StrongFirst Level 2 Kettlebell Instructor


On the weekend of May 8-10, I had the privilege to attend the StrongFirst Girya Level 2 instructor certification in Chelmsford, taught by than none other than Master SFG Dan John. This was a biggie for me, as I’ve read Dan’s work since the early 2000’s via his articles on T-Nation and bought his books and dvds since around 2009, but had never met him in person.

The saying goes that you should never meet your heroes as you’ll only be disappointed. His work forms a large part of my personal philosophy of training, teaching and coaching. Dan is a world class Coach, highly sought after by many organisations and is a US record holder in discus, highland games and olympic weightlifting. So not just a ‘talking’ Coach, but an athlete as well.

Was I disappointed? Yes. But because we only got three days with this resource of strength and conditioning awesomeness! And I’m kicking myself for not having made a list of questions to ask this coaching legend. Read more

Confidence and Self-Belief

What is it you want from your training and diet? Is it 8% bodyfat and a sculpted body that turns heads? Is it the ability to lift twice your bodyweight from the floor on demand? Or the capacity to run for six miles without having to breathe like an asthmatic jackhammer? We all want to look better, feel better, BE better. But what is it that this ‘better’ gives us?

This ‘better me’ can generally be wrapped up as possessing more of two things than we have right this moment, and those are confidence and self-belief. This ‘better me’ has the confidence to walk into a room and tell people what they think (and boy do people listen, because this guy/gal exudes confidence!). This ‘better me’ doesn’t worry about whether these jeans make their butt look big (or skinny), they don’t worry about looking foolish because they are comfortable in themselves and have believe in their own abilities.

globo better

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The problem with Smith Machines

Every gym has one, no gym needs one. The most over priced hoodie holder in the gym, the Smith Machine was invented in the 1960’s by one of the fathers of modern fitness, Jack Lalanne. Quite possibly one of the few negative thing this fitness colossus did in his career. The intention behind the Smith machine (so named after Rudy Smith, the fitness club executive who mass marketed it) was to create a ‘safe’ way for the masses to have the benefits of free weight squat training without the ‘danger’ of having an unrestrained weight on your back.

The Smith machine is used to squat, shoulder press and bench press. The alleged benefit is that, because the bar just needs to be rotated to lock the bar in place, it creates an extra level of safety and removes the need for spotters and expert tuition.

Smith machine

This is a great idea in theory, but falls down in application.

  • You become locked into a two-dimensional plane of movement, which is pretty unnatural.
  • Squats (front and back), you can’t achieve a good set up because you can’t apply torsion to the bar.
  • Press (Bench and Military), again set up sucks due to lack of torsion and pull over.

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Toning up, and lifting heavy stuff

Every personal trainer, strength coach, athletic trainer or fitness guru on the planet know that one of the first things you ask a new client is:

‘What is your goal?’

In the world of personal training the answers are invariably something like:

“I want to get fitter.”

“I want to lose some weight.”

“I want to tone up.”


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