I got back from Korean RKC as assistant instructor. This was my first assisting RKC event, hopefully would keep doing it for a while.
RKC snatch test, today's standard is 100 reps in 5 minutes. 24kg for male who is 60kg or above and 20kg for male 60kg or below. 50 years or older is tested with 20kg.
Female I believe 56kg body weight is 16kg and below 56kg is 12kg.
When I got my RKC back in 2007, standard was different depending on weight standard. As pictured above, I was tested by Master instructor Mark Reifkind. 24kg snatch for total 64 reps with one hand switch (never place down the kettlebell, no time limit) was my standard.
Having travel from Japan, I did over prepare for this just enough to repeat 64 reps with 3 minutes interval. I passed my test 40 reps left/24 reps right without losing my breath.
Up to this point, I took 5 RKC snatch tests in few different standards. Other than my very first one, I spent little time to prepare for them.
June 2007 RKC 64 reps total with one hand switch - passed with 11 months of preparation
June 2008 RKC2 74 reps total with one hand switch - passed
My body weight increased so did my snatch rep requirement. The only thing I did for preparation was 32kg snatch for 30/30 reps with one hand switch. I was doing snatches on daily basis so I had little to no doubt. RKC2 prep was my focus too.
May 2009 CK-FMS 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Snatch requirement changed drastically this year. Although the standard was 1rep per 1 kg body weight in 5 minutes. So if a person weighs 90kg, it would be 90 reps in 5 minutes. Anyone beyond 100kg will do 100 reps.
In early morning of day one CK-FMS, Sr RKC Doc Cheng said "Bath room scale hasn't arrived just yet. If it's OK with you to do 100 reps, we'll test you". I went for it.
Snatch, especially 32kg snatch was my main stream training back then. I tested myself on how much I can do 24kg snatch in 5 minutes before and had 124 reps. I was pretty much confident passing.
July 2011 RKC2 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Before RKC2, I did a 5 minutes snatch test. I cleared 100 reps in 3 minutes and 43 seconds.
At RKC2, I did my snatch test after half body military press and 24kg weighted pull up test.
For the first time in my life, I had to put down my kettlebell during a snatch test. I accumulated up to 80 reps and felt nauseating. Did another 10 reps, put it down, finished another 10 reps.
Probably due to adrenaline or something from strength test prior to snatch test, I did not feel well. Nether the less I passed.
November 2011 RKC Korea as assistant 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Nothing special here. Prior to this event, I did little to no snatch but more getups and double swings. I did not place the kettlebell. This time however, snatch techniques were pointed out within snatch test. This was new.
Pointers for passing RKC snatch test
Rest for minimum of time
I noticed at Korean RKC, a candidate had good pacing to finish the test, however took too much time resting. 1 rep of snatch is roughly 2 seconds. It rarely gets faster than that. When you rest, place the kettlebell where you can pick it up soon. Coordinate your resting tactic!
If at most possible, don't rest. Rest after the test.
Do not do "Fast and Loose" drill during snatch test
I did notice few people doing Fast&Loose drill during snatch test. This will take too much time off the clock. Catch your breath and start soon. Fast&Loose is OK between sets. RKC snatch test is a single set. There's nothing between sets.
RKC candidates are strongly encouraged to do Fast&Loose throughout the course, however don't bring this into snatch test.
Roughly 25 reps per minute pacing for 4 to 5 minutes is good enough
Nothing can go too wrong with this.
Preparation/pointers for snatch test
Do heavy swings and Get ups.
Double swings and many snatch size kettlebell get ups are good. Over head walk and others that enhance shoulder stability will do. Heavy swings will teach the importance of hip.
I had tip from Ken Black "Let the lower body do the job and kettlebell flies away".
Practice down swing
Down swing for snatch can be your friend or enemy depending on how you practice.
Good down swing close to your body can give you momentum for next rep. One hip thrust and kettlebell will automatically fly above shoulder level. All you need to do is punch straight up to lock out.
Bad down swing being kettlebell away from your body, you may have to ignite upper body muscles which in comparison is weaker than hip action. I tend to believe much of snatch test failures come from using too much upper body than hip.
Practice your grip
I grip my kettlebell firm with my pinkie and ring finger. Rest of the fingers are loose.
I open my palm on down swing to prevent blisters. My snatch is pretty much ascending and descending pinkie and ring fingers.
Down swing is usually where you get torn up skins.
When in doubt, do twice
I've told few RKC candidates to do twice the requirement once in a while.
If the requirement is 100 snatches in 5 minutes, then opt to do the following:
- Do 10 minutes of snatches for more than 100 reps but do not max out. One day 120 reps, another day 130 reps, get plenty of rest in between.
- Do 200 reps with unlimited time frame. If it takes 40 minutes, go ahead. Shorten the break as you progress.
Use a heavier kettlebell once in a while
Snatch with 28kg or 32kg if your snatch size kettlebell is 24kg. This is just a supplemental training to your main stream snatch practice. Heavier kettlebell strengthens your hip, shoulder. Hands become strong enough to prevent blisters.
Do not use the following as main stream practice
Max VO2 snatch aka Viking Warrior Conditioning
Unless you are using 24kg kettlebell, Viking Warrior Conditioning will not directly contribute to RKC snatch test. Use this as a supplemental program. Keeping 8 reps within 15 seconds time frame can invite bad habits such as incomplete overhead lockout (by RKC rule, this will not be counted as a snatch).
Since RKC snatch test is currently part of RKC technique test, it's not a good idea to implement GS habits into RKC snatch test. Extra thrust from knees, knee dips, chicken neck movements are not encouraged.
SSST (Secret Service Snatch Test)
RKC snatch test and SSST should be done separately. Both tests have completely different standards. Although each tests can benefit each other.