I hope you all had a great Memorial day weekend! This Tuesday, I wanted to spend some time going over my own weekend get away and discuss a topic that has been on my mind for a good number of months. I had an amazing opportunity to travel back to Virginia over the holiday weekend and spend some time with a few RKC’s and SFG’s. I am sure a number of you are curious about the differences between the certification requirements (as was I) so I wanted to spend some time today to compare the RKC and SFG certifications to the best of my ability and with the help of someone who did both certifications.
With that being said, I would like to welcome you all to the Girya Garage, managed by a great friend of mine, Nichol Cruz Sanderson. Nichol and I met via twitter last year and, after my HKC, she was kind enough (and crazy enough) to do a celebratory workout for me. We maintained our internet friendship and networked over the year to help each other get stronger. This past weekend, I traveled down to meet with her personally to discuss the whole RKC and SFG thing. Nichol has done both certifications and was kind enough to discuss her experiences with both certifications with me. I was lucky enough to have taken a look at her SFG manual and compare it to my RKC manual. After paging through both manuals, speaking with Nichol directly about her experiences at the SFG certification, and sharing with her my experiences at RKC Vienna, we both noticed some key differences between the certs. Here’s what we both concluded (note: I will be discussing the level one RKC and level one SFG certs in this post).
1. Weight classes for the 5 minute, 100 rep snatch test. The Strong First certification goes by two separate weight classes for men and two separate weight classes for women when it comes to the 100 rep snatch test. For men, if you weigh up to 132 pounds, you will perform 100 reps of snatches in 5 minutes with a 20kg kettlebell. Men over 132 pounds will use a 24kg kettlebell. Women up to 123.5 will use a 12kg kettlebell and women over 123.5 will use a 16kg kettlebell for the 100 rep snatch test. Dragon door had implemented a mid weight class earlier this year for this same test. Per Dragon Door, Men who weigh up to 151 pounds use a 20kg kettlebell, men 151 to 165 pounds use a 22kg ketltbel, and any man over 165 uses a 24kg kettlebell. Women up to 115 pounds may use a 12kg kettlebell, women 116-135lb will use a 14kg kettlebell, and women over 136 pounds will use a 16kg kettlebell for the 100 rep snatch test. Now, at this stage in the game I have done the 100 rep test in my practice run with both the 14kg and 16kg. I make great time with either weight. However, I believe that the inclusion of a middle weight class does make it more fair to the participants in the RKC certification. The difference in weight between a 12kg and a 16kg and the 20kg and 24kg is a factor of ten pounds, which is a large hike upward in my opinion. Should you be looking at one certification over the other, this would be something to take into consideration.
2. Entry level Strength Tests- Strong first requires that men be able to perform 5 strict pull-ups at the entry level and that women perform a 15 second flexed arm hang. Dragon door requires that entry level participants be able to perform the hardstyle push up. Men must perform 10 push ups and women must perfomr 3. To quote Dragon Door Directly, the reason for the push up test is for the following reason:
In terms of the teaching component between SFG and RKC, SFG requires its participants to pass written evaluations and group instruction between SFG candidates at the end of the weekend. RKC currently mandates that its candidates teach random volunteers or “victims” the basics of kettlebell work and to outline proper progressive workouts for these volunteers based on their current skill level. I should note, there have been talks about mandating written evaluations with the RKC, but no written tests have currently been implemented for the certification. In comparison, SFG does not currently have volunteers participate as the teaching component at the end of their weekend. According to Nichol, the group teaching is between instructor candidates, not random public volunteers. In my opinion, I felt that teaching a complete stranger basic progressions made the RKC unique and really forced the RKC candidates to use their knowledge one-on-one with people. In my opinion, the hands on teaching made me feel like a well-rounded instructor. However, I do feel that in the future, a written evaluation AND a teaching component should be mandated in the RKC certification.