Archive for May, 2010

Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist

May 27, 2010

One of the very great privileges of being an RKC is being able to attend events that are only for RKCs. One of these is the Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist course. This course was developed by Grey Cook and MRKC Brett Jones to support the RKC system.

While there are many similarities to Grey’s original Functional Movement Specialist course, the CK FMS is far and away a better course. For example, the FMS course is a one and a half day course. The CK FMS is four full days from 8am to 5.30pm. On top of that there is a bigger testing protocol to pass ensuring that CK FMS graduates are of the highest calibre trainers around.

The breakdown goes like this:

1. Become an RKC. This alone will put you ahead of the vast majority of other trainers around. The depth of movement skill taught as well as the application of that movement is what sets the RKC apart. The RKC is about movement first and foremost. This is why I think many people in the fitness industry are really missing the big picture when it comes to functional training. As Grey Cook says “Functional training isn’t about what the training looks like or the implements used, its about whether or not that training improves performance”. Pavel’s RKC course is devilishly clever in its approach to training and has almost nothing to do with the kettlebell at its deepest levels. If you don’t believe me then you should head off to an RKC to see what the hell I’m talking about. Alternatively, you could sign up for the course and check it out for yourself.

RKC Instructor- Get Certified

2. Once you’ve become an RKC the process shouldn’t stop there. While many choose not to further their education much after passing the rigorous course, there is so much to learn, and the Dragon Door system has so much to offer, that you could study endlessly for years and still have much to learn. The great question is really “What will give my clients the best results with their training?”

The first place to start is with a book called Super Joints. Super Joints is the starting point for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is that it is an easy system to follow, promotes joint health and range of movement as well as helping to rebuild lost motor patterns at the smallest level (at the joint). The systematic approach is easy to follow, the pictures are simple and the whole process itself takes about 5-10 minutes to conduct. With my clients we start every single session with a Super Joints warm up. I have used many approaches over the last few years and find that this is the easiest and fastest way to get my clients ready for the real training to come.

The next important bit of information is a hidden gem of the RKC. Many will have seen the book and DVD package entitled Kalos Sthenos, Kettlebells From the Ground Up. What they don’t realise is that this book and DVD combine to teach the single most under rated exercise in the world today – the Get Up. The Get Up is core training at its best – teaching cross body stabilisation and activation, Lat activation, open and closed chain shoulder stability, hip mobility and activation and the linking of the upper and lower extremities together to resist force and stabilise the spine. That it forms an integral part of the famous Program Minimum from Enter the Kettlebell should speak for itself. When all the Senior instructors recommend the Get Up as half of the foundation of movement and strength we should all pay close attention.

A further reason this set is so important is that it gives clues as to how to use the Get Up to assess and correct movement as well as use it as a corrective exercise. We spent a lot of time performing a variety of Get Ups and Kalos Sthenos drills during the CK FMS and I can honestly say that as much as I had an appreciation for the get Up before, and all my classes consist of Get Ups, I can see that we don’t spend anywhere near enough time on them.

The CK FMS course is built on information from Grey and Brett’s “Secrets” series. These four DVD sets contain so much information in them it is amazing. I had the opportunity to watch them all before attending the course and can say that it was time well spent. The series is based on four DVDs –ShoulderCore Training, the BacksideHip and Knee and Primitive Patterns. It is testament to the brilliance of Grey and Brett Jones as to how good the material is. These four DVD sets alone could possibly wipe out nearly every common gym based injury as well as show people a smarter way to train. The reason I found these so useful is that during the actual CK FMS course, there is so much information to be given that there is little time for slowly explaining the exercises or their reasons for use. That information is covered in depth in the manuals, but is equally well covered in the DVDs. I know that my copies will be copping a hammering over the next few months as there is so much information there I will need to go back and re watch them to get the most out of it. Well known Melbourne based Physiotherapist Andrew Lock also has copies and has been making use of them and is equally happy about the quality and depth of content provided. If only more therapists realised the importance of strengthening!

Last but not least in this chain is the CK FMS DVDs. With 15 DVDs in the set there is so much information to be had you will need many, many hours of viewing to extract all the gems of knowledge.

The benefit of buying through Dragon Door Australia is that there is nowhere else you can buy this information from locally where the seller has actually attended the course and knows the information inside out! Not only do we have RKCs and HKCs to train and use this system at our training location but with one of only two CK FMS practitioners in the country we can answer your questions better than anyone about this system, the benefits of it as a trainer, or the best ways to use it to assist your own training.

The strength of the CK FMS course is it highlights movement deficiencies in people. Not only where people have lost motor patterns, but also in discovering left/ right asymmetries. This is a huge issue as the balance of the body from side to side is an important factor in injury prevention. I’ve actually been asked to write a series of articles that are FMS based for both Blitz and Ultrafit and you’ll be seeing those articles soon as the issues hit the stands.

The result of all this, for you, is that we are now better placed than ever to answer all your training questions and get your body working better and feeling better. Don’t forget that I will be in Brisbane for seminars soon on June 19. If anyone needs an FMS assessment I will be able to provide that also at the time. For mor einformation on the upcoming seminars, HKC workshops or FMS tests please contact me at


Road Trip!

May 15, 2010

On Monday I will be off to the US again. About a year ago I was there for the RKC. This time it will be the Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist course. The things that makes this course so good is that not only does it have elements of Pavel Tsatsouline’s amazing RKC system but it also combines the best of the movement system devised by world renowned therapist Grey Cook. Quite simply, he is to corrective training what Pavel is to strength training. To have the opportunity to participate and learn from events such as this is why I became an RKC in the first place – there simply is no substitute. Forget local providers who have spent a few minutes watching things on You Tube or DVDs – this is learning directly from the world leading source.

The course starts next Thursday and runs four four days. Again, try to find a local course that can offer so much depth, so much detail and so much knowledge. This is why Dragon Door are the world leaders in what they do. Detail, knowledge, experience and passion.

While I’m there I have an appointment scheduled with Senior RKC, CK FMS and Z health guru, Brad Nelson. I met Brad last year when he took me through some Z drills and was thoroughly impressed. He’s a super professional guy, very easy to get along with and has a wealth of knowledge and it’ll be great to catch up with him again. This time we’re going to work on some things I need to sort out for my next trip to the US in July for RKCII.

But before then…

On June 19 I will be back in Brisbane to run the next in a series of workshops prior to our Brisbane HKC. I will be running two workshops – the first will be the three basic lifts of Swing, Get Up and Goblet Squat. It will run for three hours and be $200. This workshop was well attended last time I was here (see this post here) and covers the safe use of these three essential drills for kettlebell use, athletic performance and power and strength training. The second workshop will be an HKC preparation class. At the Melbourne HKC we had 12 attendees and 6 who passed. Out of those 6, 4 had attended my preparation class. Since the HKC I have helped another 2 people pass their restests. The short version is that if you plan to attend the HKC and plan to pass then it is in your best interest to attend these preparation classes. The preparation class will be run in two parts – the first on June 19, the second part on July 31st. The reaon it is held in two parts, and why it is so important to attend is simple – there is a world of difference between being shown how to perform Swings and being proficient enough, and having a deep enough understanding of the movement to be able to teach it safely (another massive difference between the RKC school and local courses – we expect perfection from our instructors). These preparation classes break down the movements and you will be given corrective drills to make sure your movement is crisp and flawless. Additionally we will cover teaching cues as well as spend time gaining the necessary fitness to undergo the HKC day.

The cost for the preparation classes is $300 to attend both days.

On top of all that, I will be returning to the US early July to attend RKCII. Currently the RKCII course has about a 35% pass rate. At the course last year it had an 80% fail rate, and earlier this year had roughly a 50% pass rate. Combined this gives about a 35% pass rate. In short – if you are RKCII then you are something very special. I have been working my butt off getting ready for this course (I will be making a post about my training for the course on my personal blog at when appropriate). Suffice to say that there is a reason why there are no RKCII’s in Australia right now – the training necessary is mind bending.

And of course all this is for one thing – to benefit you. The better I am the more I can help you to achieve your goals, train better and even help you to decide what direction to take with your training. While these trips aren’t cheap, to me, they are worth every cent to help you and all my other customers who train directly with me. Right now, at Dragon Door Australia we have the only facility in Australia where you can train with an RKC and two HKCs. Soon, I hope it will be an RKCII/ CK FMS and two RKCs.

Not to mention that later this year in August we are again hosting an HKC in Brisbane at KMTA which will again be hosted by Senior RKC Shaun Cairns. His last trip here was an astounding success – the HKC was amazing and his follow up workshops on the next day were well attended and very popular (with the press workshop seeing every single attendee set a PR in the press!)

Don’t delay!
Dragon Door’s HKC (HardStyle Kettlebell Certified) Instructor Workshops- U.S. and Worlwide
Click here for Certification Course Information – Register now!

I’ll be posting updates on my meetings with Seniors and the brilliance of the course over the next few days so stay tuned!

What the HKC can do for you

May 6, 2010

Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

  1. A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
  2. A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
  3. A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
  4. A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
  5. The ability to competently perform the three foundational kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
  6. The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
  7. The unique HKC template for designing an unlimited number of effective kettlebell workouts.

And discover all this and more in the course of your HKC training:

  1. Understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing is fundamental to high-level HardStyle practice
  2. How to develop power through compensatory acceleration and overspeed eccentrics
  3. How to train hip extension for back and knee health and athletic performance
  4. How to employ bracing and neutral spine—for injury prevention, enhanced performance and optimal transmission of force
  5. How to recruit the lat as a “core muscle” to improve the spine safety and glute strength
  6. How to increase power with the biomechanical breathing match
  7. A safe, effective modality for developing different types of endurance
  8. Explosive training techniques for more effective fat-loss
  9. The deadlift: the most “functional” exercise of all
  10. The two-arm swing and corrective exercises
  11. The concept of rooting and two key drills for developing it
  12. The one-arm swing
  13. The hand-to-hand swing
  14. Russian relaxation exercises to enhance the acquisition of skilful movement, increase power and endurance
  15. The two hundred year history of the get-up
  16. The get-up as an assessment tool
  17. The strength and health benefits of the get-up
  18. How to correctly perform the get-up and teach corrective drills
  19. How to move from mobility to stability, then from stability to strength—and why this progression is crucial for truly effective kettlebell work
  20. The get-up, shoulder mobility and stability exercises. The role of the lat in shoulder stability and strength—and advanced lat facilitation techniques
  21. How to employ and teach steering strength
  22. The concepts of leakage and linkage—and their importance for effective kettlebell lifting
  23. How to perform the goblet squat and corrective drills
  24. “Strength stretching” for the hips
  25. How to overcome gluteal amnesia
  26. How to most effectively stretch the hip flexors to dramatically improve athletic performance, back health, and posture
  27. How to modify the squat stance for a client with back problems
  28. An alternative squat exercise for overweight clients
  29. Why “sport specific training” is inappropriate for 99% of the coaches and athletes—and a powerful alternative

Take home an information packed HKC instructor manual:

  1. What makes kettlebell training unique?
  2. What Russian research says about the benefits of kettlebell training?
  3. What is “Hardstyle”?
  4. Kettlebell safety 101: ten key items
  5. The Swing: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
  6. The Get-Up: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
  7. The Goblet Squat: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
  8. HKC program design
  9. The three key principles of effective training identified by Russian sports scientists: continuity of the training process, waving the loads, and specialized variety,
  10. Ten program design tools for an unlimited variety of effective kettlebell workouts:
    1. Rep Ladders
    2. Weight Ladders
    3. Time Ladders
    4. Breathing Ladders
    5. Reverse Ladders
    6. Drop Sets
    7. Super Sets
    8. Timed Sets
    9. Series
    10. Active Recovery Exercises

As with the RKC, the HKC will be earned through diligent testing of each candidate. Besides having to pass the requisite pullup/flexed-arm hang test at the outset of the workshop, each HKC candidate will be evaluated for technical proficiency and teaching skills at the end of the workshop and will then be granted either a pass or fail.

Read strength test requirements

The HKC™ strength test

The test is based on the US Marine Corps’. The requirements are 5 pullups or chinups for men and a 15sec flexed-arm hang for women.


(1) Sweatshirts will be removed during the conduct of the pullup/chinup event in order to observe the lockout of the elbows with each repetition.

(2) Assistance to the bar with a step up, being lifted up, or jumping up is authorized. Any assistance up to the bar will not be used to continue into the first pullup/chinup.

(3) The bar must be grasped with both palms facing either forward or to the rear.

(4) The correct starting position begins when the student’s arms are fully extended beneath the bar, feet are free from touching the ground or any bar mounting assist, and the body is motionless.

(5) The student’s legs may be positioned in a straight or bent position, but may not be raised above the waist.

(6) One repetition consists of raising the body with the arms until the chin is above the bar, and then lowering the body until the arms are fully extended; repeat the exercise. At no time during the execution of this event can a student rest his chin on the bar.

(7) The intent is to execute a vertical “dead hang” pullup/chinup. A certain amount of inherent body movement will occur as the pullup/chinup is executed. However, the intent is to avoid a pendulum-like motion that enhances the ability to execute the pullup/chinup. Whipping, kicking, kipping of the body or legs, or any leg movement used to assist in the vertical progression of the pullup/chinup is not authorized. If observed, the repetition will not count for score.

(8) A repetition will be counted when an accurate and complete pullup is performed.

(9) Gloves, chalk, or other grip aids are not allowed.

Flexed-Arm Hang

The goal of the flexed-arm hang event is for a student to hang with the chin above the bar for 15 sec. The procedures are:

(1) Assistance to the bar with a step up, being lifted up, or jumping up to the start position is authorized.

(2) The bar must be grasped with both palms facing either forward or to the rear.

(3) The correct starting position begins when the student’s arms are flexed at the elbow, the chin is held above the bar and not touching it, and the body is motionless. At no time during the execution of this event can a student rest her chin on the bar.

(4) The clock stops as soon as the student’s chin is no longer above the bar.

(5) Gloves, chalk, or other grip aids are not allowed.

To book go here:

Dragon Door’s HKC (HardStyle Kettlebell Certified) Instructor Workshops- U.S. and Worlwide
Click here for Certification Course Information – Register now!