Kettlebells have been used by strongmen for more than a century and today it has become an effective strength and conditioning tool for many mixed martial artists, pro athletes, military and law enforcement. The RKC, or Russian Kettlebell Challenge certification, is physically demanding and requires you to have a strong foundation to pass the strength test and demonstrate mastery of fundamental kettlebell exercises.
Master the swing to help you prepare for the test. Perform this fundamental exercise with proper form before moving on to more challenging movements. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down, extend arms between your legs and grasp the kettlebell with both hands using an overhand grip.
Keep your back flat throughout the exercise. Quickly get into a upright position and swing the kettlebell upwards. Use your hips to drive the weight up. Keep the shoulders loose and relaxed. Gradually swing the weight between the legs until you are able to get the kettlebell at eye level.
Build your strength up gradually and remember to use your hips, not your arms to swing the kettlebell. Then, perform the swing using one arm to help build the strength and stability for the test. Swing the weight keeping your back flat, shoulders relaxed and control the kettlebell's momentum at all times.
Clean your way to get RKC certified. Stand in front of the kettlebell. Squat down and grasp the weight with one hand like if you are performing a swing. Then explosively pull the kettlebell upwards.
Keep your back flat throughout the motion. Maintain your elbow close to the body. Keep your wrist straight and catch the weight on the outside of your arm.
Lower the weight down back to the floor between your legs and repeat. Practice a few reps at a time and avoid having the kettlebell beat up your arm. Get comfortable with the kettlebell clean; it's a fundamental requirement and essential training for the snatch test.
Perfect your snatch to build the strength and endurance to pass the snatch test. Practice performing this exercise a few sets at a time, until you can perform 100 repetitions in five minutes. Perform the snatch by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Squat down with one arm extended between the legs and grasp the kettlebell handle with an overhand grip.
Keep your back flat and lean forward slightly to position shoulder over kettlebell. Lift the weight off the ground and explosively swing the kettlebell overhead. Keep your wrist straight and lock your elbow at the top of the movement. Control the arch. Lower the kettlebell down between the legs and repeat.
Get comfortable performing the snatch and incorporate a walk with the exercise to help with your training. Perform a snatch and hold the weight overhead. Walk 10 yards controlling the kettlebell overhead and walk back to the starting position. Lower the weight. Switch arms and repeat.
Master the Turkish Get-Up. Break this exercise into two phases until your are comfortable to perform the movement in its entirety. Perform the first phase by lying on your back, the lift the kettlebell from the ground using both hands. Raise the weight overhead using one arm.
Bend your knee on the same side of the working arm. Extend your free arm to the side. Use your free arm and push through your hips to assist yourself into a half-kneeling position.
Complete the second phase by slowly standing up while keeping your working arm straight and vertical. Reverse the movement. Control the kettlebell as you get back into the starting position. Protect your face and lower the weight to the ground using both hands. Switch sides after completing three to five reps, then repeat. Perfect the get-up to help build the shoulder stability and core strength for the RKC certification test.
Tips and Warnings
- To help with your training, perform pull-ups twice a week using solid form. Gradually build your endurance to perform at least five pull-ups per set. The RKC strength test requires men to perform five pull-ups or chin-ups or a 15-second flexed-arm hang for women.
- Depending on your gender, age, and body weight, the RKC strength test requires a specific number of snatches to be performed in a allotted amount of time. Check the guidelines in the resources section to make sure your training using the appropriate kettlebell weight.
- Use sound judgement. If you think the kettlebell might be too heavy to lift overhead, then it probably is. Build your strength up gradually, keep your core tight and practice using proper form to stay injury free.
- Due to the intensity of kettlebell lifting, always check with your health professional, like a orthopedist and a cardiologist, before starting your training program. Also keep in mind, the RKC certification test requirements are subject to change.
Things You'll Need
Kettlebell: recommendations for men: 20-24 kg; women: 12-16 kg
- Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification Requirements
- Enter the Kettlebell: Strength Secret of the Soviet Supermen; Pavel Tsatouline
- Exrx: Kettlebell Exercises