Karen Smith

Karen Smith is a Master SFG instructor, and the fourth woman to claim the Iron Maiden title. She has been personal training students of all fitness levels from beginners to elite US military forces since 2000. Karen specializes in kettlebell and bodyweight strength training. She is a certified Elite (SFGI, SFGII, SFB, SFL), FMS, and Battling Ropes instructor. Karen currently resides in Dallas where she is available for private and group sessions. She is also available worldwide for distance coaching and program design. Available for Online Training and in Person. She travels regularly instructing workshops and SF Courses and Certifications. She can be reached at karensmithmsfg@gmail.com or at her blog, Coach Karen Smith.
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Accepting new students. Training offered in person and online.
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In order to recover from an injury (herniated disc), I became interested in body weight. I decided to want to test oapu in order to work my sheath.
So I followed a 6 week karen program with 3 elevation levels. At the end of the program I was able to lower each elevation by almost 30 cm.
Today I am able to make an oapu with an elevation of 32 cm. I leave for a new cycle hoping to succeed in the end an oapu on the ground.
this cycle allowed me to gain control on my bench press, progress in hspu but also become aware of the cladding and work it.
thank you karen for this and mavoir makes you aware of the importance of working at body weight.

Joni Nogay
I met Coach Karen at my first SFG-I certification at the Dome in 2018. Since that experience I have purchased several of her written programs and I have intentionally attended two of her SFB certifications.
It wasn't until just recently that I knew I needed a Master in the field to help me come back at the age of 59, and the choice was quite obvious that I wanted to work with Coach Karen. She is already familiar with my performance issues, (hip arthritis, foot structure issues, etc.), so it was advantageous for me to contact her.
We've been working together for just over 60 days and the progress with my mobility has already moved from no squats and painful getups to weighted squats and less pain in the getup. An added bonus; when I have questions or concerns, the ability to drop a simple text and/or send a video is always welcome.
I'm confident with my consistent work in the gym and continued work with Karen, I'll be ready for everything in 2023 and forward.

Marc Chando
Having completed the StrongFirst Bodyweight Certification with Karen last November, I wanted to set my eyes on SFL next as well as the daunting Beast Tamer/Iron Maiden challenge but felt I could use a coach on this. Having completed it herself, she already inspired confidence in her abilities as a result of how friendly and down to earth she was while cultivating a fun learning environment and minimizing the stress over the Pass/Fail nature of the certification.

Several weeks into her program, I've seen exponential increases in my Strength I am very happy with! A few weeks out from SFL, I have not only achieved the level of strength I'll be testing out for, but surpassed it on all lifts. The Beast Tamer, which as of January seemed miles away, now seems just a few yards further until the finish line!

She has my utmost confidence as a fellow coach/teacher and whether you're taking a cert with her or considering individual training to meet a specific goal, you'll be in very knowledgeable and capable hands!

Sidenote - I wish in hindsight I had taken SFB before SFGII, could have saved myself from some of the headache of the 1/2 Bodyweight Military Press with the pushing principles taught at SFB

Colin Mermelstein
I took StrongFirst Bodyweight with Karen and it is by far one of the most necessary certifications for anyone looking to get strong. She broke down complex principles in a way that made it easy to grasp and comprehend and I’ve personally seen major improvements in my own strength and mobility. The best part is that the principles she teaches in this course transcend just bodyweight training. Regardless of the modality whether it be barbell, kettlebell, or anything else, the skills learned in SFB will drastically improve your performance or that of your clients. This was a must for anyone, beginner to advanced, looking to get stronger!

Riley O'Neill
Karen Smith's REFiNE program has been amazing. The results seem almost like magic. The mix of bodyweight and kettlebells in one program has been incredibly enjoyable and productive. Anyone who gets to attend one of her seminars or courses should consider themselves very privileged.

Augusto Juarez
I've had the privilege of attending one of Karen's certifications and assisting in two, and I continue to learn more from her every single time. Her mastery of strength principles and coaching is top-notch, making her capable of working with students of all levels, from the very early beginners to the most advanced athletes. She also genuinely cares, never passes judgement on anyone, and is very down-to-earth; making training with a coach of her caliber a very enjoyable experience rather than an intimidating one.

Veronica Dent
The knowledge and support I have received from Karen has been exceptional. With her expertise I have grown in my understanding of how my body responds to strength training and body weight stabilization. She is a amazing teacher but keeps her mind as a student always learning to help others. I would highly recommend Karen.

Brian Donahoe
Hey Karen,

What a great seminar this weekend. You were really impressive at conveying and breaking down the essential parts to building a strong strength foundation. When Phil Scarito told us to attend this seminar, I knew it would be beneficial. What I never expected was to walk out of a one day seminar with endless new tools and thought patterns. As a well rounded coach and Massage Therapist, I knew a lot of the stuff you showed but now feel as if I am learning it for the first time.

You really knocked it outta the park and I am greatly appreciative for the efforts you go to convey the SF Message. The plan this September is to complete the SFG Kettlebell I in PA and ultimately finishing the SFB Cert as soon as possible. Once again, way to go. You guys are rockstars at StrongFirst!


Brian Donahoe
Licensed Massage Therapist
Certified Personal Trainer - NSCA
Active Release Technique
Selective Functional Movement Assessment

Highly recommend Karen for your Kettlebell training from beginners to experts. She has a eye for form and can fine tune your kettlebell training. She is the go to expert for kettlebells and also has a wide range of training and experience in other modes of training as well.


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StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor
StrongFirst Elite
Kettlebell Instructor SFG II
Barbell Instructor SFL
Bodyweight Instructor SFB


Iron Maiden


City: McKinney
Zip code: 75072
State: TX
Country: United States

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