Training for the RKC: Getting Back to My Roots

rkc_emblem_222x200So I made a decision this week to train for the Russian Kettlebell Certification, which is a little scary given that I only have 13 weeks to prepare.  The certification is a 3 day, grueling event in which you not only learn how to instruct others in the art of the kettlebell, but must demonstrate your own ability to perform the various associated movements. There is a series of tests, the most menacing of which is the Snatch Test in which the participant is required to perform 100 kettlebell snatches in five minutes with an appropriately sized kettlebell (for me, a 53 pound bell).

It’s the perfect blend of strength and conditioning and exemplifies exactly why the kettlebell is such versatile training tool.

Before pulling the trigger and coughing up the money for the certification I needed to test myself to see just how much work there is to do before April hits.  I admittedly have not been doing much kettlbell training recently.  I’ve relied on the barbell for my main strength work, but have used a variety of training implements (i.e. dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbag, bodyweight, etc.)  to augment that work. That variety has kept me in pretty darn good shape, but I’ve lacked the specificity to really excel at the kettlebell work.

The kettlebell movements require not only strength, but a certain amount of skill as well.  Much like the Olympic barbell lifts, you need to practice the technique to become proficient at using them, and frankly I am out of practice.

So much of the next 13 weeks will be working on my skillset and improving my conditioning. That initial test I mentioned….I only managed 83 snatches in five minutes and I was sucking wind like you wouldn’t believe.

The good thing is a lot can be accomplished in 13 weeks.  I know, I went through a pretty dramatic transformation last winter training exclusively with kettlebells. It’ll take hard work and focus, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’ll be physically ready come April.

In way, I will be getting back to my roots.  Kettlebells were responsible for getting me interested in strength training, and while I’ve expanded to include other implements of strength into my repertoire, the kettlebell will always be near and dear to my heart.  There’s just something about tossing that big sphere of iron around.

What has me especially excited about the weekend is the practical experience to be learned. I get to spend three days absorbing information from experts which will not only help hone my own technique, but give me the necessary experience to teach it to others. I can only learn so much from watching another YouTube video and I sorely need some feedback and hands on coaching experience. It’s a huge win-win in my book.

I’m in the beginning stages of putting together a training plan that get me to that weekend, and get me there not only in good enough shape to pass the requirements, but fit enough to pass them with flying colors.  Every Sunday I will post my specific training sessions to this site for the week, partly to hold myself accountable to the readers, and partly to provide a road-map for others to successfully navigate their way to the RKC certification.

Like I mentioned I’ve got a ways to go, but I am excited about the journey.  I’ll embrace the process and attack it one workout at a time. With that approach the 13 weeks will be sure to just fly by, but I get to spend them reacquainting myself with a long, lost friend: the kettlebell. That’s got me so fired up right now I may just have to head to the basement gym and knockout a set of swings right after hitting the “publish” button 😉

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