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Choosing your first Kettlebell Part 1 – Why get one in the first place?

As many of you know, I teach a lot of strength, mobility and conditioning workshops many centring around the use of the kettlebell. Now, there’s nothing magical about kettlebells despite what many hardcore enthusiasts might believe. It’s basically a cannonball with a handle, nothing mystical there.

But, they are just a tiny teensy little bit special. There are many different tools to be used in our training. Barbells, dumbbells, clubbells, Indian clubs, gymnastics rings, powerbags and bodyweight callisthenics, to name just some of what’s available to us. So what make kettlebells so special?


Nothing special about these guys.


In my experience the kettlebell is possibly the single most versatile tool we have available in the modern gym environment. For most beginner-intermediate trainees, women or men, I can get an entire workout from a single kettlebell. Depending on the weight of the ‘bell I can use it in various different ways.

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Willpower is weak

Willpower is weak, few successful people rely on willpower in the long term for success. Sure willpower is like a muscle, we always get that analogy. So let’s take that analogy to its logical conclusion.

To get stronger or more powerful we need to work the muscle, we need to work it hard enough to introduce tiny little failures in it. Then we need to leave it alone for a period of time so that it can recover and improve.

If we work it too hard, it will break big time and not improve as it recovers. Also we’ll have had to wait a long time for it to recover so we can use it again. If we don’t allow it enough time to recover, over time it will not be able to restore itself to even its starting level of strength.

The same is true of willpower. If we exercise it to a certain degree everyday and don’t overly rely upon it, it will get stronger. If we try to overly rely on it… it may work for a short spell but invariably we end up gorging on Jaffa cakes, vegged out on the sofa watching a Game of Thrones marathon (or is that just me?).

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What do you think of this workout?

Iceberg workout

Quite possibly the most common question anyone who works as a personal trainer, strength or movement coach gets asked. It’s a curious question, because rather than ask said professional to design a training plan for you, you have asked them to provide an opinion on something someone else has designed.

My answer is normally along the lines of:

“Yes. Without prejudice or commitment, that is indeed a workout.”

This phrase “Without prejudice or commitment” is something that is hammered into all MoD project Engineers, to be used when talking to contractors. It basically means:

“No party can take anything I am about to say, or have just said, as a contractual obligation.”

Yes, I am saying that what you have presented to me is, in fact, some form of ‘workout’. Without any further information I cannot determine the usefulness of the aforementioned ‘workout’ for either yourself or for any other person. I am not denying or affirming that the ‘workout’ is either good or bad. Read more

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Re-framing: The art of being awesome when the chips are down

Don’t you just hate people who never get ‘down’? Or those people who seem to have all the luck? Because all the luck you personally have is bad, right?

My six year old was recently telling me “You make your own luck” and he’s about 88.2% correct.


I really buy into the idea that:

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity

Preparation is something that is (almost) completely under your own control. Read more

The Exercise Menu

What do you really want?

Do you want long term results that stick, or do you want to feel better in the instant but pretty much get what you’ve always gotten?

This is the question. The crux. The dichotomy that most people suffer from when they travel along their fitness journey.

Can you delay your gratification? Can you take the long road, work hard, be diligent and be consistent? Or do you need your gratification instantly, at the cost of the long term, to make you feel validated in the here and now, no matter how fleeting?

Can you work away, knowing that in 80% of your workouts you could have done more? Or do you need to end every session as a limp sweating heap on the floor?

You know which path you should take. These are all loaded questions. But why do people take the short cut, the one that burns up any chance of long term success?

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Fitness is fitness, right?

One of the most important abilities of a coach who is training a student over the long term is the ability to sit and listen. Using the occasionally prod to get the students to keep talking, it’s amazing how many of their problems they already have the answer to inside themselves. The process of vocalising (or even writing things down) seems to help ‘congnitise’ an issue (I know that’s not a word, but it fits).

Discussing the transferability of aspects of fitness between different sports one client recently stated:

“But fitness, is fitness. Isn’t it?”

That statement pretty much summed up that they already knew the answer. Which is ‘yes and no’.

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