Just Keep Swinging with Kettlebell Certification Tips


Kettlebells are a tool used in Boxes across the world. So, knowing how to properly use them is key. Here are six things to look for when searching for an education piece.

1. Progressive, Step-by-Step Instruction of Each Exercise

One of the most important aspects of a kettlebell certification is the way the material is presented. Kettlebells should start with the foundational movement patterns and then progress from basic to complex. This approach allows you to be taught not only the “how” to do an exercise, but the “why.” It allows for deep understanding of the principles and science behind each kettlebell exercise, as well as the complete picture as to why kettlebells are the most versatile and effective training tool.

2. A Hands-On Course with an In-Depth Course Curriculum

The cold, hard truth is that you cannot learn kettlebells by sitting in a lecture or watching someone else perform the movements. In order to truly learn how to perform the exercises correctly, you must do the exercises under the supervision of a highly qualified master instructor who can correct your technique.

Kettlebell lifting is unique. Not only are you using a ballistic weight, but you are focusing on the posterior chain to initiate and produce the dynamic power. For the average CrossFitter, this is a completely new movement and can be tricky to learn. The more tools the Coach has to correct improper movement, the safer and faster their clients will progress and get results.

The course should provide a detailed and thorough manual that can be used as a reference for years to come. The manual should contain standards of all exercises, teaching progressions, and a “problem and solution” section for the most common mistakes made and how to fix them.  It should contain all the concepts and principles behind each lift and provide some general programming tips.

3. Teach How To Effectively and Safely Coach the Exercises

One of the most important criteria when choosing a kettlebell certification is that the focus throughout the certification should be on coaching. The participants need to practice not only their own kettlebell lifting techniques, but practice the skill of coaching and teaching others. Safety should be the No. 1 focus for any Coach. Keeping your students safe will prevent unnecessary injuries and keep them coming back and competing at their optimum level in fitness for long term.

Based on experience, people learn faster and with better comprehension when they are required to teach another participant. A certification structured this way allows every participant to be coached by multiple people in the course, not just the instructors, leading to a better understanding of the material and a faster learning of how to correctly perform movements.

4. Ability to Practice Designing Workouts for Other Participants

A crucial part of learning is being able to put the information learned into practice. A thorough kettlebell certification should have a segment where the participants pair up and design a workout for each other. This allows them the opportunity to put the course curriculum together in a realistic and practical way. It’s one thing to learn how to do a swing or get-up; it’s another to be able to take all the exercises and put them together into an effective workout for someone’s needs and goals.

5. Physical and Practical Tests

All participants should be tested on the exercises, following stringent criteria that demonstrate their understanding of the principles of each lift, the safety issues involved and their own physical abilities to perform the exercises.

The course should also require the participants to be tested on teaching the movements using the proper progressions, corrections and regressions as taught during the course.

6. On-going Support and Community After the Course

Lastly, the certification you choose should have an extensive support network of fellow instructors to get advice and feedback from through forums or private instructor Facebook pages. It should also provide opportunities to market yourself and your facility further by getting increased visibility through personalized instructor pages, and being featured in blogs, articles or other material.

By Andrea Du Cane, the master RKC and director of certifications at Dragon Door Publications. To contact Du Cane, email andrea@kettlebellfitness.com.