Love at First Swing
I’ve been having a rough week so it’s been hard to find time (or emotional energy) to post. However, I did want to share a recap of the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification I went to last weekend.
When I first read about kettlebells I knew I had to try them mostly because they have that old skool circus side show vibe that I just love. At one point, I felt the same way about the hula hoop. I even took a hoop dance class at out community rec center for a while after a disastrous audition as a “hula hooper” (or is it “hoopist”) for a Ben Lee music video. I’ll tell you about it someday. It’s still too painful to talk about. Here’s a picture from the class that was put in the paper. I look like a hooping bobble head.
While hooping is fun kettlebells are more in line with my goals and give me a bigger bang for my buck. A much bigger bang. Can the two really be compared aside the from circus side show vibe? (Forgive me any hardcore gireviks who may come across this post.)
Before beginning kettlebells, I did my research (I’m a research junkie) and decided I wanted to learn from an RKC instructor. I was really surprised to find out a senior RKC instructor (there is only 9 of them), Doug Nepodal, was teaching classes in my town…at the beach no less. (If you live in Ventura or Santa Barbara I can’t recommend him enough.) So I opened my sock drawer to see if I enough birthday money left to pay for a few months of classes. I did. I knew I wanted to try kettlebells but I didn’t know that it would be love at first swing. Once I picked one up I didn’t want to put it down. Awwww how sweet. (Feel free to roll your eyes.) Yes, I’m having a hard time not talking incessantly about kettlebells but I’m doing my best to only drive my husband nuts.
After a few weeks in class, I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could about their benefits and proper use so when Doug told us he was teaching an HKC in Santa Barbara I signed up. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be everything I expected and more. After passing the strength requirement test, we started out with safety because in the RKC system safety is always paramount to reps, weight, ect. In others words, they focus on quality not quantity, something I very much respect and try to practice myself. (Although I have been know to get carried way especially if Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine comes on and I suddenly feel like She-Hulk.) Most of the safety issues were common sense to me but always good to hear. The majority of the day was spent breaking down and drilling 3 foundational kettlebell exercises the swing, the get up, and the goblet squat. We learned troubleshooting, progressions, breathing, and a bunch of other techniques to improve form. You can see some pictures here if you want. We covered program design tools (writing workouts) and talked a lot about the benefits of kettlebells. There were four instructors and 8 trainees so we got a lot of personalized attention. The instructors put us through two workouts in addition to our technique training. After our second workout, we covered stretching and were put through a awesome stretching routine. Then we put on our new shirts (which were are made from some really nice wicking material and not just cotton) to take a picture. It was a informative day and I had a blast or at least my azz got blasted. Seriously, I was so tired that night I fell asleep on the couch in mid-conversation with my husband and I slept like a…errr….a kettlebell. (That was dorky.)
Iâ€™m really excited to put into practice what I learned personally and on my husband. Last year, I got this great idea of becoming Zumba certified. (Which I kept for a secret for the most part.) I went to the certification and never did a thing with it because I realized that it would take too much time to choreograph routines on a regular basis. Time that I would rather spend being with my family or building calorie burning muscle. While I had fun at the Zumba certification, I didnâ€™t walk away with much valuable information only a certificate that said I was qualified to teach. Iâ€™m not knocking Zumba (Itâ€™s really fun!) but I realized it was something I would want to do for just that â€œfunâ€ not to teach. However, with the HKC even if I decide not to train others I feel like it was money well spent because of all the information I brought home. I know I am much less likely to get hurt, my own training is going more effective, and I feel confident should I want to teach others basic kettlebell drills I can do so properly.
One of the things Iâ€™ve read over and over again on various kettlebell enthusiastsâ€™ blogs is that once they picked up a kettlebell they â€œnever looked backâ€. I think Iâ€™m on that road. Iâ€™m certainly not going to forget all the other stuff I enjoy doing in the gym my garage but Iâ€™m certain my kettlebells wonâ€™t start gathering dust. My next goal is to aim for the RKC certification this fall. Iâ€™m nervous and excited. Nervous because Iâ€™ve heard that the 3 day weekend is grueling. Doug told us he had a military special forces guy attend who said it was one of the hardest weekends of his life. Doug also told me Iâ€™d have to stay really focused on my training if I want to pass (RKC has a 20-30% failure rate) and I thought I was highly conditioned. I guess itâ€™s the challenge that excites me. Iâ€™m aiming for one of the late summer certifications which gives me about 6 months to prepare for the snatch test, the roughly 1000 swings on the first day, the grad workout and whatever else comes that weekend.
Donâ€™t worry this is not going to become a kettlebell only blog. I still love running sprints, hopping on my treadmill, food, and yes even hula hooping!
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