A: We were all busting our humps at the USAKL/IKL Certification yesterday at the Colorado Kettlebell Club. Coach Nico threw the proverbial book at us for nine hours and we emerged at the other end with a great understanding of all things kettlebell, and specifically kettlebell sport. I have been using kettlebells for four years now and am certified with IKFF, but am still astonished at how technique heavy kettlebells can be. USAKL is a kettlebell sport and conditioning organization which means that its focus is derived from the major lifts used in Girevoy Sport but also has a fantastic addition of exercises for general conditioning and ancillary movements to strengthen the main lifts. If I was forced to describe the principle of USAKL in two words it would be MUSCULAR ENDURANCE. There is a reason that Nico is the strength coach for the Glendale Raptors (2011 Division I Rugby Champs) and his program attracts military types such as the two Special Forces Trainers that were in attendance. This stuff preps your body to maintain strength, power, and focus over a long period of time. If you want to be truly humbled, step on the platform and perform Snatches for 10 minutes with only one hand switch and without setting the bell down. I love this stuff!
The entire cert was very hands on, and by the end of the day I was COMPLETELY exhausted. I picked up some great tweaks for my competition lifts and had the chance to rank for Double Jerk and Double Clean & Jerk (was using the 16kg, but felt happy with my pace/endurance and feel like I am developing that emotionless thousand yard stare that the Russians do so well). Great day, if you are interested at all in strength and conditioning I would wholeheartedly recommend this certification. The only caveat I will give you is that the standards for passing are strict (as they well should be), so be sure you review course material and prepare well beforehand.
“If it was easy, everyone would do it.” – Craig Stripling (possessor of Old Man Strength, timeless wisdom, and the greatest father in the world)
Here are a few pics from Keri and I atop Mt. Spalding with the 16kg and 24kg respectively. I do believe Keri wanted to punch me in the face the first 30 minutes into the hike, but its all worth it on top. See quote above!