Service: ATSCI Kettlebell Lifting Certification
Price: $997-$1,397 (Depends on Registration
Where to Buy: ATSCI.orgOn the weekend of February 18th, I attended the Association of Tactical Strength and Conditioning Instructor (ATSCI) certification taught by Coach Nico Rithner in Colorado. As stated on their website, the ATSCI’s mission is to provide the public safety community with knowledgeable and thoroughly prepared strength and conditioning instructors who can improve the job performance of tactical professionals with appropriate training methods and planning. The course was held at the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy and, not surprisingly, was also attended by a CHP Officer and a US Forest Service Firefighter.
Coach Rithner is the founder of the Colorado Kettlebell Club, USA Kettlebell Lifting (a non-profit organization created to promote the Amercian Rules Kettlebell Sport), and is the president of the ATSCI. He developed the ATSCI instructor certification based on his research and experience training and presenting to the US Army, Police Department, Fire Department, USA Rugby, NSCA, and the Glendale Rugby team. The course also utilizes his book, “The Essentials of Kettlebell Lifting,” and associated workbook.
The course covered the ATSCI Kettlebell Lifting System, including basic and advanced kettlebell exercises and how to apply them into training programs. Even though the course focused on the use of kettlebells to enhance strength, conditioning, and agility, it also stated that kettlebells are a single tool to be used in conjunction with other methods of training, not as an end all, be all of training necessicarily. The system uses several kettlebell training techniques and teaches the modifications needed to accomodate each individual trainee’s circumstances. Rather than selling the attendees of the course on performing each exercise in an exact, unbending way (with no room for any variation in technique), Coach Rithner taught an openess to performing exercises based on their purpose.
The first half of the first day covered the basics of kettlebell training and kettlebell sport, the Rack, Clean, Press, Jerk, Swing, and Snatch. Coach Rithner’s kettlebell swing variation, called the “Scoop Swing,” is a good example of his openness to new exercise variations. Like most kettlebell sport-based exercises, Nico’s variation concentrates on efficiency for volume and is less back intensive than the normal swing used by many trainers(a good aspect to help kettlebell beginners to avoid discomfort in their lower backs after their first kettlebell workout). He also had some excellent variations in his Snatch technique; prior to taking the course, I didn’t realize how inefficient my Snatch was until he taught his version for both the “lift” and the “cast” portions of the exercise. Many of his efficient techniques lend themselves to high-rep, conditioning applications.
We were partnered up for many of the drills to help eachother correct technique by following the certification workbook, Coach Rithner’s advice, and his helper’s tips. This aspect helped us learn how to see and correct small errors in technique and form, while also helping us prepare for the Technical Test that we took on the second day.
During the second half of the first day, we covered kettlebell lifting program design and were introducted to American Rules kettlebell sport. Coach Rithner paid special attention to the application of kettlebell lifting into training plans. From Adaptation Principles to Overload and Recovery aspects, he went through the specifics of program and workout structure. His concepts of intensity, volume, and density progression during different types of periodization cycles were both interesting and extremely applicable for me as both a trainer and trainee. Our homework and “Programming Test” were to create workout program utilizing the principles we learned.
Peter C. Van Doren, MSPT, was there on the second day to cover kettlebell biomechanics and injury prevention (he also helped us recover from the previous day of training through rollers and joint mobility training). After that, we had our “Technical Test,” which involved demonstrating the kettlebell exercises taught to us on the previous day to one of the instructors. From there, it was time for the “Fitness Test” which involved completing a USAKL Ranking Lift for Master of Sport numbers (using optional weights). We then got into groups to share and discuss the workout programs that we made the previous night.
With all of that finished, it was time for working out and learning over thirty different kettlebell exercises and variations. Coach Rithner and the other instructors covered numerous exercises for balance, core, upper body, and lower body, along with juggling and throwing.
Needless to say, by the end of the course I was extremely excited about the amount of useful information, techniques, and exercises that I learned from the certification. Coach Rithner did a very good job of assembling a program that is both practical and informative. In just 16 hours I was introduced to kettlebell sport and lifting, learned new techniques for creating workout programs, took my first shot at a simulated kettlebell competition, and picked up dozens of new kettlebell exercises that I can apply to both my program and that of my trainees.
If you’re a trainer who has never done kettlebells before, this is a great course to get you started. If you’re a trainer with an existing kettlebell certification, the ATSCI certification will help you expand your understanding of kettlebells and kettlebell programming. If you’re just someone interested in kettlebells and ready to take it to the next level, possibly with kettlebell competitions, then this is the perfect way to do it. The ATSCI is a rapidly growing organization with a dedicated president and head instructor. If you’re ready to get started, go to www.ATSCI.org. The next certification is set for June 4-5, 2011 in Colorado.
This article was featured in the April 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "ATSCI Kettlebell Lifting Certification Rreview" was written by Mark de Grasse. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here.
Mark de Grasse is the owner of MyMadMethods.com, My Mad Methods Magazine, and My Mad Methods Productions. In addition to being a certified trainer specializing in kettlebells and bodyweight training, Mark is also the chief editor and designer of both the website, magazine, and My Mad Methods Productions DVDs. Find out more.
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