By Keith Jennings
This past January, I participated in a Kettlebell instructor certification seminar with the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF). This was the third kettlebell certification course I’ve attended, and it was both the most comprehensive in terms of technique, and yet also the most sparse in terms of catalog of techniques. Since my reason for taking this course was to focus on the primary kettlebell lifts used in sport competition, this suited me just fine. The IKFF website describes their approach as such:
The IKFF is an organization whose goals are two-fold: to promote Kettlebell training and complete mind/body fitness on a global scale, and to support our members in developing the all-encompassing skills needed to accelerate their own fitness and fitness-oriented businesses. The vision in creating this is to offer passionate fitness enthusiasts a no-nonsense, ever-evolving resource they can trust is on the cutting edge of athletic training and conditioning!
Most Kettlebell courses are either run like a diabolical bootcamp, where learning technique often come second to getting your ass kicked during two days of relentless training. The reasoning behind this is, if you want to consider yourself a kettlebells instructor, you better be just as bad ass as the piece of iron that you working to master. I’m ok with this approach, and found these courses to be a lot of fun. Other courses almost try to do too much, mixing in Hard-Style with Sport training, all the while trying to find time to work on supplemental training such as joint mobility or gymnastics. With the IKFF certification course, the emphasis was completely technique based. In fact, much of the seminar was spent without a kettlebell in hand, making sure we had the correct body mechanics down before even picking up a bell. The only kettlebell lifts taught were the single hand swing, the clean, the press (and its many variations), and the snatch. Many of the standard kettlebell exercises, such as the Turkish Get-Up and the Windmill, were barely mentioned. Instead, the IKFF is singularly focused and dedicated to kettlebell Sport lifting, known as Girevoy Sport. Taught by IKFF Head Master Trainer Ken Blackburn, he emphasized that with sport lifting, the devil is in the details. Even the smallest detail will make a huge impact on your performance. I have had kettlebell sport technique explained to me in the past, and have seen elite athletes perform both in person and in video. However, it wasn’t until training under Ken that I have come to truly appreciate the intricacies of such technique, why this is the preferred method for lifts such as Long Cycle and snatching, and I have become a true believer.
So, what does this mean for kettlebell training at Forteza? Like most things in life, there are positives to both sides, and we will be incorporating sport style into our already established kettlebell regimen. In the next blog, I will go over what the differences are between Hard-Style and Girevoy Sport, and the roll of both in you future training. In the mean time, I will be teaching a special kettlebell class on Sunday, February 23rd at noon. This will be about four hours of learning, where the focus will be more on proper technique and body mechanics, and low on sweat (until the very end of the class, of course….). I will be posting details soon, but this will be a very inexpensive class, and recommended to anyone who trains at Forteza and wants to take their kettlebell training to the next level!