Posts Tagged ‘RKC certification course’

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 everyone!  Hope all is well with you and your families.

Was speaking to a client (and close friend) and we spoke about kettlebell training.  She commented on how good our technique was on the kettlebell swing.  I told her that it wasn’t always this way and that I am still always “tweaking” and practicing for the perfect rep.  She found that very hard to believe until I pulled out my iphone and showed her this video.  She was shocked.

All of you SGHP members out there enjoy this video and feel free to make fun of us as much as you would like. Take a look at the backwards hat, crappy swing (which made my back very sore) and are those running shoes?

This was our second week in David Whitley’s Kettlebell Class.  I was very naive and felt I had the kettlebell swing SO DOWN PAT that I took a video of it.  Boy was I wrong (and boy was I naive, sorry Dave!).

The point of the video is to show people that practice will help improve your technique (barring any imbalances or asymmetries that may exist, you should take care of those first).  As for myself, I struggled with figuring out the kettlebell swing.  Like with every dynamic movement, (example: dribbling a soccer ball, swinging a golf club, throwing a ball) it takes practice to get the desired result.  I hope this encourages all of you to see that with time, practice and patience you too can be where Nikki and I are at today.  (Notice Nikki was swinging a 12kg-orange and now she usually prefers to swing a 24kg-red or 28kg -orange/purple).  The same could be said for our squats and turkish get ups.  We spent a lot of time working on those drills, corrective exercises and practicing to get where we are now.  And we will still continually try to improve on technique.

The benefit that we had (and that our members have) is our kettlebell instructor was well trained with understanding the nuances of the kettlebell exercises and how to best teach us to improve on the swing.  You may get that from a DVD (preferably anything from Dragon Door.com) but more than likely you will not.  I thought I had everything down from the 15lb kettlebell and DVD I bought at a local store, but I was sorely mistaken.  I needed a Russian Kettlebell Certified Instructor to show me the correct way and how to get the most out of my kettlebell workouts.  I haven’t found anything close (other than the TRX) that provides so much bang for your buck.

The problem is that most trainers (including fitness celebrities) feel that they have the kettlebell swing down (and can teach it to anyone) because they have never been shown the absolute correct way to perform the swing.  If those trainers would do like we did and meet with an RKC professional then they would FEEL the difference between good technique versus poor technique.  They would feel how it works the backside (proper technique) instead of the frontside (incorrect technique).  They would understand the difference between proper load and not enough load.  These concepts I had no grasp of until I met with David and continued onto my progression (physically and mentally) to become RKC certified.

What is the big deal with technique you ask?  Here are some things to think about:

  • The RKC method teaches a step by step approach to kettlebell training.  This is the way we are suppossed to learn.  Most trainers will just start and end with the swing.  Is that how we learned to play a sport?  Is that how we learned to walk as toddlers?  No we learned step by step.
  • As Americans, we are too frontside loaded.  This leads us to imbalances, poor movement, injuries and poor health.  The RKC swing is training the backside.  The part of the body we tend to neglect and do not train nearly enough.
  • The RKC has way more bang for the buck.  More load.  Safer (MUCH SAFER). Better Workout.  Can prevent injury and pain (EVEN BACK PAIN, by getting you to fire your muscles the way you were made to)

Here is a nice little comparison video of my swing (just like the one up top) and then my swing after 12 weeks in kettlebell class with expert instruction.

So I hope that my words and the video has inspired you that you are on the right track towards your goals.  The true goal should be that you make small steps every day (this can be with your nutrition, training, movement, soul, etc) to be better than you were weeks and months before.

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.