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Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification Requirements



Take me to RKC Workshop Locations and Dates

RKC Instructor Certification Requirements

*Please note that the requirements described herein are subject to change.
In preparing for the RKC, be aware that this is an extremely active and physically demanding course. The current failure rate at RKC certifications can be as high 30% of all who attend. It is necessary to be in good physical condition to make it through this 3-day course.
Passing the course requires that the following requirements are met:
  • Pass the Hardstyle Pushup test
  • Pass the Snatch test that will be administered at the end of the second day and/or the last day of the certification
  • Demonstrate a mastery of the techniques that make up the foundation of kettlebell training
  • Demonstrate an understanding of kettlebell safety and situational awareness
  • Demonstrate your abilitiy to teach
  • Follow the RKC Code of Conduct
Should you fail to make the requirements, you may arrange to be re-tested. You have 3 months to retest the skill(s) that you failed. There are two ways to re-test. First is to send a video to your Team Leader. Second is to communicate with your Team Leader to arrange to be tested in person by him/her or an RKC Master or Senior Instructor. You also have the option to retake the course within one year, for which the fee to attend is $500.
You may choose to audit this course if you are not intending to teach. Meaning that if you are taking the course for personal enrichment you will not be required to take any of the tests. You will not receive an instructor's certificate if you choose to go this route, instead you will receive a certificate of attendance.

Entrance Requirement

RKC candidates must pass a strength assessment test that utilizes the Hardstyle Pushup taught in the HKC. This test demonstrates an instructor candidate’s ability to maintain tension and core stability, necessary for safe kettlebell technique and completion of this course.

Hardstyle Pushup

The requirements are as follows. Men perform 10 pushups, women 3, as stated below.
  1. Clothing may not obscure proper lockout of the elbows or knees. Sweatshirts or long-sleeved shirts must be removed prior to testing.
  3. Your instructor will have you wait on the ground on your hands and knees until the test is to begin.
  5. Place both palms underneath your shoulders and your feet should be together.
  7. When instructed, raise up into a tall plank position, elbows and knees locked. This is the finish position for the pushup.
  9. Lower yourself down, body straight and knees locked until your elbows reach 90 degrees OR your chest touches the floor.
  11. Pause noticeably and press up to fully locked elbows in the finish or tall plank position.
  13. Your body must move down and up as one unit. Your hips may not rise up after your shoulders during the ascent. At the bottom your hips and shoulders must be in one straight line.

Exit Requirement

RKC candidates must also pass a conditioning assessment test that utilizes the kettlebell snatch. This test demonstrates the instructor candidate’s ability to apply RKC ballistic technique while under a time limit, emphasizing strength endurance and cardiovascular conditioning.

Snatch Test

Clothing must allow the instructor to assess the student for proper form. The instructor must have a clear view of the elbows and knees, t-shirts and gym shorts are encouraged.
Please inform your instructor if you suffer from a medical condition that prevents you from locking your elbows out. Note that being generally stiff or having poor flexibility does not count as a medical condition.
Begin by getting into position and waiting for your instructor’s command to start. Hike-pass the kettlebell back and snatch it overhead in one movement, ending with a straight-arm lockout. The instructor will call the rep number upon the proper lockout of both the elbow and the knees. The student must remain motionless until the rep is called. Failure to do so results in a "no count" being called by the instructor.
  • You may swing and change hands as much as needed
  • You may set the kettlebell down and rest as needed
  • Time announcements are given throughout the test
Acceptable hand-coverings for the test include: tape, socks, Dragon Skins™, and minimalist gloves (i.e. cotton gardening gloves). You may use chalk and reapply it during the test, if needed. You may not use belts, thick or padded-gloves, wrist wraps or any other equipment designed to support your body.

No Count Criteria

  • Lowering the kettlebell without the instructor's count
  • Not locking out the elbows
  • Rebending the knees on the way up
  • Failure to stop all movement at the lockout
  • Pressing out the kettlebell to finish your lockout
  • Touching the chest with the working arm or passing through the rack position on the way down
  • Placing a hand on the knee or thigh


Disqualification will occur if the student
  • Has three no counts
  • Touches the kettlebell with the non-working arm, unless the student is switching hands
  • Dropping the kettlebell rather than setting it down with control
  • Runs out of time before completing the required number of reps

Snatch Test Requirements:

For the snatch test, the sum of both arms is scored. There are different requirements based on gender and age group. They are as follows:

Men’s Open Class:

Up to 135 pounds     18kg 100/5 min

136-150 pounds       20kg 100/5 min

151-165 pounds       22kg 100/5 min

166-250 pounds       24kg 100/5 min
Over 251 pounds     24kg 100/5 min (28kg For technique testing)
Men’s Masters: (50-64)
Up to 135 pounds     16kg 100/5 min
136-150 pounds       18kg 100/5 min
151-220 pounds        20kg 100/5 min
Over 221 pounds      22kg 100/5 min
Men Seniors: (Over 65)
Up to 135 pounds     16kg 50/3 min
136-150 pounds       18kg 50/3 min
151-220 pounds        20kg 50/3 min
Over 221 pounds      22kg 50/3 min

Women’s Open Class:

Up to 100 pounds     10kg 100/5 min

101-120 pounds        12kg 100/5 min

121-135 pounds        14kg 100/5 min
136-200 pounds        16kg 100/5 min
Over 200 pounds      18kg For technique only (snatch test 16g 100/5 min)
Women Masters: (50-64)
Up to 100 pounds        8kg 100/5 min
101-120 pounds          10kg 100/5 min
121-135 pounds          12kg 100/5 min
136-200 pounds          14kg 100/5 min
Over 200 pounds         16kg 100/5 min
Women Seniors: (Over 65)
Up to 100 pounds         8kg 50/3 min
101-115 pounds            10kg 50/3 min
116-135 pounds            12kg 50/3 min
136-200 pounds            14kg 50/3 min
Over 200 pounds           16kg 50/3 min

Technique Tests:

You must be able to demonstrate safe and effective technique as part of being an RKC instructor. Your course instructor will test you on the following exercises in the latter part of the course to ensure that you can perform what you have been taught during the course.
  • Swing
  • Clean
  • Getup
  • Press
  • Snatch
  • Front Squat
These techniques are tested with a single-arm and performed on both sides: Swing, Clean, Snatch, Getup, Press. The Front Squat is tested with double bells.

Non-Tested Exercises:

There are three categories of kettlebell exercises taught at the RKC that are not tested. Their inclusion reinforces the student’s understanding of HKC/RKC principles and should be included in any well-rounded kettlebell program. They are:

Variety Kettlebell Deadlifts

  • Double Kettlebell Deadlifts
  • Suitcase Deadlifts
  • Single-Leg Deadlifts
  • Variety Kettlebell Carries
  • Suitcase Carry
  • Rack Walk
  • Overhead Walk
  • Bottom’s Up
  • Variety Lunges
  • Dragon Walk
  • Tactical Lunge (pass-under)
  • Step-Back Lunges
  • Various hold pairings (suitcase, rack, overhead)

Teaching Requirements:

At the end of the course you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to teach RKC kettlebell exercises that you learned during the workshop to a volunteer from the public. You will have an hour to train your volunteer. Within that hour you will instruct two or more kettlebell exercises utilizing regressions and progressions learned throughout the course. During the final 10 minutes you will put your volunteer through a workout relevant to the RKC and what you have been teaching them so far.
Your performance will be evaluated based on your ability to follow the progressions (the step by step process to teach an exercise) that you learned as well as on how well you implement the corrections associated with that exercise. Your adherence to safety and professionalism are of the utmost importance and will be taken into account by your instructor when evaluating your teaching performance.

If you a fail a requirement:

In order to be certified you must pass all requirements. If you fail one of the requirements you will have 90 days to send in a video to your instructor or visit your instructor in person to retest the requirement you failed.

The RKC Professional Code of Conduct

The RKC is more than just a three-day certification. It is a principle-based physical training system, but it also operates by a second set of principles, those of professionalism. Once certified, you are joining the ranks of top professionals in the fitness industry, and as such you are required to follow the RKC Code of Conduct.
As an RKC Instructor, I will:
  1. Be an ambassador of RKC kettlebell training, exhibiting professional conduct throughout my life.
  3. Recognize that my client’s results come first, not my own achievements.
  5. Continue to refine and improve my skills as an instructor and as an athlete.
  7. Know my own limitations as an instructor and will refer out to other professionals as needed.
  9. Treat all who I teach or encounter with respect and compassion.
  11. Behave as a professional in all public places, including social media.
Failure to adhere to these principles can result in losing your certification.