About StrongFirst

StrongFirst is a Worldwide Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Strength

Defend your country. Volunteer during a natural disaster. Win a championship. Have pride and become a lean and muscular version of yourself. We are brought together by the conviction that strength has a greater purpose. Join us. We can be found on six continents.

“Strength is the foundation for developing the rest of physical qualities.” —Prof. Leonid Matveev

To reach high levels of power, endurance, sport skill, and fat loss you must become strong first. Period.

StrongFirst is the School of Strength

We teach men and women how to reach high levels of strength. Quickly, safely, and without interfering with their duty, job, or sport.

Our School of Strength is comprised of three modalities—SFG (Kettlebell), SFL (Barbell), SFB (Bodyweight)—and one set of universal training principles. We reverse-engineered what the strongest do naturally—and bring this exclusive knowledge to you.

The best and safest way to increase your strength is by learning and training within these StrongFirst’s three modalities.

StrongFirst methods are scientifically and empirically based and have a proven record with professional athletes, elite military and law enforcement operators, as well as regular folks who have decided to be weak no more.

StrongFirst Instruction

Ready to reach your strength potential? StrongFirst can help you get there. Whether you train on your own: our books, online course, extensive articles and podcasts are excellent resources for learning the basic techniques of our training principles.

Seeking more in person attention and instruction? Attending our One-Day Courses is ideal for those just learning or those wanting to recalibrate their technique. Our expert Course Instructors will teach you the essential skills, techniques, and principles for safe and effective training.

  • Kettlebell 1-Day Course: Learn how to use kettlebells safely, efficiently, and effectively—to train on your own—from our movement fundamentals.
  • Barbell 1-Day Course: Learn how to maximize your strength potential in the classic barbell lifts—the deadlift, the squat, and the military press.
  • Bodyweight 1-Day Course: Learn how to get a powerlifting-quality strength workout, anytime, anywhere, and using only your bodyweight as resistance.

StrongFirst has set the industry high bar. Pavel Tsatsouline, the founder, started the kettlebell revolution in 1998. Our Certified Instructors are national champions, coaches of champions, special operators, elite martial artists, national team doctors, and other high-end strength professionals.

Our Instructor Certifications are two and three arduous days of learning our principle-based system and the safe, proper way to use and teach our training methodology to others. Culminating on Sunday, each candidate must meet a high standard in strength, movement skill, and coaching to earn their certified instructor rank. Expect to be challenged and tested. Do not take your preparation lightly.

SFG I: Kettlebell 3-Day Certification
SFG II: Kettlebell 2-Day Certification

The SFG Curriculum consists of two levels—SFG I and SFG II—and is our flagship program, developed and refined by StrongFirst Founder and Chairman, Pavel Tsatsouline. We hold the highest standards in the industry, and the SFG is the most sought-after and respected kettlebell instructor credential in existence.

By earning your SFG I and/or SFG II you will become a better strength coach and your business will grow as a result. The SFG Certifications are also appropriate for athletes who simply wish to challenge themselves—can you pass the test?

SFL: Barbell 3-Day Certification

SFL Candidates learn how to apply the principle-based StrongFirst methods to barbell training. You will focus on three timeless lifts, as well as the essential accessory movements. Learn how tension, bracing, and breathing can amplify your existing strength, and how to properly teach these principles to others.

This three-day Certification provides intensive lifting and programming education. It is appropriate for both trainers and athletes who wish to take their skills and strength to the next level.

SFB: Bodyweight 2-Day Certification

Learn how to get a powerlifting-quality workout anywhere and anytime—using only your bodyweight as resistance. At this two-day event, SFB Candidates learn our principle-based bodyweight training system, developed and refined by our Founder and Chairman, Pavel Tsatsouline.

This Certification will make you a stronger and better strength coach, and you will learn how to teach this system to others. Athletes looking for a unique strength challenge may also set their sights on this Certification.

Our Special Events will help you continue your StrongFirst education. Plan Strong™, Strong Endurance™, Second Wind, StrongFirst RESILIENT, and All-Terrain Conditioning™—our exclusive seminars—couple our principles of strength with a specific focus that delivers techniques and tools to enhanced performance.

Learn from our Certified Instructors

You want to be stronger, and you want to get there safely. Strength with safety is our specialty—and no one in the world does this better than a StrongFirst Certified Instructor. We are a very particular type of fitness professional, with a highly-specialized skill-set.

The principles of strength and the skill of strength development are fundamental to and consistent among all three. But because specialized technique is crucial for safely instructing others, you should seek a Certified Instructor who holds the credential for the modality you wish to learn and practice. An SFB Certified Instructor will know far more about strength acquisition than a typical trainer, for instance, but if you want to incorporate kettlebell training, then an SFG Instructor is non-negotiable. (Same goes for the barbell and SFL, respectively.)

A session with a StrongFirst Certified Instructor is not a passive experience. Their eyes will be on you, ensuring you understand the nuances of technique and safe, strong execution. You will be mentally engaged in the process… it is nothing at all like a mindless routine that you might see in the group fitness room of an ordinary gym. You are learning new skills here, and these skills will make you stronger than you believed you could be.

Connect with our Certified Instructors and StrongFirst Gyms nearby you.

Who Are Our Certified Instructors?

Many of our Certified Instructors are full-time trainers. Some run their own training facilities, others are employed by gyms. And still many others, once discovering the value of StrongFirst training methodologies or who pursued an Instructor credential as a personal challenge, were then inspired to teach these principles to as many people as possible. This bridging of Instructors, from both deep within the fitness industry and outside of it, has yielded tremendously diverse insight and experience, into the lives and needs and experiences of people who do not necessarily fit the standard “gym-goer” model. In other words: People just like you.

We have Certified Instructors who are world-class coaches and athletes. Tactical operators and active duty and retired military. Medical professionals of all varieties: surgeons, chiropractors, physicians, nurses, dietitians, kinesiologists, and physical therapists. Collegiate, high school, and professional sports coaches and athletic trainers. Martial artists, dancers, mathematicians, homemakers, blacksmiths, professors, accountants, lawyers, writers, and artists.

Whether pursued as an individual challenge or to establish a professional qualification, every StrongFirst Certified Instructor must pass the same extensive testing requirements. StrongFirst’s Founder and Chairman Pavel Tsatsouline, in fact, was the first to establish a personal training certification of any kind that included a physical testing requirement. Where others may require little more than the payment of a fee and perhaps some multiple choice exam questions, StrongFirst Certified Instructors are held to a higher standard—consistently regarded as the highest in the industry.

“Theory without practice is as limited as practice without theory.” —Prof. Yuri Verkhoshansky

The StrongFirst Certified Instructor

Our system cannot spread without Instructors. Our Certified Instructors set us apart. They teach their students to get Strong… first, knowing that being Strong improves all other aspects of life. Our Certified Instructors exemplify our Core Values, believe in our principles and follow the StrongFirst Code:

I am a Student of Strength.

I am a Quiet Professional.

Strength has a Greater Purpose.

Power to you!