Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Should You Train for The New RKC Snatch Test?

This post presupposes that you have built a solid base to build off of. I mean that you have tackled "Enter The Kettlebell" to build your resilience or worked with an RKC instructor who has given you the go ahead to tackle this elephant. Preferably both. Getting hurt while training is not the goal. Train hard but train smart. If you aren't able to follow this advice, then rest assured kettlebell training isn't appropriate for you.

Once your base is built and that foundation is solid, then you are ready for the "Czar of Kettlebell lifts." (Contact me if you need to build your foundation).

You want to train the snatch twice a week. There is so much more to getting your RKC certification than the infamous snatch test. If you choose to focus all your work on the snatch test you will wish you'd never heard of the RKC by the end of your certification weekend. You really will need to practice the other 5 foundations of "Hard Style" as well. Seriously.

You should also be aware of hand care. You don't, I repeat don't want to rip your hands to shreds. It's not a sign of toughness nor is it a badge of honor. I need to be careful here but I just saw a ton of picsture of shredded hands after last weekends certification. I had one tiny blister after the RKC weekend. Handcare is paramount, pre RKC, at the cert and as an instructor. Again I can't stress enough that you need to use your head on this. Forget the crush grip for snatches. You must have relaxed hands or you will pay a heavy tol. Check this out about handcare.

Enough of that, we are here to talk the snatch.

For men, the snatch test is 100 reps in 5 minutes with the 24 kg kettlebell. For women, you will use the 16 at a weight heaver than 56 KG and 12 if you are below that. You too need to do 100 reps in 5 minutes.

Please remember that this is written for those who are SURE of their snatch form. We go "Hard Style" here...not GS sport...No corkscrew. Hard Style.

If you don't know what that means ask:)

Set your timer for 5 minutes. Do 5 reps per hand at the top of each minute. Start here don't jump ahead. You are building the walls of your house. Forget the roof at this point. Once you can go 5 minutes add sets, not reps. Go to six minutes and keep adding to it. So you work your way to 20 minutes. That will be 200 reps. Solid work in 20 minutes.

Now you'll want to take a few days off and test your max without switching hands. start on your less dominant side and try for as many as you can and then switch to the strong side. Most likely you'll be able to do at least 50 total.

From there you'll next work up to 20-15-10-5. If you switch hands on each number it will help save your grip. Once again, I recommend starting on your weaker side. Keep pushing through. If you need to you can back off and start on a different rep count than 20 so it may look like 15-10-5-1 at first and your goal would be to add reps to each component. To reiterate, train smart. Getting hurt will slow your progress to a standstill. Take time off if your body is telling you to do so.

This road map will work for you. I promise. Use patience and perseverance and you will own this.

Please leave your commentary and any thoughts.

Sandy Sommer, RKC

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At April 22, 2009 at 4:16 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Thanks for a clear road map, Sandy. It certainly does seem like a daunting task to manage 100 snatches in 5 minutes, but your plan makes it seem totally doable. I'll be trying it out for sure.

At April 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


You have the hunger that the RKC requires. You WILL do this:)

At April 23, 2009 at 6:19 AM , Blogger This is Living/ said...

Hi Sandy,

Love your post but have a question. When you say to do 5 reps per hand at the top of each minute what exactly does that mean?

I am no where near ready for the 16KG bell, but I am working with my 12KG trying to build up myself. As you know I have already been doing swings, getups and a few snatches here and there with no purpose to it. Should I start with something like sets of 5-3-1 per side and add on or do you think I should try a different strategy for my twice a week snatching?

Thanks Sandy!!

At April 23, 2009 at 6:32 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...

Hi Mandy,

At the top of the minute means that you would do 5 reps per hand when the second hand reaches 12 and rest for the remainder of the minute and start again at twelve.

Here is what I meant by a snatch base.

Meet the following milestones before you move on to the roadmap that I have put out there.

You must perform first one hand then the other, using a single short swing to switch (you may not put the kettlebell down) – start with your weaker side, please. Long rests between sets may be needed– at least 3 minutes but you may take 5 minutes. The important word is that your recovery is “full” before you start the next set.

Level I Milestones:

12 kg, 1 rep

12 kg, 3 reps

12 kg, 5 reps

12 kg, 3 reps, multiple sets on long rests – work up to 5 sets

12kg, 7-10 reps – just a single set as a test of your progress

12 kg, 5 reps, multiple sets on long rests – again work up to 5 sets

When you can do 5 sets of 5 reps on long rests, you are ready for for what I prescribed. Be patient you will get there. And then you would do the 16:)


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