flexors to dramatically improve athletic performance, back health, and posture
    • How to modify the squat stance for a client with back problems
    • An alternative squat exercise for overweight clients
    • Why “sport specific training” is inappropriate for 99% of the coaches and athletes—and a powerful alternative

    Take home an information packed HKC instructor manual:

    • What makes kettlebell training unique?
    • What Russian research says about the benefits of kettlebell training?
    • What is “Hardstyle”?
    • Kettlebell safety 101: ten key items
    • The Swing: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
    • The Get-Up: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
    • The Goblet Squat: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
    • HKC program design
    • The three key principles of effective training identified by Russian sports scientists: continuity of the training process, waving the loads, and specialized variety,
    • Ten program design tools for an unlimited variety of effective kettlebell workouts:
      • Rep Ladders
      • Weight Ladders
      • Time Ladders
      • Breathing Ladders
      • Reverse Ladders
      • Drop Sets
      • Super Sets
      • Timed Sets
      • Series
      • Active Recovery Exercises

    As with the RKC, the HKC will be earned through diligent testing of each candidate. Besides having to pass the requisite pullup/flexed-arm hang test at the outset of the workshop, each HKC candidate will be evaluated for technical proficiency and teaching skills at the end of the workshop and will then be granted either a pass or fail.

    Make the investment……
    Make a plan…….
    Get screened…………
    Meet with a RKC………..

    Take the first step now! Make the investment towards a better future! It will change your life!

    Click the title above to save $1,000 of the registration price! You can also pay in 4 monthly installments!

    Terrific post by Coach Dos. Please check it out. A little bit of language in the article, but it gets the point across.

    About “Coach Dos”Robert dos Remedios is the 2006 NSCA Collegiate Strength Coach of the Year. He is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach @ College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA and a sought after speaker and presenter on conditioning. His best selling book Men’s Health Power Training was released September 18th 2007 from Rodale Books. His new book Men’s Health Cardio Strength Training is scheduled to be released in January 2010!

    One aspect that Coach Dos did not cover is the risk of injury. I would love to be behind the scenes and see what types of injuries that occur during the training aspect. Coach Dos says it correctly when he states that there are participants on the show that are training and doing certain exercises that they are not prepared for, but it is cool and good tv so they put the “cool” on the show. This puts the individual at risk for a nasty injury that they may never recover from. There goes there chance to be able to exercise and thus they spin even more out of control with their weight management.

    A terrific example is on the season opener when they took everyone off the bus and had them run a mile. I already knew what the result was going to be and I was right, they had to emergency helicopter a woman who passed out during a 1 mile run. She was not prepared for the exercise. You must train to run, not run to train. I fear that someone is going to have to die before the show is cancelled or they change their ways.

    Don’t even get me started on the kettlebell training that they were “trying” to perform. If you want to burn fat and make a change in your life, use a kettlebell and a RKC. You don’t need to perform sprints on the treadmill or plyometrics. Kettlebells (if performed correctly) are much Safer than running and burns more fat. Win win situation. I call it like doing sprints, only you have a weight and you are standing still.

    Here is a great example. These ladies are in my program because they wanted to get into shape and get strong, but have a history of injuries. They cannot necessarily do sprints, but you bet your sweet bippy they can do swings!

    Hello again everyone!  It has been a terrific September as an offical RKC instructor.  I have to say I have been able to apply all that I have learned at the RKC Instructor Certification Course everyday with my clients as well as my physical therapy patients.

    As I promised, I am writing a 2nd installment to the Iron Tamer Clan Post from last week.  This week I am giving props to the instructors and others who helped us to prepare for our success at the RKC.

    David with his pink gym boss

    David with his pink gym boss

    David Whitley, Senior RKC

    It all began when I returned from a Functional Movement Screen Seminar where one of the presenters (Gray Cook, PT, RKC) introduced me to some kettlebell exercises.  I was very interested and ended up finding out that David (aka the IRONTAMER) held classes in Nashville and is also FMS certified (CK-FMS).  For the next month I was blown away by how much he knew about movements and how the kettlebell itself can be used as a tool to work on mobility and stability at the same time.  On my first day of Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp I performed turkish get ups and could not believe how much I was working on mobility of my joints as well as stability of my joints with one exercise!  I decided to give 4 weeks of my bootcamp workouts and retest my FMS score.  Note I did not do any other corrective exercises other than bootcamp.   My FMS score went from a 15 to an 18!  My wife went from a 14 to an 18 in the same time and can now do a very good push up.

    After 3 months of bootcamp and about 20 pounds of fat loss later I was hooked.  Nikki and I proceeded to let the Irontamer know that Iwe were interested in training for the RKC Instructor Certification Course. He told me that he would be happy to train Nikki and I and that we should continue to come to bootcamp to prepare.  And boy did we prepare!  David was tough on us but in a very good way.  He knew what the RKC cert was like and was preparing us for the grueling days that would be the RKC.  He did not sugar coat things.  We heard things like “quit your whining and swing!” and “if your clean is like that at the end of RKC you WILL fail the course”.  It was exactly what we needed to hear.  He motivated us very well.

    I owe David everything.  He introduced me to kettlebell training and what the RKC is about.  He reiterated that the RKC is not just about the kettlebell, the kettlebell is only a tool.  Its the movements and the concept behind the RKC that makes it so successful.  Thanks to his knowledge and teaching, I am a much better Certified Athletic Trainer and FMS specialist at correcting movement imbalances.  Thanks David!  I will always introduce myself as being a decendent of the Iron Tamer Clan and you as my mentor.

    Matt at SD RKC, My belly in the background!

    Matt at SD RKC, My belly in the background!

    Matt McBryde

    Matt just received his RKC instructor certification last year (2008).  We met Matt as he was one of David’s instructors that covers his class when David is out of town.  Matt is a terrific instructor from the very first day we met him.  He put his own spin on class but the RKC techniques were always the foundation.  Matt was gracious enough to come to our RKC prep days at 6am to help us with technique and also gave us some killer workouts, including the VO2 Max protocol from the Viking Warrior Conditioning.  The VO2 practice we had with him very much helped us at RKC to improve on our snatch technique but also to prepare us for the grueling workouts.  Matt now currently owns and runs Tennessee Kettlebell Bootcamp along with his cool wife, Kristen (the Hardstyle Diva part of the Irontamer Clan!) in Franklin, TN.  Thank you for all your wisdom, Matt.  Not only did I learn so much from you but I also gained 2 friends.  I know that Kristen and yourself did not have to drive 20 minutes every Saturday to come train with us, but you did for the sake of helping us become as prepared as we could be.  I will never forget your generosity.

    Dennis at the Brentwood High School Workshop

    Dennis at the Brentwood High School Workshop

    Dennis Breckey

    Dennis is the first RKC that we met in Nashville after working with the IronTamer and he also subbed for David from time to time.  He teaches a very structured class and gave a different point of view with corrections and cues on our technique.  Dennis was also showed up to almost every Saturday morning RKC prep class.  He had nothing to gain from coming.  He did not have anyone close to him prepping like Matt did.  He just came to help us out.  I was truly blown away that he would come so early in the am to come help us out.  Dennis is currently working on his Z Health certification and when Nikki spoke to him about her tricep issues, he made the time to research and ask other Z health professionals about what drills would work best to alleviate her problems.  Dennis is just a whole lot of awesome in my book.

    I would also like to give a quick shout out to some other important people who played a role in our RKC certification.  Mandy (with a Y not an I) Whitley is a wonderful friend of ours who let us borrow her husband on many accounts to have him work with us.  She was the first person I saw when I passed my snatch test and she was jumping up and down in excitement.  She put up with our Vibram Stank in the hotel room for 3 days.  And was there to give me updates on who all passed since I was the last one.  She made the whole process fun and well worth it.

    I would like to thank Gray Cook for steering me in the correct direction of the RKC.  Also to  Brett Jones for all of his articles and information who has helped me out.  Brett and Gray have a terrific DVD series “the secrets” and “Kalos Sthenos” which provides important corrective exercises to help improve on asymmetries in your body.  I would like to say that thanks to them I am a better informed and prepared RKC and athletic trainer.