Three days, six exercises. Simple. That is what the StrongFirst SFG Level I Certification is. Sure, there are tests, both physical and written. There is downtime for practicing with other attendees. There are lectures. But it all boils down to six exercises:
The beauty of StrongFirst is it doesn’t try to cram twenty exercises into a one- or two-day seminar. Rather than touch on the basics and move on to the next exercise, the instructors at a StrongFirst Certification dig deep into the movements to help you refine techniques that would be left substandard with less work.
Is your clean not up-to snuff? All the better, as attendees learn many different cues and methods of correction. Trouble with the snatch? Rest assured, you are not alone, and you will learn ways to fix your clients who might be having the same problems.
When training for the StongFirst Level I Certification, you will, of course, strive to be as perfect as possible. You will put in countless hours swinging, preparing for a snatch test, working on your pull-up strength, and training your cardiovascular system to handle the stress of the weekend. But eventually it all comes down to six exercises.
One of the first things you will learn at a StrongFirst Certification is the importance of the basics. The first six hours are spent teaching and reverse-engineering the kettlebell swing. Six hours on the most basic exercise.
To an amateur it sounds like overkill. To the professional, it sounds smart.
If you cannot swing a kettlebell properly, you cannot clean a kettlebell properly. And you most assuredly cannot snatch a kettlebell properly. So it makes no sense to move on to more advanced movements until the foundation of all movements is dialed in.
Even after the swing instruction is “complete,” attendees will continue to swing throughout the weekend. Because in truth, instruction is never complete. Candidates will swing to prep for cleans, swing to get blood moving after get-ups, and swing to test their new-found strength techniques.
Everything builds from the basics, and until those basics are solid, you will not be as effective a practitioner (or instructor) as you can be. And even after the certification, newly-minted instructors will spend hours upon hours refining their skills with further practice. It can be lonely, tiring, frustrating, and very challenging. But it is also exhilarating, especially when your practice leads to improvements in yourself and your clients.
Similar to a musician who practices scales or a baseball player who revisits the batting tee, SFGs practice lifting as a skill until they get it right. And then they practice it some more. Notice how the word “practitioner” is based off the word “practice.” Doctors, nurses, and lawyers practice. Why not strength coaches and fitness instructors?
The Value of the SFG Level I Certification
The SFG is not for everyone. Sure it is a great way to test your physical mettle. But it also will challenge you to step back and look at yourself, your skills, your strengths, and most importantly, your weaknesses.
Be patient. Be disciplined. And understand that learning how to do six exercises safely and properly might initially seem boring, but in the long run it is better for you, and your clients.