In preparing for the Level 1, be aware that this is an extremely active and physically demanding course. It is necessary to be in an excellent physical condition prior to attending to ensure that an optimal learning environment is maintained throughout the 3-day certification.

The entrance tests and challenges described below are to ensure sufficient training is done prior to attending.

Do not take your preparation lightly.

Passing the certification requires that the following requirements are met:

  • Pass the Hardstyle Swing Test.
  • Demonstrate a proficiency of the techniques that make up the foundation of hardstyle kettlebell training.
  • Demonstrate a clear ability to teach others.

Should you fail to make the requirements, you may arrange to be re-tested. You have 3 months to retest the skill(s) that you failed. There are two ways to re-test. First is to send a video to your instructor. Second is to communicate with your instructor to arrange to be tested in person by him/her.

If you do not wish to teach kettlebells and are taking the course for personal enrichment only, you will not be required to take any of the tests. You will receive a certificate of attendance instead.

Entrance Requirements

Level 1 candidates must pass the hardstyle swing test to demonstrate that they have adequately prepared for the level 1 certification. This takes place on the morning of day 1 and will highlight the instructor candidate’s ability to cope with the demanding, grueling nature of the weekend. This test emphasizes the main ballistic movement of the weekend certification and ensures adequate strength endurance and cardiovascular conditioning is met.

The Hardstyle Swing Test – 200 Reps, 10 Minutes, Single Arm.

The swing test consists of 200, single arm swings in 10 minutes. Every 30 seconds the candidate will perform 10 reps and then put the bell down before changing hands at the next 30-second count.The instructor must have a clear view of the elbows and knees – t-shirts and gym shorts are encouraged.

Begin by getting into position and waiting for your instructor’s command to start. Hike-pass the kettlebell back and swing it to between belt level and sternum height in one movement.

The instructor will call the rep number upon the proper lockout of the knees and kettlebell reaching between belt level and chest height.

The kettlebell must float motionless momentarily at the top of the swing until the rep is called. Failure to do so results in a “no count” being called by the instructor.

The candidate must complete 10 one arm swings in 15 seconds, put the bell down and rest the remainder of the 30-second set. Then repeat with the other hand at the start of the next 30-second set until 20 sets of 10 ( 200 reps) are done.

If the candidate receives a “no count” they can make it up in the same set but still need to put the bell down before starting the next arm.

Time announcements (including 5-second count downs) and rep counts will be given.

Allowed hand coverings: sock sleeves, gymnastics grips, tape, or fingerless gloves.

Each swing must be between the belt level and sternum and be clearly SWUNG to that height, not lifted, in order to count.

Here's What People Have To Say About The Swing Test:-

No Count Criteria:

  • Failure for bell to reach correct height
  • Scooping or re bending of the knees
  • Lifting the bell with shoulder to finished position
  • Placing hand on thigh or bell
  • Not locking out knees or hips at top of swing
  • Leaning back at top of swing ( hyperextension)
  • Dropping bell


Disqualification will occur if the student

  • Five no counts
  • Not finishing required reps in 10 minutes

For the swing test, there are different requirements based on gender and age group. 

They are as follows:

Men’s Open Class:

Up to 60kg     24kg 200/10 min

60 – 69kg       28kg 200/10 min

Over 70kg      32kg 200/10 min

Men’s Masters: (60 – 65)

Up to 60kg     16kg 200/10 min

60 – 69kg       20kg 200/10 min

Over 70kg      24kg 200/10 min

Women’s Open Class:

Up to  57kg     16kg 200/10 min

57 – 64kg        20kg 200/10 min

Over 64kg        24kg 200/10 min


Women Masters: (60 – 65)

Up to 57kg     12kg 200/10 min

Over 57kg        16kg 200/10 min

Men’s Masters: (50 – 59)

Up to 60kg     20kg 200/10 min

60 – 69kg       24kg 200/10 min

Over 70kg      28kg 200/10 min

Men’s Masters: (Over 65)

Up to 60kg     16kg 140/10 min

Over 60kg      20kg 140/10 min

Women Masters: (50 – 59)

Up to 57kg     16kg 200/10 min

Over 57kg        20kg 200/10 min

Women Masters: (65+)

Up to 57kg     12kg 140/10 min

Over 57kg        16kg 140/10 min

Exit Requirements

Level 1 candidates must pass the following requirements to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the hardstyle kettlebell principles taught during the certification and demonstrate that they have the relevant strength and work capacity levels associated with being a Strength Matters instructor.

Workout Challenges.

The instructor candidates will be required to complete two specific workout challenges. One will be disclosed. The other will not.

Workout Challenge 1: The Snatch Challenge. 40 Sets, 15:15, 7 Rep Cadence.

At the end of day 2, you will be required to perform the snatch challenge. 40 sets of 15 seconds of snatching separated by 15 seconds of rest. The requirement is 7 repetitions per arm for the duration with a work rest ratio of 1:1.

An example, to be clear: the candidate will be required to complete 40 work sets in total, 20 sets of 7 reps on the left, 20 sets of 7 reps on the right.

So, if you complete 7 reps on one arm followed by 15 seconds of rest, followed by 7 reps on the other with 15 seconds of rest this will count for 2 work sets.

The candidate will be required to repeat this for another 38 sets and a total of 20 minutes work.

Men will be required to use a 16kg kettlebell. Women between 8kg – 12kg.

Workout Challenge 2: Graduation Workout.

This will be your victory workout. A workout that will reinforce ALL the principles learned during the course of the weekend. A workout designed to test your physical and mental toughness and show you have the iron will and determination needed to be a Strength Matters instructor. We can assure you that the weekend is more than just a single swing test.

Technique Tests:

You must be able to demonstrate safe and effective technique as part of being a Strength Matters instructor. You will be tested on the following single arm exercises throughout the weekend:

  • Swing (10 Reps Per Arm)
  • Clean (5 Reps Per Arm)
  • Getup (1 Each Side)
  • Press (5 Per Arm
  • Snatch (10 Per Arm)
  • Front Squat (5 Per Arm)

These techniques are tested with a single-arm and performed on both sides: Swing, Clean, Snatch, Getup, Press, and the Front Squat. Testing weights for this category are listed below.

Men’s Open Class:

Up to 60kg     20kg

Over 60kg      24kg

Women’s Open Class:

Up to 60kg     12kg

Over 60kg      16kg

Teaching Requirements:

At the end of the course, you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to teach the kettlebell exercises in front of your peers to demonstrate and show what you have learned during the certification.

Your performance will be evaluated based on your ability to follow the progressions as well as on how well you implement the corrections associated with that exercise.

If You Fail A Requirement:

In order to be certified, you must pass all requirements. If you fail one of the requirements you will have 90 days to send in a video to your instructor or visit your instructor in person to retest the requirement you failed.

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