RKC Level 1: A Look Back


Caffeinate, learn, train, laugh, caffeinate, teach, learn, train, laugh, caffeinate, caffeinate, caffeinate basically summed up three days of my life this past weekend.

I was in New York City participating in the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certification) Level 1 Certification.

To give those who have no clue about this certification a little background the RKC is considered an extremely mental and physically active course.

The course demands that not only are you competent in performing the specific kettlebell movements but competent at teaching them as well.

What sets this course apart is it goes much deeper than the basics of kettlebells and requires preparation in order to successfully complete the course.

The “famous” snatch test is the most grueling part. It is a five-minute test where one hundred snatches must be performed. The weight of the kettlebell depends on your body weight. In my case, I had to use a 16kg (35lb) bell.

Even though it was an exhausting weekend, and I say that with a smile on my face, it was also an incredibly rewarding three days as well. I haven’t experienced this type of physical and mental difficulty since my soccer days.

*Note: the point of the course isn’t to deliberately break you down but due to the long hours and high activity level this course will make you dig deep.

With that said, there were some awesome takeaways from the weekend:

General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is key.

Due to some travel and being sick post travel, I wasn’t able to train for the snatch test as much as I would have preferred. However, due to my consistent training schedule, my broad base of GPP was an essential factor in me passing the difficult snatch test. Now don’t get me wrong, I trained for the test and had a program in place – I just wasn’t able to adhere to it as much as I would have liked. Having this broad base of GPP allowed me to excel in this specialized test because I was prepared in a general way.

Before you can get strong in a specific way, you must generally be strong in every way. This is true when competing in sport or in my case this kettlebell course, that having a broad foundation will always trump diving directly into specific skill training.

Tests and Challenges Will Bring about Successes.

I can remember the feeling of nervousness before every conditioning test with the National Team. No matter how well prepared I was there was a level of anxiety that always set in. Yet at the same time, after every test, I learned a little bit more about my capabilities and myself. Going through this weekend reminded me of this. It was the same nervousness and excitement that came up this weekend during the snatch test and the skills competency portion. Whenever we test or challenge ourselves in these ways, whether we succeed or fail, there is always growth within them. It could be a new sense that I am more capable then I thought or I might discover areas where I can improve and become more disciplined in finding success the next time.


Building a Network is Important.

My specific area in fitness involves inspiring young athletes to be their best and help retired/aging athletes continue to feel athletic. All the coaches and trainers there this weekend have their specific niches as well. Yet we all came together to better ourselves and learn additional tools outside our roles to help better serve the people we work with. What I love about the network is not only the friendships I’ve developed but also the ability to reach out and use my network to gain knowledge in other areas of expertise. Having go to people when I have questions about an area I don’t know much about helps me service my clients better and the relationship is mutual.

There is always more to learn.

One concept that was constantly reiterated throughout the weekend was “this is just the beginning.”

Even though the course itself required a decent level of competency in kettlebell movements and each day was centered around simplifying each movement it became clear that there was always going to be something else that could be improved upon. Whether it’s creating more “pop” at top of your swing or finding stability throughout each segment of the Turkish Get-up – there is always room to grow.

Ever sense I learned of the term, kaizen, which means the practice of continuous improvement, I have been a fan.  Even though I went in with a decent competency with kettlebells, this weekend of learning took my understanding to a much deeper level.  One thing that I stress to my clients is that it’s not about the destination as much as it is about the process and chipping away at that everyday.  Mastery may never be guaranteed but chasing it everyday will get you pretty close.


All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Holler at me if you need any kettlebell work. 🙂


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