Posts Tagged ‘Strength Training’

RKC Training

August 11, 2011

It’s right smack bang in the middle of cert season in the US. There are RKC events going on all over the country – from St. Paul to San Diego to Chicago – as well as in Hungary, Italy and Korea. The RKC has truly become the global standard, and leader, in kettlebell training. As both kettlebells and functional movement have grown in popularity and understanding there has been a massive growth too in numbers attending the RKC and even the post-RKC events such as the Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist course and RKC Level II.

While this is great and the growth of the RKC community is a great thing – the short version is it gives us a bigger collective brain to solve problems and keep advancing – it seems like there is starting to be a lack of good ol’ fashioned common sense in preparing for these events. Just because something has become more popular doesn’t mean it will be any easier to pass. In fact, I think the technical standard today is far higher than when I did the RKC, although maybe I feel that way because looking back I now think I understood nothing about kettlebells when I attended the RKC in June ’09. So here is a list of things you can do to help you get yourself ready for the RKC –

Don’t treat the RKC as you would a normal fitness industry certification. Meaning, unlike other groups who certify instructors who arrive at courses as absolute beginners in a subject we expect you to have spent considerable time on kettlebell training already. While the format has changed slightly the Snatch Test used to do this for us – if you couldn’t complete one hundred Snatches in five minutes we’d know straight away that you were likely going to struggle with the weekend. At the very least you should already be able to perform without hurting yourself the 100 Snatches as well as all the other RKC Basic Six exercises of – Swing, Get Up, Clean, Press, Squat. These movements are tested using double Snatch weight bells – for men this will likely be double 24s and for women likely double 16s (although you will probably not have to test the Press with double 16s but with 12s or 14s instead).

This means as a minimum you will need to be able to perform at least five reps on each exercise (ten for Double Swings) with those weights just to be able to test.

The caveat here is that testing is the penultimate thing done after three days of training. During the teaching portion of the weekend you learn by doing. In other words, while learning how to teach the Swing you will do the Swing. In fact, you’re probably going to do about a thousand of them with weights ranging from a single Snatch weight bell to Double Snatch weight to something even heavier, maybe up to even 36kg for men. So if you’re planing to attend you will need to make sure that your lower back and hips, as well as your grip strength, are strong enough to do that many Swings. This is an  often overlooked part of the weekend. I had no opportunity to train with Dragon Door kettlebells before attending the RKC for the simple reason that they weren’t available in Australia until six months after my trip when I became the national distributor. Because of this I was only able to train with competition bells in the lead up to the RKC. While my technique was ok the biggest issue I encountered was the extra grip requirement of training with thicker handles! On the Saturday night I couldn’t even turn the door handle to my room as I couldn’t hold onto it!

You’ll also be doing lots of overhead work in both the Get Up, Press and Snatch portions of the weekend. So you need to be strong enough overhead to deal with having a bell pressed out overhead for long periods of time. There will be times when you will be expected to have a bell overhead for up to two minutes in a static contraction. While testing for the Press is with double Snatch weight – you’ll need to be able to get five reps – you will probably want some strength reserve to allow you to work with that weight at a comfortable level. My suggestion is that men should be able to Press a 32kg for at least a few reps.

All the while you are learning the progressions for these six exercises you will be doing Swings. At my RKC my diary shows almost two and a half thousand in various forms over the three days. Mostly with double 24s. If you plan to be one of the few who manage to make it to day three without walking like Quasimodo I suggest you spend a lot of time training Swings otherwise the sheer volume of work is going to tighten you up and affect everything you do on test day.

Here is the general continuum for how attending the RKC should work –

Discover kettlebells and realise they make all of your other training redundant when used in conjunction with Hardstyle training principles.

See an RKC instructor for technique assistance. Honestly, this is probably the most important step and nearly everyone excludes it. What point is there in practicing bad form? It will just make it harder to fix you on the day as you will have more deeply ingrained your mistakes. See a knowledgeable instructor right from the start and you will find the whole journey much more enjoyable. Don’t bother learning anything other than Swing, Get Up and Squat at this point. It takes months before people start doing Swings well and only then is it worthwhile even teaching them anything else. All that happens if you rush this is they wind up with poor Cleans and Snatches and likely some kind of injury.

Attend the HKC. While this isn’t a pre-requisite for the RKC I believe it should be. The result at the RKC for those having attended the HKC is far better than for those coming directly to the event, especially if they have come without any previous contact with an instructor. Not only that but with the rebate available for those doing the HKC you basically end up with an extra day of training with a Senior or Master to fine tune your form further. So you’ll get to see what the expectations are like for our instructors, the level of strength and skill required, have your technique gone over with a fine tooth comb and you get a discount at the RKC.

In between the HKC and your RKC you should again spend time with an RKC. This is now to learn Clean, Press and Snatch as well as the differences between single and double bell training.

Once you’ve got your HKC and learned how to do the next three moves it is time to move onto Rites of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell. For men you need to be able to complete this with Pull Ups and a 24kg bell in under an hour or you’re not strong enough to even think about going to RKC. At this point, even though you’ve learned double bell work, you don’t need to be doing any. You should also be spending time working on your teaching skills as you do get tested on your ability to train others at the RKC.

Once you can finish the ROP with a 24kg in under an hour you’re now ready to start thinking about the RKC. At the very least you will likely need to start building your Snatch numbers up and developing your work capacity to cope with a weekend of double bell drills. But fear not because you have spent adequate time on creating strength first – because when you are trying to develop strength endurance, first you must have strength. The best formula to follow is to use Brett Jones’ RKC Preparation programs. I find about three months worth of this is enough to put the icing on the cake for people. They can be found here. I differ in my recommendations to Brett in that I don’t think the body necessarily needs to be prepped to work for three days straight – it either has the capacity or it doesn’t. As we used to say in the Commandos – you don’t need to practice being cold, wet and hungry. What I do suggest is following his program using one of the three workouts on three days per week and doing a single bell workout followed by the next workout with double bells for a month, just alternating single bell to double bell workout to workout. Then the remaining two months it goes double bell, single bell, double bell within the week. Each week you swap which workout is single bell but always two workouts per week with double bells at test weight. You will also need at least one workout in there to retain max strength and I suggest a day where you do 3 x 1,2,3,4,5 Double Presses (no Clean in between) plus Pull Ups. Tack some Snatches onto this day and you’ve got a decent day of training. Then a fifth and final day of training needs to be added in that has lots of Snatches. There are many ways to build up the numbers but as long as you can do five per hand with test weight at the beginning of these three months you should be fine.

The final piece of advice is that you should stop ALL other activity at least three months prior, and in some cases as much as six. This is for all those cardio junkies who wonder why they can’t seem to gain strength – it’s because you’re exhausted all the time! For some women in particular this is vital as they are already challenged in the strength gain department and need all the recovery they can get. I recommend all my clients cease all activity outside of kettlebell training for at least three months prior – no running, no martial arts, no team sports – nothing other than kettlebells. And within the kettlebell training I insist they stick only to the Basic Six. There is no running test at the RKC nor is there a max Pistol test. As Senior RKC Dan John says you must keep the goal the goal and when the goal is to pass the RKC having paid all that money to train, travel and attend there is simply no need, other than ego, to be doing other activity. I have actually seen people fail at the HKC because of lack of focus – a 32kg Pistol done a week before instead of practicing Swings or gaining fitness for an all day training event. Looks good on FaceBook, not so much when you don’t pass on the day and walk away feeling like you’ve wasted the entire day as well as your money.

Obviously if you’re in Australia we constantly have people come to learn more about kettlebell training with us and I currently have online clients getting ready for various RKCs. Our new website will be up soon and will feature an online training option so even people outside of Australia will be able to have guidance to get ready for a certification – even if there are no local RKCs we’ll be able to do technique corrections online. But the bottom line is always the same – if you fail to prepare adequately you will likely fail. While my plan is longer than many would hope it is 100% successful and breeds strong, experienced instructors once they pass the RKC. By developing strength gradually as well as experience with kettlebells they turn up at the event ready and enjoy their weekend instead of suffering and hoping they pass.


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.

Beginner Classes

January 18, 2011

Want to get into kettlebell training but don’t know where to start?

Own a few books and DVDs but aren’t sure you’re doing things right?

Been to a workshop run by another instructor and left feeling like something was missing?

I get emails like this every single day. Like most forms of resistance training, most people that I have seen do not have good mechanics and have no clear picture of what they are doing with kettlebells. I even get students of other instructors coming to me needing help because what they have been shown just isn’t right!

When you consider the speed and technical demands of kettlebell training it is no surprise that even some accredited instructors don’t do a very good job of teaching people how to use them. While a Book or DVD can get you close to good form, it can often be easy to overlook vital aspects of safety and performance as well as figure out ways to train to make progress.

In the past I have taught single day workshops in Melbourne covering as many as six lifts in a 4-6 hour format. The short version is that this is only about 50% successful in giving people a great take home set of skills to maximise their training without having to pay for ongoing training. So I’ve come up with what I feel is a better way –

Starting February 1 Dragon Door Australia will be offering month long Kettlebell Introduction classes. These sessions will run twice per week on Tuesday and Thursday at 6am and 6.30pm.

The greatest benefit of this is that you will get not one exposure to training with the best kettlebell coaches in the country, but eight. Each lesson will further reinforce the ones before it, while simultaneously teaching new skills on top of the ones already learnt. So you’ll get fitter while you gain knowledge! That’s just not possible in a single day workshop.

Normally, I would charge as much as $600 over 6 hours for the amount of information I am teaching, but for these classes the price will be a low $300! Saving you 50% as well as giving you two hours for nothing!

I am convinced that this is a better way to teach kettlebells to people and will give a better result in your own training. Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Learn the fundamental lifts of the world’s #1 strength and conditioning system.
  • Fine tune your technique while you receive exceptional hands on tuition.
  • Experience powerful instructor led workouts – a phenomenal way to experience the endless variations of well designed kettlebell training programs.
  • Develop a warrior-like resilience – to endure and overcome the toughest tasks.
  • Discover how to train without pain and neutralise the apparent deficiencies of a high mileage body.
  • Learn these two essential kettlebell exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck. Do you know what they are?
  • Strengthen your legs and hips.
  • Understand the crucial value of quick lifts and slow strength. When and how to use them for maximum effect.
  • How to bullet proof the shoulders and back for Special Ops endurance and strength.

I am convinced that this is the absolute best way to learn how to use kettlebells. In fact, I am so sure that I will offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied at the end of the month that you have learnt all the basic drills, greatly enhanced your own strength and fitness and can safely continue using kettlebells on your own.

Don’t delay – take this opportunity to learn from the best. Dragon Door Australia has the most experienced and highest ranked RKCs in the country. Email me at for more details.

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

Good Instructors Wanted

December 12, 2010

I get emails and calls daily from people saying “swing hurt their back”. My answer is always the same – swings don’t hurt your back. How you swing, or were taught to swing, hurts your back.

Having seen instructors from various other organisations attend the HKC and fail it is no surprise to me that people are getting hurt. I am yet to see an instructor from any other fitness organisation who is able to pass an RKC standard technique test. I’m sure there are some out there, I just haven’t seen them yet. So it’s no surprise that if their own concept of good form is so poor that they are unable to convey to their clients what good and safe form should really be.

Given most certifications spend about three hours on six different lifts how deep are they really teaching technique? Not only that but with no technical testing or entry requirement how good are their instructors really going to be? All they really are is three hours more experienced than their customers. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go see a doctor who had only three hours more medical experience than me! I want the guy who has been in the trenches and has had to sweat for his piece of paper. The guy who not only knows it but can do it himself.

Let’s compare a three hour “instructor workshop” to the HKC:


3 hour course




Length of course All day All Day
Number of Lifts Learnt



Course run by

Master or Senior RKC


Who taught them

Pavel Tstatsouline


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


  • A comprehensive manual with pictures and detailed descriptions of the exercises you learnt, plus kettlebell training programs
  • Wholesale prices on all our equipment if you are a personal trainer
  • A listing on our website, which gets over 30,000 unique hits per month, as a Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor if you are a personal trainer
  • A copy of an instructional DVD
  • Access to a website with a further 42 exercises.
  • Ongoing support – you can contact us at any stage with questions about kettlebell training
  • Access to a private forum to discuss kettlebell training with other workshop attendees and workshop instructors
  • A pair of sweat bands to protect your wrists when training with kettlebells


See how one group worries about giving you sweat bands and the other worries about giving you the best in-depth tuition you can receive? Which one makes more sense? And is it better to have a book showing you another 42 exercises you don’t know how to teach or implement or really, truly understanding three that form the basis for all human movement?

Not only do we want to be the best at teaching movement we want to perform each lift a particular way to maximise the benefit of Pavel’s world famous RKC system. The kettlebell is a tool we use to make your body function better. If your goal is just to lift it up and down then why use a kettlebell? You may as well just use a bar or a dumbbell. Because of our aim we have a list of very specific standards. How do you know you are doing it right if you have nothing concrete to compare your form with? Here is our list:

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

With the next HKC fast approaching in Melbourne on March 19, 2011 we are agin looking for smart, dedicated trainers to join our ranks. We want the best. If you think that is you then sign up here!
HKC Certification

Also, if you are keen to become involved with Dragon Door as a certified instructor then you will benefit greatly from attending one of our workshops. With a 100% success rate for those attending it is well worth your while to come and learn from the local expert resource for all things Hardstyle! For more information on why you should train with Dragon Door Australia go here and here. To be the best, train with the best! Don’t leave it to chance.

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.

Why Choose Dragon Door for Your Education?

October 12, 2010

I often get asked what is so special about Dragon Door when it comes to teaching kettlebells. While there are a great many reasons, I will try to sum them up here:

The reason you have likely even heard about kettlebells can be traced back to one man – Pavel Tstasouline. Together with Dragon Door he has created a unique system of training centred around the kettlebell called the RKC, or Russian Kettlebell Certification. What makes this unique is that even though RKCs use kettlebells as their primary training tool we are not kettlebell instructors.

We are, in fact, students of human movement and strength. Pavel’s unique system allows us to reteach essential skills of movement to people who have lost them due to being sedentary or through injury. While many other schools can and will teach you how to lift kettlebells, they are focussed on this just as a means of resistance training. In the RKC you will find as many of us power lift and olympic lift right alongside our use of kettllebells using the lessons learnt from the RKC to boost our strength in other areas of strength development.

The lessons of movement are as applicable to one skill as they are to strength training. Our’s is a system of principles and movements, not of workouts and exercises. This allows us to apply techniques to other areas such as sports performance or martial arts as easily as we apply them to fitness related training.

The Yin and Yang of strength development is that you cannot be all about heavy training as that leads to injury, asymmetry and poor movement. Within our system is the strongest assessment and rehabilitation tool anywhere in the fitness community. The Functional Movement Screen developed by Gray Cook is light years ahead of any other physical assessment tool used in our industry today. With a complete set of testing tools, corrective exercises and checks in place this allows clients to progress faster and safer. Included within our set of “soft” techniques are tools to teach relaxation, flexibility and joint health. The total training package available to an RKC is so complete even the most advanced RKCs talk of how much they get out of rereading or re-watching one of Pavel’s books or DVDs.

We care about two main things – strength and movement and safety. I am yet to see another school of thought in the fitness community that pays as much heed to safety as the RKC. In the manuals for our courses, the first sections all relate to safety! Normally in the fitness community there will be a page devoted to “safe lifting” or maybe just a few words said about it at a course. To us, safety is tantamount to performance and without safety there can be no training long term for performance. What good is being shown a lift if the teacher cannot pinpoint your weakness via FMS or a corrective drill? I can tell you that even though many people are taught to swing, that it is no surprise that the majority of people who swing still end up hurting their backs even though taught by a “certified” instructor. I have to question people’s certification standards – when instructors are able to go and attend a single day workshop and become qualified with only that day’s experience, how much can they really help  their clients when they have only a single day’s more experience than they do? Instructors need to be experienced and without having entry and testing standards all they are doing is handing out pieces of paper to people. Is it any wonder that I have so many clients personally that come to me after an instructor from a another group has been training them? The difference is that I have spent $18,000 on my education this year alone to go and train with Pavel and learn from him directly along with his elite cadre of top instructors. If your trainer has learnt from someone who has learnt from a book, well…

Our instructor courses will get you ready to teach. Full stop. We will show you how to break down and perfect technique so you can train nearly anyone. The level of detail is renowned. Dragon Door rightly have become known for having the gold standard of training in kettlebell courses world wide.

The HKC, the one day course, is a great introduction to teaching kettlebells. Do not think that a one day course is not worthwhile. I have been to many “higher” level courses such as RKC, RKCII and RKCIII and still learn something every time I assist at an HKC. Along with being the best value single day course in Australia – who else can offer one of the top instructors worldwide to run their course – it is a great step forward to achieving the RKC. If you pass the HKC all money is directly credited to your RKC. In essence you get a free day’s training with one of the top strength and movement coaches anywhere in the world, a qualification and a real head start on becoming an RKC! Can any other course offer that?

Now with an HKC only a month away, it is the time to decide how serious you are about your education, your clients’ safety and the type of trainer you want to be. Do you want to be part of the mediocre pack or a leader and one of the best in your field? If its the former I wish you well, but if its the latter then it is time to act – book now to receive a $100 discount before this offer finishes!

HKC Certification

Sydney HKC Update

October 4, 2010

If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet booked the HKC, what are you waiting for? The HKC is the perfect start for many things –

  • It will get you going in the right direction for the RKC, if that is your goal.
  • If you are going to do the RKC, the cost is fully deductible. Essentially giving you a free day of training with a Master RKC to groove technique and learn from the best.
  • The movements taught at the HKC form the foundation of athletic skill. The swing, get up and squat comprise the building blocks of essential athletic movement and power production. Learning how to do these movements correctly will instantly boost the benefits of training for both you and your clients.
  • Just being shown exercises won’t do you any good. You need to know how to break them down, trouble shoot them and build them from the ground up. A monkey can be shown exercises, but a skilled trainer can teach a monkey how to do them. Which one are you?

In addition, the workshops being run the next day are going to be shown for the first time in Australia. Master RKC Dave Whitley is going to delve, in depth, into the Get Up and show why it is so revered in the RKC community as an exercise, movement screen and corrective tool as well as break down how it transfers to other movements such as the Windmill and Bent Press. While not essential to do both workshops, they are clearly built so that the progressions shown in the first lead straight into the advanced exercises in the second. However, as with all physical skills, without a solid foundation of basics trying to build advanced skills or higher levels of strength without a solid foundation will only get you so far before injury occurs.

In fact, if you look at the original Russian Kettlebell Challenge book you can see that the Program Minimum was substantially different to what it is now. It was originally slated as Snatch + Bent Press but had to be changed because he realised that so many people lacked the basic foundations of movement, what Gray Cook calls primitive patterns, to pull these moves off without risking injury. With safety being a prime concern to us in the RKC (remember, we’re not the monkeys) it was important to create a PM that allowed people to train hard, reap big rewards, yet limit risk. So it was changed in Enter the Kettlebell to be Swing + Get Up. Having seen first hand literally hundreds of times how beneficial the Get Up can be in getting clients to move well these workshops will be eye opening to both trainers and enthusiasts alike as Dave explores and decodes how to get the absolute most from this under rated exercise.

To book your workshops go here. Book before October 13 to save $100!

The first step in this process is to get in to see an RKC before it is all too late. I’ll be running a preparation class in Sydney on October 23 at the same venue that the HKC will be held at. So far, I have a perfect record in getting people ready to pass the HKC and the RKC. If you’re serious about attending, be serious about learning correct form right from the very start. The technical requirement for the HKC is exactly the same as for the RKC – in other words we expect perfection. While being taught correct form may only take a few hours, grooving the correct skill, so that you are able to replicate it at the end of the day when you are at your most tired, takes weeks. Don’t wait until the last minute to learn and then try to build your fitness base, give yourself enough time to accomplish all your goals. For more information on the preparation class go here.

Finally, if you are attending the HKC and still don’t know where to stay please contact:

Contact: John (Manager)
Code: Dragon Door Australia
Transport: Free Shuttle from the hotel to the venue on both Saturday and Sunday in the
morning only. Shuttle seats 20 people and will do multiple trips if necessary.
Note: If a reasonable number of people book accommodation at the Comfort Inn they
will organise a shuttle for the evening too

Deal: All clients who book at the Comfort Inn & Suites Burwood will need to ask to
speak to John and quote the above code “Dragon Door Australia”.
Minimum Stay: 1 night
Standard Hotel Room: Friday night $115 & Saturday night $160 (usually $190 per night)
Single Hotel Room: Friday night $95 & Saturday night $140 (usually $180 per night)
Breakfast: Full Breakfast @ $10 per person
Note: The same deal will apply to any Dragon Door Australia client requiring
accommodation for the prep course weekend…