Keeping A Resilient Back as We Age

Meeting Pavel for the first time about twenty years ago changed my life. It is a story that has been told in these pages before. I was impressed with this quiet gentleman who knew so much about training systems far from the American tradition. We discussed the eloquence of Russian sport science that produced performance […]

20 Years and 20 Observations

In February of 2002 a group of 22 students assembled for the second ever kettlebell certification with Pavel. From water balloons, mattresses, and a very different teaching progression, it was life-changing to say the least. Out of the first group came many of the original senior instructors and the organic development of the School of […]

Mastering Your Press, Part I

When I’m invited to teach at an SFG I StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor Certification, I always request to lead the military press. I love teaching the military press and, pardon my lack of modesty, I’m very good at it. An average gym rat might classify the kettlebell military press as just another exercise for delts and […]

The Kettlebell Mile

The Kettlebell Mile is the product of a two-decade long search for a way to simultaneously train strength and aerobic capacity. It seems so obvious now, but the best ideas are seen as such only in retrospect. I had much learning and tinkering to do first but finally, the science and my experience (and that […]

Be as Strong as You Look: 8 Weeks of Built Strong Training

In the first days of quarantine, when things shut down and the composition of my days changed overnight, I came to a quick realization: I may never again have an opportunity quite like this to train for muscle mass. I was a 43-year-old father of two with a time-consuming day job who had been training […]

A Strength Plan for Professional Soccer Players

In team sports, soccer being a prime example, the time available to train an athlete’s physical strength is quite limited. The majority of training is spent performing tactical and technical sport related exercises. Keeping this in mind, I planned a new strength program for Renate Calcio, one of Italy’s professional soccer teams, around two fundamental […]

Mastering Your Press, Part II

In my first article, “Mastering Your Press, Part I,” I addressed specific ways to test your press and find weak areas by analyzing how your body responds to pressing a heavy kettlebell. Paying attention to where your press breaks down when things get heavy is an important aspect of mastering your press. Although there are […]

Get Stronger with One Kettlebell

Backstory In January 2021 I led the programming section at an SFG Level I certification. I wanted the attendees to grasp some programming concepts and be able to create an effective program with just one weight. So, I decided to build on what I had heard Fabio Zonin, StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor, discuss regarding a […]

All-Around Training for the Tactical Athlete

In the movie “Remember the Titans,” Coach Boone is the new head football coach of the first integrated school in Virginia. The school staff and parents immediately begin criticizing him. As they are preparing to leave for pre-season camp, Boone is carrying his playbook—a very thin portfolio of plays. Assistant Coach: “Awful skinny playbook in’t it?” […]

How I Achieved Five Reps of the Iron Maiden

The Goal The idea of the Five-Rep Iron Maiden was planted in my head back in 2018 after completing the Iron Maiden Challenge at The Dome in Chicago. Training for something as big as Iron Maiden takes years of practice and after training for something for so long, it’s hard to be “finished.” Ben Eisenmenger […]