The Iron Monkey Deep Six Challenge

Many years ago, StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor Jon Engum published an article using his Deep Six practice that tested an instructor candidate’s readiness to pass the SFG Level I Certification. The plan is simple: 3-5 rounds of a complex composed of the six fundamental kettlebell skills: swing, snatch, clean, military press, squat, and get-up. The […]

Simple and Sinister—Help, I’m Stuck

“Dedication, absolute dedication, is what keeps one ahead.”—Bruce Lee Simple & Sinister embodies the quote above. Dedication to achieving Simple and continuing to Sinister has led students on multiple-month and multiple-year journeys. A rarity in today’s scrolling-based attention-span world, the dedicated pursuit of the S&S goal is a worthy endeavor. However, dedication can and will […]

How to Navigate the Strong Endurance Universe

Strong Endurance™ is our umbrella term for all anti-glycolytic training methods. Anti-glycolytic training is “anti-HIIT” that trains you to produce less lactic acid instead of tolerating more of it. AGT is used by many Eastern European national teams in a variety of sports: judo, cross country skiing, rowing, full contact karate… Broadly, there are three […]

The Kettlebell Forward Press for a Resilient Rotator Cuff

Fabio Zonin, StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor, and I independently discovered and practiced the same movement: a standing forward kettlebell press with a static hold. When I described it to Fabio and sent him a video, Fabio said, “Hey, I do that, too!” and subsequently Fabio invited me to discuss the new kettlebell exercise on an edition […]

The Art of Appreciating One Thing

(An Excerpt from Kettlebell Axe) “Do you know what the difference between great people and regular people is?” says a coach to an athlete in Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s novel Don’t Die Before Death. “A great person is a gardener of self. He cuts off the unnecessary branches.” In AXE, as in other types of training, pros […]

Variable Effort and the Triple-Tier Plan

For over a decade at StrongFirst we have advised against pushing sets to failure and advocated towards always keeping a few reps “in the tank.” In recent years we have heard more and more often from well-known strength coaches, and on the web, about the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Reps in Reserve (RIR). […]

Beast Tamer Transformation: The Spear Drill

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes competition and challenges. And events in my life usually happen at an interesting time (mostly late). I became interested in Kung Fu at fifteen. When I was twenty-two, I started playing volleyball. At thirty-one I picked up a kettlebell for the first time and at thirty-six […]

The Ten Commandments of SFG Level I Kettlebell Cert Prep

Back in a weird and wild world known as 2001, a man known affectionately by his growing list of die-hard followers as “The Evil Russian” had a novel idea: Why not put together a fitness certification that actually required you to prove that you were…you know…fit? Tests of strength, stamina, and real-world physical abilities took […]

Four Progressions to Conquer the One-Arm Pushup

When I first attended the StrongFirst Bodyweight (SFB) Certification in 2016, I failed the one-arm pushup test that weekend. Having recently passed the SFG Level I Certification seven months prior, I was new to StrongFirst methods and strength training and still in the early stages of becoming strong. Fast-forward to today, 2023, I have now […]

Clean and Jerk A+A Training for the Minimalist

Introduction After reaching timeless Simple in March of 2020, I decided to try out The Quick and the Dead (Q&D), while maintaining sport-specific training on the pushup which is part of my military testing. Pleased with the results of Q&D, I decided to continue with the program, but I had a problem. The book suggests […]