My wife asked me this question, “What difference will being a SFG Level 1 Kettlebell instructor make to you and to your clients”? It was and is a good questions; which means I thought I would make it the starting point for my new blogging habit.
Firstly a little background on the SFG (Strong First GIrya – http://www.strongfirst.com/about/ ). The SFG is the company started by Pavel Tsatsouline after he moved on from the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge). If you have looked into Kettlebelling (or done any courses in them), you will have come across his name as the man who brought the Kettlebell out of Russia to the western world (Just to clear things up, no; he didn’t invent them). For many in the fitness world he is considered the “God-Father” of Kettlebells and his courses have always been considered the gold standard award. The SFG is his newest course and is currently considered the top qualification you can go for in the Kettlebelling word.
If you are interested and want to look at the physical requirements for passing the course, please follow the link: http://www.strongfirst.com/kettlebell-instructor-certification-sfgi/
Yes the SFG is physically tough. In fact it has been accused of being “elitist” and requiring participants to be too fit (not sure how either of these are bad – but go figure some people). However as an industry professional it was not just an investment in myself, but most importantly, an investment in my clients. The strict entry requirements have forced me to push my boundaries physically, but also given me a chance to confront the mistakes in my technique. You are not going to pass a Snatch Test with a 24kg Kettlebell without improving the efficiency of your technique, fitness and mental strength. I have always held to the creed that you teach best the mistakes you have had to correct in yourself – you understand them! The journey I have been through to get to the SFG standard has left me with a far deeper understanding of my own Kettlebelling.
But the Physical is not just it. The SFG is a community and a standard. I can’t stress this enough, which is why I bolded this. It tasks it’s instructors to hold themselves to ideals about how training should be done and taught. Exercise is not just about lifting the heaviest weight you can above your head (bear with me – I do qualify this), it is about understanding that strength is a skill – and to get that weight up their you need to use the correct technique. Technique wins every time. Just go to your local swimming pool and watch some tri-athletes training – the effortless looking ones always go faster. Why? Because they have good technique and they are being more efficient with their power. If you can buy into the fact that Strength is a skill, you will not just lift that heavy weight above your head; I promise you will lift more than you dream possible.
I have done various Kettlebell courses. They were decent courses and I learnt a lot. They certainly started me on the road to the SFG level. However the word “started” is significant, and the level of understanding the SFG has shown me about Kettlebells is like the difference between night and day. This understanding is the “why”. You can’t buy this understanding – it has to be earned.