Kettlebell Athletics Level 1 Certification

Hello there! I hope your week is moving along smoothly! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday, this whole travel thing has thrown me way off schedule!

I hope you enjoyed looking over our pictures from the San Francisco trip. I keep looking over them to remind myself that it really happened… it wasn’t a dream.


And I also can’t forget the real reason for going: Kettlebells.

For the past 10 months Dan and I have been diving more and more into kettlebells. Educating ourselves, improving our training, and falling in love with them. Not long after getting started, we knew that we both wanted to get kettlebell certified. Not only for our studio, but to help ourselves to improve.

The Kettlebell Level 1 Certification was put on through Kettlebell Athletics.

There are other programs you can go with, so Dan and I are going to make a podcast this weekend explaining why we chose this program and a few more indepth details for those of you who are curious about kettlebells… so be on the lookout next week.

Level 1 Kettlebell Certification


Per the website, Kettlebell Level 1:

  • How to train safe and avoid injury
  • How to master basic and intermediate kettlebell exercises
  • How to develop strength
  • How to develop power
  • How to develop Strength-endurance
  • How to develop Power-endurance
  • How to bridge the gap between strength training and cardio, kettlebell complexes and combos
  • How to create mobility and stability
  • How to put it all together!

The certification class was a two day, 10-hour training experience (5 hours each day). It was held at Equinox Gym, and therefore 90% of those in attendance were Equinox trainers. I have to say, Equinox is a great facility! It puts our big name gyms to shame.

Dan and I were the only ones in the packed class who had traveled. Everyone was really surprised when we told them that specialty training isn’t available in South Carolina. But hey, we get to see some great places because of our shortcomings!

Our instructor was Clifton Harski

Pretty badass!

This guy know his stuff. He was extremely knowledgeable, easy going and really great at breaking apart moves and explaining them in a way that made it easy to understand.

We had some people in the class who had never touched a kettlebell before, much less pick one up! By the end, they looked solid!

Day 1: Kettlebell 101 & Our Visit To The ER

Day one was all about the basics… getting to know each other, a breakdown of the class, and learning the most common and basic of moves with the bells.

–> Deadlift (to help teach hip mobility and thrusts)

–> Positioning the kettlebell


–> Swings

–> Cleans

It was at this point that everything took a turn for the worst. Cleans are something that both Dan and I do on a regular basis. This is the classic way to get the kettlebell into what’s called “racked” position so you can squat, press, etc with it.

Well, after Clifton went over the move, we divided into groups to help critic and train one another. It was Dan’s turn and suddenly, he put the bell down and grabbed his shoulder.

It was a fluke accident, but his shoulder dislocated. He went upstairs to the office to try and set it back. I went up to check on him, but he put on a brave face and told me to go back and finish up for the day.

So we ended with:

–> Snatches (which I LOVE)

After snatches, class was dismissed (unless you wanted to stay to practice) so I sprinted up to the stairs. I’ve never seen Dan in so much pain. His face was ghostly white and we made the call to go to the ER.

That was a terrible drive as every bump cause pain to run through Dan’s body. At times I was sure he was going to faint from the pain.


We finally made it to the ER and I can not say enough about the staff at Mills-Peninsula Hospital. The doctor, nurses, and techs were so sweet and calming. It may not have been an experience we wanted, but they made it the best possible. If any of them read this… thank you!

X-rays showed that Dan had been able to put his shoulder back in place himself, but that it was impinged (locked) and the muscles were in spasm from the trauma.

After a heavy dose of pain killers and muscle relaxants, we were were released. As of today, Dan’s arm is still locked but feeling a bit better each day. Just stuck in a sling and definitely no kettlebells.

That didn’t stop him though from going to day 2 of training with me. I can’t even imagine how much pain he was in as he stood on his feet for 5 hours asking questions and being as involved as possible.


Day 2: Certified Baby! 

Day 2 started like day 1… 15 minutes late because that’s how people in San Francisco roll. It just meant I was able to knock out 3 miles on the treadmill since we showed up 45 minutes early. That’s how the Boyles roll.

Because it was a gorgeous day, everyone grabbed a kettlebell (or two) and we held class outside at a nearby park.


It was perfect.

Being outside also took the fear away of dropping the KBs! And there is nothing like bare feet in a perfectly groomed baseball field!

Clifton started us off with a quick warm-up and a review of the day before.

From there we went into the exercises for the day:

–> Squats

–> Presses

–> Windmills

–> Turkish Get-Ups

I plan on demonstrating all of these moves as soon as Dan is comfortable being behind a camera (and can hold it steady) so hopefully this weekend!

We would spend about 45 minutes on each, dissecting them and critiquing one another to ensure we felt comfortable and knowledgable.


The get-up is the move I’ve been working on the most prior to the course. I really wanted to have it perfect beforehand. So I wasn’t really surprised when Clifton asked for volunteers to demonstrate what they “thought” the get-up should be and Dan threw me under the bus.

I didn’t mind, in fact, I loved it because I received personal feedback on what I needed to change! Apparently, my legs had been far too close together and I was relying on my ability to do a sit-up instead of using my body to get the weight up.

What a difference when you learn to do it right!

Class concluded with some combo sets (combing EVERYTHING that we had learned) and then with these bad boys being passed out:


That’s right… I’m now certified!

The Overall Course

Overall, I loved the course.

It was a bit more relaxed than I had expected (okay, a lot more)…


Sorry for the fuzzy picture… but yes that is a person as a kettlebell.

I had prepared myself to have to pass all sorts of tests.  This was good, because instead of trying to memorize everything for a test, I was able to stay focused and actually absorb it all for future use.

I walked away not necessarily learning a ton, but learning how to explain the moves more and having a lot of questions answered. I walked away with confidence because I now know what I was doing wrong and I know how to do it all correctly.

I also walked away feeling confident that Dan and I can bring a kettlebell program to our studio. Something we’ve wanted to do but wanted to wait until we had a certification and the knowledge.

Clifton was an awesome instructor and really took the time to answer questions and get to know us. At the end of class, we sat talking goals, businesses (he’s behind FitWall), and just chit chat for about an hour before he headed to the airport.

What About Dan & What’s Next?

Well, Dan really pulled it together and stayed as engaged as possible during the second day. He used me for demonstrations and was very active in conversations. He wasn’t going to let an impinged shoulder hold him back!

Once his shoulder is good as new, we are going to make a video of him demonstrating all the moves and then he will receive his certification as well. We were so appreciative of this option as the next closest class is in Miami!

As for what’s next? Well, I’ll let you know in next week’s podcast 😉

SO that’s that… I’m a kettlebell certified trainer!

Have you ever dislocated or broken anything? 

Here we go… I’ve broken my nose (x2 and yes, it’s deviated); a few fingers; my wrist; my tibia (I had a stress fracture) and I’ve dislocated my right shoulder completely and my left partially.


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