Which of Benn's certifications was the most difficult to achieve?
That would hands down be my Strong First: Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor certification.
Strong First holds all instructors to an extremely high standard and make it well known on day one of the certification course that many will not succeed on their first attempt.
Up to that point, I had worked with kettlebells for 2 years and even followed a 6 month preparation program. Needless to say, I had done everything I could to pass and then some. All of this had me feeling extra confident showing up on day 1 of class.
After 3 days of getting my ass kicked and experiencing what true hard-style kettlebell training was all about (something to Google if unfamiliar), it was time to face 100 kettlebell snatches using a 24kg (53lb) kettlebell in 5 minutes. This was probably one of the most difficult physical feats I have ever set out to overcome and after the time had passed, it became clear that all my preparation and confidence were not going to be enough to get me the certification on my first attempt.
I had failed.
In retrospect my mistake boiled down to me never having a certified instructor critique my form on all of the tested movements, before attempting to pass the course. I left highly disappointed, but also completely motivated by my new appreciation for hard-style kettlebell training. I had 3 months to retest and earn my certification. With the guidance and support of some amazing coaches I was able to conquer the challenge I had set myself to and meet all necessary requirements.
I am now proud to consider myself part of the Strong First family, surrounded by some of the best strength coaches the industry has to offer. My journey is far from complete, as I am currently training to progress through the instructor rankings and continue to master the art of kettlebell training.
This is a lifelong mission and a habitual daily practice for me.