Updates from April, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Nikki Shlosser 5:01 pm on April 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring 2016 TSC Results 

    Recap

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Spring TSC results are final!

    Thank you to everyone who took part in this very unique day of worldwide strength, spirit, and camaraderie. This April 2016 TSC included nearly 1,200 participants—the most in history.

    We heard reports from all over of people breaking personal records in at least one of the three events, and of many locations where every single person in attendance achieved a personal best lift.

    Our Women’s Novice division is once again the largest category with 338 participants, and for many (if not most) of them, this TSC was their first-ever strength competition of any kind. And by all accounts, they had an awesome time. In case you were wondering, all Novice category winners (top three men and women) must graduate from the Novice category in all future TSC competitions, and enter in the Open, Elite, or Masters (if qualified by age).

    TOP COMBINED SCORES IN EACH CATEGORY

    And so now, let us acknowledge the highest combined scores in each of the eight categories. For full rankings and results, please visit the leaderboard HERE.

    Women’s Novice

    1st: Martina McDermott at Hybrid Fitness in Belfast, Ireland
    Snatches 139, FAH 85 sec, Deadlift 319

    2nd: Ilona Wilson at The Yard Athletic in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Snatches 132, FAH 105 sec, Deadlift 319.5

    3rd: Katie Bogs at Tyson’s Playground in Stafford, VA
    Snatches 144, FAH 74 sec, Deadlift 265

    Women’s Open

    The Women’s Open was a close race, ending in a tie for first place. Both women are from Salt Lake City and competed head-to-head. Nicole Davis had an impressive 360lb deadlift, and Saxony Record, fairly new to our community, unable to complete a pull-up just a year ago performed twelve neck-to-bar reps! What a great showing by both athletes.

    1st Tie: Nicole Davis at Brickwall CrossFit South in West Jordan, UT
    Snatches 124, Pull-ups 15, Deadlift 360

    1st Tie: Saxony Record at FTR in Salt Lake City, UT
    Snatches 134, Pull-ups 12, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Vix Sharp at Hybrid Fitness in Belfast, Ireland
    Snatches 141, Pull-ups 12, Deadlift 303

    Honorable mention goes to Roxanne Myers who took first place in two events, both the pull-ups with 18 and snatches with 149. Very impressive.

    Women’s Elite

    An incredible showing in the women’s Elite division was led by Hyun Jin Choi—she took first in the 20kg snatch with 118 reps and in the deadlift, pulling 348lbs. Hyun Jin Choi was proud to be one of those competitors performing a “TSC Hat Trick” (improving in all three categories).

    1st: Hyun Jin Choi at Powerzone in Seoul, South Korea
    Snatches 118, Pull-ups 9, Deadlift 348

    2nd: Sara Cooper at Shropshire Sports Training in Ellicott City, MD
    Snatches 116, Pull-ups 10, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Aleana Myers at Gainz Strength Training Gym in Vancouver, WA
    Snatches 114, Pull-ups 7, Deadlift 320

    Women’s Masters

    1st: Angelique Shoeman at The Yard Athletic in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Snatches 153, Pull-ups 10, Deadlift 269

    2nd: Elizabeth Arndt at Omaha Elite in Omaha, NE
    Snatches 159, Pull-ups 3, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Linda Mertens at Crow River CrossFit in Plymouth, MN
    Snatches 160, Pull-ups 3, Deadlift 285

    Men’s Novice

    1st: Mike Wagner at TNT Fitness Results in Winneconne, WI
    Snatches 164, Pull-ups 26, Deadlift 600

    2nd: “Dangerous” Dave Doyle at Box 33 in South Femantle, Australia
    Snatches 154, Pull-ups 25, Deadlift 507

    3rd: Karlo Fresl at OutFit in Samabor, Croatia
    Snatches 134, Pull-ups 23, Deadlift 496

    Men’s Open

    1st: Tim Almond at Box 33 in South Femantle, Australia
    Snatches 165, Pull-ups 37, Deadlift 551

    2nd: Aldo Alberico at Lugo, Ravenna, Italy
    Snatches 151, Pull-ups 22, Deadlift 584

    3rd: Jason Marshall at Lone Star Strength in Lubbock, TX
    Snatches 148, Pull-ups 20, Deadlift 605

    Men’s Open Fun Facts

    • 35 men deadlifted over 500lbs
    • 34 men completed 20 or more dead hang pull-ups
    • 35 men did 125 reps or more of snatches

     

    Men’s Elite

    The always impressive and still undefeated Derek Toshner leads the pack in the men’s Elite. He didn’t win a single event but with two second places and one third place he isn’t giving up his title anytime soon.

    1st: Derek Toshner at TNT Fitness Results, Fon Du Lac, WI
    Snatches 139, Pull-ups 20, Deadlift 600

    2nd: Ryan Karas at Vigor Performance in Loveland, CO
    Snatches 101, Pull-ups 21, Deadlift 635

    3rd: William Stott at Brickwall CrossFit South in Salt Lake City, UT
    Snatches 107, Pull-ups 17, Deadlift 639

    Men’s Masters

    1st: Steven Horwitz at his gym in Rockwall, TX
    Snatches 129, Pull-ups 18, Deadlift 475

    2nd: Brian Smith at Primitive Strength in Amarillo, TX
    Snatches 126, Pull-ups 15, Deadlift 415

    3rd: David Knuth at TNT Fitness Results in Lomira, WI
    Snatches 141, Pull-ups 7, Deadlift 485

    Congratulations to all of you!

    TSC Event Snapshots

    Just a few random photos from the day:

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results
    April 2016 TSC Results
    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    Participating Host Facilities

    Finally, thank you to every one of these facilities for hosting this Spring 2016 Tactical Strength Challenge.

    evolution fitness systems | tucson | az
    heavy metal girya | birmingham | al
    hybrid fitness | belfast | antrim
    fvt boot camp and personal training | sacramento | ca
    crossfit virtus les docks | marseille | bouches du rhone
    velocity strength & fitness | chico | ca
    north beach kettlebell | san clemente | ca
    breathrough strength & fitness | woodland hills | ca
    projectmove | littleton | co
    guliver fitness | solin | croatia
    full force personal training | modesto | ca
    armourbuilding | peachtree corners | ga
    vigor performance | windsor | co
    functional training prague | prague | dejvice
    catalyst strength studio| north liberty | ia
    atlanta strength and conditioning | marietta | ga
    spencer school of strength | spencer | ia
    method training | peoria | il
    victory strength and fitness | 2503 fairview pl | in
    the yard athletic | johannesburg | gauteng
    bestrong training | wichita | ks
    strongfirst israel | bat yam | israel
    crossfit i35 | overland park | ks
    powerzone | seoul | gyunggi-do
    fawn friday kettlebell training | st. paul | mn
    art & strength | baltimore | md
    chicago primal gym | chicago | il
    vault fitness | eden prairie | mn
    rapid results fitness | durham | nc
    reactive training | glasgow | lanarkshire
    efx fitness | manchester | nh
    shore results | atlantic highlands | nj
    nj kettlebells | fairfield | nj
    omaha elite kettlebell | omaha | ne
    kings thai boxing | new york | ny
    crossfit solaria | omaha | ne
    mojo strength | matraville sydney | nsw
    move physical therapy | monroe | ny
    mansfield ymca | mansfield | oh
    catskill kettlebells | delhi | ny
    firebellz | albuquerque | nm
    courthouse south river road club | salem | or
    today’s health and fitness | toowoomba | qld
    misfit gym | burleigh heads | qld
    queen city kettlebell | cincinnati | oh
    empowered strength | bend | or
    willpower strength & conditioning | ardmore | pa
    lone star kettlebell | lubbock | tx
    crucible krav maga | plano | tx
    charleston kettlebell club | charleston | sc
    iron strength kettlebell gym | sugar land | tx
    palextra | lugo | ravenna
    alpha fitness | east greenwich | ri
    24 hour fitness | the woodlands | tx
    moulton kettlebell club | roanoke | tx
    impavidus gym | ashburn | va
    hardstyle kbjj | corpus christi | texas
    primitive strength | amarillo | tx
    box 33 | perth | wa
    fit by red | seattle | wa
    gainz strength training gym | vancouver | wa
    brickwall crossfit south | west jordan | ut
    the lab strength & fitness | spokane | wa
    be better | gig harbor | wa
    kettlebility | seattle | wa
    tnt fitness results | fond du lac | wi
    tysons playground | vienna | va
    heaven hell asd | sarmeola di rubano | italy
    ironkore performance training systems inc | toronto
    fuelhouse | seattle | wa
    hybrid gym | gabcikovo
    tnt performance | brookfield | wi
    bkc gym | bristol

    FALL TSC SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 1, 2016——MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    The post Spring 2016 TSC Results appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Nikki Shlosser 5:01 pm on April 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring 2016 TSC Results 

    Recap

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Spring TSC results are final!

    Thank you to everyone who took part in this very unique day of worldwide strength, spirit, and camaraderie. This April 2016 TSC included nearly 1,200 participants—the most in history.

    We heard reports from all over of people breaking personal records in at least one of the three events, and of many locations where every single person in attendance achieved a personal best lift.

    Our Women’s Novice division is once again the largest category with 338 participants, and for many (if not most) of them, this TSC was their first-ever strength competition of any kind. And by all accounts, they had an awesome time. In case you were wondering, all Novice category winners (top three men and women) must graduate from the Novice category in all future TSC competitions, and enter in the Open, Elite, or Masters (if qualified by age).

    TOP COMBINED SCORES IN EACH CATEGORY

    And so now, let us acknowledge the highest combined scores in each of the eight categories. For full rankings and results, please visit the leaderboard HERE.

    Women’s Novice

    1st: Martina McDermott at Hybrid Fitness in Belfast, Ireland
    Snatches 139, FAH 85 sec, Deadlift 319

    2nd: Ilona Wilson at The Yard Athletic in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Snatches 132, FAH 105 sec, Deadlift 319.5

    3rd: Katie Bogs at Tyson’s Playground in Stafford, VA
    Snatches 144, FAH 74 sec, Deadlift 265

    Women’s Open

    The Women’s Open was a close race, ending in a tie for first place. Both women are from Salt Lake City and competed head-to-head. Nicole Davis had an impressive 360lb deadlift, and Saxony Record, fairly new to our community, unable to complete a pull-up just a year ago performed twelve neck-to-bar reps! What a great showing by both athletes.

    1st Tie: Nicole Davis at Brickwall CrossFit South in West Jordan, UT
    Snatches 124, Pull-ups 15, Deadlift 360

    1st Tie: Saxony Record at FTR in Salt Lake City, UT
    Snatches 134, Pull-ups 12, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Vix Sharp at Hybrid Fitness in Belfast, Ireland
    Snatches 141, Pull-ups 12, Deadlift 303

    Honorable mention goes to Roxanne Myers who took first place in two events, both the pull-ups with 18 and snatches with 149. Very impressive.

    Women’s Elite

    An incredible showing in the women’s Elite division was led by Hyun Jin Choi—she took first in the 20kg snatch with 118 reps and in the deadlift, pulling 348lbs. Hyun Jin Choi was proud to be one of those competitors performing a “TSC Hat Trick” (improving in all three categories).

    1st: Hyun Jin Choi at Powerzone in Seoul, South Korea
    Snatches 118, Pull-ups 9, Deadlift 348

    2nd: Sara Cooper at Shropshire Sports Training in Ellicott City, MD
    Snatches 116, Pull-ups 10, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Aleana Myers at Gainz Strength Training Gym in Vancouver, WA
    Snatches 114, Pull-ups 7, Deadlift 320

    Women’s Masters

    1st: Angelique Shoeman at The Yard Athletic in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Snatches 153, Pull-ups 10, Deadlift 269

    2nd: Elizabeth Arndt at Omaha Elite in Omaha, NE
    Snatches 159, Pull-ups 3, Deadlift 305

    3rd: Linda Mertens at Crow River CrossFit in Plymouth, MN
    Snatches 160, Pull-ups 3, Deadlift 285

    Men’s Novice

    1st: Mike Wagner at TNT Fitness Results in Winneconne, WI
    Snatches 164, Pull-ups 26, Deadlift 600

    2nd: “Dangerous” Dave Doyle at Box 33 in South Femantle, Australia
    Snatches 154, Pull-ups 25, Deadlift 507

    3rd: Karlo Fresl at OutFit in Samabor, Croatia
    Snatches 134, Pull-ups 23, Deadlift 496

    Men’s Open

    1st: Tim Almond at Box 33 in South Femantle, Australia
    Snatches 165, Pull-ups 37, Deadlift 551

    2nd: Aldo Alberico at Lugo, Ravenna, Italy
    Snatches 151, Pull-ups 22, Deadlift 584

    3rd: Jason Marshall at Lone Star Strength in Lubbock, TX
    Snatches 148, Pull-ups 20, Deadlift 605

    Men’s Open Fun Facts

    • 35 men deadlifted over 500lbs
    • 34 men completed 20 or more dead hang pull-ups
    • 35 men did 125 reps or more of snatches

     

    Men’s Elite

    The always impressive and still undefeated Derek Toshner leads the pack in the men’s Elite. He didn’t win a single event but with two second places and one third place he isn’t giving up his title anytime soon.

    1st: Derek Toshner at TNT Fitness Results, Fon Du Lac, WI
    Snatches 139, Pull-ups 20, Deadlift 600

    2nd: Ryan Karas at Vigor Performance in Loveland, CO
    Snatches 101, Pull-ups 21, Deadlift 635

    3rd: William Stott at Brickwall CrossFit South in Salt Lake City, UT
    Snatches 107, Pull-ups 17, Deadlift 639

    Men’s Masters

    1st: Steven Horwitz at his gym in Rockwall, TX
    Snatches 129, Pull-ups 18, Deadlift 475

    2nd: Brian Smith at Primitive Strength in Amarillo, TX
    Snatches 126, Pull-ups 15, Deadlift 415

    3rd: David Knuth at TNT Fitness Results in Lomira, WI
    Snatches 141, Pull-ups 7, Deadlift 485

    Congratulations to all of you!

    TSC Event Snapshots

    Just a few random photos from the day:

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results
    April 2016 TSC Results
    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    April 2016 TSC ResultsApril 2016 TSC Results

    Participating Host Facilities

    Finally, thank you to every one of these facilities for hosting this Spring 2016 Tactical Strength Challenge.

    evolution fitness systems | tucson | az
    heavy metal girya | birmingham | al
    hybrid fitness | belfast | antrim
    fvt boot camp and personal training | sacramento | ca
    crossfit virtus les docks | marseille | bouches du rhone
    velocity strength & fitness | chico | ca
    north beach kettlebell | san clemente | ca
    breathrough strength & fitness | woodland hills | ca
    projectmove | littleton | co
    guliver fitness | solin | croatia
    full force personal training | modesto | ca
    armourbuilding | peachtree corners | ga
    vigor performance | windsor | co
    functional training prague | prague | dejvice
    catalyst strength studio| north liberty | ia
    atlanta strength and conditioning | marietta | ga
    spencer school of strength | spencer | ia
    method training | peoria | il
    victory strength and fitness | 2503 fairview pl | in
    the yard athletic | johannesburg | gauteng
    bestrong training | wichita | ks
    strongfirst israel | bat yam | israel
    crossfit i35 | overland park | ks
    powerzone | seoul | gyunggi-do
    fawn friday kettlebell training | st. paul | mn
    art & strength | baltimore | md
    chicago primal gym | chicago | il
    vault fitness | eden prairie | mn
    rapid results fitness | durham | nc
    reactive training | glasgow | lanarkshire
    efx fitness | manchester | nh
    shore results | atlantic highlands | nj
    nj kettlebells | fairfield | nj
    omaha elite kettlebell | omaha | ne
    kings thai boxing | new york | ny
    crossfit solaria | omaha | ne
    mojo strength | matraville sydney | nsw
    move physical therapy | monroe | ny
    mansfield ymca | mansfield | oh
    catskill kettlebells | delhi | ny
    firebellz | albuquerque | nm
    courthouse south river road club | salem | or
    today’s health and fitness | toowoomba | qld
    misfit gym | burleigh heads | qld
    queen city kettlebell | cincinnati | oh
    empowered strength | bend | or
    willpower strength & conditioning | ardmore | pa
    lone star kettlebell | lubbock | tx
    crucible krav maga | plano | tx
    charleston kettlebell club | charleston | sc
    iron strength kettlebell gym | sugar land | tx
    palextra | lugo | ravenna
    alpha fitness | east greenwich | ri
    24 hour fitness | the woodlands | tx
    moulton kettlebell club | roanoke | tx
    impavidus gym | ashburn | va
    hardstyle kbjj | corpus christi | texas
    primitive strength | amarillo | tx
    box 33 | perth | wa
    fit by red | seattle | wa
    gainz strength training gym | vancouver | wa
    brickwall crossfit south | west jordan | ut
    the lab strength & fitness | spokane | wa
    be better | gig harbor | wa
    kettlebility | seattle | wa
    tnt fitness results | fond du lac | wi
    tysons playground | vienna | va
    heaven hell asd | sarmeola di rubano | italy
    ironkore performance training systems inc | toronto
    fuelhouse | seattle | wa
    hybrid gym | gabcikovo
    tnt performance | brookfield | wi
    bkc gym | bristol

    FALL TSC SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 1, 2016——MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    The post Spring 2016 TSC Results appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Aleks Salkin 10:00 am on April 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Calisthenics for Iron Domination: From Bodyweight to Heavy Weight 

    By Aleks Salkin, SFG II, SFB

    You know what, I get it. No really, I get it. You think of calisthenics as a back-up plan when you don’t have any iron handy, rather than a discipline to be practiced and mastered.

    To be honest, I don’t blame you. YouTube and Facebook are replete with matchstick-legged Eastern European street workout urchins posting party-trick calisthenics moves and blood-and-guts high-rep sets in tragically dub step-laden compilation videos, and if that’s all you see, who can blame you for thinking calisthenics is best suited for teenage hoodlums with a probable criminal record and a propensity for skipping leg day?

    The reality is far more intriguing, and holds the potential for demolishing your previous strength and conditioning personal records in your barbell and kettlebell practice and replacing them with all new levels of iron domination. Interested yet?

    Good, because this article is going to be on how to employ calisthenics into your current training to enhance your kettlebell and/or barbell practice.

    Doug Hepburn Handstand Push-Up

    Doug Hepburn celebrating after a competition with a freestanding handstand push-up. Hepburn is the man credited with popularizing the powerlifts, was first to bench over 500lbs, and is considered by some physical culture historians to be the strongest man of all time

    But First: Why Calisthenics?

    To put it simply, calisthenics—when stripped down to its most fundamental elements—is the ability to control and master your body in free space. The better you can do that, the easier it is to control external objects in free space as well as defy gravity.

    In fact, this is the first thing we learn to do as we’re developing. We don’t build our strength by bench pressing our Legos. We do it by learning to make gravity bend to the will of our bodies by first learning to lift and control our heads, roll around on the ground, rock back and forth, crawl on all fours, and eventually walk upright. These humble beginnings—known as the developmental sequence—set the stage for all the rest of your strength and athleticism, and it starts with defying gravity. When you can make gravity bend to your will, you can make iron do the same.

    Marvin Eder Training Calisthenics

    Marvin Eder redefining the “bodyweight” dip.

    You need only take a look at any of the old school iron legends and you’ll notice one big thing in common: in addition to hoisting preposterous poundages, they always had incredible calisthenics feats to their name.

    • “Marvelous” Marvin Eder could reportedly do a mind-bending eight one-arm chin-ups per arm, and John Grimek was said to do six or seven per arm. Moreover, both Eder and proto-powerlifter Pat Casey performed incredibly heavy dips on a regular basis (Eder could do a dip with two 200lb men clinging to his legs), with Casey even occasionally going so far as to do eight-hour dipping sessions (you read that right). Pat Casey was the first man to bench press 600lbs and Marvin Eder was the first man under 200lbs to bench 500. Wonder why.
    • British berserker, pro-wrestler, and all-around tough guy Bert Assirati was an iron nut famous for squatting 800lbs before squatting had even become fashionable and curls were still socially acceptable (so long as you didn’t do them in a squat rack). He could easily bust out such next-level calisthenics feats as multiple one-arm chins per arm, stand-to-stand bridges, one-arm handstands, and even the coveted and rarely seen iron cross–all at a not-so-svelte 240lbs.
    • The Father of Modern Bodybuilding (and the guy who still appears on Mr. Universe trophies) Eugen Sandow was said to be able to do one-finger chin-ups on any finger of either hand (including his thumb).
    • Weightlifter and world record holder Paul “The Wonder of Nature” Anderson routinely performed handstand push-ups and one-legged squats. He also once outran an Olympic gold medalist in sprinting in a twenty-yard dash, which is not bad for anyone, let alone a 350+lb slab of beef.
    • Fred Hatfield—more affectionately known as “Dr. Squat”—was the first man to squat 1,000lbs in competition. He started off his athletic career as a gymnast.

    So now are you convinced that calisthenics is good for more than just over-produced YouTube videos from behind the former Iron Curtain? Good. Now it’s time to get to work.

    Bert Assirati training calisthenics

    Bert Assirati performs a one-arm handstand.

    How to Incorporate Calisthenics Into Your Strength Training

    Due to the incomparable versatility of bodyweight training, you have multiple choices:

    1. Drop your iron completely, spend one to three months doing bodyweight training only, and then re-test yourself on your favorite lifts to see how you fare. An extreme approach—and one that can work wonders—but not necessary.
    2. Save calisthenics for your variety day. A great option that will fit into just about any three-day strength program and allow you to get in some high-quality, low-rep work without feeling rushed.
    3. Pair a few low-rep sets of calisthenics with an iron drill of your choice.
    4. A mix of all of the above options.

    Just for fun, we’ll go with option four. Why? It will allow you to spread out a number of high-yield calisthenics exercises throughout your program and get the benefits not only of regular low-rep, high tension strength practice, but will do so without overwhelming you. What’s more, you’ll also fill in a lot of gaps in your strength and begin to acquire a variety of skills you’re less likely to get in your regular iron practice. Filling in these cracks will propel you forward in all of your athletic and iron goals.

    Let’s say your regular practice is three days a week of the following:

    • Double kettlebell clean + press
    • Double kettlebell front squat
    • Swing

    Here’s how we’re going to spice it up, fill in the gaps, and crush weakness even faster using a deadly blend of both iron and your own fair flesh. The following are my recommendations on how to maximize your training with a complementary assortment of classic calisthenics moves.

    Main Days

    Double kettlebell military press: 3-5×5
    + 2-3 sets of 3-5 handstand push-ups

    Double kettlebell front squat: 3-5×5
    + a set of 1-2 hanging leg raises between sets

    Weighted pull-ups: 3-5×5 (these weren’t in your original program, so I did you a favor and added them in—you’re welcome).

    Single kettlebell swing: 5-10×10
    + 2-3 sets of 2-5 reps of any easy pistol progression before you start swinging

    Variety Days

    Front lever progression: 5 sets of 5 second holds

    L-sit progression: 5 sets of 5 second holds

    One-arm one-leg push-up progression: 3×3

    Back bridge progression: 3 sets of whatever your current flexibility levels will permit

    You might have noticed this is anything but a beginner’s program. This will demand a lot of work from you, and as such will also demand a lot of recovery. I suggest starting your sessions off with some Original Strength resets to get the lifting juices flowing, and to do a cool down of more Original Strength or some of Pavel’s “fast and loose” drills along with Master SFG Jon Engum’s Flexible Steel drills to stretch what you’ve so powerfully tightened.

    So what are the benefits of each choice and each pairing?

    • Handstand push-ups: These allow you to work on your overhead pressing groove and get in more volume—crucial for overhead pressing success—with less overall fatigue, since simply doing more military presses will serve mostly to trash your legs and abs, which handstand push-ups will not. Moreover, your forearm flexors will get some repose since they’ll no longer be crushing handles during your presses.
    • Hanging leg raises: To quote Pavel, “I have never known a single person who regularly practiced hanging leg raises and failed to develop a hard and useful set of abs. Ever.” If that’s not good enough for you (for shame!), hanging leg raises will also help connect your grip, your core, and even your lats into your front squatting efforts. Unless you’re one of those non-squatting chicken leg-types I mentioned earlier in the article, I shouldn’t have to explain why that will be useful for your squats.
    • Weighted pull-ups: One of the best back builders around. Your grip and core will sit up and take notice, too.
    • Pistols: Pistols are great for building what Pavel refers to as “steering strength,” while also teaching you how to root through your feet and engage your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and abs together at once. My friend Corey Howard of Sioux Falls, South Dakota—a former powerlifter—told me a few years ago he did only pistols for his lower body strength work. When he came back to swings, his heaviest bells suddenly floated with incredible ease.
    • Front lever and L-sit progressions: Both of these are fundamental—and indispensable—straight-arm scapular strength moves. Straight arm scapular strength is the final frontier of upper body strength development. Overlooked and under-appreciated by the average strength enthusiast, these are a power tool against weakness in all its forms, and are the greatest way I know of to speed toward ever-increasing strength in all of your favorite feats—including kettlebell and barbell feats. Ignore them to your own detriment. The amount you’ll be doing won’t impress any gymnast (but then again, not much will) but it will set you on the right track, and a little dab will do ya.
    • One-arm one-leg push-up: See my blog on this topic so I don’t have to repeat myself here.
    • Bridge: We all spend too much time in forward flexion, and most bodyweight feats will only add to that. These will reverse that trend.

    So there you have it. A demystified approach to combining iron and bodyweight training to get brutishly strong, defy gravity, and overturn all of your old records, replacing them with newer, more impressive ones. You already have all the tools you need: your iron of choice, your bodyweight, gravity, and time.

    Now all you need to add is work. Give it two to three months and let me know how it worked for you. Get after it!

    Aleks Salkin StrongFirstAleks Salkin is an SFG Level II and an Original Strength Instructor. He grew up scrawny, un-athletic, weak, and goofy until he was exposed in his early twenties to kettlebells and the teachings and methodology of Pavel. Aleks is currently based out of Jerusalem, Israel and spends his time teaching clients both in-person and online, as well as spreading the word of StrongFirst and calisthenics. He regularly writes about strength and health both on his website and as a guest author on other websites. Find him online at Aleks Salkin and on his Facebook.

    The post Calisthenics for Iron Domination: From Bodyweight to Heavy Weight appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Greg Woods 9:00 am on April 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    If You Want to Get Better, You Must Think Better 

    By Greg Woods, SFG I

    You are worrying too much. Especially about what I think of you as a person. I can tell because you keep starting the movement we’re working on and then immediately looking over at me before even finishing the lift. And when you mess up, you shake your head before I can even comment.

    I don’t care about how you’re dressed, so long as it doesn’t impede your movement. I don’t care how much money you make or what your politics are. It doesn’t matter whether you’re entirely new to exercise or if you’re “elite” (self-declared or for serious). You came here for coaching, so I will coach you to the best of my ability. I will put in lots of time and effort to support you. In exchange for this, I ask one thing:

    Stop shaking your head.

    There is nothing that bothers me as a coach quite as much as an athlete who so enthusiastically embraces defeat that they shake their head “no” in the middle of a lift or workout.

    To get better, you must think better

    Training Is Not About Impressing Others

    I was chubby and not particularly athletic as a kid. But like most kids, I did dabble in various sports. Most of the coaches I had were pretty similar in general attitude, and many of them have blurred into this all-encompassing singular “Coach” character in my mind. Whistle, ill-fitting hat, polo tucked into too-short shorts over pasty legs.

    With few exceptions, Coach made me feel rather unwelcome. I felt like a failure most of the time, like I was perpetually letting down the team. And most importantly, letting down Coach. It always felt like I should be apologizing, even when I was on the sidelines. “Sorry I’m not good enough to be first string where I could be of some use.”

    When I started lifting, I shook my head a lot. Because I still felt beholden to the people around me. I wasn’t doing any of this for me—I was doing it for them. This is also known as: doing something for the wrong reasons. I was trying to impress my coach and my teammates. And like marrying for money, exercising merely to impress others is one of the surefire ways to not get what you want.

    Even the Best Coach Can’t Think for You

    A good coach will never make an athlete feel like they need to apologize for sincerely trying and not succeeding. A good coach will dig deep to find any possible angle to reach his or her athlete. That doesn’t mean lavishing the athlete with false praise. It doesn’t mean being insincere. It doesn’t mean being a cheerleader for the sake of it.

    It does mean being patient. A good coach will be near-relentless at educating you. A good coach can spot obstacles to your progress far in advance of them occurring. A good coach will influence you do things that help you be better despite yourself.

    To get better, you must think betterOften, the biggest obstacle is yourself. It’s that head shake you do when a lift went poorly. It’s when you step up to the bar to attempt a personal record and mutter, “Well, this isn’t going to happen.” It’s when you look at the day’s workout and say, “This is going to suck.”

    The best coaches in the world still can’t steer your attitude for you. They can’t value you, for you. Just like any movement or lift you’ll encounter in the gym, getting yourself into a proper head space more strongly and consistently starts with practice.

    Every day. Every workout. Every rep.

    And you know what the first step toward a better mental practice is? Stop shaking your head.

    If You Want to Get Better, You Must Think Better

    When you miss a personal record, when your get-up is flawed, or whatever it is—learn from it. Don’t smirk at it. You’re not letting me down so long as you’re learning. The only person you can possibly let down is yourself, and only then by beating yourself up about the learning process. If you’re trying, you’re succeeding.

    My athletes know they aren’t supposed to indulge in negative self-talk in my classes. Because it’s a big deal. It affects your neurology. Your brain doesn’t just control your body. Your thoughts affect your output and potential. (For more on the StrongFirst approach to positive thinking, check out the book Psych.)

    I’ve never understood why it is most people roll their eyes at the positive thinkers we encounter, but are generally supportive of everyone talking down to themselves. Rather twisted, isn’t it? When we see someone reciting self-affirmations, we almost immediately label them as naive or at least kind of silly.

    But the Stuart Smalleys of the world are onto something. Eliminating negative self-talk reduces stress. Your self-directed words and actions quite literally lead your brain and body to behave according to those boundaries you are setting for yourself.

    So, if you walk up to a heavy barbell and say, “This isn’t going to go so well”—guess what? It’s not going to go so well.

    To get better, you must think betterBottom line: what we think and say about ourselves is who we are. It’s happening every moment of your day. It doesn’t even have to be a complete thought to have a negative impact—just a frown can do it. At StrongFirst, you hear a lot of talk about greasing the groove with good movement, but when you indulge in constant negative thinking you’re also greasing the groove, in entirely the wrong way.

    It goes back to the most important reminder I constantly throw out to my clients: what are you practicing? If you’re practicing feeling and lifting like a piece of garbage, then sure—shake your head all you want. But if you’re trying to get better, then you need to think better.

    Until Your Head Is Straight, Nothing Else Will Be

    Even without the research, this is logic. Brain controls body, and if your brain is full of self-hating nonsense, your body will respond accordingly.

    I’m not asking you to be a bubbly cheerleader for yourself. I’m not even asking you to stop being negative on the whole, in every area of your life. Not yet. For now, I’m simplifying things even further. Because we all have to start somewhere. Clean up your head first. Until that’s on straight, nothing else will be.

    Greg Woods SFGGreg Woods is a strength and movement-focused personal trainer and endurance coach. He believes all humans should be knowledgeable about and train in as many modalities as they can, as evidenced by his many and varied certifications including: SFG, MovNat, Z-Health, CrossFit (with specialty courses in endurance and gymnastics), USAW, and NASM. His special interests include mobilization for heavy lifters, corrective exercise, neurological training, run form, and convincing people they can do more than they thought possible.

    After 2000+ hours coaching CrossFit, Greg has been broadening his horizons with ever more kettlebell training, gymnastics, and natural movement – specifically focusing on these principles in his own personal training company started in 2015: Structure Strength and Conditioning. In his spare time, Greg Woods writes fiction and loves to travel. He is based in Durham, NC.

    The post If You Want to Get Better, You Must Think Better appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Brett Jones 9:00 am on April 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Personal Space Rules When Snatching the Kettlebell 

    By Brett Jones, Chief SFG

    We have all joked about our personal space. From a basic psychological perspective our personal space can be defined as:

    “[T]he area surrounding an individual that is perceived as private by the individual, who may regard a movement into the space by another person as intrusive. Personal space boundaries vary somewhat in different cultures, but in general they are regarded as a distance of about 1 meter (3 feet) around the individual.” – Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition

    This concept of personal space is not new. As science journalist Natalie Wolchover of wrote in a Discovery News psychology article, “According to American anthropologist Edward Hall, whose 1960s research on the topic still stands today, you’re actually enveloped by bubbles of four different sizes, each of which applies to a different set of potential interlopers.”

    What are these four bubbles or zones? Wolchover went on to explain:

    “The smallest zone, called “intimate space,” extends outward from our bodies 18 inches in every direction, and only family, pets and one’s closest friends may enter. A mere acquaintance hanging out in our intimate space gives us the heebie-jeebies. Next in size is the bubble Hall called “personal space,” extending from 1.5 feet to 4 feet away. Friends and acquaintances can comfortably occupy this zone, especially during informal conversations, but strangers are strictly forbidden. Extending from 4 to 12 feet away from us is social space, in which people feel comfortable conducting routine social interactions with new acquaintances or total strangers. Beyond that is public space, open to all.”

    Now these bubbles as described by Edward Hall are more specific to Americans and there can be large cultural differences in personal space. As you saw, Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines personal space as being one meter, or three feet. In the end personal space is, well, personal.

    Personal Space Circles

    I’m sure at this point you are wondering what in the world this has to do with snatching a kettlebell? So, let’s use the concept of personal space to assist us in enhancing our technique in snatching a kettlebell.

    Personal Space vs. Intimate Space: Swing vs. Snatch

    The hip action of the snatch is the same hip action described in my previous article: The Perfect Kettlebell Swing: Is There Such a Thing. Based off of the deadlift, this hip hinge provides the ballistic action that propels the kettlebell. But that is where the similarities of the swing and snatch end.

    Once the ballistic “pop” of the hip hinge has provided the energy to the kettlebell, it is up to the person performing the snatch to direct that energy so the kettlebell ends up overhead not projected away from the body at arm’s length as in the swing.

    My arm length is about thirty inches or so. Congratulations, you may be thinking, but there is a point. And that is that swinging a kettlebell is a personal space activity. Meaning the kettlebell is projected away from me thirty-plus inches, going beyond my intimate space and out into my personal space (that 1.5- to 4-foot bubble). However, if I want to snatch the kettlebell, I should guide the energy of my ballistic hip pop to bring the kettlebell as close to my intimate space as possible.

    Visualize bringing the kettlebell as close to that 1.5-foot intimate space bubble as possible on the way up. Don’t overthink it! Just guide the kettlebell as close to you as possible on a nearly straight arm and try to bring it inside your intimate space bubble on the way up and on the way down.

    The more mathematically inclined of the group are wondering how I project my thirty-inch arm inside of the eighteen-inch intimate space. Well, in the swing we allow the arm to be “popped” off the ribs and our focus is on sending the energy of the swing out through the bottom of the kettlebell in a straight line. Like throwing a punch, I choose where the energy ends up. In the snatch, though, I keep the arm pit “closed” for much longer and direct the energy up toward the overhead lockout. This effectively “shortens” my arm and allows me to bring the kettlebell very close to my intimate space.

    Watch the video to see a slow-motion demonstration of the “personal space” of the swing versus the “intimate space” of the snatch. Keep your eyes on the uprights of the rack.

    Remember Your Overhead Lockout Technique

    An important side note, the overhead lockout has two important aspects:

    1. The proper lockout is an easily achieved overhead position where the elbow is locked, the shoulder is not raised, and the bicep is in-line with but not touching the ear.
    2. The kettlebell in the lockout position is not held by the shoulder. It is held by the ground by efficiently aligning your structure so the weight of the kettlebell settles through the body to the ground.

    The overhead lockout position is a pain-free and easily achieved position where the kettlebell is paused for a second (or more) before performing the next rep. If this is not the case for you, then you should focus on the swing and get help from an SFG on the technique and/or receive a movement screen and assistance from an FMS professional. (These can be the same person.)

    Try Visualizing Intimate Space Next Time You Snatch

    It is mentioned earlier that the visualization to keep the kettlebell as close to the personal space as possible applies to the way up and the way down. This is key to not getting the arm yanked by the kettlebell on its return to the bottom of the hip hinge.

    If the kettlebell projects out into the personal space, it will turn over out away from the body and can pull the shoulder and person out of position (this can also be described as not controlling the dance of the center of mass as described in another article). Guide the kettlebell down through the intimate space so it is caught smoothly by the hips and can be redirected into the next rep efficiently.

    Try the visualization of intimate space for the kettlebell snatch and see if is assists you in refining your technique.

    Brett Jones StrongFirstBrett Jones, Chief SFG, is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from High Point University, a Master of Science in Rehabilitative Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

    With over twenty years of experience, Brett has been sought out to consult with professional teams and athletes, as well as present throughout the United States and internationally.

    As an athletic trainer who has transitioned into the fitness industry, Brett has taught kettlebell techniques and principles since 2003. He has taught for Functional Movement Systems (FMS) since 2006, and has created multiple DVDs and manuals with world-renowned physical therapist Gray Cook, including the widely-praised “Secrets of…” series.

    Brett continues to evolve his approach to training and teaching, and is passionate about improving the quality of education for the fitness industry. He is available for consultations and distance coaching by e-mailing him at appliedstrength@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BrettEJones.

    Personal space graphic by WebHamster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

    The post Personal Space Rules When Snatching the Kettlebell appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 12:18 am on April 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    I want to get in shape. I know what I need to do. But I can’t find the motivation. Help? 

    A lot of people know me as the former skinny-fat guy man dude person human thing that was able to build a respectable looking and moving body.

    Which is cool…

    …and beats being made fun of for having girl boobs (which has happened to me before).

    But I’m also self-taught. Because, uhh, introverted nerds unite! I didn’t have the cojones for a public gym. I taught myself the basics of barbell and bodyweight strength training in my garage. I taught myself the basics of freestyle acrobatics in my backyard.

    But now’s not the time to spill my emotional baggage on the floor…

    I know what it’s like to have zero accountability, save for you, yourself and, uhh, you again.

    And if you’re a self-taught solider in arms, chances are you’ve faced this demon: you (a) know what you need to do, and (b) know you want the results, it’s (c) hard to get up and take action.

    And it’s not long before a story forms in your head:

    I need to find motivation.

    But this is story is poison.

    Motivation isn’t something you find.

    Motivation is something you cultivate.

    I can show you how.

    I made a free email course on mastering motivation and your behaviors.

    I like making these email courses to test out ideas. There’s less baggage. Not as much worry for headlines. Not as much worry for pictures and needing to be super visual.

    Just words. Effective words…(hopefully).

    There’s a good chance this course will be up on this site in full sometime soon. But it’s all email right now.

    Take it or leave it.

    You can signup below.

    The post I want to get in shape. I know what I need to do. But I can’t find the motivation. Help? appeared first on Anthony Mychal will help you build the body of your dreams..

     
  • Fabio Zonin 10:00 am on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    How to Intelligently Define, Determine, and Test Your 1RM 

    By Fabio Zonin, Master SFG, SFB, and SFL

    After the publication of my article The 5TRM Back Squat Program, I received many comments and emails with questions about the real necessity for an athlete to test his 1RM. Many argue there’s no need to attempt a 1RM in order to determine your maximal strength or if it has improved after a program. And you know what? They are right!

    Unless you are a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter, you can assess your maximal strength and/or the effectiveness of a strength program without testing your 1RM. That said, even professional weightlifters and powerlifters are very cautious when it comes to testing their 1RM. In fact, most of them test their 1RM and try for a new PR (personal record) only in competition. And not even at any competition, but only at the most important one(s) of the year. That’s right: a professional lifter usually tests his 1RM and/or attempts a PR only once or twice a year.

    1RM Strength Training

    There are also some cases in which it is impossible to determine a real 1RM due to the large jumps between the sizes of a training tool—the kettlebell, for example. A girevik may be able to press a kettlebell for multiple reps, but not be able to complete even one rep with the closest heavier bell. In this case, the athlete must presume how far he is from being able to press the heavier bell according to the number of reps performed with the lighter one.

    So let’s take a moment to examine two facets of this discussion:

    1. How you can determine your 1RM based on your training with a lighter weight.
    2. What a “1RM” really is, as well as when and how is best to test it.

    Determining Your 1RM Based on Your 2RM, 3RM, or 5RM

    If your goal is to improve your maximal strength but you are not a competitive lifter, why should you test your 1RM? Once you know your 2RM, 3RM, or 5RM, you can predict your 1RM with decent accuracy:

    • Your 5RM is roughly equivalent to 85-87.5% of your 1RM
    • Your 3RM to 87.5-90%
    • Your 2RM to 90-92.5%

    Easy! There are plenty of other formulas out there that predict your 1RM according to a certain RM, though I have to say I’m not too fond of most of them. And the higher the RM that you are using, the less accurate your predictions will be. For instance, if you base your calculations on your 10RM, which should roughly correspond to 70-75% of 1RM, you can’t be sure that your 1RM prediction will turn out to be real. The margin of error increases as the reps increase.

    There are some constraints to this method, though. As soon as you have assessed that your 2RM, 3RM, or 5RM has improved, you can comfortably say your hypothetical 1RM has also improved. Again, this reasoning works pretty well as long as the RM you have tested isn’t too high. Let’s say you were able to perform 3RM with a certain weight on a certain lift, and after an eight-week program you are now able to perform 5RM with the same weight. Your 1RM has, of course, improved. But, let’s say your RM with a certain weight on a certain lift has improved from 15 to 20 reps. Are you sure your 1RM has also improved? No. You are sure you have improved your strength-endurance, but your 1RM could have stayed the same.

    The fact is you don’t know. The relationship between 1RM and a high RM is not reciprocal. If you improve your 1RM, then you can be confident your 15RM has also improved, but you cannot be confident in the opposite relationship. This is another good reason to be Strong…First! I personally wouldn’t rely too much on an RM higher than 5-6 to predict my 1RM, or to assess if my 1RM has improved.

    1RM Kettlebell Training

    What If You Still Want to Test Your 1RM?

    Per all of the above, unless you are a competitive lifter, you don’t really need to test your 1RM. But here’s the fact: most likely, sooner or later, you will want to test it. If you are a strength athlete, one day you will feel the strong desire to test your real maximal strength, as much as a person passionate for conditioning will feel the desire to perform an all-out snatch test and an endurance athlete will want to run a 10K in the shortest time possible. In addition, many of the most effective strength programs are based on the 1RM, so if you want to begin one of them, you will need to test yourself.

    But as much as going all-out all the time is counterproductive for strength-endurance and endurance athletes, testing your 1RM too often is counterproductive for you, as well. In the best of cases, your strength will decrease. In the worst, you will get injured.

    Do not allow your ego to drive your actions. A 1RM test must be planned in advance and you need a well-designed program that leads you gradually to the test. There are many safe and effective programs that can lead you there. Some of them are based on the Western methodology, others on the former Soviet Union’s methodology. Needless to say, I am fond of these latter, about which you can learn so much by attending one of Pavel’s Plan Strong seminars.

    One thing these methodologies have in common is that they both lead you to your test day through a more-or-less gradual reduction of the training volume (NL or “number of lifts”) in the weeks prior to the test. This allows you to face the test in the best possible physical and psychological conditions.

    Pavel Tsatsouline and Fabio Zonin at Plan Strong

    Learning from Pavel at the Plan Strong seminar.

    My Classifications: PR, 1RM, 1TRM

    Let’s now go a little deeper into the concept of the 1RM. There is actually more than one way to look at a “1RM” and I’m going to share my definitions with you. My personal classifications include the PR, the 1RM, and the 1TRM. They all refer to the weight that you can lift for one rep with maximal effort—but in different conditions. These classifications also provide some clues as to how often they should be tested:

    • PR refers to the weight you lifted once in your life, and you don’t know when or if you’ll be able to lift it again. Probably your form wasn’t perfect, but the lift was legal (meaning, in a powerlifting meet you would have received at least two white lights out of three). It was a very special day, you felt incredibly strong physically, and you were psychologically ready to conquer the world. You did the lift once, but you don’t own it.
    • 1RM refers to the weight you lifted after following to the letter a strength cycle in all of its phases. You planned ahead and it took several weeks of consistent training to prepare you for that lift. On the day you attempted this lift, you were in perfect physical and psychological condition, and you were psyched up before attempting it. The lift was legal and the form was good. Again, you did it, but still you can’t say you own it.
    • 1TRM refers to the “technical” one-rep max, which is the heaviest weight you can lift for a single rep with perfect form, without having followed a strength cycle for several weeks, and without the need to psych up for it. Basically, it’s the weight you can lift on any good day at the gym after a few “preparation” lifts with lighter weights. You own it. It usually settles around 95-97.5% of your 1RM.

    It goes without saying that attempting your PR is something you shouldn’t do more than once or twice a year or, if you are a competitive lifter, only during a main competition. And when you do attempt your PR, you must be in extremely favorable physical and psychological condition.

    You should only test your 1RM after having followed a specifically designed strength program, and these programs usually last eight to twelve weeks. And since not all strength cycles include a final 1RM test, my personal suggestion it that you test your 1RM no more than two or three times a year. And again, on the testing day you must be in optimal physical and psychological condition.

    Laura Chamorro pulling 310 at The Phoenix Gym in Salt Lake City

    A program might lead you up to testing your 1RM at the TSC.

    What you can test more often is your 1TRM. On a training day in which you feel particularly strong, you can challenge yourself with a couple of heavy singles, and sometimes try to go even heavier, up to a 1TRM. When you do, never overestimate your strength, always use good judgment, and always be very cautious—injuries are always around the corner.

    I personally wouldn’t push myself to a 1TRM more than once every month or two. Keep in mind that you want to avoid failing at a lift. Every time you fail, you take several steps back in your journey toward strength. We improve in what we practice, so if you practice success, you improve your capability at succeeding. If you practice failure, you improve your capability at failing. It’s as simple as that.

    For the Best Results: Work Off Your 1TRM, Not Your 1RM

    Finally, when you undertake a strength program based on percentages of your 1RM, never calculate your training weights according to your PR. Since you don’t own your PR, you could end up overestimating your training weights. You can, of course, base your calculations on your 1RM, but I personally believe it is often much wiser to base them on your 1TRM—and I have experimented with this on myself.

    Trust me, the difference in terms of the weight that you will load on the bar in a regular training day is minimal, but it can make a huge difference in terms of safety and results. Let’s say your 1RM in the back squat is 200kg and your 1TRM is 195kg (95%1RM). This means that 75%1RM is 150kg and 75%1TRM is 142.5kg. 7.5kg may seem like such a small difference between the two training weights, but the difference is enough to ensure that you will always perform all of your reps with perfect form and that you will avoid failure. Maybe your ego won’t be as happy at the beginning of the program, but it will be at the end of it when the time will come to test your new 1RM.

    In the next article of this series, I will offer a more advanced variation of the The 5TRM Back Squat Program, this time based on your 1TRM and with a volume progression that recalls that of the Plan Strong methodology.

    Fabio Zonin StrongFirstFabio Zonin is a Master SFG, SFB, and SFL. He is a former powerlifter, natural bodybuilder, and owner of fitness centers. He was the first Italian to accomplish the Beast Tamer Challenge and has been a Master Teacher for FIF (Italian Federation of Fitness) for almost two decades (1994-2012). He is also the Ground Force Method National Director for Italy.

    He is the Former vice president of the AINBB (Italian Association of Natural Bodybuilding), and has trained many athletes at national and international level in natural bodybuilding, powerlifting and other sports.

    He has authored numerous articles for Italian popular magazines and websites dedicated to fitness, bodybuilding, and strength training, and has worked with to leading Italian companies in the field of sports equipment, body composition evaluation software, and nutritional supplements.

    The post How to Intelligently Define, Determine, and Test Your 1RM appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Karen Smith 10:00 am on April 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    One Good Rep: How to Perform the Perfect Push-up 

    By Karen Smith, Chief SFB

    If one good repetition is great then more must be even better, right? In the fitness industry, we see more and more crazy trends toward massive amounts of volume. The “GO HARD or GO HOME” mentality. It really isn’t the volume that is so terrible with these approaches, but rather the quality of the movements done at these high volumes. There’s no value in how heavy or how quickly you can do something, if you’re doing it all with poor technique.

    Any trainer or instructor can beat you into the ground using crazy moves and loads of volume with minimal rest, but will that actually get you stronger while keeping you safe and injury free? No! While you might initially make strength gains, the risk of injury is greater than the potential rewards—especially since you might get injured before you even reap those rewards.

    We, at StrongFirst, would rather see you do quality single reps than multiple reps done poorly. StrongFirst’s philosophy for training is to treat each session as a practice, not a workout. Listen to Pavel explain this distinction:

    So if we’re going to start from the basics as far as volume goes, i.e. a volume of one rep, then let’s also start with a basic movement that most people could use some practice at perfecting. The push-up has been around since the beginning of time, but is still regularly butchered.

    Done correctly, the push-up will give you great strength gains and can be done anywhere at any time. It also has endless progressions that will enable you to continue advancing over time. But first, we need to make sure you can do one repetition with solid form, and then we’ll go over how to use the grease the groove (GTG) approach to training before worrying about increasing volume or weight.

    How to Do One Perfect Push-up

    Watch the video for a demonstration of excellent push-up form.

    Instructions:

    1. Start on all fours
    2. Place your hands slightly narrower than your shoulders (this is more shoulder friendly)
    3. Focus your eyes on your fingertips while gripping the ground
    4. Extend both legs out straight with feet approximately shoulder width apart
    5. Point your belly button toward your face (posterior pelvic tilt)
    6. Make a “Tssss” sound via tension breath to tighten your whole body
    7. Corkscrew your shoulders into their sockets and visualize making an “X” on your back
    8. Row your body toward the floor while moving as one unit, with zero sagging or hunching
    9. Keep your elbows in fairly close to your rib cage—no chicken winging allowed!
    10. Pause momentarily at the bottom
    11. Visualize sending compressed air from your belly out through your palms as you power back up
    12. Approach your setup and each single rep with intent

    By focusing on single reps, you will find that you automatically increase your percentage of quality reps. And you might be amazed at how few quality reps are actually needed to make strength gains. You will also learn a lot about your body and master the required amount of tension for a great push-up. This will allow you to increase your baseline of strength and in return all skills will become easier.

    Training the Perfect Push-up With Grease the Groove

    Pavel coined the term grease the groove, and this unconventional approach to training has proven to be one of the best methods for quick strength gains. The key to GTG-style training is that you train often but never to failure.

    GTG training allows the nervous system to develop and become more proficient. Basically, it teaches your nerves and muscles to work together better, which enables you to move more efficiently, and over time the movement itself becomes much easier. Watch this video for a brief explanation from Pavel:

    While GTG works best with bodyweight movements, it is not only for bodyweight skills. It has been known to rapidly increase kettlebell pressing and squatting strength. GTG is also a highly recommended training approach for tactical communities (law enforcement, firefighters, military, etc.) as they never know when they will be called upon and need to be fresh for the job at hand.

    GTG works best when you focus on no more than two skills at one time, and the skills should be performed at about 50% of your max. If you are used to the “go hard or go home” mentality, then GTG may take some getting used to. Pavel explains more about the rest time and intensity level of this approach in this video:

    GTG does not have to be a standalone program, but it can be. And once you have mastered your selected skills, they can be added into a more traditional program and you can continue your GTG protocol with a new set of skills.

    Perfect Push-up Training Protocol

    First, test yourself using the perfect push-up instructions listed above to determine your current strength level. If you cannot meet the required steps for a single repetition on the ground, then select an elevation appropriate for your current strength level.

    Once you have tested your perfect push-up at different elevations and determined your working elevation, you can proceed to greasing the groove at that level. For example, if you are comfortable and can execute perfect technique at a desk height, then throughout the day do “sets” of one good rep at that height, allowing at least fifteen minutes of rest between each rep. For best results, do your GTG push-ups at a minimum of three days per week.

    If you meet all the requirements in the perfect push-up instructions, then proceed to test your max reps without losing form or test a harder progression, but only select a progression where you can maintain the proper form. One you have chosen a progression, then, just as stated above, GTG at this progression for a single perfect rep throughout the day at least three days per week.

    Perfect Push-up

    Grease the Groove Over the Course of Your Week

    Remember, in order to get the most out of each GTG session, it is best to select no more than two skills to groove at the same time. I would recommend pairing something like the pistol and the push-up. Each can be done for perfect reps and not take away from the other. You can select to GTG the two skills on the same day or alternate the days, which would give you a daily GTG practice.

    If your schedule is more limited, then you can do the two skills on the same day and back to back, then rest at least fifteen minutes before the next set. For example: one push-up followed by one pistol per leg, then rest for at least fifteen minutes and return to your next push-up and pistol.

    If you have questions on perfect push-up form or the grease the groove protocol, please post them to the comments below.

    Karen Smith StrongFirstKaren Smith is Chief SFB instructor, a Master SFG instructor, and the fourth female 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 SFG, SFB, FMS, and Battling Ropes instructor. Karen resides in Dallas where she is available for private and group sessions. She is also available worldwide for distance coaching and program design. She travels regularly instructing workshops and SF courses/certifications. She can be reached at karensmithmsfg@gmail.com or at her blog, Coach Karen Smith.

    The post One Good Rep: How to Perform the Perfect Push-up appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Jason Borden 10:00 am on April 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Overcoming Mediocrity Through Strength and Purpose 

    By Jason Borden, SFG I

    Musicians, artists, and actors relentlessly, religiously hone their craft, greasing their own groove, making automatic the fundamentals of their art, so that when they reach for a performance, they stand upon a firm foundation built by hours of practice.

    A school teacher writes a curriculum, staging the development of her pupils, and often herself, over the course of school year. She plans, then she executes. She assesses, refines, then reassesses.

    The baby-boomer mother, having seen children through to adulthood and maybe even parenthood, has forged a high degree of grit, patience, dignity, and work ethic.

    The professionals, the people who show up and do the work, they punch the clock, cut through the fluff, and do the damn thing. Repetition after repetition, day in and day out, laying roofs, cleaning teeth, writing code, becoming more proficient, and efficient every day, by doing.

    They all show up, do their homework, and understand the value of doing something well. Frequent, thoughtful practice in pursuit of mastery makes sense. Respect for history and tradition, and the great practitioners who came before us, these go hand in glove with most worthy undertakings.

    Do any of these sound like you?

    Remember the Possibility of Possibility

    Before any of these principles can work for you to achieve strength, or any significant personal growth, you must first accept and embrace possibility. As kids, we were great at this part. We dreamed of doing great things, of being awesome. We also all happened to squat, run, jump, cartwheel, and climb.

    Overcoming Mediocrity

    And just as society’s institutions stuffed us into the desks that eventually sapped us of that youthful physicality, so too do they steadily chip away at our mountain of accepted possibilities. Until one day, you look up and all that remains is a meager stone. And inscribed upon that lowly rock are the words, “If only…”

    “If only I could lose weight…”

    “If only I could become strong…”

    “If only I could start my own business…”

    Real Life Doesn’t Care How Much You Curl

    I think back to my life ten years ago, in Memphis, Tennessee. I was a plump musician. Not obese, but definitely getting fluffier by the year, and much weaker than my six-and-a-half-foot frame implied. A poor diet, a rock guitarist’s lifestyle, and an abject aversion to the gym had all taken their toll on a body that wasn’t great to begin with. Before I’d even escaped my early twenties, I felt old and tired.

    Eventually, I mustered enough gumption to start running around my block and doing calisthenics in my living room a few days a week. That only took me so far, so I joined a commercial health club, where for years I floundered around on all of the shiny machines, and chased the pump alongside the lunch crowd of bodybuilders. I leaned out a bit and grew some pecs and biceps, but I wasn’t strong. Not really. Sure, I was sporting some muscles, but when I started training Krav Maga, I learned some hard lessons.

    Turns out, combat just doesn’t care about your leg extensions, your curls, your bench press, or how many miles you can stagger through slow jogging your knees into oblivion.

    Strength Is a Skill

    My life turned a sharp corner in 2012. My friend, mentor, and Krav Maga instructor Xris Omotesa sent me to Dallas to attend a one-day kettlebell course led by Senior SFG Tommy Blom. Tommy moved with precision, lifted with grace, instructed with quiet dignity, and illuminated the simple truth that strength is a skill that can be taught. Like self-defense. Like music.

    Strength Is a Skill

    Down the rabbit hole I tumbled. I returned home and hunkered down to practice the principles, and to study. Later that year I certified as a personal trainer, then moved to Florida to start my own training business. Which I did, within a week of arriving.

    It failed. Abysmally.

    You needn’t much foresight to imagine how such a venture might land—moving to a city as a complete unknown, to bootstrap a business which is driven as much by reputation as by training knowledge. Well, I certainly lacked that foresight.

    After six months of random stabs at getting off the ground, I was forced to find a job. It turned out to be a driving gig, delivering prosthetics for a dental laboratory. After work, I practiced for my upcoming SFG and taught the occasional kettlebell student at a local boxing gym until nine or ten o’ clock most nights. Some nights, after twelve hours on the road, the last thing I wanted to do was train, but train I did. I felt better after putting in some time with my bells. Every. Single. Time.

    Thus a year passed before I girded my loins with the experience gained in my previous failure and aimed another swing at training for a living.

    The Strange Magnetism of Mediocrity

    I tried the corporate route, accepting a training position at a gigantic chain health club. At last, training had become my main gig. I navigated my clients’ loaded-carry complexes between rows of Nautilus machines and swarms of dudebros. I taught the get-up beneath the gaze of the few among the treadmill legion who might occasionally tear their eyes from their iPhones long enough to exercise some curiosity. I hammered out thirty-minute personal training sessions to an overhead soundtrack that consisted of, at the very least, 40% Katy Perry.

    And while that’s far from ideal, even on that training floor, there existed nothing else for me but my student and those bells. I had achieved flow, and I strove to remain in that state as many hours of the day as I could humanly manage. Nothing else mattered unless it forced itself into the equation. Unfortunately, everything about that place did just that.

    Kettlebells in sunlight

    I was underpaid and overstressed, spending long days bathed in bad fluorescent light and fighting a losing battle against a cynical corporate culture that cared little about my clients and even less about me. Before long, I wanted out, to share my vision and experience as an independent teacher. But it’s funny, once you get a little taste of what you’re striving for, the fear of losing it can keep you mired hip deep in mediocrity.

    Something needed to change.

    It was at my SFG Certification that I had the realization of how to make the change. It was made clear to me that I already had the tools. I already had the circumstances. I’d made it this far. Now, it was up to me to create the possibility and act.

    I stated my desire to go independent as soon as I could.

    “Do it sooner,” I was told.

    So I did.

    The Value of Doing Something Well

    In preparing for the SFG, I made a plan, and put it into practice. I consistently worked it, reassessed, and refined it as my practice milled itself into gritty experience. It was now time to apply those same timeless principles to my next adventure: founding Going Strong. In the weeks following my Certification, I laid the groundwork for the new business, a training studio geared toward those who, like myself, had spent more of their lives in libraries and rehearsal halls than gyms and sports fields.

    Overcoming MediocrityI made short-term accommodations at some local gyms, and fired the globo-gym. This time I had some clients at the outset, and after six months of scraping out space in other facilities, I found the perfect spot to open my own studio.

    It’s humble, but it’s mine, and while some days I feel like the master of my universe and others like I’m running through mud, I know everybody swinging iron under my roof “gets it.” And they are helping me every day to pass “it” on.

    And what is “it?”

    The idea that your brain is brimming with the mental tools to become more than what you are. In art. In business. In your profession. And particularly, in strength. Effectiveness leaves hints, in a pattern that transcends the challenges it overcomes.

    You have the information before you. You are walking around with the principles to use it. It’s just a matter of application.

    I hear what you’re thinking, and I’m telling you, as I was told: Do it. Do it sooner.

    Jason Borden StrongFirstJason Borden is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, and founder of Going Strong, a strength training studio in Altamonte Springs, Florida. There, he’s made a mission of teaching principles of strength and physical self efficacy to people who have been alienated from athletics and fitness. Since discovering kettlebells in 2011, Jason has certified NASM-CPT, FMS, and SFG I, and is currently preparing for the SFG II in 2016.

    Away from training, Jason practices Krav Maga, is a recording musician, singer, and songwriter, and is hopelessly addicted to learning. Jason can be reached at: goingstrongflorida@gmail.com,  www.goingstrongfitness.com, and www.facebook.com/goingstrongfitness

    The post Overcoming Mediocrity Through Strength and Purpose appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
  • Pavel Macek 10:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    A Comprehensive 3-Month Plan for Beginner Group Lessons 

    By Pavel Macek, Senior SFG

    “Begin at the beginning,” the King said. I would like to add, “And then don’t stop.” The following article gives a blueprint of how we do exactly that for our beginners’ group lessons in our StrongFirst-powered chain of seven gyms in Czechia, Europe.

    Mission Objectives

    • Move well, move often, move strong—build the foundation for subsequent successful strength training
    • Untie the chair—restore necessary mobility, deal with asymmetries/imbalances, and restore movement
    • Restore diaphragmatic breathing and learn power breathing
    • Strengthen the grip
    • Strengthen the midsection

    Lesson Flow

    In exactly the same way the program at large requires progression from one element/exercise/weight to another in a logical order, so does each individual lesson. Each sixty-minute lesson is a reflection of the structure of the program as a whole, only in miniature.

    A session consists of:

    1. Group greeting
    2. Warm-up, correctives, and movement prep
    3. Strength program
    4. Conditioning program
    5. End of the lessons, evaluation, homework assignment

    StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons1. Group Greeting

    The instructor begins by shouting, “zdar a sílu!” This is an old Czech sport greeting, meaning something like “success and strength” or “health and strength.” The group replies “KB5!” This is the name of our gym. The instructor then says, “Powered by…” and the group answers “StrongFirst!”

    Through this greeting, everybody is awakened and energized for the practice to come. The students love it, and it helps build a sense of purpose and community while setting the tone. Last but not least, it pays respect to our Alma Mater, StrongFirst.

    If a student comes late, he or she will get a special motivational work-in—if the student doesn‘t swing yet, they are assigned ten minutes of crawling. If he or she can swing, then the work-in is 10×10 two-handed swings with 16+kg (or 12+kg for women). If the student can swing and do the goblet squat then the assignment is: 10 swings and 10 goblet squats, 10 swings and 9 goblet squats, 10 swings and 8 goblet squats…up to 10 swings, 1 goblet squat.

    If students don‘t like this, then we gently suggest they join a mirror-and-fern-laden health spa where the instructor apologizes to them if they come late.

    And what if the instructor comes late? Same thing—swings, only with a heavier bell. We are egalitarian that way.

    StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons2. Warm-up, Correctives, and Movement Prep

    The warm-up serves not really as a “warm-up” per se, but rather as an undoing of the chair-like posture so many of us are heir to from sitting at our computers all day. This is done through some intelligent and focused movement-prep consisting of foam rolling, corrective stretching, Original Strength resets, and kettlebell movement prep.

    After around one month of training with us, once the students have learned all the drills above correctly and remember them, their warm-up consists only of Original Strength resets and/or kettlebell movement prep. Foam rolling, stretching, and mobility work becomes their homework.

    If needed, students can foam roll a problematic part or do corrective stretches during the rest time on the training lesson. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Most students just do Original Strength resets or Fast & Loose drills during the rest periods to keep fresh, moving well, and ready to attack the next set.

    Here is our exact sequence and the respective drills:

    a) Foam Rolling: 5 minutes at the lesson, or done as homework

    • Posterior sequence: calves, hamstrings, glutes, T-spine, lats
    • Anterior sequence: thighs, hip flexors, inner thighs, pecs

    b) Corrective Stretching: Taught, then practiced as homework

    • Towel hamstring stretch—for better hinge
    • Kneeling hip flexor stretch—for better lockout
    • Rib pull or Brettzel 1.0—for better T-spine mobility and overhead lockout
    • Brettzel 2.0 and 90:90 stretch—compensation of heavy unilateral work
    • Gymnastic bridge and progressions leading to it—all-in-one drill, strengthening the posterior chain, stretching the anterior chain

    Note: After the students learn this sequence, this too becomes their homework. They don’t stretch at the beginning of a class—they stretch after the lesson or at home.

    c) Original Strength Resets: 5-10 minutes

    • Breathing, head nods, rolling, rocking, crawling, marching. Move!

    d) Kettlebell Movement-Prep: 5 minutes

    • Halo
    • Prying goblet squat and later kettlebell Cossack
    • SFG armbar, bent armbar

    StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons3. Strength Training

    Finally we reach the core of the rendezvous with the iron. After all, this is why the students attend. Chosen drills for the students include:

    • Deadlift, suitcase deadlift, single-leg deadlift: Mainly as progressions leading to swing, two-hand swing, and one-hand swing, which are the main hinge/lower pull goal. Foundation for cleans, snatches, barbell deadlifts, etc. Sets of 5-10.
    • Naked get-up, half get-up and finally the full get-up and its variations: A loaded reset that deals with asymmetries and serves as the foundation for all overhead lifts. 5 singles each side.
    • Hollow position progressions to hollow hang: As taught at the SFB Course and Cert.
    • Goblet squat: We teach prying goblet squat right in the beginning, but save the actual squatting for later weeks so the students don’t confuse hinge and squat. We are not concerned that much with the weight in the early stages, but on emphasizing the correct movement pattern. As Pavel said at our SFB Cert, “Not everybody needs to squat heavy, but everybody needs to squat. Goblet squat is the squat for everybody.” After demonstrating competence in the two-hand swing, the students start to squat as well, ordinarily for sets of 5.
    • Push-ups: SFB plank to push-up progressions. We don’t go over 15 push-ups. When the student can perform 15 push-ups, we put him on heavy floor presses instead. In floor presses, students work on 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps short of their max.

    An Eagle’s Eye View of the Strength Lesson

    Now that we’ve detailed each individual part of the lesson, it’s time to take an eagle’s eye view of the layout of the skills and how they are paired together.

    1. 5th Element: Get-up, 5 each side. The students add the weight following the Simple & Sinister sandwich method.
    2. Squat + upper body pull: Alternate goblet squat (5 reps) and hollow position drills/hang (max rep minus 2-3, but not more than 15 reps), plus some hip flexor or cobra stretches
    3. Hinge + upper body push: Alternate deadlift and its variations (5-10 reps) and push-ups (max rep minus 2-3, i.e. not to failure, but not more than 15 reps) or floor presses (sets of 3-5).

    Note: Don’t be obsessed with doing everything. The most important part are the get-ups. If the student doesn’t know some of the drills, it‘s not a problem. Have them do what they know. If you don’t go through all the movement patterns, this is similarly no problem at all. Like a Chinese herbal recipe—you need just the main ingredients—if a few of the minor ones are missing, it still works.

    Beginning students don‘t need to go heavy early on. Let them concentrate on proper movement, good technique, and active rest (Fast & Loose, Original Strength resets). Heavy will come with time. Whatever you do, don’t allow the class to degenerate into circuit training.

    StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons4. Conditioning

    We have finally arrived at the last ten minutes of class. As you can imagine, this is where the students “go ballistic,” particularly with the help of the swing.

    What do we do if the student can’t yet swing? We used to do burpees and similar things, but not anymore (at the early stages the student probably can’t squat and do a push-up well anyway). Instead, we employ:

    • Crawling regressions and progressions, like baby crawl and leopard crawl.
    • When the students already know suitcase deadlift, they practice suitcase carry or farmer’s carry, or alternate crawling and carries.
    • When they can finally swing—they swing! First they focus on two-hand swings, and later, when their two-hand swings are perfect, they do the one-hand swing and occasionally other variations (power swing, hand-to-hand swing). Do 10 swings every minute for 10 minutes. The aim of the beginner’s swing protocol is excellent technical precision and maximum explosiveness, not blood-and-guts high-rep sets.

    Standards for Beginner Group Lessons

    Everyone needs a goal to shoot for. While individual strength and athletic goals may vary, these are the benchmarks we set for our students to help support any other long-term goals they may have. All are achievable with time, patience, and perseverance.

    • 5 get-ups each side—ladies with 16 kg, gentlemen with 32 kg – in 10 minutes.
    • One-hand swings 10×10, in 10 minutes—ladies with 16 kg, gentlemen with 24.
    • Push-ups—ladies 10+, gentlemen 15+.
    • Hollow chin-up/pull-up hang—ladies 30 seconds, gentlemen 45 seconds.
    • Perfect goblet and bodyweight squats—we don‘t care about the reps or weight, just the movement. As Gray Cook says, “Maintain the squat, train the deadlift.”

    We are a school of strength and conditioning, not an amusement park. If the students are strong and in shape, we all do our job well—hence the standards.

    Note: There is no need to wait until the student fulfills all the requirements before teaching new drills, e.g. when they can do a good hollow hang, they start to work on their chin-ups/pull-ups. If the student can perform one-hand swings well, he or she can start to learn the clean and different swing protocols (first building up the reps, and later restarting with lower reps again but heavier weight). If the student‘s goblet squat is good, he or she can start to work on the front squats together with clean practice. If the students can perform 5 get-ups per side with 32kg (or 16kg for ladies) and 15 push-ups (10 for ladies), they can start to work on the military press.

    StrongFirst Beginner Group Lessons


    The Beginner Group Program for the First Few Months

    First Lesson

    Encourage the newbie to join in the group, and try to follow what they see during the warm-up. Let them know not to worry, that later you will work with them individually.

    After the warm-up, give orders to the group, and take the newbie to the side. Explain what the aims and benefits are in the lesson. Show them the first stretch and let them practice it. Later, show them the second stretch and have them practice both stretches one and two. Later, show them the third stretch and let them practice all three together. You can leave stretches four and five for the next lesson. There’s little chance they will remember all five stretches. Moreover, no one is going to get excited about stretching for a whole hour.

    Explain the basic resets—especially the diaphragmatic breathing, head nods, and rolling, as well as their importance in building a base for their future success. Teach them Fast & Loose drills. During the last ten minutes of class, have them do the baby crawl and/or leopard crawl.

    This is a win-win approach because the students get what they need (correctives and restorative exercises) and what they want (“exercise“ in the form of 10 minutes of crawling, which is humbling for everybody). Most important of all—no harm was done!

    There are a few important things to remember when dealing with any newbie:

    • They need to have a clear overview of the game plan for next few lessons, weeks, or months.
    • They need an overview of the game plan for the first lesson. “We will do few correctives because of X, Y, and Z reasons, movement prep, and some crawling in the end.”
    • They need to feel they got in a workout, i.e. the student didn’t just do boring correctives – hence the crawling.
    • They need close attention, but not babysitting.
    • They require clear commands of what to do in an exercise—”Alternate left and right leg until I come back to you in few minutes”—and what to do in the rest periods—Fast & Loose drills.

    First Month

    • Foam rolling, corrective stretching, Original Strength resets
    • Halo, prying goblet squat, SFG armbar, bent armbar; deadlift prep (hinge, SFG hip bridge, hard style plank)
    • Deadlift, suitcase deadlift, single-leg deadlift, suitcase and farmer carries, hollow position floor intro progressions, naked half get-up
    • Half get-up with the weight

    Second Month

    • Full get-up—with the shoe first, then with weight
    • Hollow hang
    • Two-hand swing
    • Goblet squat, push-ups

    Third Month

    • One hand swing, floor press.
    • Progress them forward according to their progress shown in the previous two months

    After they fulfill all the requirements listed above, most of our students move on to our SFG Course program (press 1–swing+goblet squat–press 2), Rite of Passage program, or basic kettlebell plus barbell program (Kettlebell + Deadlifts Part I).

    Parting Notes

    • Safety first. Have standard operating procedures, i.e. enough space around when doing get-ups, nobody in front when swinging, one man-one bell only (unless the student is doing a double bell program), etc. Ensure each student knows and understands.
    • Do no harm, don’t hurry, and have a progression/regression for everything.
    • Students must have a training log and carry it with them to class—this is non-negotiable.
    • Train to success, not failure.
    • Technique, technique, technique.
    • Change the mindset. You are not a personal trainer with clients—you are StrongFirst instructor with students.
    • Make sure they do their homework! “What if I don’t have any kettlebell or pull-up bar?” they will ask. The answer? “Get them.” Meanwhile, they can still do get-ups with a shoe, mobility squats, hollow position floor progressions, crawling, and stretches.
    • Assign the following homework for overweight student: 3-5 sets of steak and vegetables, daily. Cut wheat products, soft drinks, sweets, and alcohol (for the time being, anyway)
    • Something both you and the students should practice.

    Don’t be afraid to be StrongFirst. All the equipment we have is kettlebells, pull-up bars, power racks, and barbells. We completely ignore all fitness trends, and do what we have learned from our StrongFirst teachers—and we are very successful. No trial, no error—just a system, a plan, and results.

    Pavel Macek StrongFirstPavel Macek, Senior SFG, SFB, SFL, teaches strength and conditioning at KB5 Gym, Chinese combatives (Practical Hung Kyun) and MMA. Please visit his blog Simplex Strength.

    Special thanks to Aleks Salkin, SFG II, SFB for help and proofreading the article.

    The post A Comprehensive 3-Month Plan for Beginner Group Lessons appeared first on StrongFirst.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: