Tag Archives: kettlebell certification

Becoming a Kettlebell Coach

Yet again the question of becoming a kettlebell instructor has been raised.

In a previous post I made clear of my position on the whole certification process that is currently in vogue.
It seems, as far as I can see, any man and his dog may pay the requisite amount of cash, survive a beasting and walk away calling themselves an instructor. These “courses” are largely unregulated and as such there is no minimum standard on the entry requirement, or indeed the exit requirement.

The result, a huge amount of muppets walking around calling themselves an Instructor, but without the expertise that can only be gained by spending time under the Iron.

There are exceptions to the rule, Steve Cotter’s IKFF CKT is a tough ask, not only in the detail covered but also in the physical ability to perform the lifts. Pavel’s RKC is also a testing course, although I’ve never done it personally, but I have read their entry requirements (and tried them out), there’s no ay a newcomer would pass them.

So in designing my own certification process, I’ve had to think long and hard. To be fair, I’m still not finished tweaking it. But I am now going to lay out what I expect from a student before I’ll allow them to use the Wild Geese name to advertise themselves as a coach.

To pass the certification process, I expect each participant to teach either a class or workshop. Not their own class, oh no, one of mine.

And yes, I may plant spies in the group. Students that are very experienced and operating under instruction to test the instructor to their limit.
So not only is technical knowledge required, but teaching skill will be tested.

For those of you new to kettlebelling, I recommend you go elsewhere to get certified, there is a damn good chance I will fail you. Go on some one elses weekend instructor program and your almost guaranteed a pass. Come on mine, it’s a longer commitment, and you still might fail.

To gain the required technical knowledge, and even to pick up the various teaching techniques and cues, I run a series of workshops.
As I grew up in Martial Arts, these workshops have been given coloured grades:

· Level 1 – White – Swing, Squat, Press, Power Breathing
This is the absolute basic level, no knowledge of weight training is assumed before taking this workshop so it is open to absolute beginners. More experienced lifters can use this workshop to review technique and pick up on the teaching cues necessary to train an absolute beginner.

· Level 2 – Blue – One Hand Swing, Clean, Push Press & Turkish Get Up
Building on Level One you will see advancements on the techniques previously learned as well as taking in two new drills, the Clean and the Turkish Get Up. While having done the level one (White) is not strictly necessary, novice lifters may struggle without it. Again, the focus is on detail and ensuring participants leave with a thorough understanding of the content.

· Level 3 – Purple – Jerks, Snatch, Long Cycle, Anatomical Breathing & Timed Sets
These are the classical lifts which differentiate Kettlebell lifting from other forms of strength training. A Level 3 (Purple) participant will need to have a background in strength training, and will have one the Level 2 (Blue) workshop. This is not open to novices.

· Level 4 – Brown – Doubles
This level is a recap of previous information, and as such is only open to those who have experience, ideally having completed all previous levels. For the Level 4 (Brown) participants will review the basic strength and conditioning lifts of levels 1 & 2 as well as the classic lifts of level 3, only using a pair of bells. A greater focus will be given to the Classic lifts as these are the more technical and are the most difficult to master. It is recommended that potential instructor revisit this Level more than once.

· Level 5 – Black
This level is still under construction. The simple reason is that while there is plenty more to teach, this is the final stage before a participant can apply for the instructor certification. During the Level 5 (Black) workshop I expect participants to be interactive, arriving to the workshop with questions, as well as learning variations on past drills. I am resisting the idea of setting a defined syllabus for this level, preferring instead to have a rough plan that can bend and flex according to the gathered participants.

Upon completion of Levels 1 – 4 a participant will have all the tools in their arsenal to build any Kettlebell training program, they should have a deep understanding on each and every lift covered as well as the desired result of performing that lift.
Level 5 is the equivalent of the Martial Arts Black Belt. In other words it shows that the Lifter has a mastery of the basics, now is the time for them to go out and find their own way in the world of Kettlebell lifting. This could be instructing, competing in Girevoy Sport or turning to shows or strength, the choice is in the hands of the participant.
One thing that will remain consistent is that each participant must show constant improvement, if they attend a level 4, but can’t do techniques from a level 2, they will fail.

If becoming an instructor is on the cards then this is what you will have to do:

You will have reach the Level 5 or Black Bell status, so you ought to know the basics inside out, yet always be looking to build on what you know and deepen your understanding. It is now you may apply to become an instructor.
This is will be a two part exam.

1. You will be invited to teach either two of my regular classes or either a level 1 or level 2 workshop.
Your performance here will be monitored closely, your ability to guide the students, pick up and correct errors and keep everyone involved motivated to perform.

2. You will be spot quizzed, asked about program development, mobility, assistance work, breathing techniques and more. This quiz will be changed on an irregular basis, but the knowledge and understanding required to pass it wont.

If you have survived this far, and demonstrated the attitude and aptitude required to teach, you will be granted the status of Wild Geese Kettlebell Coach.
But do not rest on your laurels, as you will be using our name, we expect a standard of quality to be maintained, failure to do so will result in the title being removed.

All in all, I expect very few to take the challenge of becoming a Wild Geese Kettlebell Coach, most preferring to take a much easier route of a mere weekend course complete with a guaranteed pass. Plus there’s always the chance that you may just fail.

If you wish to become a coach, or are just looking to learn the art of Kettlebell lifting the dates for upcoming workshops are as follows:

White Bell (level 1) – 18/4/10, 13/6/10
Blue Bell (Level 2) – 16/5/10

More will be announced shortly, plus you may arrange to host one or more workshops at your own facility.



Last Call for Steve Cotter’s Irish CKT


This is simply a reminder that world renowned Kettlebell coach and president of the IKFF, Mr Steve Cotter, will in Ireland on the 12 & 13 of this month.
This is the first time Steve will have been in Ireland and it makes me very proud to be allowed host the first Kettlebell Instructor certification of this calibre at the Wild Geese HQ, Dublin.
To guarantee your place please drop Kathy a line on Phone: 001888897IKFF or Email: kathy.martinez@ikff.net.

Alternatively visit http://ikff.net/ckt-00068.php

Here’s what to expect:

Level 1 – There are no prerequisites for this course, so attendance is open to anyone interested in learning Steve’s unique and multi-modal approach to kettlebell lifting. Regardless of your fitness goal, Steve will cover how kettlebell training can best fit your needs – general fitness, competitive sport, sports specific conditioning and more.

As a certification, we have 3 high level goals:

Mastery of the basics – You will learn all the fundamental kettlebell exercises, several variations and most importantly, the key physical training principles underlying and associated with each movement.

Coaching skills – In addition to learning how to take your own fitness to higher levels, you will learn how to coach others safely and effectively utilizing a process Steve has refined over several years and thousands of clients. We realize that a successful coach is more than just understanding fitness, it’s knowing how to teach it as well.

Business/Marketing skills – Although this certification is primarily about improving physical performance and coaching skills, it would not be complete without a module on how to effectively market yourself and grow your fitness based business.


Professionally Organized – Upon registering through our website,
(www.ikff.net) all registrants will receive a pre-certification e-manual. This will review the content of the course, timeline for the weekend (which modules are taught and at what time), preparation tips and more. We ensure our events are scheduled and organized in a manner that gives you the best return on your investment.

Learn By Doing format – Repetition is often said to be the mother of skill. Therefore, registrants will not only learn the mechanics and principles behind each exercise, they will also have an abundance of time to practice these movements and receive customized feedback from Steve and the IKFF team.

Post Certification Support – Our primary core value at the IKFF is member support. Thus, you will always have access to Steve and his team of advisors going forward in regard to any questions you may have. In addition, you will be listed on our website as an IKFF Certified Coach.
This will include name, e-mail, website, picture and bio. If a prospective client is interested in finding a coach in your area, they will find you!

Continued Education – We will continue to offer advanced level courses for our members. With the IKFF, you have an organization that will stay on the cutting edge and act as a consistently evolving resource for you and your clients.

09.30 til 17.00 hrs both days.

See you there

Dave Hedges

MaxBells Iceland, Ireland’s next!!

This is taken directly from Steve Maxwell’s Blog (www.maxwellsc.blogspot.com), hopefully it will wet your appetite for his planned visit to Dublin, Ireland.
If I can get the numbers for it I will not just hold a training seminar but will arrange for a certification program for all the more experienced kettlebell lifters and coaches around.
Now read on to find out what it’s all about:

On an especially beautiful Icelandic weekend, 8 & 9 August, the fourth Maxbells Teacher Certification was held in Reykjavik.
The response was overwhelming!
The students left glowing testimonials:

* What I liked the most was how it was organized. Steve is the best teacher I’ve had in fitness and he explained and talked us through it all. The course was fantastic and filled every expectation I had…and more. – Hilmar Arnarson

* What I liked the most was how detailed the workouts were, they were very well explained and every question about them was answered. A very strong and hard seminar–loved it. Kettlebells rock and Steve Maxwell is af**king tough guy. – Haraldur Oli

* I liked that we didn’t beat the basics to death. I loved the joint mobility and Steve’s knowledge of the body and anatomy and his ability to teach people who have no idea about what’s inside the body and how it moves (or should) the way it does. Top-notch training from one of the world’s best coaches. – Chad Keilen

The MaxBells Certification is the new kid on the block: it’s where teachers come to learn. Unlike other certifications, which primarily work with technique and improving one’s personal skill, the MaxBells Certification prepares you to teach and become a leader in the classroom or on the training floor. All aspects of goal-setting, the client interview, workout construction, teaching styles, classroom organization and that paramount, client retention, are fully covered.
A MaxBells Certification graduate takes leave from the seminar with confidence, because the course provides the exact tools he or she needs to succeed as a teacher of group or private kettlebell classes. Actually, the people who gain the most are those coming in from the other certifying bodies–the RKCs and AKCs–this course fills in the sizable gaps left between. I’ve recently expanded my material and covered two full days of kettlebell goodness in Reykjavik. If you’re interested in becoming a kettlebell instructor, look no further. If you’re already using kettlebells as a coach, teacher or trainer, this course will greatly benefit you. Everyone leaves with a tremendous amount of knowledge ready to be put into action and new, original ideas.

While the emphasis is on learning teaching, already existing kettlebell skills are refined, an instructor-candidate must exhibit a high standard of competency in order to become certified. Certificates will not be issued to candidates unable to demonstrate this competency .

At the end of the course, on the last page of our manual, everyone is requested to answer three questions:
What did you like about the course?
What didn’t you like about the course?
What will you tell others about the course?
The answers from four certifications have proven to me I’m teaching the right stuff.
Come to the cert and judge for yourself! I hope to be to welcome you to the next Maxbells Certification Sunday 21 September at Maxercise in Philadelphia.
Contact Alma at the Maxercise front desk (215.928.1374) if you’d like to register, or email maxercise@gmail.com

This is my last East Coast certification for the 2008! I’ll be making my way out west, via in Cleveland, Ireland(!), Toronto and Portland, then down to the SF Bay area, so if you want to get together, email me and let’s get together for some memorable times. It all depends on what you consider fun…

Cleveland OH 11/12 October/KB Basics + BJJ
Ireland tba
Toronto 1/2 November/BJJ + Conditioning weekend
Portland 9 November/MaxBells Cert

More about Iceland! The Icelanders proved to be star students: incredibly attentive, courteous, and always enthusiastic. The Icelandic public education system is second-to-none and every participant, at least grammatically, had better English skills than most North Americans! I so enjoyed working out those Vikings! My hosts, Gudjon Swannson and his enchanting (and wildly strong) wife, Vala Mork, Iceland’s Kettlebell QUEEN–a true Valkyrie–were flawless. Every detail of organization, venue and set-up (not to mention hospitality) was superb. Gudjon has a most-enviable strength-to-weight ratio and an unstoppable physical prowess all wrapped up beneath the demeanor of a wise Viking chieftain.
I’ve always identified as part Viking and felt quite at home on this beautiful island.
For those who can’t make the upcoming Philly cert, I’ll be presenting a Level 1 Kettlebell Workshop Saturday 13 September in San Jose CA at Frank Shamrock’s gym. It’s going to be a terrific time, the house is full, but we’ll make some room if you’re motivated to acquire the basics.
What You Will Learn at the Level 1 Kettlebell Workshop
Why the One-Arm Clean & Jerk may be the ultimate strength-endurance and cardio exercise
How to use kettlebell training to improve mobility and athleticism
The most overlooked attributes in physical training
Four workouts from the DVD:
Cruel and Unusual 2
The Maxwell 300 series, Spartan-style kettlebell workout
How to balance the shoulder girdle with pull-up power
Kettlebell complexes:
Get-up and Go
Between Heaven and Hell
Kettlebells for fat-loss and extreme muscular definition
The Omelette for superior cardio conditioning
Circular movements with kettlebells, for total core-conditioning
Kettlebell workout construction and design
Recovery and restoration techniques
Hormonal balance and control for youthful vigor
If I say so myself, just reading over the above, it’s going to be one hell of a day! You are guaranteed satisfaction with the material…here’s what people have generously written so far:
I’d like to mention how extremely pleased I am with your coaching. Your unrelenting focus on my weakest links shows me the true value of having a coach, of having an experienced guide leading me each step of the way. I’m only now beginning to understand that it really is “how you put it together.” – John Bendorf
Just wanted to express my thanks for your seminar this weekend. I am sore beyond belief, but that’s good! Thanks for taking the time for personal instruction and answering my training questions. The seminar and yourself are very motivational. I came away from the seminar with a very changed perspective on fitness. – Sonny Ritscher
I have trained with several coaches in the past, including a former strength coach of a pro football team, and while a few were excellent, I’ve had the best results under your guidance-thanks for all your help. – Steven Fink, MDEnjoy the clip of the Reverse Turkish Get-Up–look at those Vikings go!

In Strength & Health,
posted by Steve Maxwell at 2:39 PM on Aug 21, 2008