Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

RKC Snatch Test

Last week, my strength coach had me do the RKC Snatch Test. It made for good conditioning, and since I was doing a full-body workout it was a good choice. You will - eventually - use every part of your body during the snatch test.

What is the RKC Snatch Test? It is one part of the certification process for the Russian Kettlebell Certification. For men, it generally involves the 24kg kettlebell (about 53 pounds). For women, the 16kg kettlebell (about 35 pounds), with a goal of 100 reps in 5 minutes.

How did I do? Not great; I got 81 reps in 5 minutes without putting the kettlebell down. I paced out 20 in 1 minute and 40 in 2 minutes, so had I been able to stay on pace I'd have just nailed 100 reps by the end. But I had to slow down after a while because I just couldn't keep it up. Yet. I still count this as a good result, because I'd never done 81 snatches with a 24kg kettlebell in one workout, nevermind in 5 minutes. I'd done around 70 or so in 5 minutes with the 16kg and 20kg a while back, so this was a marked improvement. It was also a good workout, although it left me quite sore the next day!

So how do you get more reps? The usual approach is the get stronger, get better, and get more conditioned.

Getting stronger would mean being able to snatch a heavier kettlebell than the 24, such as a 28kg (62 pounds) or 32kg (70 pounds). That makes a 24kg kettlebell a smaller percentage of your 1-rep maximum.

Getting better means getting more technique in the snatch, so it is less costly in terms of energy, and so each rep is faster. Better technique means you expend less energy on a smoother, faster rep and can transition from one hand to another with less difficulty.

Getting more conditioned means you have more energy to expend. Since conditioning is specific, this means more kettlebell snatches. Nicely, this feeds directly into "getting better", too, if you have a good coach to watch your form.

There are a few articles on the RKC snatch test. Two are of especial interest here:

How to Pass the Current RKC Snatch Test


Boris on the RKC Cert and doing a snatch test.

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