April 22nd, 2009

Robertson Training Systems Newsletter 5.09

In This Issue:

– Robertson Training Systems Updates

– Recapping the RKC

Robertson Training Systems Updates

Don’t forget about the Customer Appreciation Sale!

You only have a day and a half left to save 15% on all Robertson Training Systems and EricCressey.com products!

Here’s what you can purchase, along with how to get your 15% off:

Through RobertsonTrainingSystems.com:

Building the Efficient Athlete DVD Set
Magnificent Mobility DVD
Bulletproof Knees Manual
Inside-Out DVD/Manual
Indianapolis Performance Enhancement Seminar DVD Set

Through EricCressey.com:

The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual
The Art of the Deload
The Truth About Unstable Surface Training

Here’s all you have to do to receive the discount:

1)    Add the necessary product(s) to your shopping cart.

2)    Prior to checking out, fill in the coupon code “HITCHED” on the right side of the screen and click “Apply.”  Please make sure that your discount is accepted BEFORE you check out!

3)    Fill in your payment information and you’re all set!

Podcast back up next week!

As many of you know, I’ve had some issues getting the technical-side of the Podcast figured out.  I spent over an hour at the Apple store a few weeks ago, only for them to tell me I knew more about the process than they did!

That’s not saying much, considering I’ve only owned a Mac since December!

Regardless, we’ll have Eric Cressey on next week, so definitely stay tuned.  Should be a great show!

Recapping the RKC

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC).  Needless to say, it was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget.

Before I get into the weekend, I’d like to start off by thanking my good friend Jason Thompson for hooking me up with some seriously sweet gear.  If you are into kettlebells, or just need some kick-ass training gear, be sure to check him out at GiryaNation.com.

Let’s begin talking a little bit about the requirements to become an RKC, and then I’ll discuss the weekend itself.


One of the primary requirements of the RKC is being able to pass the snatch test.  In this case, whatever your body weight is in kilos, you need to be able to perform that many snatches with an appropriately weighted kettlebell, all in the course of 5 minutes.

In my case, I had to perform 90 snatches with a 24 kilo kettlebell in 5 minutes.  Now if I had several months of training and conditioning under my belt, this could’ve been a lot easier.  However, my first real experience with kettlebells came in late January when we had Master RKC Brett Jones to our facility for a seminar.  Going into that point, I had never perform anything with a kettlebell outside of a swing and a poorly performed windmill.

Following the seminar, I started working diligently on my technique, but there was a small problem:  I had to travel to Australia for 2.5 weeks for work!  This wasn’t exactly conducive to my strength, conditioning or skill work, as I only managed 4 workouts over the course of 16 days.  My back was truly up against the proverbial wall.

Upon my return, I started hitting the ‘bells hard and heavy.  I started by snatching or swinging a minimum of 3x/week. In the course of this time, I aggravated a previos adductor/hamstring injury, which definitely did not help my cause.  Now it was getting hard to get the reps in because my damn body wasn’t holding up!

In my case, I started snatching three times per week – one heavy day (24 kilo), one medium day (20 kilo), and one light day (16 kilo).  My goal was to start by getting 90 with the 16, and then 90 with the 20, and eventually 90 with the 24.  I can’t say the program was in any way, shape or form rocket science, but I figured it would work well.  This would allow me simulatenously to bring up my conditioning and my technique.  Trying to snatch every day with the 24 kilo ‘bell would’ve been absolutely brutal.

Over the course of the next 5 weeks, things started to fall into place.  I had one really terrible workout about 3 weeks out, but after that the number continued to climb.  My final workout (6 days out from the seminar), I hit 90 snatches after a moderately intense squat workout.

Regardless of the numbers I’d hit previously, I was still nervous going in to the test.  What if my technique was off?  What if I my gas just wasn’t there that day?  Add to that the obvious nervous tension that everyone else was exuding and it makes for a very stressful Friday morning.

When my turn came up, I realized it was now or never.  Strangely enough, I really don’t remember hardly any of the testing.  Somewhere around rep 50 or 60, I had to take a moment and strip off my sweatshirt, as the drawstrings were hitting me on the face every rep.  Doh!  From there, the only thing I clearly remember was that when I hit those last 2-3 reps, all out fatigue was setting in.  I definitely remember my only goal on rep number 90 was to just hold on to the ‘bell!

So I’ve just hit my number, I’m totally smoked, and next thing I know, Pavel himself is standing right behind me!  I can’t talk, I’m totally out of breath, and probably looking like a total buffoon.  He told me that my technique would improve as the weekend went on, and as it was, those were sage words.

The Training

Over the course of the next 3 days, your truly learn what pain is all about.  And not bad, I’m about to hurt myself pain – but just good, honest, I’m working my ass off pain.  I think sometimes we forget about how hard we can push when really asked to.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say the snatch test is literally the tip of the iceberg.  In 3 days you go through 9 workouts, each one equally grueling and difficult.

The strange thing is, however, that even though you would think that your technique and skill would break down, it actually improves over the course of the weekend!  Your timing gets a little bit better.  The snap and drive from your hips is more powerful.  You learn to balance tension and relaxation.

Quite simply, you become much more efficient.

But to say that the weekend is simply about kettlebells is a vast underestimation.  If you’ve been to the RKC, you know what I’m talking about.

This weekend, when it’s all said and done, is about improving movement.  It’s about really understanding your body and how to take control of it.  I feel if more coaches and trainers would take this certification, the industry as a whole would be vastly improved.  Even if you never used kettlebells again, the sense of body mastery you develop is quite astounding.

The Staff

I’ve had the pleasure over my 10 years in the industry to work with some really top notch individuals.  In that same breath, I’ve also been around and worked with clowns that have no clue what they’re doing.

The entire RKC staff is definitely the former – we’re talking some of the most knowledgable and skilled professionals I’ve been around.  It would be like the Perform Better summit of kettlebell instructors.

Really, it’s that good.

I was lucky enough to be a member of Team Jones.  Again, if you’re unfamiliar with Brett, you’ve probably been lurking under a rock for the past 5-10 years.  This guy is not only an amazing kettlebell instructor, but a freaky strong raw powerlifter and grip guy to boot.  Needless to say, I couldn’t have picked a better instructor to work with.

The rest of our crew (Tim Anderson, Fawn Friday and Sharon Nelson) were first-class as well.  They were always good about giving you critical, yet needed feedback to tweak your form.  Over the course of the weekend, you’re bound to have good reps and bad ones – the key is to have great coaches around who are willing to help you out.  These guys did an amazing job.

And while all the instructors were great, I don’t think anyone doubts why Pavel has been so successful.  Between the seminar, dinner Saturday night or lunch on Sunday afternoon, I’ve got to admit he might be one of the brightest fitness guys I’ve ever met.  There’s just this amazing sense of quiet confidence that he exudes – it’s quite powerful.  And yet, he’s amazing approachable, friendly, and quite funny to boot.  I’m sure I will continue to learn from Pavel for many years to come.

The Community

Before wrapping this up, I can’t imagine not mentioning the amazing sense of community and camaraderie that this event elicits.

Right from the beginning, people you don’t even know are cheering you on, helping you get the allotted number of reps for the snatch test.

Through some of the most grueling workouts you’ll ever imagine, people are in your ear, shouting words of encouragement.  The same thoughts, feelings, and emotions are resonating within them as well.  As the saying goes, “You will earn your RKC.”  If you expect to show up for the weekend and get handed a piece of paper at the end, you’re sorely mistaken.

At the end of the weekend, you’ve been through intense workouts.  You’ve had your technique mercilessly refined.  You’ve had to demonstrate that you can not only perform the lifts, but that you can coach them as well.

Team Jones!

So when 4:30 rolls around on Sunday afternoon, there’s no better feeling in the world than hearing that you’ve become an RKC.  In this day and age where entitlement reigns king, I can honestly say I’ve never worked harder for a “piece of paper” in my entire life.

In fact, I’m damn proud to call myself an RKC.  After all, I earned it.

Stay strong


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