Why StrongFirst?

“You can be anything you want… But you must be strong first.”

I ran this statement by several of my friends and colleagues and asked: 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?

They are Rob Lawrence and Steve Freides and and we all go way back. Rob went through the second RKC course a decade ago and later became a senior instructor. Although he left RKC after several years, he left a lasting mark. You may have seen snappy Lawrence quotations in my books and manuals. “If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.”

Steve Freides also earned his RKC in the early years of the program and became a team leader. A music professor with a bad back, he was bedridden for months. Then he decided to get strong and healthy. This fifty-year-old studied Power to the People!, Bullet-Proof Abs, and Relax into Stretch—and proceeded to achieve an American deadlift record for his age group, a set of abs one would not want to punch, and a full side split, suspended between chairs.

Shortly you will see StrongFirst blog entries by both gentlemen. Back to the StrongFirst name.

The English word “strength” has an awful lot of consonants, which is a challenge for non-English speakers. If you do not understand what this means, a joke about a Polish fellow getting an eye exam might drive the point home:

“Do you see the letters on the bottom line?” asks the doctor.

“Not only do I see them, I know the guy!” exclaims the Pole.

To a non-English speaker “ngth” is a tongue twister like a Polish name to an American. So I changed “strength” to “strong.” Hence StrongFirst.

An aside. You may already have figured out that this blog is not going to be politically correct. If you cannot stomach Polish jokes, Russian jokes, and so on, please seek your strength advice elsewhere. I despise political correctness as an attempt to suppress free speech. I have no tolerance for the thin-skinned people who claim to get offended on behalf of some group they belong to in order to advance some cause.

StrongFirst is for strong people who are not afraid to speak their minds and who do not have thin skin. What we do not tolerate is the lack of good manners. There is a sign at the “entrance” to the StrongFirst forum: “Ladies and gentlemen only.”

StrongFirst would have been just a name without the people behind it. Our instructor team includes national champions, national team coaches, former military special operators, first responders, law enforcement officers, elite martial artists, performing strongmen, national team doctors, and other high-end strength professionals.

On to world domination.

Why StrongFirst

Pavel Tsatsouline
Pavel Tsatsouline is the CEO of StrongFirst, Inc.

44 thoughts on “Why StrongFirst?

    • Been a fan of the RKC since I first read about kettlebells in 2001 Mens Health. Great to see Pavel continue to evolve & revolutionise the science & practice of strength. Looking forward to the new challenges ahead.

    • Can’t believe it’s over a decade ago I hopped over the pond for the RKC. All the best with your new endeavour

    • After being unceremoniously banned for life from DD for a respectful forum post expressing my support and intent to follow you in your decision to move forward, I have searched for where you may have landed. I finally found your new site this afternoon. Glad to see you back on the web.

      Also glad to see that so many felt the same way I did and have also followed you to this new place. I wish you all tremendous success.

  • Pavel,

    RKC was good ,StrongFirst is going to be AWESOME ! As soon as it possible I want to be an instructor too !

    .. politically incorrect Russian – Polish joke:

    A russian and a polish guy goes in to a german bar to drink something. The german bartender says: “Get the hell out !! “

  • Outstanding address and an outstanding roll call of strength experts. This is going to be one hell of an organisation.

  • Pavel
    Good to see you out on your own!! I know that this is going to be a great evolution in your life. I like what I’m seeing here.
    Will you be allowing us old RKC’s to join in on the fun?


    • You bet, David! Please post your question of the forum and I will answer it there.

      Great to hear from you, airman!

  • Michael Rendle is the real deal. I trained under his tutelage for 2+ years and even though it was only one day/week, I became more flexible, had more endurance, and had more strength in my early 50s than at any other time in my life.

  • Drove home from MN to the East Coast with two fellow RKC IIs (Chris and Salim) racing hurricane Sandy after flights cancelled. Will enjoy this site and all it offers…once I get power back. Looks great on my iPhone, though. Power to you and all those dealing with difficult circumstances!!!

  • It doesn’t get any better than those names listed above. I have never been more excited about the future. Good luck to all!

  • I am extremely happy that the leadership group I learned from and respect so much is still in tack with StrongFirst. Stay Strong everyone, we are in good hands!!!

  • It is a pleasure having learned from Pavel and his students. I look forward to increasing my strength and being a part of something great, Long Live StrongFirst! Thanks Pavel

  • Fantastic. Every Master, Senior or Team Leader I have worked with (save two) has made the switch. Quite frankly, FirstStrong feels like home. I am extremely proud to be recognized as an SFG II Instructor. Congrats to the Chief, Mark and everyone else involved. Thanks to Nikki for rapidly handling all of the recognition submissions.

  • As always, looking forward to learning from Pavel!!

    I bought my first set of kettlebells from
    Steve on a cold winter night …. I’ll never forget that night!!!


  • Just Wow! I am very excited to be here and part of this.

    Thank You all for all of your hard work putting it together.

    Don Berry

  • Congrats to Pavel and Team, I look forward to the excellent training, skills and
    insights to come!

  • Brilliant. It is exciting to be surrounded by years of experience, practice, and broad knowledge in and around the world of strength. I aim to learn all I can — a little from everyone here!

  • Without a doubt a team full of talent, and prestige. This is an awesome group of instructors. Look forward to meeting many of you.

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