How to Choose the Right Kettlebell Certification
For those of you in pursuit of your very first kettlebell certification and are having a hard time in choosing the right one that fits your interest, look no further. I have the answers you seek to make that decision a lot easier.
Kettlebells… what do we know about them? They’re portable, universal in hitting every muscle in the body, technical, bad ass looking, and they get you strong as an ox. Now as time has gone on, kettlebells have been a huge hit in the fitness industry making them very mainstream.
The downside of its popularity is that we cringe when watching a trainer/client trying to use them. How did these bad techniques begin in the first place?
To put it simply, there are two common ways this has happened. First, seeing a person who specializes in using this awesome tool will come into the gym, grab the bell, and perform their exercises.
As this person is executing their training with precision, the local gym users will watch from afar and say to themselves, “I can do that.” These gym users then approach the bells, try to execute these movements by muscling them up, and then injuries occur because they don’t know how to use them.
Second, we should all thank YouTube on sending this evolving trend of kettlebell use for today’s generation. YouTube is a great video source for learning such precise exercises, but the downfall is that the person on the video either knows what they’re doing, or they’re performing exercises terribly wrong.
Being visual learners we mimic what we see as oppose to what we should feel when using the kettlebell. Having said all this, I’m going to give you some insight into the certifications you should think about pursing.
Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) and Strong First Girya (SFG). These are the key foundations to kettlebell training. They’ve been around the longest, and they were started by the kettlebell king himself, Pavel.
RKC started the kettlebell craze back in the early 2000’s, and since then, they’ve created many expert level practitioners who live and breathe this beautiful piece of equipment.
The upside to this certification for both is that they cover three days of intensive training going over the foundational lifts (squat, deadlift, clean, press, snatch, and Turkish getup).
The downside to this course is that there is a final based on a 100 rep snatch test which must be completed within five minutes. If you don’t hit the reps and execute them cleanly within the given time frame, you fail. Pretty difficult when your body is fatigued from gripping and keeping tension with every lift performed over those few days of training.
International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF) are mainly for kettlebell sport. During the course you’ll learn the main components of kettlebell lifting but also understand the technical way of executing long cycle lifting.
Long cycles are great for when you’re competing because you’re learning how to posture yourself when holding two bells and how to prevent fatigue of grip strength.
The downside is that not everyone wants to be a kettlebell sport athlete, and sometimes what you learn doesn’t always transition well into your client’s needs.
Onnit Academy Kettlebell Specialist is a certification I recommend after training with bells for more than a year. The certification is meant to open your mind and give you a different sense of executing new movement patterns.
The message is clear not to be so dogmatic when training with this tool. They want to show you that it’s absolutely possible to breakout of the six main lifts and to start creating your flow that will still deliver results to your clients.
The upside is that all the material is covered in the span of two days, but the downside is that it hasn’t reached the credible stage of getting the recognition it deserves for being one of the elite certifications here in the US.
If you have SFG, RKC, or IKFF added to your resume, then you’re in to teach classes at a facility. However, if you have Onnit, then they’ll ask you “what is this certification?”
There are many certifications for the kettlebell, but in all honesty I recommend you choose the one that resonates with you the most. It’s all about the message each certification delivers and how it resonates with your personal fitness philosophies.