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 […]

Alice in Kettlebell Wonderland and the Cruiser—a Perfect Kettlebell Plan for a Busy Person

You want to build strength and rock-hard muscles, but your busy schedule hasn’t allowed you to train regularly, you are under time constraints, and your sessions need to be time efficient, flexible, and engaging? Keep reading, I’ve got something for you. The plan I’m about to share is something I designed for my wife Alice, […]

Deadlifts: Common Misconceptions and Practical Tips

I felt a pop and folded like a house of cards. Two years ago, I herniated a disc during my top deadlift set. I was training earlier than usual so my body was rather stiff. Despite a brief warm-up, I loaded up the usual 405 pounds and got into position. Arms straight, hips hinged, and […]

Upstream Strength Strategies

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”—Paul Batalden, Medical Expert In his book, Upstream: How to solve problems before they happen, Dan Heath talks about how upstream decisions can have a greater impact on downstream results. He also explains the difference between upstream decisions and preventative measures (being proactive is not […]

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 […]

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 […]

Iron Cardio with a Strength Bias

Introduction I’ve been a fan of Brett Jones’s “Iron Cardio” program since he first told me about it. I think it’s an excellent regimen for maintaining and improving general fitness, which at 54 years old, is my primary goal. Naturally, I do have other more specific performance goals, one of which is to eventually (finally) […]

Cheat Cleans as a Strength Builder

At the SFG I, where many of us learned to use kettlebells as strength tools, we are first taught the swing. As we’ve heard StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor Emeritus, Rif say, “the swing is the center of the kettlebell universe.” The instruction of the swing is then followed by the get-up, the squat, the press, […]

The Triple Gear Squat Protocol

In a recent article, I explained how varying your lifting speed can help you gain more strength. Today I will show you a couple of ways of applying this knowledge to boost your squat, barbell (back, front, Zercher) or kettlebell (goblet, double front). 3 x Gear Squat Protocol #1 The simplest thing you can do […]