One Good Rep: How to Perform the Perfect Pull-up
perfect pull-up

Before we can achieve a heavy weighted pull-up like that required for the Iron Maiden or Beast Tamer, we need to be able to do one perfect pull-up—and that’s what I’m going to teach you today. Continue reading

I Failed the SFG Level II Strength Test
SFG Level II Strength Test

I failed the SFG Level II strength test. And what I eventually realized was that passing the test had nothing to do with my physical strength. Continue reading

The Difference a Body Positive Approach Can Make

More coaches are learning about body positive approaches that make high-quality training available and accessible to more people. Here’s how to find the coach for you. Continue reading

The 1TRM EV PS Program: Escalating Volume in the Plan Strong Style
StrongFirst Back Squat

Here is a more advanced variation of the 5TRM Back Squat Program, based on the 1TRM and with a volume progression that recalls that of the Plan Strong methodology. Continue reading

A Critical Get-up Transition: From the Elbow to the Hand
A Critical Get-up Transition: From the Elbow to the Hand

Each position in the get-up should set you up for success in the next position. A great transition from the elbow to the hand sets up a safe and solid shoulder position for the low sweep or the high bridge. Continue reading

Understanding Combat Mindset and Mental Conditioning
Combat Mindset of Krav Maga Global

The combat mindset applies to all the “conflicts” we experience in daily life. Proper mental training will help you perform better at work, home, or the gym, as well as is in confrontation. Continue reading

A Solid Game Plan for Acing the Snatch Test
How to Ace the Snatch Test

Many people eager to become SFG Level I Certified get anxious about the snatch test. But the test is very passable if you have a solid game plan and properly prepare. Continue reading

Unlocking the One-arm Push-up
Unlocking the one-arm push-up

Mastering the fundamentals and looking back to them for guidance is something I learned from Pavel. I’m going to share with you how this inspired my own aha moment regarding the one-arm push-up. Continue reading

What to Do With Your Free Hand During a One-arm Swing
Free Hand in One-Arm Swing

Once you begin practicing the one-arm swing, then the issue of what to do with the free hand promptly arises. Here are the five acceptable options along with demonstration and explanations of each. Continue reading

Use “Time Under Load” to Solve the Group Class Time Crunch
Students in kettlebell class

How do you consistently run a class comprised of students with various skill levels smoothly and seamlessly and not encounter the all-too-common issue of running out of time? Continue reading

One Good Rep: How to Perform the Perfect Pistol
Perfect Pistol

The bodyweight pistol and its progressions are great for grease the groove training as they can be done anywhere at any time. But, you first need to be able to perform a perfect rep. Continue reading

When Tension Is a Beautiful Thing
The Importance of Tension

I am neither discussing different types of headaches, nor the strength properties of a barbell and its ability to resist bending and becoming permanently deformed. I am talking about what your body needs to generate prior to loading it. Continue reading

Spring 2016 TSC Results
April 2016 TSC Results

This April 2016 TSC included nearly 1,200 participants—the most in history. Here are the highest scores in each of the eight categories. Continue reading

Calisthenics for Iron Domination: From Bodyweight to Heavy Weight
Iron Domination Through Calisthenics

Training bodyweight exercise will help you demolish your previous strength records in your barbell and kettlebell practice and replace them with all new levels of iron domination. Continue reading

If You Want to Get Better, You Must Think Better
StrongFirst Strong Mind

Just like any movement or lift you’ll encounter in the gym, getting yourself into a proper head space more strongly and consistently starts with practice. And you know what the first step toward a better mental practice is? Continue reading

Personal Space Rules When Snatching the Kettlebell
Personal Space and the Kettlebell

There is significant research into what we casually refer to as “personal space,” and surprisingly, the concept of personal space can also assist us in enhancing our technique in snatching a kettlebell. Continue reading

How to Intelligently Define, Determine, and Test Your 1RM
Determining Your 1RM

Let’s take a more detailed look at the 1RM. Specifically, how you can determine your 1RM based on your training with a lighter weight, what a “1RM” really is, and the best way to test it. Continue reading

One Good Rep: How to Perform the Perfect Push-up
Perfect Push-up

Done correctly, the push-up will give you great strength gains and can be done anywhere at any time. But first, we need to make sure you can do one great repetition. Continue reading

Overcoming Mediocrity Through Strength and Purpose
Overcoming Mediocrity Through Strength and Purpose

Your brain is brimming with the mental tools to become more than what you are. In art. In business. In your profession. And particularly, in strength. Continue reading

A Comprehensive 3-Month Plan for Beginner Group Lessons
StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons

Here is a detailed blueprint of how we conduct our beginner group lessons and build skill, enthusiasm, knowledge, and, most of all, strength in all our students. Continue reading

The 3 Pillars: How to Build Skill While Being Real

Dr. Thomas refers to the Three Pillars of Progression, Variety, and Precision. Using these pillars, you can advance your learning and skill level while avoiding two of the most common mental traps. Continue reading

Standing on the Shoulders of StrongFirst Giants
Louka Kurcer tells his StrongFirst story

When I was twenty, I was arrested and sentenced to an eight-year prison term. In that unlikeliest of places, I found inspiration and a journey to something better through StrongFirst. Continue reading

Empowering Self Advocacy: Taking Charge of Your Back Pain
Strong Back by StrongFirst

There is no such thing as “non-specific back pain” or degenerative disc disease – there are only those individuals who have not had a thorough assessment. Continue reading

Your First Pull-Up: A How-To for Senior-Aged Women

If you’re an older woman, you can still get strong. And one of the best ways to both demonstrate and build your strength is by training to do your first pull-up. Continue reading

The Simple Way Pavlov’s Dogs Can Improve Your Performance
Pavlov's Dogs and Kettlebells

You have probably heard of “Pavlov’s dogs.” But did you know the work of famous Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov might have a powerful application to your training? Continue reading

The Subtle But Essential Role of the Triceps Brachii in the Deadlift
Doc Hartle's Triceps Brachii in the Deadlift

The triceps brachii are often overlooked in the deadlift, even by competitive powerlifters. But when engaged properly, they help you generate more strength and power and reduce injury. Continue reading

The 3 Key Distinctions of the Kettlebell Press
Kettlebell Press

When I learned the nuances of this movement, I can’t tell you how much of a difference it made, not only in my pressing strength, but in my overall shoulder health. Continue reading

How Plan Strong Programming Empowers the Weightlifter
Plan Strong for Weightlifting

Using Plan Strong programming gave Mira new strength – and the edge she needed to win a silver medal at the USAW Masters Nationals Weightlifting Championships. Continue reading

Paving Your Personal Road to TSC Victory
TSC StrongFirst

Here’s how my past athletics primed me for TSC success. Have you ever considered that yours may have, too? Included is a free 12-week TSC training program. Continue reading

The SFG Level II Preparation Guide
SFG Level II Certification

You asked for it, so here it is: a step-by-step approach to preparation and training for the SFG Level II. This is not a plan you can just follow, though – it requires assessment, planning, and analysis of your own. Continue reading

2016 Leadership Promotions, and How They are Chosen
Master SFG polo

Team Leaders, Seniors, and Masters are positions of trust and responsibility in the StrongFirst community. It is my honor to present to you the SFGs stepping into or moving up in leadership roles within SFG. Continue reading

The Big Bell Theory: Plans for Pressing Bigger Kettlebells
Get a bigger military press

One of my students pressed the Beast after training for one year — and he started with 16kg. I hope my sharing of his journey will help you to increase your strength and press the 48kg Beast, too. Continue reading

The 5TRM Back Squat Program

Sometimes it is not appropriate to measure 1RM, but what if your back squat program is based off one? Enter the 5TRM – your five technically perfect rep max. A new program inspired by Plan Strong. Continue reading

An Expert Approach to Mastering Bodyweight Training
Mastering Bodyweight Training

Proper bodyweight training doesn’t require equipment. But it does require an expert approach. Let’s start by using holds to prepare ourselves for good movement. Continue reading

Strength Is a Skill — Strength Is Liberating
Strength Is A Skill

If you practice badly, pain will find you. Not in pain yet? Keep doing what you’re doing badly. I did it all wrong for decades. But StrongFirst set me straight with one of their central tenets: strength is a skill. Continue reading

The Will to Happiness
mike sousa motorhead press

I learned a lesson about life and training that I would like to pass along. It comes from the book that made the greatest impression on me last year: “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. Continue reading

Happy StrongFirst New Year: What I Learned in 2015

As I reflect on 2015 and the lessons it provided, I’m humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the StrongFirst community. I’m also thankful to have so many great people at every different level of the StrongFirst Team. Continue reading

Forge New Footprints: Consistency, Variability, and the FMS
FMS and Kettlebell Training

Consistency is key in training, but must be paired with variability. To move well, you first need a baseline, and then a system that takes you into different postures and positions. Continue reading

No Excuses Allowed: I Became an SFG II at Age 70
Dr. John Sullivan at SFG Level II

I recently passed the SFG Level II Certification. At seventy years of age, I was told I am the oldest person to pass. But I never let excuses stop me. Continue reading

300 Seconds: A Guide to Maximizing Your Rest Intervals
Rest Intervals

This length of time may seem like an eternity, but taking long rest intervals between work sets is one of the keys to building strength. Continue reading

How Being Coachable Helped Me Tame the Beast

I recently trusted my Beast Tamer training to Pavel. The experience gave me renewed insight into what it feels like to be coached – and how to be coachable. Continue reading

Surprise Yourself With Strength on This Bodyweight Training Plan

More than one SFB attendee has stated that had they attended the SFB prior to SFG I or II they would have done better and been stronger for their pressing. Continue reading

An Outlier on the Normal Kettlebell Curve
StrongFirst grip on kettlebell

I do not use the kettlebell to train. I train to become the kettlebell. Let me explain the strength of this goal. Continue reading

How to Prepare for and Pass Your SFG Level I
Having a great experience at my SFG Level I

Successfully completing your SFG Level I takes smart planning. This was my path to a successful Level I and the eight-week training plan I followed. Continue reading

Experience and Skill Will Always Trump Science
Gary Music Teaches Karate

I know I am not a scientist, and, believe it or not, that gives me a great advantage over many when it comes to learning and perfecting a physical skill. Continue reading

Fall 2015 TSC Recap

The Fall 2015 TSC saw more participants than ever. Incredible results, and INSPIRING efforts! Here are the highest scores in each of the eight categories. Continue reading

Practice vs. Performance: The Mentality of the Old-Time Strongmen

Attempting a maximal lift in front of a crowd for a show is the move of an amateur. Run “wide open” all the time and something will break. The thing that breaks ain’t gonna be a record. Continue reading

The Power of Swings and Get-ups for Hockey Training

Learning how to properly execute and teach these two movements has had a huge impact on my programming philosophy as a coach to professional hockey players. Continue reading

Simple & Sinister + Heart Rate Training

This article will explain how to incorporate heart rate training into the Simple & Sinister program, and how to progress over time. Continue reading

Understanding Center of Mass in Kettlebell Training

Dumbbells center the weight with your hand, but a kettlebell’s center is six to eight inches from the handle and changes depending on the exercise. Understanding center of mass can be used to your advantage. Continue reading

How to Systematically Improve Your TSC Numbers
tsc pull up

Here’s my advice on how to improve your TSC numbers based on my personal experience and success in competition. Some of these you can try today. Continue reading

Simple & Sinister Progression Tactic
square_SS copy

Let’s examine science and history to best understand how a strategy of “anti-glycolytic” training can be applied to a Simple & Sinister progression plan. Continue reading

Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

This plan will outline how you can overcome a plateau and keep building your lifts using the deadlift as an example. It’s simple, and even feels easy to do. Continue reading

Strength Training Will Get You Far – Even a Half Marathon

I didn’t mean to train for a half marathon without doing any running, but due to an injury I only did strength training. And I was shocked how well I did! Continue reading

The Perfect Kettlebell Swing: Is There Such a Thing?

There is a perfect kettlebell swing, but only if you take into account individual structure and history. We will examine each of these to find YOUR swing. Continue reading

Posture: An Easy Way to Up Your Performance

In a great majority of athletic events and real-life tasks, a ramrod straight posture, or at least its approximation, greatly improves the efficiency. So get your carcass rebalanced. Continue reading

3 Squat Tips: Understanding Squat Cues
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The following is the visual, or intrinsic cuing, I use to help my students understand the confusing squat cues I personally wasn’t able to process early on. Continue reading

5 Simple Tips for a Stronger Pistol
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To get stronger and healthier, we need mobility and stability to maintain alignment while developing forces. These tips for a better pistol are based on that idea. Continue reading

Lifting Stones: The Value to the Modern Trainee
Bud Jeffries with a 400lb+ stone.

I became fascinated with lifting stones when I read an article about a man in New Zealand not much bigger than me – who was lifting stones over 400 pounds. Continue reading

Six Weeks to Strong: The SF 930 Plan
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The plan uses high reps of 8-12 per set and unheard of rest periods between them. It will build a lot of strength into your weighted pull-up and kettlebell press in just six weeks. Continue reading

New Additions to StrongFirst Headquarters

We are in the hypertrophy phase and have recently made some new additions to StrongFirst headquarters. Today, I am proud to announce our Chief SFL and Chief SFB. Continue reading

Chuck Taylor Redesign: A Survival Guide

In the Chuck Taylor redesign, Converse changed little of the external appearance, but the new cushioned sole is a soul CRUSHER in our strength-training world. Continue reading

Program Minimum [Squared]
Mark Cheng, Senior SFG

Pavel’s original Program Minimum used the bent press and the snatch. He reinvented the PM with two equally-effective drills: the swing and the get-up. What if we use all four? Continue reading

Use Goal Cycling to Stay on Target

By Jukka Mäennenä, SFG, SFL Have you written down your goals? Great. The next step is to determine how to reach those goals. Some methods will work better than others, for any given person or task. On the other hand, … Continue reading

A Long Way to Press: Work Capacity, Levers, and Tall People

For those of us in the business of getting people strong, we may need to reevaluate how we do that for each athlete. Let’s look at the science of pressing for tall people. Continue reading

The Case for Grease-the-Groove Jump Training
Soviet high jump legend Valery Brumel

By Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman So you want to improve your jumping ability? First, get strong and symmetrical. Then start “greasing the groove” (GTG) with all sorts of jumps. The Obsession of World-Class Jumpers Speaks Victor Lonsky, Distinguished Coach of the … Continue reading

10 Reasons Your Progress Is Stalling

If you read all manner of training articles and get highly motivated, yet surprisingly fail to progress much in your efforts, then this article is for you. Continue reading

The Seven Basic Human Movements

“How do I put together a program at home?” The simple answer is to include both grinds and ballistics within the seven basic human movement patterns. Continue reading

An Olympic Weightlifting Approach to Coaching the Kettlebell Clean
Coaching the Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean is tough for people to “get.” I’ve found using weightlifting techniques makes coaching the kettlebell clean simpler and more effective. Continue reading

Swing Versus Snatch
Swing versus snatch

When it comes to swing versus snatch, which should you be doing and why? Let’s break it down by goal and muscle group. Continue reading

The Turkish Get-Up — A Clinician’s Perspective
Turkish get-up

It is an ongoing joke that if you come to me with an orthopedic issue, I will tell you to do a Turkish get-up. But in seriousness, it is an excellent tool for diagnosing movement. Continue reading

What is “Work Capacity”? [Part II]
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The original Russian term rabotosposobnost literally translates into “work ability.” A better translation would be “potential productivity.” Continue reading

The Psychological Complexities of Becoming Strong

By Hannah Fons, SFG II, SFB As I work and observe the broad range of personalities and athleticism at my school, Five Points Academy here in New York City, I’ve come to view strength training as something like an iceberg. There’s … Continue reading

What is “Work Capacity”? [Part I]

Fight the urge to say “work capacity” — or be ready to specify the dominant energy system or the power, tempo, and duration of the exercise. Continue reading

Simple & Sinister in a Rehabilitation Setting

Anyone who has experienced a complete tendon rupture knows the recovery process is long. Simple & Sinister along with a focus on movement basics helped me rehabilitate faster than anyone expected. Continue reading

Long Rests: Russian Science to the Rescue

My father and I were having a typical conversation about rest periods between sets when he reminded me of “Smoke Bellew,” a classic story by one of our favorite writers. Continue reading

Rucking: What It Is and How to Do It
How to ruck

I will take the reader from A-Z on all the essentials of rucking: how to prep your gear, how to walk, how to structure your workouts for different goals, and why. Continue reading

S&C Training for MMA With Simple & Sinister

Here is a summary of our basic MMA fight prep for UFC fighter Viktor Pešta – including his strength and conditioning training, how he ate, and more. Continue reading

The Patience of Strength: Rest Intervals
Dave RigertSquare

An Italian food writer launched a “slow food” movement to promote leisurely meals to enjoy the company of friends and even to taste the food. Perhaps we should do the same in strength. Continue reading

Training Endurance Athletes for the Long Season

I am known for my work with endurance athletes, such as cyclist Lance Armstrong and motocross legend Chad Reed. Here how I train them to peak performance. Continue reading

The Top Five Ab Training Mistakes
The full contact twist.
Photo courtesy Prof. Stuart McGill’s Spine Biomechanics Lab at the University of Waterloo, Canada

By now, proper abdominal training should not be a mystery. Pavel sets us straight with his own list article of ab training mistakes. Continue reading

TSC Competition Prep: The Final 2 Weeks
Snatch Test

Let’s take a look at the last two weeks leading up to a TSC competition and outline how you can best set yourself up for success on event day. Continue reading

StrongFirst After Pregnancy: Postpartum Workout Advice

What enabled me to regain my strength and to perform better than I ever had prior to pregnancy? The starting point was reconnecting to my “core.” Continue reading

How to Build Your Slow Fibers Part III

Attempting to combine FT and ST training for all major muscle groups is a different ball game. Before you jump in head first, here is what you need to consider. Continue reading

The Tactical Strength Challenge as Celebration of Life
Willard Jim Sloan 1

October 4 was Jim’s one year anniversary of heart surgery and the date of the Tactical Strength Challenge. Jim had begun his reborn life and was determined to compete. Continue reading

Golf Fitness Training With StrongFirst
Tiger Woods

Strength and conditioning training for golf doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a routine of squats, get-ups, and swings can do wonders for injury prevention and performance. Continue reading

How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part II
Karen Smith, Master SFG demonstrating the diamond pushup

I present you with a plan that will increase your pressing strength and endurance by building up slow muscle fibers in your triceps. Continue reading

Optimizing Back Health With the Kettlebell Swing
Spine Shearing

As a rehabilitation professional and a former back patient, I believe the properly performed kettlebell swing is essential for a pain free back, and the science backs it up. Continue reading

How to Build Your Slow Fibers, Part I
Mahmoud Esambayevsquare

Selouyanov’s protocols have been used with extraordinary success by many elite Russian athletes from a variety of sports, so let’s take a look at them. Continue reading

How to Train for Mass With Chins and Dips
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Training for mass without barbells is tricky business. I designed this program to create mass with chins and dips. It’s a serious strength program for the upper body. Continue reading

Our New Chief SFG Instructor: Brett Jones

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce our new Chief SFG Instructor — Brett Jones! Continue reading

Should You Train Your Slow Twitch Fibers?
Franz Snideman, Senior SFG, a 10.7sec 100m sprinter

Cutting-edge Russian research tells us every type of athlete, from marathoner to powerlifter, has a lot to gain from training slow twitch fibers. Continue reading

Okinawan Strength: Developing the “Iron Body”
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The martial arts embody a particular set of strength principles. We have investigated some of these techniques in the lab and the training room. Here are some thoughts on Okinawan strength and developing an iron body. Continue reading

Marine Corps Training and the Raider Project

Here is what the Marine Corps does and does well when it comes to physical training, and also what we can do to thank them for their heroic efforts. Continue reading

From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S
square_SS copy

You may want to start “waving” your volume in the manner of Soviet weightlifters. Studies have documented the greater effectiveness of “waved” training for experienced athletes. Continue reading

An NFL Strength Coach, the Kettlebell, and Elite Athletes
NFL Players

When I first met Pavel, when I was a rookie NFL strength and conditioning coach facing questions and challenges, he forced me to decide what path my future would take. Continue reading

Balance…With Priorities

I always divide my year into four training periods to maintain balance. This year, I’m going to try something different. For the first two periods, I’m doing Simple & Sinister. Continue reading

The Pause That Comes Before a Successful Press
Moment of my failed press test

I failed the half-bodyweight press at my SFG Level II re-certification. Then I changed two things and re-tested successfully. Here are those two things. Continue reading

What the Hell Effect Military-Style

Somewhere in central Iraq, I stopped in my tracks. “What the hell?” I had read about this phenomenon many times but was not sure if I believed it. I did now. Continue reading

From Simple to Serious Endurance
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I will offer you a road map toward building serious endurance. It is based on the idea of improving your level of conditioning by using short but powerful bouts of work. Continue reading

Kettlebells and Deadlifting: A Match Made in Heaven?
Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 6.17.59 PM

There are many excellent exercises you can do with a kettlebell, but I have stuck to the two-hand swing. As an assistance exercise for the deadlift it is amazing. Continue reading

Heads Up! Proper Neck Position in Hip Hinge Movements
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A strange idea has emerged from the clinical world: the insect head. White coats telling lifters to lock their heads onto their torsos during hip hinge lifts. I urge you not to get bogged down by their arguments. Continue reading

SFG Level I Certification: 3 + 6 = Excellence

The SFG Level I Certification digs deep into the six movements that test your skills, strengths, and weaknesses – and even your mental strength. Continue reading

The Cost of Adaptation: What Do You Choose?

The path to health seems simple: train hard, increase your health, and live happily ever after. But the cost of adaptation makes you vulnerable to other stressors. Continue reading

A Veterans Day Thank You

On behalf of StrongFirst, I would like to thank veterans and their families for their service, selflessness, and sacrifice. Without you, the world would be a very different place. Continue reading

Strength Is Like Music or Surgery: The Value of the SFG

If you want to learn the skill of strength, the SFG Certification will have you set for life. You will get a solid start to learning the methods you can use to help people become stronger and mobile. Continue reading

Strength Training for High School Volleyball
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I coach my teenage daughters in strength training to prepare them for high school volleyball. Here are my tips and recommendations to ensure your success. Continue reading

The Long View: A Solid Foundation Built to Last

The nobility of undertaking a task far bigger than one’s life with the certainty of not seeing it completed is incomprehensible in the XXI century. We must consider taking the long view. Continue reading

SFG Level II Certification Prep Story
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Here’s what to expect at your SFG Level II, how I prepared, and my recommendations to you to ensure you have a successful Certification weekend. Continue reading

The Truth Shall Set You Free…in the Fitness Industry
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How do you evaluate the credibility of an author and his recommendations? Without decades of personal trial and error, how do you discern the truth from the misinformation? Continue reading

How Heavy Should I Go in a Get-up?

Once a student owns the movement, then a much heavier bell can (and should) be used. The get-up is not just a light warm-up mobility exercise Continue reading

Strength Aerobics: “Conditioning” Workouts That Work
Alexey Senart, SFG Team Leader

Hard-living types love killing themselves in the glycolytic pathway. But this is far from the only way to “condition.” Continue reading

4 Tips to Make the SFG Snatch Test Easier
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This program can fit into your current training without interrupting or bogging it down.But it will make your SFG snatch test easier – and far less dramatic of an experience. Continue reading

Bodyweight Exercise for Ultra-Marathon Running
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After earning my SFB and applying its teachings, I am a believer. I have seen and felt the difference it makes in my ultra-marathon running performances. Continue reading

Getting a Bigger Press: 3 Big Tips and 10 Ideas

Many of you are worried about being able to press your snatch bell with confidence. There are many things you can do to fix your weakness, and some might even be fun. Continue reading

Fat Loss Through Strength: Your Dry, Fighting Weight
A student of Geoff's, Stacy Clemson, SFG II

Let’s look to both science and weightlifters to see what they do for fat loss. May you reach your “dry, fighting weight” without the dishonor of dieting and aerobics! Continue reading

The Secret to Big Deadlifts: Do the Small Things
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Here is what you need to do to stay healthy while gaining strength in your deadlifts and other barbell lifts. Continue reading

How to Get the Most Out of Earning Your SFG

Here are five suggestions for continuing the momentum you built in the course of earning your SFG Level I Certification. Follow these and keep improving! Continue reading

Chinese Food for Rapid Pressing Gains
Granville Mayers, SFG II

How can you train for rapid pressing gains without overloading your nervous system? The answer: American-style Chinese food. Also known as “rung-a-day.” Continue reading

The Swing Sandwich: What It Is and Why It Works
Hinano Cafe, Venice Beach

Russian sports scientists advocate sandwiching full-body exercises like squats between upper-body muscle building exercises to benefit from a hormonal spike. Kettlebell swings appear to have the same effect. Continue reading

How to Build Up to 1 Pistol – Then 100 Consecutive Pistols
Sergey Rudnev

First, learn how to do the perfect pistol. Then follow my plan and before long, you’ll be performing 100 consecutive pistols and reaping all the associated benefits. Continue reading

Strength Has a Greater Purpose

StrongFirst is hardcore, but safe. Enjoyable, but effective. Best of all, through StrongFirst you create strength that has a greater purpose in your life. Continue reading

Tempo Runs + Kettlebells = Your Next “Recovery” Day

The kettlebell can work for just about every purpose. In the case of a recovery/low-intensity conditioning training session, use a combination of kettlebell work and tempo running. Continue reading

The 5-Week TSC Deadlift Plan

If you have decent technique and have been building your base with sets of five, the following plan will give you more than a fighting chance of a deadlift PR. Continue reading

A Strong Body Starts With a Strong Mind

I’ve never met a strong man or woman with a weak mind, and in fact, I believe our physical strength starts by building a strong mind. Here’s how. Continue reading

Flexibility Exercises for Kettlebell Training and Kettlebell Sport

Although this article is dedicated to flexibility exercises specifically for Girevoy Sport, I believe it will benefit anyone who trains with kettlebells for any reasons. Continue reading

My 90 Day Challenge: I Lost 73lbs and Got My Life Back
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In ninety days, I lost 73lbs and got my life back. I have the cardio to play with my kids and I feel good about my strength and body. And it was all so simple. Continue reading

Back to the Future: Move Forward to the Past

The surprising truth is the strength-training methods of the 1980s were decidedly superior to today’s methods. To go forward, we must go BACK to the future. Continue reading

The American Swing: Is It Good or Is It Bad?
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The American swing (also known as the overhead swing, or OH swing): Is it good or is it bad? This is a tougher question to answer than it appears on the surface. Continue reading

Tactical Strength Challenge: Participation, Community, Strength

The Tactical Strength Challenge is a powerful tool – not just for building your muscles, but also for building your business and community. Here’s how! Continue reading

Simple & Sinister Training for Kettlebell Sport Athletes
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Lower body power, upper body stability, grip, and strong heart and lungs. Things the kettlebell sport athlete needs, and Simple & Sinister delivers. Continue reading

SFG Certification: An Event for All “Ages”
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How did a 72-year-old guy decide to attend an SFG Level I Certification and — perhaps more importantly — prepare for the rigor of those three intense days? Continue reading

10 Essential Tips to Prepare for Your First Powerlifting Meet
danny deadlift

Here are a few important things you need to know if you plan on competing in your first powerlifting meet. Continue reading

The Origins of StrongFirst Programming: The Soviet System

An experienced eye can easily see the logic behind an American training plan. A Russian plan, when you look at it up close, is just noise. You have to step a lot farther back to see the pattern in what appears to be chaos. Continue reading

My 6-Month Plan for Pressing the Beast
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I was told I would never press heavy because of “poor shoulder mechanics.” Despite this, I gave myself six months to work up to pressing the beast. Continue reading

Hard Style Training Principles Across Karate and Kettlebells

I practice Shurite Kempo, which is a hard style training method in self-protection. The principles we practice are the same as strength training. Continue reading

Use the Hanging Leg Raise to Build a Foundation for Strength
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After training the hanging leg raise, I saw a big improvement in technique and strength, as well as a cessation of chronic low back pain. Continue reading

StrongFirst Deadlift Team Pulls Strong Again

Updates from Jason Marshall and Pavel on recent meet results and the future of the team. Read for information on how to apply. Continue reading

Simple & Sinister: Getting from Two- to One-Hand Swings
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Adding one-hand swings to your Kettlebell Simple & Sinister training can be daunting for some people. Here’s a simple method for achieving that goal. Continue reading

Chronicles of a Lightweight Beast Tamer, Part 2: The Pistol

Being a lightweight and conquering the Beast Tamer is no easy feat. Here are my tips on how to train for and execute your Beat Tamer pistol. Continue reading

How I Got a Nearly 10% Bigger Bench Press in 2 Months

Little did I know that being sidelined by a knee injury would end up being the impetus I needed to achieve a bigger bench press. Here’s the program I used. Continue reading

The Mental Toughness of a Strength Athlete
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My goal is to instill respect in an all-out strength effort as an act of mental toughness every bit in the league with an exhausting race. And to remind you the meaning of respect, period. Continue reading

Why There’s a Hip Extension Speed Bump in the Get-up

The three-point bridge is a great way to get people using the get-up as corrective to first see it as a screen. But it has to show you a problem before you can have the insight to correct that problem. Continue reading

The Similarities Between Kettlebell and Firearms Training
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I’ve been training with kettlebells since 2005. I’ve been doing firearms training even longer. My experience with both led me to the conclusion that there are a lot of similarities between the two. Continue reading

Tactical Strength Challenge: Spring 2014 Results and Tips

Announcing the winners of the Spring 2014 TSC, as well as Ollie Quinn’s story of how he trained to win the Men’s Elite Division accompanied by analysis and commentary. Continue reading

Strength and Conditioning Program for BJJ Fighters

This program is a practical approach to strength training for someone interested in supplementing their BJJ game based on a formula I have applied to prepare myself and others for the toughest of martial arts competitions. Continue reading

The CPSq Kettlebell Workout
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The CPSq is performed 1 clean, 1 press, 1 squat, switch hands. Here are suggestions on how you can endlessly manipulate this program to achieve your goals. Continue reading

The Lateral Arch: A Secret Weapon for a Big Bench Press

If you do not compete in powerlifting, then you have no business arching your lower back like the pros in the bench press. But you can and should use one professional technique called the “lateral arch.” Continue reading

Justa’s Singles Strategy Adapted to the Double Kettlebell Press
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This is a program I have used for building strength in the double kettlebell press. It was inspired by Steve Justa’s singles routines. Continue reading

Get Stronger: Chronicles of a Lightweight Beast Tamer
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Becoming a Beast Tamer began as an idea , but once I came up with the perfect formula I knew I could tame this Beast. The formula was simple: get stronger. Continue reading

How to Program Your Way to 50 Consecutive Pistol Squats

Here is how I trained to achieve 50 consecutive pistol squats. But the truth is, you’ve already learned everything you need to know from Pavel. Continue reading

He Did Not Return From the Battle

God rest in peace the strong souls of the warriors who gave their lives for a just cause. We will never forget. For the living doing their duty today, here is a training tip. Continue reading

How the Neurodevelopmental Sequence Will Strengthen Your Press
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By examining the neurodevelopmental sequence in toddlers, we can see how the press plank proves to be a useful exercise in increasing our shoulder stability and press strength. Continue reading

Improve the Double Kettlebell Snatch With Chains
Perfect the single kettlebell snatch before the double kettlebell snatch

A kettlebell chain is a series of movements performed sequentially by performing a single repetition of each. I use swing, high pull, snatch chains to both teach and improve the double kettlebell snatch. Continue reading

Military Deployment Prep: A Program for Hardening the Soldier

Preparing for deployment is what I do professionally, so I’m providing an overview of my philosophy. Here’s how I train for military deployment. Continue reading

No Substitutions

I have news for you. Being full of yourself for no reason whatsoever is the ticket to wasting your twenties and possibly thirties. In training and in other aspects of your life. Continue reading

12-Week TNT TSC Training Program
Derek Toshner

We have a training system at TNT that produces outstanding TSC numbers. I would enjoy hearing the results from anyone willing to follow this TNT TSC program. Continue reading

Building the Master Quality of Strength With Kettlebells
Kettlebell Swings

Strength is the master quality. From strength all other fitness aspects are derived. Kettlebell strength is unique because kettlebell training builds usable strength. Continue reading

Moving Target Kettlebell Complex: Plan B

StrongFirst continues to present our readers’ solutions to putting together a six-week program based on the Moving Target Kettlebell Complex. Here, we take a look at Dave T.’s Plan B. Continue reading

Athletic Body in Balance: What I Would Go Back and Change
Athletic Body in Balance

Now that we’ve passed the ten-year anniversary of “Athletic Body in Balance,” I want to tell you what’s happened since, and what I would add or change if I were to rewrite the book today. Continue reading

Things Are Going So Well, Help Me Screw It Up, Part 2

We should use performance standards to dictate when new skills are introduced. Follow the path laid out by Pavel and other top instructors. Let’s take a look at how this works. Continue reading

Things Are Going So Well, Help Me Screw It Up

The road to mastery is, and should be, a long one. The following is a systematic approach to mastery using programs created by Pavel. Continue reading

Moving Target Kettlebell Complex, Part II
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I asked the readers with program design experience to build a four- to six-week training plan around the Moving Target Kettlebell Complex. Here is Dave T.’s solution. Continue reading

The Forgotten Benefits of the Get-up

Crawling might be popular in fitness right now, but the get-up has all the same benefits plus many more to offer. Let’s compare the two, and I’ll explain. Continue reading

I’m Possible: Training for the Winter Paralympics

You do not need comic book movies to find inspiration for your training. Paralympians, StrongFirst salutes you! Coach Eric Kenyon shares his experience training gold-medal winning athlete Evan Strong. Continue reading

The Top Set Method: A Stress Free Strength Routine
The Top Set Method

I can make great, steady progress using the Top Set Method. If you’re burnt out, stressed, or short on sleep, this program is designed for you. Continue reading

Strength for Women After 40: My Plan and Perspective
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How is it that at 49-years old I’m able to maintain a weight of 132lbs and 16% bodyfat? To do a full wheel backbend and 100 40kg swings or 100 16kg snatches in five minutes? Here are my thoughts on strength for women after 40. Continue reading

The Proper Thumb Position in Kettlebell Pulls
SF Bells

Recently, we have seen a number of students coming to SFG Certifications who clean and swing with their thumbs up. I am here to put an end to this fashion. Continue reading

A Group Lesson Plan for Conquering the Deep 6

What follows is a practice/plan to take your group class on a guided tour of the Deep 6, ensuring they have and keep stellar technique, as well as stay together as a unit. Continue reading

The Moving Target Kettlebell Complex

Here is a simple, but effective kettlebell complex. Systemically, you will get tired, but the muscular stress target shifts and you can keep going without compromising technique. Continue reading

4 Tips for Getting Tight and Instant Strength Gains

I’m about to give you some tips you can take to the gym the next time you train. If you use the tips as I suggest—you’ll see instant strength gains. Continue reading

The Fighter Pull-up Program Revisited
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Here is a powerful Russian pull-up program adaptable to any level of ability. It can double or even triple your number of pull-ups in one month. Continue reading

TSC Training Plans for Athletes of All Levels
Jason Marshall

The best TSC training approach would be a progressive, consistent plan that waves volume, density, and intensity while taking into consideration your current abilities and foundation of strength. Continue reading

The Basics of the Barbell Front Squat
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The barbell front squat is an effective squat variation, is just plain hard work, and has a carryover to sport and life that cannot be ignored. Here are the essentials you need to know. Continue reading

The AK-47 of Exercise Equipment

As Kalashnikov said himself, “It is very simple, this assault rifle. But I must say that making it simple is sometimes many times harder than making it complex.” Continue reading

Breathing Drills: Maximize Force and Oxygen
Ronen Katz

The goal of both the martial arts practitioner and the StrongFirst practitioner is to generate maximum force. Practicing breathing drills is how we do this. Continue reading

Everything (and Every Trainee) Is A Nail

One of the students at a Cert respectfully asked me, “Could it be that if the only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?” My answer was, “Every trainee IS a nail.” Continue reading

improve your get-up = improve your one hand swing

By Eric Gahan, SFG Recently I designed a training session, which involves the Get-Up (GU) and the One Handed Swing (1H Swing). I designed this session to help clients gain a better understanding of the Get-Up. I found myself revisiting … Continue reading

The Way You Carry Your Strength Matters

If you are reading this blog, you are strong, or at least on your way to strong. Do not let it go to your head. Let your conduct inspire the weak to be strong. Continue reading

StrongFirst Roadwork: A Simple Explanation
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Run. Shadow box. At intervals you have set for yourself. Here and there do both pistols and push-ups. No rest at all and just a couple of reps. This is StrongFirst roadwork. Continue reading

Build a Barbell Military Press on a Kettlebell Foundation

While the principles of the barbell military press remain the same as with the kettlebell, tactics change to accommodate a different implement. Continue reading

gray cook on simple & sinister
Gray Cook

Simple and Sinister, Pavel Tsatsouline’s new book, is eloquent in its simplicity. People try to overcomplicate a position by adding more where it’s unnecessary, but the true artist sculpts, whittles and pares things down to leave something that’s absolutely beautiful—not … Continue reading

A Kettlebell Simple & Sinister Excerpt
Without touching this classic program’s DNA, I remastered it with research and experience of the last decade. Here is a short Kettlebell Simple & Sinister excerpt.

Without touching this classic program’s DNA, I remastered it with research and experience of the last decade. Here is a short Kettlebell Simple & Sinister excerpt. Continue reading

Peaking and Assessment for SFG Preparation
SFG Preparation Training Plan

Here is the actual program I used with my students for SFG Level I preparation, as well as how we assessed and adjusted our strategy along the way. Continue reading

No Country for Old Men

Our pear-shaped kids are old men and women in young people’s bodies. They bring the timidity of the old age into the age when one is supposed to drink life out of a fire hose. Continue reading

The Circle of Iron: Veterans Day Thoughts

Today, we are grateful for the men and women who faced the heat of the forge and became part of the iron circle that surrounds us in its quiet, solemn presence. Continue reading

How to Build Physical Strength While Hardly Trying

Recently I achieved some huge strength goals. I didn’t train for them or even try very hard. In fact, the path I took was quite boring. Continue reading

The Tension Day

Enter the Tension Day, a simple model for implementing tension practice in almost any strength regimen, regardless of your goals and preferred training implement. Continue reading

the right way to get strong
Andy Bolton

If you got all excited by the title of this article, I hate to bring you back to reality… But I’m going to do so anyway… You see, there is no ‘right way to get strong.’ Sure, there are many … Continue reading

The Difference Between Lifts, Exercises, and Feats of Strength
Josh Halbert

Understanding the difference between lifts, exercises, and feats of strength will simplify your life and make it easier to reach your goals. Continue reading

The World’s Standing Advertisement: “Wanted—A Man”
Wanted - A Man

Over the door of every profession, every occupation, every calling, the world has a standing advertisement: “Wanted–A Man.” Continue reading

Total Package Weekly Kettlebell Training Template
bent press

If strength and conditioning are equally important to you, the following weekly kettlebell training template will serve you well. Continue reading

Emergency Action Plan Programming

Like any unpleasant experience, we too often place the need for an emergency action plan on the back burner, but like that unwatched pot, sometimes events boil over. Continue reading

Total Tension Kettlebell Complex

Do the Total Tension Kettlebell Complex for six weeks and there be noticeably more meat on your bones and you will possess a much deeper understanding of linkage and tension. Continue reading

A Bit of TSC History and What the Future Holds

TSC has survived with zero corporate support for a decade. The TSC history is a testament to its resilience. Now, StrongFirst is about to put its muscle behind the event and make it even more intense and competitive. Continue reading

how to double your kettlebell press in six weeks without touching a bell

By Jon Engum, Master SFG Pavel’s StrongFirst Bodyweight Instructor Certification is coming to New York City on December 7-8th 2013.  Now, if you are like me you may be thinking what is the big deal about Bodyweight Certifications?  I mean … Continue reading

Why Kettlebells, Barbells, and Bodyweight Demand Different Programming
StrongFirst bodyweight barbell kettlebell

You must be tactically flexible to accommodate to the opportunities and limitations of each implement in regards to kettlebells, barbells, and bodyweight training. Continue reading

3 Reasons You May Need to Pick Up Barbell Training
My father.

Unlike the kettlebell, which should be used by every man and woman, the bar is not for everyone. But you must start barbell training if one or more of the following reasons applies to you. Continue reading

my experience towards the italian national raw powerlifting trophy
Elisa Vinante Price

by Elisa Vinante, SFG II   Since I was a child I always wanted to be strong. I’ve always been attracted by anything that was a manifestation of strength and power, but I’ve never had a particular susceptibility to competition. … Continue reading

Better One Day as a Lion
Better One Day as a Lion

Instead of being discouraged and feeling like the world is trying to hold us back, recognize and appreciate that tension as a force necessary to move forward. Negative comments come from weak people. Continue reading

Use Kettlebell Complexes to Achieve Technical Perfection

A “complex” of kettlebell exercises strung together in an intelligent manner delivers muscle hypertrophy and fat loss. But there is another benefit—accelerated skill development Continue reading

strongfirst deadlift team pulls strong
StrongFirst Deadlift Team

by Jason Marshall, StrongFirst Deadlift Team Captain On June 22-23, 2013, the StrongFirst Deadlift Team competed at the IPA Strength Spectacular at the mecca of strength training, York Barbell Club in York, PA. The lightweights lifted on Saturday followed by … Continue reading

how to prepare for a deadlift competition
Tim Almond, SFG II, SFL

by Jason Marshall, StrongFirst Deadlift Team Captain There are many ways to train for a deadlift only event. You can find some great preparatory cycles and training methods in many of Pavel’s books, the best being Power to the People Professional and Deadlift Dynamite, … Continue reading

strongfirst sfg kettlebell certification prep guide

by Brett Jones, Master SFG, MS, ATC, CSCS Eleven years ago I arrived in St. Paul to attend the second ever kettlebell certification from Pavel Tsatsouline. Throwing water balloons in freezing temperatures and having VERY sore lats are just a … Continue reading

StrongFirst and the 5×5 Method
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The 5×5 method is credited to Reg Park, a bodybuilder who built a 500-pound bench press in the 1950s. It remains one of the most reliable ways to build strength in existence. Continue reading

the strength to run

by Joel Pino Two things you should know about me right from the start. First, I love running. It’s something I’ve been doing for 15 years (along with quite a bit of competitive cycling) and I owe much of who … Continue reading

Class Envy: Strength Envy from the Upper Class

I am convinced the upper class are simply envious of the strong. And envy breeds resentment. This is a slippery slope, ladies and gentlemen. I come from a country that was ripped apart by class envy and drowned in blood. Continue reading

the miseducation of stretching

By Brandon Hetzler, SFG Team Leader “I want to be more flexible” is a statement I get from many of the young athletes I train.  My immediate follow up of “Why?” is usually met with a dumb look (or at … Continue reading

The Real Strength of the Fourth of July
StrongFirst - July 4, 2013

The Fourth of July is upon us again. Viewed as an “American” holiday, July 4th has marked so many important moments in the lives of people worldwide. Continue reading

The Courage to Do Less: StrongFirst and Sumi-e
StrongFirst and sumi-e

The other day I was looking at a favorite sumi-e painting of mine by the legendary warrior Miyamoto Musashi. I realized that sumi-e is a perfect metaphor for the StrongFirst methods. Continue reading

The How and Why to Green Strength Training

Environmentalism is not a cause close to my heart, but I do not like waste. Hence this blog and a few suggestions on how to conduct green strength training. Continue reading

If It Looks Right, It Flies Right
Mikhail Baryshnikov

Good movement is something a biomechanist could take it apart and marvel at the efficiency. An engineer famously quipped, “If it looks right, it flies right.” Continue reading

How the Front Squat Can Improve Your Clean and Jerk
Michael Perry SFG Barbell Front Squat

The dip in the kettlebell jerk and the barbell front squat should be almost identical. This is why a month of front squats will do wonders for your jerk. Continue reading

back to basics. for real.
Bring it on, Nature

By Alexey Senart, SFG Team Leader Every once in a while, at some social gathering, when I’m presented to my new acquaintances as a strength coach or, God forbid, ‘fitness expert,’ the same question almost inevitably pops up: from the … Continue reading

Bruce Lee and the John Saxon “Roper” Workout

As a kid, I could never have imagined that I would become friends with Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” co-star—much less train him on the kettlebells. Continue reading

kettlebells + deadlifts, part ii
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By Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman Several months ago I wrote how a girevik should go about converting the posterior chain strength he or she has built with swings and snatches into a respectable barbell deadlift: Kettlebells and Deadlifts Go Together Like … Continue reading

8 Rules for Proper Strength Training for BJJ
Peter Lakatos, Master SFG

Here are my eight rules, as a BJJ practitioner and a strength coach to black belts, for how to most effectively perform strength training for BJJ. Continue reading

Memorial Day: A Time to Remember Thankfulness
United States Flag at SFG Boston 2013

Every day can be Memorial Day. Every day, we can choose to remember that so much has been done for us with no bill due for services rendered. It is a day to practice and remember thankfulness. Continue reading

build up to your first handstand pushup

By James Sjostrom, SFG II Let’s cut to the chase. I walk around at 6 foot 3 inches and about 240. Let’s just say that gymnastics is not exactly a gift for me. However, I have found throughout the years … Continue reading

To Get Good a Programming, Study Good Programming

To create good programming, you need to study successful program designs of strength coaches operating within the same training system. Continue reading

Why You Should Study Barbells in Addition to Kettlebells

The addition of the SFB and SFL to the StrongFirst curriculum means we all have the chance to optimize our use of kettlebells, barbells, and bodyweight training. Continue reading

The Blank Serenity of the Invulnerable: Legendary Strength

The Old West was history long before I was born. Or maybe it was just a legend. Regardless, I am nostalgic for that lost world of legendary strength. Continue reading

Confessions From a Recovering Bodybuilder
Scott Iardella, SFG II

It’s a little hard to admit, but I used to be a competitive bodybuilder. Here’s what my training used to look like, plus what it looks like now that I’ve reformed my ways and train my body as a complete system. Continue reading

When You Don’t Know What You Believe…

When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious. Continue reading

What Greater Purpose Will Your Strength Serve?
Greater Purpose

We like to say, “Strength has a greater purpose.” It’s in the finding of that purpose that we discover parts of ourselves we have either turned away from or never seen at all. Continue reading

Come At Me, Bro!

That is totally what I would shout at a teeth-baring mountain lion. Not really. But getting stronger means you are less likely to become a victim or be defeated—whatever the challenge. Continue reading

A Program to Train for the Half-Bodyweight Kettlebell Press
Half-Bodyweight Kettlebell Press

This program is designed specifically to get you to a half-bodyweight kettlebell press, but this will work just as well for getting you to the next bell size, whatever that is. Continue reading

Do Not Be Afraid to Be Alone

You may have a coach and training partners, but when it comes down to it, it is between you and the iron. Do not be afraid to be alone with the iron. Continue reading

The Grad Workout, or the Road to the Inn

The Grad Workout, in this particular variation, was designed by a lunatic psychopath. That would be me—Dan John. Continue reading

Get a Heavier Military Press With the One-arm One-leg Push-up

Putting your kettlebells aside for a few months and conquering the one-arm one-leg push-up will be one of the best things you do in your quest for a heavier military press. Continue reading

Strength Lessons from Martial Arts Master Donn F. Draeger
Donn Draeger

In addition to being a highly-accomplished martial artist, Draeger was one of the first in his field to get serious about strength. He was decades ahead of his times and even today his advice stands strong. Continue reading

The First Ever SFG Kettlebell Certification
First Ever SFG Kettlebell Certification

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that our first ever SFG Kettlebell Certification rocked. The show must go on, even if the name has changed. Continue reading

A Strong Woman and Her Endless Possibilities
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When a woman takes her first conscious step toward being physically capable, she immediately expands her limits of possibilities. A strong woman has endless possibilities. Continue reading

StrongFirst Is the Glock of Our Industry
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StrongFirst is the Glock of our industry. Our leading instructors have had the privilege of coaching world champions, consulting world record holders, and training elite special operators. Continue reading

Is Greatness Possible Without Obsession?

True greatness in any field of endeavor requires obsession, dedication, and sacrifice. If it is a game you want to win, obsession is a powerful weapon in your arsenal. Continue reading

The Role of the Kettlebell at StrongFirst
Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 12.02.04 AM

The StrongFirst system is centered around principles, not around tools. That said, the role of the kettlebell is that it is our roots and our weapon of choice. Continue reading

The Short Stop Squat: A Drill to Set Up Big Pulls
Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 5.37.23 PM

Here is a drill I use that will help all lifters set-up their pulls despite their individual differences. We call it the short-stop squat and it will help enable bigger, safer pulls. Continue reading

Strength Has a Greater Purpose

Here is the key point from my speech on the mission of StrongFirst that I gave at our recent leadership meeting—addressing our motto: “Strength has a greater purpose.” Continue reading

The Program That Nearly Doubled My Max Pull-ups

This program is simple, only thirty days long, and came close to helping me double my max number of bodyweight pull-ups. Continue reading

Foolproof Conditioning with Hard Style Kettlebell Training
Hard Style Kettlebell Training for Foolproof Conditioning

Hard style kettlebell training is highly foolproof. Americans are notoriously poor at following instructions, yet the Russian kettlebell delivers conditioning without fail. Continue reading

The Ultimate Kettlebell Exercise for Martial Conditioning

The one-arm clean and jerk is the one-stop shop for martial conditioning. Give me ten minutes and one kettlebell, and I will give you power, stamina, resilience, and mental toughness all in one tidy package. Continue reading

The Most Unproven Programming in Town
Sig Klein, unfashionably strong

At StrongFirst, we do not reinvent the wheel; we refine what our predecessors have done. As for the StrongFirst programming, it is a 2.0 version of the methodology of Soviet weightlifters. Continue reading

Women’s Fire Academy Training Program

This program uses full body movements to build usable strength. While it is aimed at women working toward the fire academy, I also used it to successfully train for a Spartan Beast. Continue reading

Bench Press to Kettlebell Press More
Vladimir Kravtsov Bench Press

Here is how you use the bench press to set a kettlebell military press personal record within weeks. Continue reading

What Has Changed Since I Discovered Pavel
What Has Changed Since I Discovered Pavel

It’s been over a decade since I first discovered Pavel. The effect of Pavel’s teachings on my training has been profound—and I have never trained the same since finding his work. Continue reading

6 Reasons for the Leaps Between Kettlebell Sizes
Nikki Shlosser, SFG II

Here are six reasons why the leap of faith between kettlebell sizes is really a leap of science and experience. Continue reading

John Faas: To Be a Warrior
John Faas

To know John Faas was to know the meaning of the word “warrior.” John was a Navy SEAL and one of 31 killed in a helicopter crash August 31, 2011 in Afghanistan. Continue reading

A Discussion of Rows
Russian strongman Dikul is showing the tug of war row.

Master SFG Mark Reifkind insightfully warned, “Don’t live in your sports posture.” Which is where bodybuilding pull-ups and rows come in. As correctives. Continue reading

How Do You Define a Strong Woman?
Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 2.06.34 PM

I have a mission to help other women see they can be strong. Here are some of the answers to what defines a strong woman, plus a beginning strength program. Continue reading

The Evil Wheel: Completing a Rep From Standing
Evil Wheel

Here is a tool I discovered to help one of my students defeat the evil wheel — he is now on his way to completing one roll out from a standing start. Continue reading

The Best Upper Body Pull
Pavel Tsatsouline

This one is going to be simple. There is only one contender for best upper body pull—a hollow position pull-up, strict and heavy. Continue reading

Announcing the StrongFirst Deadlift Team
Team captain Jason Marshal, SFG Team Leader has stood up with 600 weighing less than 180.

This is a call to all those who want to be a part of the inaugural StrongFirst Deadlift Team. Information on how to qualify, and also how to improve your deadlift whether you intend to compete or not. Continue reading

Kettlebells and Deadlifts Go Together Like Vodka and Pickles
Brandon Hetzler, SFG II, CK-FMS, has measured the forces generated in the kettlebell swing.  In this set of swings with a 53-pound kettlebell the force exceeded 500 pounds.

If you have never deadlifted a barbell, but have been seriously swinging and snatching a kettlebell, you are already ahead in the deadlift game. The hip hinge means kettlebells and deadlifts go together. Continue reading

Stuart McGill: My Journey to the Kettlebell
Stuart McGill and Pavel Tsatsouline

Kettlebell work is not for everyone during recovery from injury. However, when used appropriately it is a unique and irreplaceable training tool. Continue reading

Be a Man Among Men: My Father’s Deadlift Program
Vladimir Tsatsouline - a man among men

We are all adults here: either you have it, or you don’t. StrongFirst is not in the babysitting business. As they used to say in the Rhodesian army: “Be a man among men.” Continue reading

To Be StrongFirst: What It Does and Does Not Mean
David Whitley

It is not about the kettlebell, barbell, or pull-up bar. It is about the one thing they have in common: strength. I cannot be strong for you. Only you can do that. However, I can show you the means. Continue reading

Merry Christmas From StrongFirst
Merry Christmas from StrongFirst

What a joyous time to reflect back on the past twelve months and look forward to the promise of the new year to come. Merry Christmas to you all from StrongFirst. Continue reading

The Best Press Exercise
The Bench Press Is the Best Press Exercise

Which press exercise gets you the strongest while avoiding injury? Let’s go through the possibilities and I’ll explain the reasons for my choice of best press. Continue reading

Get Super Strong: A Woman’s Strength Training Program
Lauren Brooks SFG Team Leader

Here is my definition of what makes a woman “strong”—along with a six-week program designed to start you on the journey to becoming a super strong woman. Continue reading

The Best Squat Exercise
Zercher Squat is the Best Squat

Which squat variation gives you the biggest bang for your buck? Let’s go through the possibilities and I’ll explain the reasons for my choice of best squat. Continue reading

If You Want to Be Strong, You Must Be Tough
Rif deadlifting 545 @ 181

Strength is a choice. It is an attitude. It is a belief in your power to move things in the direction you desire. By sheer force of will and imagination. And toughness. Continue reading

No Distractions: The Occam’s Razor Training Plan
First Ever SFG Kettlebell Certification

In the 14th century, William of Occam of Occam’s Razor fame gave us the best training advice: “It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.” Continue reading

Strength Kept Me Out of a Wheelchair
Steve Freides, SFG Team Leader

Strength kept me out of a wheelchair. In my early forties, I blew in my spine. After a year-plus-long rehabilitation, I started becoming strong—by deadlifting. Continue reading

The Best Hip Hinge Exercise
Pavel and Peter Lakatos teaching kettlebell swings to the Hungarian federal counter-terrorist team. Photo courtesy of TEK.

The kettlebell swing is hands down the best hip hinge exercise. Here is my analysis of the possible exercises, and why the swing wins out. Continue reading

What Makes StrongFirst Different?

The answer is: “I am not saying you are wrong. I just know I am right.” If you want to compare us to Brand X, help yourself, because we are not doing it for you. Continue reading

Can You Answer These 4 Questions About the Psoas?
Importance of the Psoas

If you think you understand the importance of the psoas, ask yourself these questions. If you don’t know the answers, then it will benefit you and your clients if you keep reading. Continue reading

It Doesn’t Matter How You Get Strong

I have no idea how getting stronger helps performance. I have no idea how getting strong helps women lean out. I have no idea how anything, really, in the body works. And, it doesn’t matter. Continue reading

My Story of Pavel and the School of Strength

It’s been twelve years since I met Pavel in New York City. At the time, I was a karate student trying to improve my flexibility. It was immediately clear to me that Pavel was a gifted teacher. Continue reading

Why StrongFirst?
StrongFirst Leadership

I asked several of my friends and colleagues: what is a fitting name for the new company? Two gents, both from New Jersey, came back with the identical name: “Strength First.” What are the odds? Continue reading

Are You Training Through or Toward an Injury?

I love riding motorcycles, and I know how important it is to walk around the bike before I press the starter. I can’t “out-ride” an “injury” in my bike’s structure, and if I try, the repercussions can be grave. Continue reading

Show Me Your Friends and I Can Tell You Who You Are

If the situation you find yourself in is not allowing you to reach excellence and self-fulfillment, then it most likely is time to take a good look at the people around you. Continue reading

Vote Strong
Vote Strong

It is the StrongFirst vision that today’s young adults who are members of our brotherhood and sisterhood of strength will raise the next “great generation.” Vote Strong! Continue reading