Observations from the RKCTuesday, September 21st, 2010
Smitty and Jedd with Tricia Dong, one of Smitty’s RKC Team Assitants
As you all know, Smitty and I recently went to Philadelphia for the RKC. We were both successful in our 100-rep snatch tests and the overall technical testing as well.
During the three weeks we trained for this event, many of you supported us by leaving comments and sending emails filled with extremely helpful information, and we really appreciate that support.
Now that the weekend is in the books, I’d like to document some of the observations, take-aways, and ah-ha moments that I experienced, so that future athletes interested in passing the RKC can be in a better position to be successful once their day comes.
RKC Report, & Suggestions for Future Candidates
1. RKC Does Not Equal Snatch Test
I was told by many going in that the Snatch Test was only a small portion of the goings-on at the RKC certification, but it didn’t fully register. In order to prepare for the weekend which amounted to 3 full days of working out, I did 4 Kettlebell Snatch Test workouts. I had plans to do a week of high-volume swing and get-up training, but a back injury the weekend prior to the cert kept me from doing that. With the short time to prepare, I was limited in what I could do. You should start preparing physically and mentally as soon as you know you are going to try the RKC.
2. Increase Your Volume on all Foundational Kettlebell Lifts
My mind was spinning at the sheer volume of work that we did over the course of the weekend. In hind sight, I could have been much better prepared for the RKC weekend and suggest other candidates include much more Swings and Squats into their programs prior to the RKC. The last three weeks prior to the RKC it is a good idea to ramp-up the volume in particular, even doing two routines a day if possible. Doing 200 to 500 swings in a workout is probably the minimum I should have been doing going in.
3. Toughen up Your Hands Prior to the Event
Over the course of the RKC weekend, I never fully lost a single callous, but I was coming very close at the end of the third day. Many other people weren’t so lucky. Many lost callouses during their Snatch Test on the very first morning and then had to struggle through the intense volume through the rest of the weekend. Toughen your hands up prior to the RKC by increasing your Swing and Snatch volume while monitoring how your hands respond. I do a tremendous amount of Grip training, so my skin is very tough, but like I said, a few dozen more Swings or Snatches on day 3 and I would have been bleeding severely.
4. Protect Your Hands During the Event
The only part of the training I was not allowed to wear hand protection on was the Snatch Test. Unfortunately, I tried to be a tough guy and never taped until I rubbed my left ring finger raw. I can’t get all my fingers into the handle for Two Hand Swings, so the side of that finger was rubbing against the side of the handle for hundreds of reps and eventually broke open in the afternoon on Day One. I immediately taped it and the rest of my fingers and didn’t get anymore damage the rest of the weekend to the fingers. Don’t try to be a tough guy. Tape up as soon as you can.
5. Get a Ped Egg
There is a device used for smoothing the bottoms of the feet, called a Ped Egg. My fiancee’ has one (I swear I have never used it – don’t even know what it looks like). I heard about many people using them on the callous lines of their hands in order to keep them at bay as well. Makes perfect sense. Not sure how well it works or what it feels like, but it was pretty popular amongst experienced RKC’s at the event.
6. Pick the Right Partner On Day One
Bottom Line is you are there to hone your technique. Don’t pair yourself up with someone who is a bump on the log. You want somebody who knows what the hell they are doing and will speak up if you are making technique errors. I immediately paired myself up with a guy named Greg McNiel, because when I saw him he was warming up (smart), talking to people (personable), and was supportive (coach-like). All of these traits seemed to me like he would be a good partner so as soon as we were told to partner up, I went right over to him and introduced myself. It was a very beneficial pairing for me as he knew technique well and was not shy about coaching me. In fact, he didn’t listen to me whine about my struggles with keeping a straight wrist. He looked me straight in the eye, and told me that I could do it and that my head was the only thing stopping me. He was right. After that, I was better at keeping my wrist straight.
7. Don’t Fear the DOMS
The ramping up of volume you do prior to the event and other factors specific to how beat up you get from training will dictate how sore you feel after each day. I was extremely sore on the morning of Day Two and couldn’t believe how well I was able to train throughout the second day. It was as if after a dozen Swings the pain was gone. From then on, my mind was clear and I was welcoming the rest of the training. Hopefully this is the same feeling you experience. If not, just keep chugging away. Everyone is going to be sore and won’t want to hear you complaining about it.
8. Drink Water Like It’s Going out of Style
Staying hydrated and keeping some food in your stomach was key to getting through each day for me. I would drink several glasses of water at the hotel before going to the training center, and then grab two bottles of water to take to my work station which I would drink within about an hour. I would then try to keep a full bottle there at my station the rest of the day to keep re-hydrating. I sweated so much, I rarely had to take a break to use the restroom, either.
9. Consume Food Every Chance You Get
You have to keep feeding your body with food energy every step along the way. Keeping something in your stomach will fend off hunger pains and keep you in good spirits throughout the day. I would take a banana or grapes over to my work station and kept a protein bar in my training bag to take bites from.
10. Be Coachable
You will be paired with a Team Leader and one or more assistants in your group. They are there to help you with technique and push you to be your best. If you think your form is on point, but they keep correcting you, it is because they see something you don’t. Don’t go into it thinking you already know everything. That’s a good way to piss your Leaders off. Be coachable, listening to the suggestions you are given, and trying to apply them. If you can’t seem to get it, ask for extra help, or get feedback from your training partner. You can do it.
There’s 10 quick points that will hopefully help some people out that are apprehensive about taking the step toward RKC certification. If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d be glad to help you out, and so will Smitty, so fire away.
Thanks again to everyone who helped us out going in.
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