What I Learned At: The HKC Certification Course

16 Dec


First the exciting news: I’m HKC certified!  I attended the Toronto Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification course on December the 2nd, and despite having what ended up being pneumonia, I passed my exam and got my certification!  The pneumonia, of course, has meant this incredibly long blogging hiatus, and a ridiculous amount of not training and forcing myself to actually rest and recover (not my strong suit).  But onwards and upwards!

The course was held at Bang Fitness, which let me tell you, is an awesome facility full of lovely people.  If you are a Toronto dweller, you should absolutely check it out.

Our instructor for the course was Master RKC Jon Engum, who was an awesome instructor.

pointing_jonHis passion for the subject matter, practical tips, masterful correctives, and overall smartness made the course a goldmine of useful information.

I’ve been wanting to get a kettlebell certification for a while now.  I love using kettlebells in my own training, and find that they’re an incredible tool for almost everyone.   They are a fantastic way to condition the whole body as  a unit and really zero in on movement patterns and body synergy.  They’re an efficient tool as well, working multiple muscle groups and energy systems, meaning bigger bang for your training buck.  In a 2010 study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), participants burned approximately 20 calories per minute performing kb snatches -that’s 1,200 calories per hour, not counting the additional calories burned following the exercise from the substantial oxygen debt built up from anaerobic training.  Kettlebell training also focuses on ideal range of motion, mindful movement, and precise practice, all of which are cornerstones in what I think is important in training.  I’ve also found that people (especially women) tend to have fewer preconceived notions about kettlebells.  A woman who might initially balk at a barbell will gladly do the same movement pattern with a kettlebell, and to me, this is a great way to introduce them to heavier and more challenging loads.  Barbell fear happens – I’ve seen it.  Kettlebell fear, I have yet to see.  Mostly, the women I train get super-excited about using them, and that makes my job a heck of a lot easier.

Here were the big takeaways from the course:

  • Obviously there were about a million tips on how to coach the swing, get-up, and goblet squat.  I won’t get into them here.  I will say, if you are interested in kettlebell practice, it is well worth your while to seek out an HKC or RKC certified instructor to learn.  I thought I knew how to coach a swing reasonably well before – what I learned at the course made me realize how much more clear I could be in my breakdown, and the best steps to take to get someone moving better in a pretty short amount of time.  Long story short – I feel about a million times more confident in my ability to coach these movements, and I am incredibly glad that I came in ready to learn.
  • Think of, and refer to, those you train as students rather than clients.  Also, think of yourself as a student of movement.  Good idea – that way, I’m on the hook to teach something each session.  And my trainee gets to come in with a learning mindset each session, helping them to absorb what we’re doing more efficiently.  I think this carries over into derby too.  This off-season, my league is structuring things a little differently (in that we’re being really structured).  We’re running clinics on individual skills to get everyone up par on the basics, before we get into teamwork at the start of season.  Each trainer is coming in with a teaching plan, rather than a page full of drills, and I think skaters are responding well.  So, be a student of your physical activity – learn each time you train and get better.
  • This is one that I’ve been using for quite some time (since my first FMS course), but the HKC reenforced the effectiveness of feeding the mistake.  When someone has a faulty pattern or a weird compensation, pull them further into the mistake.  Make then feel what the correction feels like.  They’ll remember what a good pattern feels like SO much more easily when they’ve corrected it themselves, rather than you positioning them correctly.   Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for coaches to manipulate their students into the right position, but this approach works wonders.  Again, derby crossover – Wonky stride?  Exaggerate it.  Get the skater to feel their weakness and actively fight against it.  When I first learned to do this, it blew my mind.  When I see it work with someone who is struggling to groove a pattern, it still does.

All in all, the HKC was awesome, and I’m excited to be certified.  It’s further stoked my love of kettlebells, and I hope to keep going and maybe take some more courses down the line.  In the meantime, I’ll be helping lots of folks get their swing on (and their get-up, and their squat).

Things are looking up, and so am I – the plan this week is to get back to breathing, training, and blogging regularly.  As long as the first one holds up, the other two should be easy.


3 Responses to “What I Learned At: The HKC Certification Course”

  1. briankotoka December 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Great Post Laura! Wow I didn’t know you were sick, you are definetly one tough chick!

    FMS certified as well? We should defiently connect.

    • How We Roll Fitness December 17, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Thanks Brian! Yep, that deep throaty voice was definitely not my usual one 🙂
      Love the FMS – I’ll be taking my Level 2 in January. We can absolutely connect, maybe I’ll drop you a line the next time I’m in TO?

      • briankotoka December 17, 2012 at 10:28 am #

        For sure, next time you’re in town let me know. I became FMS certified when it wasn’t as “sexy” I’ve been level 2 certified for a while now.

        Great tool!

        Looking forward to your next post

        Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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