A new strategy for the RKC Snatch Test
For anyone dreaming of attending the Russian Kettlebell Challenge and achieving the instructor certification, chances are you’ve been in the exact spot I’m in now: staring blankly in the face of the RKC Snatch Test and Grad Workout. It can be assumed that you strategized and agonized over how to pass the vaunted Snatch Test, devising irrationally complex workout plans or creating simple, high-volume exercises instead.
For the past few months–ever since I plunked down the cash to reserve my spot in the April RKC–I’ve been scheming about how to pass both tests, and pass them each with flying colors. My first thought was to simply attend more kettlebell bootcamp classes with my trainer. I figured that he kicks my ass well enough as it is, so if I just went more often, I’d build the strength and endurance necessary. But going from 2-3 classes a week to 4-5 plus my individual workouts was a recipe for overtraining and for disaster.
The plan evolved into something a bit less intense, but equally as daunting: attend 4 classes per week (2 classes on both Tuesdays and Thursdays) and then do various snatch-related workouts the other 4 days, leaving one day of rest. The individual workouts would go something like this:
-Day 1, snatch test (goal: 100 reps @25kg/55lb in 5:00)
-Day 2, Walking snatches and swings
-Day 3, Volume day–100+ snatches @25kg, no time limit
-Day 4, High volume workout: 10 snatches, 10 reps of another exercise, 10 more snatches. Repeat until 100 snatches are complete
Theoretically, this could work. I’d get used to doing 100 snatches at my goal weight, and I’d have 1 day a week built in to assess my progress. But the workouts are long, and are focused too heavily–upon second glance–on volume, instead of on power, speed, and 5 minute-long endurance. I attempted my first snatch test at 25kg last night and fell woefully short of my goal. I managed a meager 66 reps in 5:00, and struggled through the last 10 or 15 of them. It was disheartening, it was hard on my hands, and it was exhausting–both physically and mentally.
Now, keep in mind that this protocol was assigned to me by a Level 2 RKC, someone for whom I have the utmost respect. I view him as an expert, as my mentor even, and so I’m inclined to take his word over others’ when it comes to matters of training.
But in this instance, I figured there had to be another way; something different. Maybe even better. The beauty of services like Twitter and Facebook is that you can connect with people who have similar interests and backgrounds as you without having to meet them face to face. On a whim, I contacted another RKC II that I “know,” having connected with her over the aforementioned media, and asked her opinion on training specifically for the RKC. She came up with an equally creative, 6 or 7 day regimen, but one that was markedly different from the path I’d been on previously.
Her recommendation is aimed at developing the power, strength, and endurance needed only for the 5 minutes of the Snatch Test which, after all, is what I’m training for. Keep in mind that I’ve never actually met this person, so it’s difficult for me to equate my respect for her methods with the respect I have for my own trainer, whom I see at least twice a week. But her regimen made sense in my mind, and so I’m doing something completely out of character for me and taking a leap of faith to give it a go. So, for the next 36 days or so, I’ll be doing the following:
-6 snatches @ 25kg every 30 seconds, for 7 minutes. Each week, I’ll add another repetition. So week 2 (supposedly) will feature 7 snatches every 30 seconds, until I can do 8-9 reps every 30 seconds. At that point, I’ll drop the total time down to 6:30, then 6:00, and finally 5:00, doing 10 reps every 30 seconds to equal 100 reps in 5:00
-3 days per week, I’ll add in heavy 1 hand swings. I’m buying either a 32kg or 36kg bell–whichever is available at my local supplier–and do 60 swings, alternating 10 L/R. Each week I’ll add 5 swings per hand for a total of +10, working my way up to 100 single arm swings at 32kg or 36kg.
My hope is that this will work; that this will train me specifically to generate the most power, the most force, and provide me with just enough stamina and strength endurance to successfully complete the RKC Snatch Test. Then, I suppose, I’ll just close my eyes, cross my fingers and hope that I can make it through the Grad Workout.
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