Archive for the ‘Functional Movement’ Category

One Way or Another

May 31, 2011

I often get asked questions like “What’s the best way to…?” Usually, after I answer the person contemplates, for about a millisecond, what I said and then goes and does the exact opposite.

Take training for example. I’ve spent decades, literally, learning how to do my job well. I’ve read more books than I can count, been to any number of training seminars both here and overseas and spent time in the trenches doing my job. Because the education aspect of my job is very important. It allows me to answer more questions, solve more problems and ultimately do my job better. It’s how any truly good coach or trainer sees their job.

The reality is that education costs. Gone are the days in Australia where education is handed out. Universities are no longer free nor, in reality, are most public schools with parents expected to “donate” or contribute time for various events. I know I’ve certainly spent my fair share of money and time on my education. And there’s the thing – at some point, to learn what you need to take your training to the next level, you are going to have to spend something, either time or money, on your education. If you get injured, rather than go through the hassle of six years at college learning medicine you simply pay the money and go see a doctor or therapist. When your car breaks down, you pay the money and take it to the relevant mechanic.

Yet for some reason, people think that they will be able to figure out all their training requirements themselves. I think the human body is immeasurably more complex than a car, and I’m certainly still learning about it, but people just assume that they’ll be able to figure it out. I guess, if you have all the time in the world and an unlimited budget you will eventually be able to teach yourself the necessary skills to do whatever it is you are striving to do. But for most of us, the better answer is to simply invest a relatively small amount of money, save enormous amounts of time and just learn the skills on the spot. I value my spare time quite highly and honestly would rather just pay the money to have something done instantly, or near instantly.

In Australia we have several options coming up very soon to help you instantly increase your knowledge –

Saturday June 4 at 9am we are having an Introduction to Kettlebells class. This is exactly what it says – 60 minutes of light training designed so you can see whether or not you’re interested in using kettlebells to get into the best shape of your life.

This leads straight into our regular Beginner Classes which start the following week. Our Beginner Classes are the ideal starting point for your kettlebell training. With sessions divided between technique and workouts they provide the perfect blend of safe learning and exercise to produce results.

While I understand that many people cannot make these sessions for various reasons the number one choice then is always personal training. We have people fly from all around Australia to train with me here at Dragon Door Australia seeking to finally learn safe and correct technique after having enjoyed kettlebell training but then usually having had an injury from an over zealous trainer not being wary enough of their form. Personal training is the fastest way to improve. In one on one coaching there is no way a client can hide or perform poorly. Every single session is directed towards getting the best result possible. Coming up soon we have a unique chance to get in front of the two highest ranked trainers in the Southern Hemisphere – Senior RKC Shaun cairns and I will be running four PT sessions on the afternoon of July 29. These PT sessions offer the best of the PT world – FMS work and then training with a Senior RKC. I have watched Shaun teach people a skill they were physically unable to do and an hour later have them repping it out perfectly. In fact, I’m an example of that – a year ago I was unable to do a pistol and had RKCII approaching. An hour with Shaun on my pistol, windmill and bent press saw me pass Level 2 with flying colours becoming the first ever in the country to do so!

And finally, if you’re stuck with your training, attending workshops is a sure fire way to increase your skill, education and abilities all in one go.

The decision is yours. You can either spend the time to learn everything yourself or you can spend the money to have someone teach it to you. But one way or another you’re going to spend something. If you want to waste your life struggling to figure out things that is fine. But me, I’d rather just spend a little cash and  keep my progress rolling.


July HKC, Melbourne

May 22, 2011

Even though our next HKC is just over two months away it is time to get the ball rolling and let everyone know exactly what will be going on.

As at our last HKC the next one will be at our new HQ in Melbourne’s Bayside. Our new location is over 300sq.m with more than 200sq.m of that dedicated to open training space. With rubber floors and no clutter in the way this means we can handle up to thirty candidates at once! Not only that but this will mark the coming together of the strongest instructor team ever assembled in the Southern Hemisphere –

Senior RKC Shaun Cairns, Australia’s first female RKC Shannon Scullin (who, fingers crossed, will also have passed all the requirements for CK FMS and RKCII by then as well), and RKCs Alby Owens and Sam Johnson as well as a New Zealand RKC Tracy Borden. Oh, and I’ll be there too. Never before will there have been so many RKCs gathered in one place for a single event to help you get the most out of the weekend. When you consider that just a year ago there were only about half a dozen RKCs in the entire country and now we are able to get a team together of four RKCs a Senior and  me then it really is something special.

Now, with our courses accredited by both Kinect and Fitness Australia we are not only bringing the highest standard of kettlebell instruction to Australia, you will also get the added bonus of having points attached to the course. While I don’t believe a course is “good” just because it has points, I do understand that for many there is a financial pressure behind choosing courses and having points awarded does remove some of the dilemma behind choosing.

Along with the great teaching team, the added bonus of the points for the courses I have a little surprise up my sleeve…Well, to be honest, it’s more like I’ve got so many surprises that they’re falling out of my sleeves!

Shaun Cairns and I have about twenty years of small business experience between us, about thirty-five in combined training experience (that is time spent training others, in terms of training ourselves it is more like about sixty years) and both of us have one other thing in common –


Look, there are plenty of good trainers around. I know plenty. But I don’t many who are making a killing financially. That’s one of the reasons I have spent so much time over the last five years developing my sales and marketing skills. I’ll be blunt; I want to make buckets of money. If you don’t, that’s fine, but if you do, read on…

Shaun and I are both experienced niche marketers. We know what it takes to get noticed and to draw attention to yourself in a market filled with hype and under delivery. In fact, in Australia right now, I would argue that there is no one who is a better niche marketer than me. At Dragon Door Australia and Kettlebells for Africa we do one thing and one thing only and are very successful at it. And Shaun and I can teach you how to do this too.

At the last couple of HKCs we ran some PT sessions on the Friday afternoon. We combined these with FMS sessions and we will be doing these again. You’ll get screened by me, Australia’s first and most experienced FMS practitioner, and then once your movement issues have been sorted out you’ll be passed onto Shaun to work on whatever technical issues you want to check – RKC or HKC preparation, learn a new move or two or just get your ass kicked by the original Beast Tamer.

Then, in a first for Australia we’re going to give a two hour Niche Marketing lecture. We’re going to show what we’ve done to increase awareness of our brand, whether you need social media or not and how to separate yourself from the herd of trainers who don’t make much money by showing you how to sell to the right people.

Saturday, we’ll run the HKC. Imagine being in a room filled with other aspiring trainers, learning from the best in the Southern Hemisphere and learning techniques and progressions that will help your clients improve in leaps and bounds!

Then, Sunday, we will run a few workshops. There will be three workshops –

Enter the Kettlebell – we will go over the importance of the Program Minimum, teach the Clean, Press and Snatch and then run through how the Rites of Passage should be used as your training program for RKC. As an added bonus, everyone who attends this workshop will receive a copy of the Enter the Kettlebell DVD.

Kettlebell Programming workshop – Shaun and I have been at this training game for quite some time and have a number of methods we use to get massive effect from our clients. The last Programming workshop we ran was a sellout success with people having their eyes opened to many new ways to implement and use the RKC methods to bring about massive changes in their clients.

Finally, we’re going to run an RKC Preparation workshop. This will include all the differences between single and double kettlebell work as well as technical differences in exercises such as the Get Up as well as a strategy for training for and passing the Snatch Test.

All in all the HKC weekend is set to be the best ever HKC and the best ever kettlebell specific event in Australia. If you want to be a kettlebell trainer you’ll be able to learn from the best, at the best course currently available in Australia AND you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to maximise your income from doing just that! Other people pay a lot of lip service to niche marketing, claiming to specialise in various things but here’s the deal – you can only “specialise” in one thing. That’s why it’s called a speciality. And if you want to be a jack of all trades, but master of none, then go ahead. But, if you really want to make big bucks, like the kind that specialists and experts can command, then you’ll benefit more from attending the weekend workshops than any other training workshops in Australia. We’re not going to waste time talking about our life stories, or trying to showcase all the certifications we have attended. It’ll be focused on one thing – kettlebells – and how to get the most out of them physically and financially.

Details will be up on the website soon for the workshops, but the first step is to book now ———–>HKC Certification

July 30 HKC Melbourne

April 3, 2011

We’ve just announced a new date for the next HKC.

The HKC is really starting to get noticed as THE kettlebell course to attend in Australia. We’ve already had some instructors from other groups come and attend, here’s some of what they had to say about our course:

Right to the point from the start. All aspects made sense in the order of presentation. No useless information was offered. The HKC has now planted the seed for greater training potential That I will utilise in my own business. So much more informative than the AKI course. Claude Castro

Clear, precise and very comprehensive course for kettlebell fundamentals. The breakdown of movements was great. Most kettlebell trainers don’t/ can’t differentiate finer details. I have trained with every kettlebell course – IKFF, Steve Cotter, Kettlebell Training Academy and I learnt the most at this course. Muhammed Redzuan Jab Bin Nasir

And if you want a more detailed review of the whole weekend you should definitely check out TC Lee’s blog post on it.

What has impressed me most about these guys is that they have sought out training with the best. They have all travelled to train with us – Claude went to Sydney from Melbourne, Jab came from Singapore and TC came from Perth to Melbourne. Not one even thought twice about the distance. The only thing these guys were concerned about was getting the best education possible. It’s the same reason that I’ve been to the US five times (six in another week) in less than two years. Not a single course I have been to over there has CECs or PDPs attached to it. I’ve spent over $18,000 just last year alone on my education. For anyone who questions if it is worth it, well…in every case the money I spent on the course I was able to make back all within two months of attending the courses. And all of these guys, and me, are destroying our local competition all due to one thing – education.

Now, with Kinect Australia now accrediting out course (2PDPs) and with Fitness Australia poised to do so (making us one of the first in the country to have CECs attached) our courses will have even more people attending them. The commercial reality is that clients immediately see the differences in someone who is Dragon Door trained. They train without pain, and because of this they get better results. The next course is only just around the corner and you’re going to get left behind by your competitors if you don’t attend.
HKC Certification

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.

Kettlebell Extravaganza!

January 4, 2011

Last year saw the first time ever that a Dragon Door ketttlebell certification was held in Australia. Now, with a growing army of expertly trained instructors, and having run three Hardstyle Kettlebell Certifications, each better than the one before, I am proud to announce what will be the best ever kettlebell event in the country.

Here’s what is going to happen:

On Friday March 18, Senior RKC Shaun Cairns and I will be running 90 minute FMS/ PT sessions. There will only be a very few of these available – 5 at most. We did the same thing in Sydney for Master RKC Dave Whitley and they sold out in a day. Every single person who attended those sessions raved about them and how good they were and many people expressed interest in attending future sessions so we’re doing them again! These sessions are being run by the top two kettlebell trainers in the Southern Hemisphere! Shaun is the only Senior RKC and I’m the only RKCII/ CK FMS! With the FMS component being done by the top trainer in Australia, and the PT session being run by one of Pavel’s elite Senior Instructors, and the only Senior in this half of the world, you are going to have the best 90 minutes of training you’ve ever had! With the first 30 minutes being used to pinpoint and fix your weaknesses, you’ll feel the best you ever have as you begin your training session with Shaun where he’ll go to work on whatever you want to work on. This combination – FMS/ movement then performance is the same as the model used by leading sports coaches and trainers to get their athletes ready for elite competition.

To read more about Shaun Cairns and Andrew Read just follow the links.

March 19 will be the HKC.

March 20… Hold onto your hats….

The day following the HKC we will be running a series of four workshops. Here is the short version –

Clean and Press –

  • How to get the most out of your press – while putting the least amount of strain on your shoulders.
  • How to stop strength “leaking” from your knees and hips – and what the pros do to prevent that.
  • The key characteristics of a good press.
  • How to instantly increase your pressing strength using these Russian secrets.

The Snatch –

  • Learn the ins and outs of the Czar of kettlebell lifts.
  • Learn how not to bruise your arms while snatching.
  • The Snatch is a 3 stage rocket – unlock the secrets to finesse the stages to get more from your training.
  • See why the kettlebell rules for elite conditioning.

Kettlebell Program Design –

  • Learn the key principles of strength development and how maximise them with the kettlebell.
  • Learn how to recognise when to push and when to hold back for elite level conditioning.
  • Discover the hidden strength secrets of the RKC elite.
  • The basic laws of successful progress and how to make gains on top of gains.
  • The perfect number of reps for greater strength.
  • How simple and basic mean successful and strong.
  • Learn how a single kettlebell can be used to take you from ordinary to extraordinary!

RKC Preparation –

  • Learn how to get strong and not burn out!
  • Hone your technique to a new level.
  • How to pass the snatch test in four easy steps.
  • Learn the secrets to get in shape – don’t waste time on show off exercises that won’t help you pass.
  • Take away proven programs to get you ready for the big day and how to use them for maximum effect.

Like I said – it’s going to be a big three days! Shaun is an amazing instructor. This is the guy who is a benchmark for strength amongst the RKC, the first ever Beast Tamer and a guy who accomplished all that using just a 32! Prices will be up in a day or so, but I wanted to give everyone a head’s up so they can start to plan their New Year for maximal strength! Click the link below to reserve your spot in this amazing instructor course!

HKC Certification

Feedback from the Sydney HKC

November 22, 2010


Hard. And informative. So many useful gems that I hope I remember! Training manual seems informative too. The focus on technique is great and I appreciate that technique quality over quantity is drummed into us. Fiona Coutts


Awesome, intense, mind blowing, has made me hungry for more. The constant assessment of what we were doing from the RKC? HKC instructors was awesome. Great feedback. The course stands out, especially as there was an emphasis on biomechanics. The instructors are inspirational in their teaching, direction and cueing/ refining technique. Loved it,  loved it, bloody loved it!! Becky Bell

Right to the point from the start. All aspects made sense in the order of presentation. No useless information was offered. The HKC has now planted the seed for greater training potential That I will utilise in my own business. Claude Castro

This is the single most comprehensive training day I have been to. Packed full of powerful techniques that left no question unanswered. I loved the way the instructors had the mean and the answers to my questions. It is obvious the teachers all practice what they preach. Like Dave said the information is an inch wide but a mile deep. Andrew Kaczorowski

The most comprehensive and thorough curse I have done in a long time. The instruction was awesome. Very straight forward and the cueing tips were all spot on. I like that you can’t just turn up and be certified. You have to do the work and do it well to earn certification. Steven Rogers

It was a great learning experience and I now have goals to aim for to improve. In terms of scope I think it is comparable to Kyokushin Karate. Rod Purcell

Totally worth the cost and the 7 hours of driving! The step by step instruction, high student/ instructor ratio and attention to detail made the course stand out. Steve Parris

Great, in depth course. Highly challenging but fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone serious about kettlebells. The instruction was relaxed but firm when required. Great knowledge conveyed in a non-condesecending manner. John Legg

Great technical instruction and technique correction. All the instructors were very helpful and approachable. The focus is on skill learning rather than seeking out fatigue. With the variety of corrective drills and the teaching progressions it makes coaching clients much easier. The HKC is among the best courses I have done. due to its narrow focus. I feel like I have retained information which I can actually take away and use instead if just being presented with exercises and workouts. Ryan Walsh

Clear, precise and very comprehensive course for kettlebell fundamentals. The breakdown of movements was great. Most kettlebell trainers don’t/ can’t differentiate finer details. I have trained with every kettlebell course – IKFF, Steve Cotter, Kettlebell Training Academy and I learnt the most at this course. Muhammed Redzuan Jab Bin Nasir

This was the best fitness course I’ve done. I love that you have to be able to do the technique rather than just pay your money and get a certificate. Loved that there were three techniques learnt properly rather than fifty techniques that were glossed over. Rachael Godfrey

Awesome. Picked up a whole new perspective on a lot of techniques. Great instructors too! The depth of information given was amazing. Joe Gilmore

The course was extremely thorough. A huge emphasis  was on safety which you don’t usually see too much of in the fitness world. Dave was easily able to convey all the information clearly. His relaxed style put everyone at ease. Far more depth of instruction than anything else I have seen. Carlyle Morgan

Very well planned and set up course that makes sure you have the basics right. This course went beyond most courses when it comes to getting the basics right. The quality of all the instructors was of a great standard. Ed Flaherty




Sydney HKC Wrap Up

November 16, 2010

Sydney HKC Group photo

Wow. That pretty much sums up the most recent HKC held in Sydney, Australia. Let’s look at some of the amazing things that happened to create such a great day:

For the first time we had a Master RKC come to run the HKC. Usually people are blown away by the level of knowledge that an RKC has when it comes to training, correcting movement and maximising their efforts. Then, they meet a Senior and are again blown away. Then they meet a Master…and… well, you see how it goes. There is a very good reason why Dave Whitley is regarded as one of the top six RKC instructors in the world in Pavel’s RKC system. His breakdown of the Swing and Get Up were great and he ran an incredible day of training.

We had the start of a teaching community here. At RKC events overseas people come together to help out, assist teaching and continue learning themselves. Previously, with so few instructors here this was not really possible. Now, with a growing legion of instructors we were able to have 6 assistant teachers on the day. With a Master at the front of the room an RKCII/ CK FMS, Australia’s first female RKC and 4 HKCs we had 7 instructors on hand! This ensured us a good result with everyone and we were able to help more than 50% of the people pass on the day, which is quite a high number.

The day started with the strength/ pull up test which everyone passed easily, and rightly so. Then onto breaking down the Swing and the variety of correctives and exercises we use to build it from the bottom up. This is a vital aspect of Dragon Door certifications – we teach you using the progressions you will use with your own customers to build them from no experience to safe and effective quickly. No other course in the world can offer as much depth in terms of understanding and breaking down the movements.

After a few hours of Swings we started with the Get Up. It always strikes me as funny when people ay things like “I’ve got the Get Up, it’s easy”. While they may be able to hold something overhead and stand up, there’s a fair chance they are not competent in our eyes as far as the safety of their technique. Small details such as bent wrists lead to a fail and bent arms indicate a lack of either thoracic extension or rotator cuff strength – all easily spotted by trained RKC eyes and all with corrective drills to fix them.

The next part of the day really caught me off guard – I was asked by Dave to teach the Goblet Squat! Now, as a lowly RKCII it was out of the ordinary to be asked to do so. I have to admit to being a little nervous at first but within a minute or so was in my groove and moving forward with the progressions and breakdown. The only hiccup here was my demonstration model splitting her pants during a squat!

Dave’s HKC was a little unusual compared to previous ones I have attended as he had a round of individual practice. This is normal practice at RKC events and personally I find it very useful for honing my own technique. It also gave the instructors a lot of time to work with people on their biggest issues and fine tune their technique before the testing.

The teaching test was among the best group I had seen. With quite a few experienced trainers we witnessed a group not intimidated at all by teaching and largely using the methods set out to build technique with their victims. I believe the teaching aspect of the course to be a strong point and know that no other group in fitness in Australia takes it as seriously as we do. In fact, one of the students who was border line pass/ fail was ultimately failed over what he showed during his teaching test when it was decided that a little more time spent on personal practice would help his teaching too.

After a long and tiring day it is unpleasant for people to hear that they haven’t passed for whatever reason, however I believe that every single person who didn’t pass on the day will become a better instructor for being asked to go and do more work on their individual technique. Unlike other groups we will not just hand over a certificate and we will also not pass you if we feel you are dangerous. As Master RKC Andrea du Cane says “If I don’t feel comfortable letting them teach my mother, I am not comfortable with them passing”. I hope that every single person who attended goes on to pass eventually after fulfilling their retest requirements, whatever they may be. The group this weekend was great and we were quite lucky as everyone came with the right attitude and were keen to learn from a Master RKC.

Dave also ran a couple of outstanding workshops the next day. I am not going to go into them too much except to say that it was the best presentation of the Kalos Sthenos Get Up and variations into the Bent Press that I have yet seen. It was easily a highlight of what has been an outstanding year for me personally. When you consider that I have attended CK FMS, RKCII and RKCIII workshops this year and seen Gray Cook, Brett Jones, Pavel et al present that should tell you how great I think it was. Simply outstanding and cemented the reason why Dave is so highly thought of. Not only that but he is a great guy to work with.

Congratulations to all our new HKCs – Becky Bell, Claude Castro, Ryan Walsh, Rachel Godfrey, Fiona Coutts, Steve Parris, Jab and John Legg. Great work guys, I hope to see you all at RKC soon!

The wrap up wouldn’t be complete without special thanks to the teaching team who came from all over. Shannon Scullin did an amazing job as my 2IC for the day and held things together a few times when it all looked like going pear shaped. Not only that but she is becoming a great teacher and represents the RKC with pride and skill as out first female. The Brisbane boys – Alan Salvo and Tim Uljarevic – also did a great job. Without Tim’s assistance at the previous HKC Sydney might not have happened and Alan is well on the way to becoming an RKC next year in April. The amazing Sigrun Bishop took the time to come from Rockhampton and help out and has grown again in understanding since the Brisbane HKC where she was a stand out. And finally to my student Sam Johnson, thanks very much. While the youngest assistant on the day he showed great maturity and ability in helping people learn and improve during the day. Guys – couldn’t have done it without you!

The teaching team - the best of Australia and Master RKC Dave Whitley.

This was a landmark event for our country. An elite instructor, a group of the best talent in Australia assisting and the continued growth of the world’s best strength system down under. Our next event is planned for melbourne, March 19. If you’re on the fence you’d be silly to miss out on such a great opportunity.

Martial Power Workshops

October 31, 2010

Owning a dumb body is like owning outdated software. Close to useless. Only worse, cos with your own body you’re talking serious or TERMINAL hurt.

And in competition or in conflict, a dumb body spells danger for you and danger for your buddies. You’re a walking liability.

Well, what if there was such a thing as a “Smart Body?”

smart body—programmed with state-of-the-art neuro-software guaranteed to rocket your power, strength and speed far beyond its original capability?

And what if you could get hold of these neuro-software secrets yourself and:


Can you imagine? The same day you learn them—secrets that make you immediately 30% stronger and faster.

For the first time in Australia I will be running workshops specifically for martial artists, combining Pavel’s world famous hard-hitting combat secrets from the Russian Spec Ops with his gold standard Russian Kettlebell system.


  • Why the mastery of progressive calisthenics is the secret to raw strength and power through the forgotten art of bodyweight training.
  • Discover how a simple push up can double your punching power when done correctly.
  • 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.

Combine this with the RKC system for kettlebell training to learn:

  • Understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing will give you stamina and resilience.
  • Learn how to recruit the powerful lat as a core muscle, to protect your spine and add power to your punching and kicking.
  • The concept of rooting and how to use it to increase your striking power.
  • The two hundred year history of the Get Up and its uses for combat sports.
  • Develop simultaneous mobility and stability to develop awesome power.

These two workshops are being run for the first time ever in Australia in Brisbane and Melbourne on December 18 and 19. Due to the amount of information contained these are five hour workshops running from 10am to 3pm. For more details see the website, for Brisbane click here and for Melbourne click here.

The 5 Ps of Passing the HKC

October 26, 2010

With our next HKC coming soon, and with this event being the 92nd HKC held world wide I thought I would take the time to help some people out. As someone who grew up working in the service industry I simply can’t stand it when people don’t get what they’ve paid for. I really get upset when people pay hard earned money to attend an event, work hard all day long and ultimately leave without the bit of paper they wanted. In most cases this can be easily solved with doing the right preparation beforehand. I’m a big believer in the 5 Ps of success – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. So, in order, here are the 5 Ps for HKC success:

1. Spend time with an RKC.

It seems so simple, but so far out of the people I have seen attend an HKC and pass on the day (because don’t forget, just because something isn’t correct on the day doesn’t mean that you’ve completely blown it as you have three months to get it right. Although nothing beats passing on the day) they have all spent time with an RKC prior in all but two cases! So, while it is possible to pass, the question you need to ask yourself is are you that rare person, with such great mechanics and athleticism that you can just wing it on the day and pass, or are you like most people and need some coaching beforehand?

2. Know the movements already.

As much as the HKC is an ideal learning tool for people looking to get serious about their training, it is also an instructor certification. As such we expect that you should already have an idea of what you are about to do, and should have already spent a fair amount of time learning about and training with kettlebells. Ideally, you’d have familiarised yourself with the following list of technical points:

Swing –

Swing a kettlebell back between the legs and then in front up to chest level for 10 repetitions, switch hands and do another 10.

  • Back must be flat
  • Heels planted and the knees track toes
  • Working shoulder packed
  • Working arm is straight in bottom position
  • Kettlebell handle stays above the knees during the backswing
  • No forward knee movement on upswing
  • Body forms a straight line on the top of the swing: the hips and knees extend fully, neck neutral
  • Biomechanical breathing match
  • Abs and glutes visibly contract tat the top of the swing

Get Up –

Lie on your back, pick up the kettlebell with both hands and press it with one. Slowly stand up while keeping your loaded arm straight and vertical. Assist yourself by pushing into the ground with the free arm. Slowly reverse the movement.

  • Use both hands to lift the kettlebell from the ground at the start of the exercise and to return it to the ground at the finish
  • Wrist on the kettlebell side is neutral/straight
  • Elbow on the kettlebell side is locked
  • Shoulder on the kettlebell side is packed
  • Shoulder of the free arm does not shrug up
  • Heel of the front foot on the kettlebell side stays planted
  • Knee touches the deck silently when descending into the half-kneeling position

Goblet Squat –

Pick up the kettlebell by its horns and hold it next to your chest. Squat below parallel, rest your elbows inside your knees pushing the latter out, pause, stand up. Repeat 5 times.

  • Back is flat
  • Shoulders are pressed down (scapulae depressed)
  • Neck neutral
  • Heels planted
  • Big toes planted
  • Knees track the toes
  • Elbows push out against the VM in bottom position
  • Ascent initiated with a grunt
  • Hips ascend at the same arte as the shoulders
  • Hips and knees extend fully at the top of the squat

3. Be Physically prepared.

The day is long. We start at 8.30am with sign in and the course starts at 9am sharp. The last one ran until just after 6pm with only a 30 minute lunch break. That’s a lot of training! Within that we spend about 4 hours teaching and breaking down the Swing so that you can teach it and trouble shoot it well. While we expect you to do it perfectly, you also need to be able to teach it too. To be honest, 4 hours seems like a rush when you consider that nearly the entire first day of the RKC is about the Swing (yet another reason why the RKC are so good at what they do – devotion to perfection of movement and detail). Then we split the remaining time between Get Up and Squat. Along the way you will be doing lots of Swings. You will do them in drills and you will do them to grease the groove and perfect your technique. My last count at an HKC was around 800 Swings for the day. If you struggle to do 100 Swings now, what makes you think you’ll be ready for the big day?

One of the tests is a Pull Up test. While for most people it is no big deal the Pull Up is not everyone’s favourite list so here are some clues to help you master the test:

  • Lose weight. Really. If you’re carrying a few kilos too many it makes Pull Ups really hard. Dropping even 2-3kg can make a substantial difference. So ditch the poor food choices and get leaner and watch your Pull Ups improve instantly.
  • Practice static holds at the top position. Do not do these to failure. Jump up, put your chin over the bar and hold it there for a few seconds. Slowly lower yourself down and repeat a few times. Try to do this daily, greasing the groove of your Pull UPs. Allow the volume of your work to help you with this rather than a small number of gut busting painful workouts. Each week try to add time or reps to your efforts.
  • If the static holds are no problem try band assisted Pull Ups.
  • Use Pavel’s ladder method to increase your Pull Ups without fatiguing you. (See either Beyond Bodybuilding or Enter the Kettlebell for more details, available from

4. Swing!


The centre of the RKC universe, and the lift you’ll do the most on the day, is the Swing. If in doubt in your own training add more swings. Sigrun Bishop, who passed at the Brisbane HKC, notes that she did “roughly 4,000 swings in the 5 weeks leading up to the HKC”. And you could tell on the day. She looked rock solid and killed it all day long because of the work she had done prior. My basic instruction for people is to train 4-5 days per week and try to get in 200-300 good quality Hardstyle Swings each time.

5. Practice the movements in your training.

If you can’t figure out what to do in training try a workout like this, which is actually a Dave Whitley workout called the Furnace:

  • Overhead Lunges right
  • Two hand swings
  • Overhead Lunges left
  • Two hand swings
  • Kneeling windmill right
  • Two hand swings
  • Kneeling windmill left
  • Two hand swings
  • 1/2 Get Up right
  • Two hand swings
  • 1/2 Get Up left
  • Two hand swings
  • Full Get Up right
  • Full Get Up left

All exercises are 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. The final Get Ups should take a full minute each side with 30 seconds up, 30 down. As you get more advanced you could replace the two arm swings with single arm swings on the same side. Alternatively you can replace the swings with Goblet Squats for alternate rounds.

For anyone keen to attend Dave’s workshops and learn more of his brilliance and great programming go here

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!