Archive for September, 2010

So You’ve Passed the HKC, Now What…?

September 17, 2010

The Sydney HKC will be the 92nd of its kind since the course was first launched in the middle of 2009. In that time it has been run with great success in the US, UK, Italy, Hungary, South Africa and here in Australia. Due to its massive success and that it is derived from the gold standard of kettlebell training – the RKC – it is no surprise to many of us that it has been so successful in such a short time and that it is fast becoming not just a great instructor certification but also the best way you could possibly hope to kick start your kettlebell training. To stand in the room and watch people go from poor posture and poor form early in the day to there or thereabouts by the end of the day brings a  great sense of satisfaction to me. Kettlebells have literally helped me regain some of the aspects of performance I thought I had lost as I aged and I love being able to share that with people.

Once you pass, like with any Dragon Door certification, you know you have earned it. There are no free meals at Dragon Door events. Everything is earned in sweat, effort and in some cases bleeding hands. But what do you do once you’ve passed? Where to from there?

For many the next logical step is RKC. But for many that is also a long term goal and, for us in Australia, not always possible due to travel and time restrictions, so then what? What is the next best choice to increase your knowledge and skills?

While there are many great products you can learn from, furthering your own education with things such as Kettlebells From the Ground Up or Advanced Workshops sometimes you need to diversify a bit to be better at your job as a trainer.

For me, one of the biggest steps I took in my own abilities as a trainer was starting to read about the Functional Movement Screen by Gray Cook. When top trainers such as Mike Boyle, Jon Torine and Pavel Tsatsouline all proudly support it you know there is something good in it. This journey of knowledge was taken to the next step earlier this year when I took a trip to the US to attend the Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist course hosted by Dragon Door in May. The difference this has made to my abilities as a trainer has been tremendous. I am able to screen clients, assess their weaknesses and asymmetries and immediately work with them to rectify those problems and get them heading in the right direction sooner rather than later.

Unlike most modern training methodologies, in the RKC world we don’t strive to add performance no matter the cost. What I mean is that it is entirely likely in today’s fitness setting to add strength or performance without addressing under lying mechanical issues. That’s like strapping a rocket engine to a Model T Ford! Sure, it may go fast, but what is the end result going to be? For many it just means they will hurt themselves bigger and worse than they would have previously. The FMS system fits perfectly within this concept as it targets movements first, not exercises or muscles. By fixing underlying, primitive movement patterns we are, in essence, tightening the chassis of the car and putting good rubber on before adding the turbo charger. The end result from this two pronged assault on training is far better performance and durability.

Coming soon to Australia will be an amazing chance to benefit from one of the leading teachers of this system, and RKC Team Leader, Mark Cheng. Doc is often credited through  many texts with his vital assistance to both the FMS and RKC methodologies and has been one of the main road testers for the FMS system since its birth. He has been on the front line using it, learning from it and constantly helping to tweak it to improve it. I was lucky enough to participate in one of his sessions that combined the Get Up and FMS at CK FMS and can say that his insight into both systems really brings great harmony and sense to physical training. Unfortunately the CK FMS course is only available to RKCs, but the regular FMS isn’t!

Mark will be running an FMS workshop in Sydney on November 13 and 14 and in Adelaide on 20 and 21. For more information or to book go here :Kettlebells Los Angeles

These workshops will are an awesome opportunity to leap frog your competitors or dramatically increase your understanding of movement, exercise science and performance. If you’ve done the HKC, now is the perfect time to attend this workshop. The lessons learned will likely help you in your quest to achieve the next physical goal like the RKC!


HKC Preparation Class

September 14, 2010

With the next HKC planned on November 13 for Sydney the time is fast approaching to make sure you’re ready.

Make no mistake, there is a massive difference between attending a beginner workshop and a preparation class for an instructor event. With a 100% pass rate for students of Dragon Door Australia versus 6% for those trained elsewhere the decision should be easy.

Here’s why you should pick to train with Dragon Door Australia:

  1. Highest ranked RKC in Australia. Australia’s only RKCII and first Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist.
  2. Australia’s leading instructor, featured in UltraFit, Blitz and Inside MMA magazines.
  3. Assisting on the day will be Shannon Scullin – Australia’s first female RKC.
  4. 100% pass rate for those who have attended previous  HKC preparation classes.
  5. Train with the only RKC to have taught at any Dragon Door certification and the only person to have taught at all Australian HKCs.
  6. With another RKC on hand you will find no better instruction anywhere in Australia beyond the HKC itself.

Read here to see what others have to say about training with Andrew Read.

This one time class in Sydney will be October 23 at the same venue as the HKC – Thump HQ, 97 Queens Rd Five Dock. Price for this four hour workshop will be $300 per person.

Train with the best – Dragon Door Australia. If you’re planning to attend, you may as well set yourself up to pass!

For more information go to the workshop page or contact me on 0412 658 434.

HKC Certification

Sydney HKC Update!!

September 3, 2010

I’ve just gotten off the phone with the Iron Tamer and I have to say I am more than a little excited. We were talking about what workshops to do the day after the HKC (the 14th) and came up with some brilliant ideas.

Here’s what we came up with:

Kettlebell Fundamentals – Deepening your Get Up skills.

Here’s a taste of what’s in store for you –

  • How did the Turkish Getup get it’s name? Fascinating…bet you hardly any one can tell you that answer. Dave will!

  • The critical importance of hip mobility in the Getup and how the movement can actually assess mobility (movement)
  • The subtle ‘windshield’ wiper move that can make all the difference in the hips
  • Setting the pelvis to correct your vectors
  • A really cool way to bridge the hips so you can sense the direction of movement on the initial phase of the Getup (Dave stresses many times that it is NOT a sit-up motion)
  • Why he prefers the ‘High Bridge’ in the Getup and why it was added
  • Demonstration of the KB Arm Bar for shoulder and T-spine mobility/stability     (Yes there is a right and wrong way to do the arm bar for best results)
  • The importance of the wrist and grip for KB success
  • Understanding your 90 degree angles during each phase of movement (quality…not quantity)
  • How everything ends up being related to the Getup and Swing…such a great insight into recognizing how it all ties together so you understand that’s it’s more than just an exercise.


Cost is $250. Workshop will run from 10am to 12pm.

He’s also going to run a workshop on Lessons of the Old Time Strongmen –

  • Watch Dave perform some unbelievable feats of strength.
  • How to chase strength while maintaining form and function without the technological overload seen in today’s fitness industry.
  • See how the RKC and FMS strategies roll into one to create freak strength.
  • Use these secrets to unlock advanced kettlebell exercises like the Windmill and Bent Press.
  • The Windmill is a powerful exercise for shoulder and rib cage mobility and an excellent stretch for the hips.
  • The Bent Press does more for the upper body than any other exercise. A powerful lat builder it also develops shoulders extraordinary in their mobility and resilience, and powerful triceps.

Cost is $250. Workshop will run from 1pm to 3pm.

But, wait, there’s more!

In a first for Australia we are going to run some one on one sessions with a Master RKC! Here’s how it works –

We are going to have 5 one on one sessions available with Dave Whitley on Friday the 12th. For your time you will receive an FMS assessment by me, Australia’s first Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist and only RKCII. Once I have screened you I will pass you over to Dave where he will run you through a workout plan designed to individually tighten up your leaks. The FMS is like a laser guided GPS to assess and fix weaknesses and asymmetry. Under his expert tutelage you will learn how to undo all the movement flaws you have from a lifetime of sports, injuries or sedentary behaviour. Then he will create a workout plan just for you based on these corrections that will help you to get in the best shape of your life!

These sessions are limited though and we are deadly serious about the limit of 5 spaces only. These sessions are $250 each.

As a special deal – if you book now for all three here’s what you’ll get:

For $600 you’ll get a one on one session plus access to the two workshops.

If you only want to attend the workshops (and miss all the benefits of having a Master RKC write you an individually tailored program) and book before October 13 the cost is only $400. After that it will be $450 for the two workshops.

Don’t delay – the one on one sessions will be gone before you know it. I already have two people who have told me they are keen. If you want more details email me at

For those who still haven’t even booked the HKC yet – what are you waiting for! This is your chance to join the ranks of the elite trainers of the world! Follow this link to sign up for this great course.

HKC Certification

Sydney HKC Announced!

September 2, 2010

With the success of Brisbane only two weeks ago we have just managed to secure the next HKC in Australia!

This time we will be running an event in Sydney on November 13 and we’ve got Master RKC Dave Whitley coming. The Iron Tamer is well known in strength circles it just for his feats with kettlebells but also for his phenomenal strength and old school strongman abilities. Ever see someone rip a phone book in half live?

And with the HKC quickly becoming the standard for kettlebell training Down Under now is the time to secure a position for yourself! Already we have eighteen HKCs out and working in Australia spreading the Hardstyle word. Right now there is a $100 discount so don’t delay and book now.

HKC Certification

Here’s why you should consider taking the HKC:

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.

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