Train to Pass the RKC

I recently completed my RKC Level 1 certification and could not be more proud.  It was truly one of the defining weekends of my life and I cannot speak highly enough of the process, the instructors and the experience itself.

I'll write more about the weekend in another post but I want to address how I trained, because  - 3 days of blistered hands aside - the preparation process was an equally clarifying experience for me.


1. Find a Teacher/Yoda/Task Master... that meets your particular weakness.

My biggest weaknesses as an athlete are self doubt and lack of consistency.   And I was lucky enough to find someone who put up with exactly ZERO of my "but I can't because..." bullshit and demand consistent training from me.  When I felt weak, I knew someone else thought I was as strong as I acted... and would expect that.  After a one-on-one training session with Tracy Reifkind , my technique cleaned itself up and after 2 weekends of her classes, my attitude followed suit.

2. Develop Confidence and Consistency

Confidence -- The first day in Tracy's weekend swing/snatch class, I realized that no-way, no-how was self-deprecation gonna fly as a means of addressing difficulty.   I learned to shut up and tackle the workout, which made the RKC weekend much more mentally approachable.  Don't give yourself the benefit of the weakness.  Confidence > Panic

Consistency -- She completely changed how I was planning to approach my last 6 weeks of training, by pulling all my heavy snatch training and having me train lighter faster and for longer.   I did a VO2 Max Speed session each week, ramping up to 40 rounds at an 8 snatch cadence, and an endurance session, working up to 2 minutes of continuous snatching per arm.  When I picked up a heavier bell for shorter and slower... BAM.  I finished the snatch test in 4:30 without even a hitch in my giddyup. Consitency > Brutality.

3. Train Heavy.

While I trained heavy swings and fast/long snatches, I completely neglected my grind training.  I got lucky as this cert was relatively low volume, but in all the effort to train up for the snatch test, don't forget to train HEAVY. SKILLFUL. GRINDS. so that you're ready to refine your skills, instead of battling the snatch weight bell on your Get Ups and Squats.

 4. Fuel Well.  Fuel Often.

Before : I'd been eating pretty clean during my training, but the last two days before RKC, I was a freak about eating every 3 hours and getting rid of any and all inefficient fuel sources.   This was no time to waste time digesting wheat/dairy/sugar etc.

During : I wasn't hungry once all weekend, but I ate every 3 hours, minimum. I kept my bag stocked with Larabars because they're easy energy being mostly sugar and long-lasting energy having lots of fat.  Breakfast was MASSIVE amounts of complex carbs and protein and lunch was fruit/veggies/protein/fat to stave off any afternoon food coma or digestive issues (because, let's face it... who wants fatigue or gas when you're doing countless heavy swings?)  When I got home, I ate a crap ton of protein and went immediately to bed.

5. Don't count on a lot of sleep...

Everyone went home the first day saying "DAYAMN, I'm gonna sleep good tonight."  50% of us came back with bags under our eyes.  Could have been performance anxiety...could have been endorphins...could have been sheer excitement, but I averaged 4-5 hours of sleep each night all weekend.  I was exhausted and I STILL trained more effectively and with more conviction than ever before.   (Gonna admit, though, that I nearly burst into tears on the morning of my snatch test when an instructor asked how I was doing... I was effing tired, kids.)  My new mantra when I don't sleep enough is "I've done more on less.... come ON!"

6. Expect a lot.  Absorb a lot.

It wasn't just about the snatch test.  My gut knew I would pass.  I spent the weekend trying to soak up as much Pavel and as much information as my brain could possibly hold.  I took notes in my manual.  I studied my manual and applied what I was learning.  I probably would have absorbed more if I had known to expect such a HUGE amount of knowledge and information.  Mind = Blown.