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Rings of Power by Mike GIllette

Rings of Power by Mike Gillette Cool new book from Mike Gillette about Ring Training for all fitness levels. Being on this shoot with Mike was like working with a real live action hero! (And I got to put a cinderblock on him too!) Mike knows his stuff and shares everything you need to know for his versatile go-anywhere ring training.  Full progressions of every exercise, workout plans, and all the know-how to take the training as far as you wish. Good stuff, and yes, that's me on the left side of the cover  :)

What are the proper steps I should take to become RKC certified?

From a new friend on Twitter:

Hello! I just recently became addicted to kettlebells, and am wondering what the proper steps are to becoming certified RKC?


Congrats on picking a great exercise modality!   Kettlebells have been absolutely indispensable in my quest for fitness - a total game changer (pardon the cliche) that have helped me achieve a level of fitness I didn't even think was possible.  At age 34 I look and feel better than I did in college - SERIOUSLY.  Not to mention I've become surprisingly strong - physically and mentally. 

Steps to getting RKC certified?  In my opinion -

  1. Find a local RKC Certified Instructor to train with - you can locate instructors in your area by searching the Dragon Door website's Instructor Page.  The RKC Certified Instructor will help you learn the exercises properly so you will be ready to learn how to teach the drills to others, how to best use the corrective drills and of course to pass the rigorous testing.   Your RKC Instructor will also help you design a training program that will develop the necessary strength to pass the physical tests and to endure the high volume training of the weekend.  They can also assess your fitness level and help you pick an appropriate date for your certification workshop adventure.
  2. Study up - read all the requirements of the RKC certification on the Dragon Door website - make sure you understand what will be expected of you before you arrive.  Make sure to follow the training recommendations and discuss these with your local instructor.  Review any and all recent books and dvds from Dragon Door - get on the forums, become involved with the online community.  Ask questions.
  3. Pay attention to joint mobility and flexibility - have a CK-FMS assessment if you can - determine where weaknesses and imbalances are and fix them. 
  4. Take time to learn about yourself and how you respond to strenuous training - find out where "the line" is and when to slow down - where is the breaking point? What happens if you push past it?  This sounds weird, but its a good thing to know.
  5. Study up on hand care and practice it diligently - you'll be able to train harder and for longer periods of time.
  6. Learn what foods/supplements really work for you, find out what you can take with you that will keep you going if necessary - I just totally ran out of steam on Saturday and thankfully had planned ahead - had a snack and then was back in business before anyone even knew what was going on with me.
  7. Determine which testing class you fall within - if you are a woman 123.5lbs or lighter, you can test with the 12kg kettlebell - if you're close enough to that weight then make adjustments to your diet/training and be able to meet it with a safe margin.
  8. One of the main reasons people don't pass is that they don't take preparation for the RKC certification workshop seriously enough.  This is NOT like other CEC programs or other certifications where you just show up, watch a presentation, maybe take a little multiple choice test then are handed a certificate.  You MUST pass all the tests, exemplify a great character and really BECOME an RKC.   Take this very seriously and work hard.   Think of training for this like training for a prestigious competition - because it is - you're competing with yourself to be the best you possibly can be.

This is far from the final word on the subject, and this will be revised this over and over - but I wanted to be sure to answer this question in a timely manner so that you can get started ASAP!


More tips from the RKC Community!:

From Master RKC Instructor, Mark Reifkind (Check out his site and blogs: and Rifsblog)

One very important thing to remember: this is an Instructor Course and you must be able to teach, as well as demonstrate, the skills, drills and progressions.

Although it's vital it's not enough to show up in good condition, pass the snatch test, the pullup or hang, the technique testing and the Grad Workout. You must also be able to TEACH your victim at the end of the weekend and demonstrate your ability as an kettlebell instructor.

I have had more candidates fail from poor teaching than poor technique.


RKC Instructor, Boris Bachmann  ( had been fielding similar questions on the Dragon Door forum about the snatch test requirement of the RKC certification -

The RKC is an instructor's course. Candidates need to be competent with the bells and competent at teaching coming in. That's not to say there won't be many a-ha moments, it just that you/they shouldn't come in with they expectation that they'll be taught and coddled from zero.

The snatch test is a "fitness test" that answers the question "Is this RKC candidate physically fit enough to be an RKC?" Nothing more, nothing less.


RKCII Instructor, Giovanna Pozza, added:

In the Winter 2008 # of Hardstyle there is an article from Brett Jones: "It`s called a challenge for good reason" How to prepare for-and pass- the RKC Instructor Certification Workshop.
Very useful!


RKC Team Leader, Steve Freides sums it all up elegantly: (

"Enter The Kettlebell" - buy it, read it, follow its training plan, and follow ETK's recommendation of getting appropriate expert guidance along the way as needed - physician clearance to start, screening by a movement specialist, and RKC for the actual lifts. That's not everything you need to do, but it's where to start.


RKC Instructor, Noah Maxwell, adds a word of caution!

As you train for the intensity and volume of the weekend don't get caught up in the excitement so much that you go in to the weekend over-trained or injured. Seeing a RKC for direction or program development should take care of this, but it can be easy to overlook. Don't spoil months or years of training by pushing too hard just before the big weekend. On the other side I tell the few people who ask me, to go into the weekend in the best possible shape (all aspects of fitness). Not just to pass the requirements but so they don't spend the entire lecture portions recovering, and therefor have the capacity to actually learn while the're there. Just like everything its a balance.

Current RKCs - please feel free to add to this by posting your opinions in the comments section! :)


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Here's an eBook of workouts I created for an exclusive NYC private gym (kettlebells, calisthenics, sandbag) along with options for customization and coaching!

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