Archive for February, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake Appeal

February 27, 2011
What – NZ Earthquake relief workshops

When – Saturday 26 March, 2011

1. RKC Program Minimum

Start 9am – 11am
  • This two hour workshop gives you the bare bones essentials to get the most from your training in the shortest time.
  • The swing is the “centre of the kettlebell universe” and will build power and strength as well as bullet proof your back from injury.
  • Learn a never told secret for a healthy back – you would never guess what it is!
  • How to safely stretch your back after exercise – everyone does it wrong!
  • Learn the ancient secrets of power breathing and how to use it to safeguard your back and simultaneously develop more power!
  • Learn how a centuries old exercise can improve your shoulder health and build real world strength.
Cost $100
2. Russian Secrets to Stretching and Bodyweight Training

Start 11.30am – 1.30pm
  • Why the mastery of progressive calisthenics is the secret to raw strength and power through the forgotten art of bodyweight training.
  • Discover how hard a simple push up can be when done correctly and how to build awesome strength without the bench press
  • The futility of gym machines and the charade of high rep low weight bodybuilding training when it comes to power and speed.
  • Unlock the 6 rules for power packed push ups and the hidden benefits of this lost exercise.
  • 15 secrets to impeccable squatting and how the bodyweight squat will do more for your kicking than barbell squats.
  • Discover the magic of GTG – Grease the Groove – to develop crushing power using the RKC principles of strength.
Cost $100
3. Introduction to kettlebells workout session

Start 2pm – 3pm
  • Learn why the kettlebell was featured so prominently in the best selling book The Four Hour Body and how to use it to strip unwanted fat and sculpt the body you’ve always wanted.
  • Discover how this hunk of iron is unmatchable for raw strength and conditioning  – getting you the body you want without wasting time at the gym.
  • Feel for yourself the amazing one two combination of high octane cardio and non-stop battle ready strength that you can build with the kettlebell.
Cost $50
NB you’ll also be able to buy these workshops as an “all day” even for only $200. This is half price for that much training time and it’s for a worthy cause. Please pass this around to all friends and family. Money is going 100% to the Red Cross to assist with their help. Bookings will be able to be made online at from Monday 28 February.

Training Scholarships

February 22, 2011

With our move to a new massive facility only days away we are offering a very special deal to the right people.

I’ll train you for free for a year.

No catch. No strings.

You bring the attitude and I’ll take care of the rest.

Here’s how it works:

1) Get a resume together. Include job history, education background, sporting history and goals. You do not need to be an athlete to apply. As long as you want a better body than you have now you could qualify if your goal is worthy enough.

2) Send them to me at


1) Training is conducted in Melbourne, so you need to be here for training. If you are keen but live interstate and are selected you will need to move. If you are 100% serious this shouldn’t be a problem.

2) You will need to train at least three times per week. If you have time commitments that prevent that please don’t waste my time.

3) Ensure your resume is well written. If there is a spelling mistake on it I will throw it away. If it is written like a text message I will throw it away. This is like a job interview. Take it seriously.

4) If I need to spend a year with you, you will need a robust personality and a healthy sense of humour. I will make fun of you and I will push you to your breaking point many times. If you are not mentally equipped to handle that please save us all some time.

This is not a joke. I am deadly serious about taking five people and significantly changing their lives physically. With the strength of body gained the mind becomes stronger too and what once seemed impossible will now seem plausible.

Don’t delay. Your competition is already crafting their resume.

Picking your Poison

February 19, 2011

Everyone wants the magic bullet.

That one thing that gets them in the best shape of their lives, all in three short workouts per week.

But there’s no such thing.

You see, what may work for me won’t necessarily be right for you. Because everyone’s body responds differently to training, everyone needs different training programs if they are to reach the best possible shape they can be in.

Before I go too much further I need to clarify a few things. If you haven’t done any structured exercise for a long time and are way out of shape what you need right now is to start following some kind, any kind, of structured plan. Simply eating the right foods at the right times and turning up to do some exercise will get you in muchy better shape than where you are right now.

But I’m talking about the people who are already in decent shape. Maybe they work in the fitness industry, or they compete in some kind of sport. These people are looking for that edge that could be the difference between gold and not even making the podium.

Using me as an example – I love lifting weights, always have. Doesn’t matter what kind as long as they’re free to move and not machine based. But these days, after a ton of bad injuries and a couple of big surgeries, I find that some lifts just aren’t for me. They just stress my body out so much that the reward for the lift is not worth the price I have to pay. Lately I have been experimenting with Olympic lifting and the results have been interesting. Most noticeably two things have happened – I gained 6kg – and my hips are in pain. The most obvious cause for this is the full squat snatch. This lift requires and enormous amount of flexibility and strength and quite honestly it may be beyond me these days to do it on a regular basis.

Does that mean Olympic lifting is bad? No. In fact, I think it is one of the best ways to get strong, requiring a unique blend of suppleness and strength making it an ideal training method for many sports. But sadly I just don’t have the hip flexibility to do it well because of some previous injuries.

So the answer is to back off the Olympic lifting, or at least off the snatches, and find other ways to get the same result without the problems it has been causing.

The same can be said of many of the best known kettlebell programs out there from Enter the Kettlebell to Kettlebell Muscle. They are going to be a great fit for many people, but for some will just not get a great result. This is where a good trainer comes in, or a having a lot of personal experience and being able to modify programs on the go to meet your needs.

It’s also why I’m really happy that on March 20 Senior RKC Shaun Cairns and I will be running  Kettlebell Programming workshop to teach people the ins and outs of the incredible variety of ways to get stronger, leaner, fitter, all while using kettlebells. Have all your questions answered about strength and programming methods.

Why the Swing is King

February 3, 2011

Master RKC mark Riefkind has been famously quoted as saying that the “swing is the centre of the RKC universe” and that the swing “is applicable to 99% of our clients 99% of the time”.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why:

It strengthens the posterior chain – this is a fancy way of saying that the muscles it strengthen are important for posture, athleticism and force production.

It can be used for both  strength and fitness– one of the main benefits of kettlebells, is the simultaneous combination of strength and conditioning that we can get from them. The swing can be trained for heavy for low reps and strength (try swinging double 40s and see if you need to be strong for that) or light and for high reps (try 10 sets of 20 one handed swings with a 24kg to see what kind of cardio workout you get).

It is possibly the single greatest fat burning exercise on the planet – the swing is one of the central exercises in author Tim Ferriss’s outstanding new book “The 4 hour body”. He speaks of how as little as 100 swings each morning gave him massive changes in body composition and he also shares Tracy Riefkind’s amazing fat loss transformation of over 100lbs that all centred around her twice weekly, 20 minute swing workouts.

With no natural resting point possible the swing becomes cyclic in the same manner as running, swimming, riding, etc. The benefit it has over these bodyweight exercises is that the kettlebell can be used to add resistance once adaptation has taken place. Normal aerobic training typically sees fat loss stall after a period of early loss due to the body’s ability to quickly become efficient at an exercise.

However, unlike normal unweighted forms of cardio, the addition of resistance allows the body to undergo additional beneficial adaptations. Normal aerobic training only sees the heart change in volume, allowing more blood to enter the left ventricle. This allows a lower heart rate, which is useful. But, the heart itself doesn’t increase in strength to pump this blood effectively around the heart. However, when undergoing weighted activity the heart does undergo this adaptation (the only other exercise to see both of these adaptations take place is rowing). A bigger, stronger heart is a very beneficial effect of exercise and one we should all be aiming for as it lowers heart rate and blood pressure and increases blood oxygenation.

Further more the swing does not allow you to coast. On a bike you can slow down, when you swim you have to push off the wall and can glide. But in the swing there is no coasting possible – you have to work for every single rep. Even the kettlebell snatch, which is largely seen as the best all around kettlebell conditioning exercise, has a natural resting point at the top of the movement. The swing does not – it is all work, all the time.

I have worn a heart rate monitor during interval swing sessions and have seen in excess of 900 calories burned during a 40 minute workout. To put that in perspective, running is around 700 cals/ hour. However, due to the anaerobic nature of the swing, having used added resistance, the afterburn of calorie burning is much greater than after aerobic training. Once you finish running, as soon as your heart rate returns to normal you are done as far as fat burning goes. However, after a session involving resistance the fat burning, caloric expenditure goes for a lot longer – up to three days longer. Experts have placed this after effect at as much as 50 cals/ hour for 72 hours which equals another 3600 cals burned, or the potential to melt another half kilo of fat off your thighs!

Here are some other reasons to consider the swing the king –

  • It increases grip strength.
  • It is just as effective as an upper back builder as a hip and thigh exercise.
  • It can be done in almost any environment with little need for space.
  • There are enough variations – two hand, one hand, hand to hand, doubles – to keep you busy for a long time.
  • It spares the hands – one of the biggest problems many face when learning kettlebells is how to hold the bells properly to sav their hands from becoming torn up. The swing won’t damage your hands like the clean and snatch will, yet is more effective as a fat burner anyway.

When I teach beginners how to use kettlebells we talk about swings. When I teach intermediates they want to know about cleans, presses and snatches. When I work with advanced clients we talk about swings. Just like most things in life it is the first things learned, the basics, that reap the biggest reward. I rarely have to use calculus or trigonometry in my day to day life, but I use addition and counting every single day. The swing is the building block for all the other ballistic kettlebell movements but it is also the most important of all.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of the Swing the best place to learn is the HKC. The next Australian HKC is March 19, Melbourne. Go here for more information.