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Old Forum I could use a little help with my SFG prep.

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Hello sirs!  I want to do an SFG kettlebell cert sometime in the future and that is what my current training reflects.  I've been working with the 16 kg bell for about a year and just recently got my first 24 kg bell.  To say the least, its weight is intimidating and I have an incredible amount of respect for people who can snatch this baby 100x in under 5 minutes!

The bell just feels too heavy for me at the moment.  When I do the back swing with it it feels like it could easily slip out of my hand.   When I put it overhead I have very little confidence.

I typically do very short routines - for the past few months it's been

Monday - Military Presses and 2-hand swings

Thursdays - Snatches and Front Squats

I've been making great progress on this routine.  I've completely changed my body composition training this way and I never felt so strong.  That being said I feel like I am a million miles away from being able to snatch the 24 kg for reps.  At the moment it is safe to say I can only snatch it in an ugly manner and reps is out of the question.

I am wondering if I should drop snatch training until I can do one-arm swings  and TGU's comfortably with the 24 kg bell?    Any advice is appreciated.

The  livestream videos are awesome and are only firing me up more to one day be SFG!



Stephen, a few points.

First, give yourself some time to get used to the 24 kg.  Keep the reps low, even just singles, until you can build up some volume.  It might be that the first few days are intimidating but in a few weeks it won't seem so bad.

Second, there is no crime in purchasing a 20 kg and using that.

You might give us a bit of background - age, weight and approximate body composition (are you skinny, are you overweight, etc.), as well as any relevant athletic history and any injury history.

Last but not least, I do not see one-hand swings in your training.  Doing one-handed swings with the 16 will be good preparation for doing 2-handed swings with the 24 and eventually one-handed swings with the 24.

Good luck to you.

Hello Mr. Freides, thanks for your contributions to this community.  I've learned alot from your workout blog and videos.

I'm 42 years old, 5 foot 9 inches tall, 165 lbs.  I'm leaner and thicker than I have even been from this past years worth of kettlebell training.  My upper back and left shoulder are lifetime chronic problems for me.  My upper back has bothered me my entire life so I assume it is genetic.  My left shoulder is problematic because I had it knocked out of its socket in my early 20's.  I never had this looked at a doctor as I generally try to avoid them.  My shoulder and back bother me most when my arms are overhead or in a backswing.  This past year has seen these problems improve tremendously due to all the kb training I have been doing.  I am stronger and more fit that I have ever been in my life.

I practiced martial arts from the ages 12-25.  My first martial art was Okinawan Gojuryu.  I found the connection between Goju and kettlebells to be fascinating btw.  I eventually started practicing taekwondo and taught professinally until I was 25 years old.   I moved to LA in 1994 and soon enough started practicing and teaching hatha yoga.  I have been teaching yoga in Hollywood CA for more than 12 years.  I dont actually practice much yoga nowadays because I want to put all of my recovery energy into my kb work, I'm flexible enough lol.

I discovered Pavel and Dan Johns work this past couple of years and it has changed my life.  I am loving these short workouts and all the progress I made.  My main goal is to be able to pass the SFG cert for kettlebells.  I do not care how long it takes, I estimate anywhere from 1-5 years if I can stay injury free.  I am incredibly in love with this training.  I feel superhuman comapard to my peers but am in awe of the SFG intructors.

I will start adding 1-hand swings to my program so I can start getting used to the heavier backswing.  I actually do have a pair of 40 lb bells to train with.   Considering my upperback and shoulder problems I was considering getting serious about getups.  I've been avoiding them for the most part but have a feeling it could solve all of my overhead issues.  Appreciate all of this advice as I know how valuable it is.  Thanks!

Thank you for your kind words - always very much appreciated.

Your thoughts on getups are right on the money - a good way to prepare for pressing the next size bell is to use it for getups first.

Don't forget that you can always take a video of yourself and post a link here for everyone to comment.  If you aren't sure your getup form is solid, that might be a thing to do.

Best of luck to you and please update us and let us know how it's going for you.

I do not have a video of me doing getups but will make one when my girlfriend gets home from work and post it.  I do have a bunch of videos of me training which I stare at endlessly to try and find holes in my technique.  I wouldnt mind some advice on my swing and snatch :)  Part of me feels as if I should put down snatch training until I get stronger in the 1-arm swing.

2-hand swing



In your swing video, it's hard to tell but it doesn't look like you're locking out your knees.  Your hip snap looks very good.

In your snatch video, your right arm is not locked out.  For both arms, be sure to pause, motionless, at the top of each rep.  On the left side, you are bouncing into and out of the lockout position - people do this but it's not what we want to see.  Again, the hip snap looks good.

If your grip is your weak point, one arm swings are the ticket.

Thanks sir!  I'm working on that knee lockout, it's been a gap since day 1.  My yoga teachers were always trying to get me to lock my base leg in balancing poses but I think my hamstrings prevent this.  Will keep working hard at it.

I think I got too carried away with the idea of getting 100 reps in 5 minutes and that is why I'm snatching like this.  I'll pause at the lockout on every snatch from now on.

Thanks again, hope the chickens are good.

a friendly reminder: swing to your chest then punch up quickly, don't use your arms to bring the bell to the lockout

Definitely practice the getups and even if you just do a few santches or swings with the 24kg to slowly build up your volume, that can work..

around jan-feb last year I can barely snatch the 24kg for 5 reps.. fast forward to november, I got certified as RKC so I don't see why you can't rock it out too :)

I'm not a big guy either (weighed 132 lbs at my RKC, currently 140-143 lbs at 5'5 height)


Thanks Mark!  I do need a reminder to swing high and punch it because every time I do it properly the bell just flys and lands real nicely.  I think lost some fundamentals in the quest for numbers :(

That's an amazing feet man!  If I could do it in a year that would be sick.  I'm excited to work the getups and will post a video of one for critique asap.

Hi Stephen,

Have you checked out Brett Jones snatch prep article yet?  I followed it and found great success from the program.  You might want to begin the Rite Of Passage with the 24kg.  Just so you can get comfortable (and stronger obviously) with the 24 over head.  Once you know you can control the 24 overhead, snatching it becomes less intimidating.  I believe heavy one-arm swings is key as well.  Once I started swinging the 32 one-arm, the 24 felt much lighter.  I did the PM, then the ROP, then worked on B. Jones snatch prep.

Here is the link to B. Jones article:


Also, like mentioned above, heavier get-ups are golden.

Good Luck,

I agree with Steeve, no crime to use 20kg, but the best progression if you want to improve your technique safe.
You still can use your 24 for swings and squats.
This is not a " female " opinion, but was injured with a kettlebell instructors 2 years ago, at doing snatches with an " overweight " kettlebell.

You're getting some great advice, and though I know I probably sound like a broken record on this forum about it sometimes... find yourself an SFG and pay them for some work with you. It really is golden. Like you, I'm on a quest for certification, not a big guy, but love KB's. I had started without the help of a certified trainer, then was fortunate enough to find 2 here in Brisbane when I moved here, and its made a world of difference. Its money VERY well spent. If I'm not mistaken, Nikki's company is there in LA area. Its also a lot of fun and easier to stay motivated when you physically get around others who are committed to the study of this stuff.

I agree with what you are saying Mr. Savage and I've been meaning to book a session with an SFG.  I realize that I am slowing down my progress by doing all this training solo. I think my near obsession with being self-reliant is slowing down my progress. In my mind kettlebells are synonymous with self-reliability which is one of the things that attracts me to them.  That being said,  it has been too long since I have allowed myself to be a student.

Ms.Hermanowicz, I think I am misinterpreting some of Pavels writings because I was under the impression there was a benefit to using volume with the 16k as a way of getting to the 24k. I do own a nice pair of 40 lb bells which I use often.  I've even experimented with adding magnets or chains to add weight to my bells  but those  modifications are not good for the ballistic movements, just presses and squats.

Mr. Munsey thanks for that great B.Jones article.  I read it a while back and totally forgot about it

I'm looking forward to keeping my training going and am more motivated than ever before.  One thing you are very much right about Mr. Savage is that  I do desire to be around other people interested in this type of training.   I can not really have an intelligent conversation about this work with anybody other than my girlfriend because most of my friends are more hippie/yogi than strength athlete.

Many thanks!



As you can see, everybody is happy to help in this forum, and the best way to know is to ask...
I am the same, nobody around to talk SF training, and I am addicted at this forum, feel less isolated.
I agree with Bill of course, the best and first thing is to find a SF certified and have an assessment. In matter of training, it is not " safe " to give something very specific. Sharps eyes of a SFG instructors are the best, at least for the beginning.
I use again the word " safe ", not because of my past injury but because a part of my job is " playing the game safe ". The best way to train all your life !
Too many " kids " are still on " no pain, no gain " wrong.
Stephen, where are you located if I may ask??

If there are no SFGs nearby, the next best thing is to constantly post vids for us to critique :)
Mr. Limbaga  - I am in Los Angeles.  I do plan on meeting with an SFG one day soon.  I initially thought I should limit the amount of videos that I post here because I know I am getting something for free that has monetary value.  If you all say posting videos is acceptable I'm looking forward to posting more.

I've gotten so many good pointers from this thread and I'm doubly motivated once again.  The livestream footage was awesome and I wonder if I was the only one to try and decipher Rifs speech(the mike had wind problems) and take some great notes.

Today will be my first training based on all this advice.  Looking forward to some 1-arm swings and getups :)
Hello friends.  The first week working 1-arm swings and getups felt great.  1-arm swinging the 24 kg bell already made snatching my 18 kg bell feel much lighter.  I did not do any serious snatch training this week but did a few practice sets and was amazed at how light the 18 kg bell felt.  Here are 2 new videos that I am hoping to get more critique on to help my quest for SFG.

I'm forcing the arm straight in the lockout here.  I know it does not look so natural but at least I can lock it out.  I'm also making sure to pause between reps.

I wish I had a better video for you to critique but filiming the getup solo is tricky with the space that I have.  I'm using a 40 lb bell in my right hand and switch to a 35 lb bell for my left side which is weaker.  You can see my left shoulder has serious problems.

The first link was denied as being private.

Get-ups @ :37 when coming down with the bell in your right hand, your support (left) hand is quite far from your body.  Look at bringing it in closer to your body so there is a straight line from KB through your torso to your support hand.

With the KB in your left hand, coming back down, it looked like you reach back, vice to the side with your right, hard to tell from the angle though.  Think about placing your hand beside your support knee (with lateral seperation) instead of leaning back and placing it behind your knee.  Again look to keep the KB in line with your shoulders then down into the support hand.

Lemme know if you try it and how it works.  Thanks.


I commend you on your pursuit of SFG cert!  You have been given sound advice so far. I will second and serious get ups are key for both snatch and press training.  I suspect shoulder will feel better when you start doing more get ups . One piece of advice I might add is don't focus on the 5 min snatch test. Yes you will be tested and should be prepared for it, however I have attended a few of these and it is the volume over the 3 days of swings and presses that contributes to a failure rate.  Rite of passage is great for press volume.  Swing  ladders and timed interval protocols can give you the volume you need over the 3 day weekend. Swing volume will carry over to your snatch training. Swing volume will also help condition your hands, which is important at a your cert.  If you need anything else let us know, we are here to help! Power to you!
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