SFG I Kettlebell Certification FAQ

Why so few skills taught & tested?

As mentioned before, the SFG I is ‘narrow and deep’. Most fitness industry certifications spend a day or a weekend teaching dozens of movements. Not us. We want our Certified Instructors to master the basics. The best do the basics, better.

Will I have time to learn the skills or should I know how to do them in advance?

You will have time and opportunity to improve your skill in each of our foundational movements, but it’s important that you have a basic proficiency in each of these movements before attending.

How long is the Certification valid?

The SFG credential is good for two years.

What does SFG stand for?

StrongFirst Girya. ‘Girya’ is the Russian word for ‘kettlebell’.

Can I attend without testing?

You may! Many people do. Some forego the snatch test. Others forego certain skills testing.

Once certified, are there any other fees?

Once you pass, you are a StrongFirst Instructor for two years and there are no additional fees.

Will I receive a free t-shirt?

At the beginning of the event, all participants receive a free StrongFirst t-shirt. Those who pass at the event may purchase an Instructor t-shirt onsite or via the Instructors Only store.

What is the Beast Tamer/Iron Maiden Challenge?

The Beast Tamer/Iron Maiden Challenge may only be attempted at a StrongFirst Certification. Successful completion requires a strict press, pull-up, and pistol with the 48kg kettlebell (the “Beast”) for men, and with the 24kg kettlebell for the ladies. Please click here for more information and to see the list of Beast Tamers and Iron Maidens!

Are spectators permitted?

They are not. However, you may check with the organizer of the SFG event to see if the event space has room for spectators during the graduation workout at the end of Day 3.

Can I receive the manual in advance?

The manual can only be received at check-in, to ensure that only those who attend the Certification receive it. Many tell us that the manual, by itself, is worth the cost of admission.

How should I prepare?

SFG is a tough Certification. We strongly recommended that you contact an SFG Instructor in your area to properly learn the basic six skills, or attend one of our Kettlebell Courses. Once you have proper technique, it is recommended that you ‘practice and refine’ your technique and build strength and proficiency in that technique. This preparation will serve you well. You will also want to make sure you can perform many kettlebell swings over 3 days to withstand the grueling pace of the Certification weekend. Men should be able to comfortably press a pair of 24kg kettlebells for multiple sets of 5, women a pair of 16kg kettlebells. Here is an excellent SFG I prep article by Director of Education Brett Jones to help you prepare.

Will the StrongFirst Kettlebell Course help me pass the Certification?

Yes, the Course will help, especially if you are a beginner. The Course is a great opportunity to have your movement skills assessed by one of our qualified StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructors. That being said, the Course is not designed as a prep course for our Certification. Specifically, the kettlebell snatch, clean, and front squat are not taught at the Course. So the Course will help, but you’ll also want to get further instruction and practice on other foundational skills.

What if I don’t pass?

We typically experience anywhere from a 25-35% failure rate at our Certification. The SFG credential must be earned. Those who fail will have an opportunity to pass later. Those who pass later will have an opportunity to purchase an instructor shirt. Please read our requirements page for more information.