Seven Steps to Strength: Programming as a Science Experiment

Truth comes out of error more readily than out of confusion. —Francis Bacon What do successful athletes not blessed with Olympic genes have in common?—Patience to tweak their training, one variable at a time, until they have found “their” way. Contrast that with a typical trainee who impatiently switches programs before he has had a […]

Bench Big by Improving Your Mobility

When creating the StrongFirst Lifting (SFL) Manual as well as the accompanying SFL Barbell Certification, we developed standards for the five tests administered at the SFL. These standards are based on the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and the USA Powerlifting (USAPL)’s “Rules of Performance.” Some of the SFL standards are identical to theirs and some […]

Staying Fit While Deployed

Having spent 20 years in the U.S. military, most of it during the Global War on Terror, I’ve seen my share of deployments. I rotated into combat zones seven times as a Navy SEAL, twice as a member of Team 2, and five times as a member of the Tier 1 SEAL unit. Staying fit […]

Avoid the Traps of Intuitive Training

An Excerpt from Iron Cardio By Brett Jones, StrongFirst Director of Education “It’s a trap.” —Admiral Ackbar Intuitive programs can fall into a few traps: Always intense Always increasing Increasing reps per set Not doing the math Chasing the clock Always Intense The “always intense” trap is the sneakier of the five. You think you […]

The Paradox Breathing Crunch for Stronger Abs and Bigger Lifts

An Excerpt from Deadlift Dynamite The paradox breathing technique, developed in the USSR by opera singer Alexandra Strelnikova for applications obviously unrelated to lifting, will teach you how to tense your abs while “packing” your belly with air. Lie on your back with your legs straight.[i] If you are top heavy, anchor your feet under […]

The Snatch Walking Protocol for Ultra-Athletes

A growing population of endurance/ultra-athletes and coaches are moving towards StrongFirst programming. These athletes and coaches bring questions on program design utilizing Strong EnduranceTM protocols. In this article, I will share the snatch walking plan I’ve designed using one of these protocols. Most of my students use this plan at the end of many months […]

How to Increase Power with “Grinds”

The good old days of bigger, faster, stronger are long gone. We know better now. Times have changed. The game of strength has new rules. It is not just about strength. It is about strength AND speed. It is about power. Force and Power Swinging a 32kg kettlebell is challenging, but we can all agree […]

How to Deadlift a Barbell Every Day

“If something is important. Do it every day.”—Dan Gable. The most feared and revered barbell lift. The most neurologically taxing exercise. The “king of all lifts.” The list of ways to describe the barbell deadlift goes on and on. In December of 2021, the question that wouldn’t leave my mind was: “Is it possible to […]

Optimizing the Kettlebell Military Press Grip—For You

“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”—Max McKeown We all know, hopefully, that learning is an ongoing process that is never complete. After 20 years of kettlebell training, we continue to learn, and our most recent lesson might just help a lot of you with your military press goals. What led […]

Kettlebell Deadlift ➔ Barbell Deadlift

An Excerpt from Deadlift Dynamite If you know your way around the kettlebell, you have an unfair advantage when it comes to learning barbell skills. Start with a barbell half-deadlift because it is less demanding of skill and flexibility. And it really teaches you to drive the hips forward, an essential element of Andy’s competition […]