Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolve: The Missing Ingredient.

Resolution-the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

What is your resolution? If you are like most people "Lose weight" or "Get in shape" are on the list. It seems that every year around the end of December, people start making resolutions and by early February those resolutions are distant memories. By June most people are farther away from where they want to be than ever. Sound familiar?

What is the problem? Why does this happen? What is missing? The desire is certainly there, but unfortunately, that is not what it takes. You can have a very strong desire for great health and a small belly but if you are eating doughnuts all day and the only exercise you get is walking to the kitchen during commercials, it ain't gonna happen.

The Missing Ingredient
Notice the last 3 words of the definition above: Firmness of Purpose. There is no definite purpose in the list above. "Losing weight" and "Getting in shape" are not goals-they are ideas.
A firm purpose changes "I am trying to lose weight" to "I will weigh 120 lbs by April 15th by eating wholesome foods and exercising 3 times per week." Having a purpose changes "I'd like to get in shape" to "I will implement a structured exercise program that includes resistance training, endurance training and mobility training at least 3 days per week for the next three months". See the difference?

What is the single most important part of the process? The overwhelming desire to achieve a specific goal. I tell my clients that if they really want to get amazing results then they must be prepared to do whatever I ask to get them. Getting the results is not that complicated. It is the overwhelming desire that counts. The firmness of purpose.

Most people think -- "Well - one cookie won't hurt me will it?" I encourage my clients to think, "Will this help me or not? Is this a step toward my goal or not?" When fitting into that dress for your 25-year reunion becomes more important than the cookie, you are on your way. Once you understand this and really start to internalize it you become unstoppable.

So what are you going to do? Float through 2009 with the vague notion of better health and fitness while you waist gets bigger and your life expectancy shrinks? Or will you take control of your life and transform your desire into results? I challenge you to aim at a target and keep at it until you get there.

May 2009 be your best year yet!
PS-My favorite program for achieving (not just setting) goals is Dax Moy's Magic 100.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I want to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone. See you next week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Engaging the Lats for Pressing

Simple and useful way to discover your lats......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Formula for Success: Knee update

Even though I haven’t said much about it online, I have still been getting emails from people ascing about my knee. Thank you for the concern.

In mid- November I had my yearly physical and the MD asked if there was anything I wanted him to look at. I told him I had some stiffness in my right knee that had been there for several months. The short version of the story is that he sent me to an ortho doc and the diagnosis was torn meniscus, the treatment was physical therapy.

Interestingly, I wound up being a patient of Mark Snow, an athletic trainer who is in my AM Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp class with his wife Nikki. In addition to our work with kettlebells, Mark also has trained with Gray Cook and the Functional Movement Screen. Short version again- Mark “gets it” regarding what I do and how we train.

We focused on improving knee extension and correcting the firing pattern of my glute and leg on the right side. Mark watched me do a set of snatches that mimics the RKC snatch test and spotted some imbalances in my movement pattern and recommended that I avoid snatches or swings until we correct the problem.

You know the old Cinderella song “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone”? (Yeah, I went there. 1988 rocked!) Tell a guy like me that he is prohibited from snatching? I literally felt the physical pain of disappointment and denial.

I had my follow-up appointment with the ortho doc to see what kind of progress I have made. In a little over 3 weeks of physical therapy my extension went from a being about 7 degrees short of full extension to completely straight. (the left knee naturally hyper extends about 5 degrees, so they still aren’t exactly even) I have no pain in flexion squatting) until I get REALLY deep. The doc was “surprised” at how rapidly I have improved. I was surprised at the quickness of improvement, but not at the improvement itself.

Here’s how it all it all fits together: Action A plus action B yields result C. The process is the same, regardless of the desired outcome. Consistent action that moves you in the direction of the goal results in success. It is a mathematical certainty.

Mark gave me specific things to do at home to improve extension and the firing pattern. And I did them. That is all there is to it.

Say you want to press a heavier kettlebell: Go to the Right of Passage program in Enter the Kettlebell. And DO it.

Formula for success: Intelligent plan + Consistent action = Desired result.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guest Post By Jayson Hunter, Registered Dietitian

Rotate "Carbs" for Rapid Fat Loss
By Jayson Hunter, Registered Dietitian

Millions of people have tried both "low-carb" and "no-carb" approaches in an attempt to lose weight quickly. But few have tried a much safer and healthier approach known as Carb Rotation. It is a much more effective and realistic method of rapid fat loss.

There are two general approaches to Carb Rotating. The first approach is to follow a "no, no, no, high carb" program. This means you would eat no carbohydrates at all for the first three days and then eat a "high" amount of carbohydrates on for the fourth day. The fifth day you are back to eating "no carbs" again.

This plan can be effective, but you have to be very strict. It is an aggressive approach that may trigger your starvation response. Yes, the very same starvation response which causes elevation of a hormone called lipoprotein lipase. When this hormone becomes elevated your metabolism begins to slow down. And since that is the last thing anyone who is trying to get rid of unwanted pounds wants, it is not the approach I recommend.

Additionally, when people deprive themselves completely of "carbs" for three days they have a tendency to:1) Go completely overboard with carbohydrate consumption on the fourth day of the rotation.2) Not be able to go back to the three days of carbohydrate deprivation resulting in failure of the program.

The much more common sense approach is to follow a "high, low, no carb" program. There is much more room for error with this type of plan. It is much easier to follow and leads to much greater success.

Rotating your "carbs" in this manner allows you to shed fat and keep your metabolism elevated, which is the key to long term weight loss. There is a consistent transition with a "high, low, no" approach because every fourth day you repeat the cycle and you aren't depriving yourself of "carbs" for three days straight. And again: potentially triggering the elevation of lipoprotein lipase.We tend to eat too many "carbs", we eat improper "carbs" and we don't eat enough protein in our diet. But by following the guidelines laid out in a "high, low, no carb" program we are manipulating the blood sugars and insulin response in our body to achieve rapid of fat loss.

Rotating Carbs allows you to control and manipulate your blood sugars and insulin response so you are allowing your body to burn more calories for energy instead of storing "carbs" as fat. This means you are shedding fat and increasing your metabolism. Two very good things!

Jayson Hunter RD, CSCS is the author of the Carb Rotation Diet. You can take advantage of his holiday special by visiting his site Carb Rotation Diet.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More tearing cards-this time in Handcuffs

Handcuffed, in front and behind the back. Big thanks to Dennis Rogers for teaching me the feat and Adam Glass for helping me with it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Practice, patience, repetition.

I was having a discussion with a client yesterday about snatching, ripped calluses, etc.
I told him that I haven't torn my hands up in years (I literally do not remember the last time) from snatching.

The explanation: by doing literally tens of thousands of kettlebell snatches, I arrived at point of unconscious competence. I can do it absolutely correctly, every single rep, without thinking about it. If you have to think about it, you still haven't completely absorbed it, made it a [I]part[I] of you.

The beginning point: you first try to figure out what to do, then try to perform it.

The ending point: you have done it so much that to explain it requires that you stop and figure it out.

Paraphrasing Bruce Lee-After a while, you don't snatch, it snatches all by itself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tearing Cards

Wanna learn to do this? Go to Dennis Rogers' site!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bent Pressing

I've sent out a couple of newsletters discussing the Bent Press this week. Since the technique can be kinda tricky, I decided to shoot a short video to hit a couple of the high points for you.

The bent press is covered in detail on my Full Body Power . I'll be running a a special sale on the DVD during Thanksgiving and the day after (Black Friday) watch for it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Acai Berry scam?

Seems like everywhere you look on the Internet these days there's another company promoting the nutritious Acai Berry as a weight loss miracle. I have had several people ask my opinion on the subject. First, I KNOW you know better than to believe you're going to pop some pills - ANY pills - and have the pounds and inches melt off like magic. If you've been listening to me for any length of time you know true fat loss comes from a variety of factors, including exercise, recovery and proper nutrition. Notice "magic pills" ain't one of them.

Second, any fitness expert with any sense will tell you that any diet that promotes you eat any one food all day long ( like cookies) and then eat a "sensible dinner" is stupid. Yes, you will lose some weight short-term, but as soon as you go back to your old eating habits - and you know you will - you know exactly what happens.

In it's defense, the Acai Berry can be useful because it contains EXTREMELY powerful antioxidants and it is getting a lot of good press for that very reason. Antioxidants are extraordinary nutrients that help fight the free radicals associated with aging, cancer risk and other degenerative diseases.

And while on the subject, I wanted to fill you in on something that has recently been brought to my attention. Did you know that the coffee berry (the berry that covers the coffee bean) is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet? It's something researchers have discovered in recent years.

What's really cool is my friends at Prograde Nutrition have just created an amazing Whole Foods based Anti-Aging formula called Prograde Longevity that includes both Acai Berry and Coffee Berry. Oh, and it also utilizes Green Tea, Pomegranate, Wolf Berry and Biovin Grape (Red Wine extract.)Just to give you an idea of how powerful this formula is, well, you'd have to eat an entire POUND of raspberries to get the same ORAC value. ( ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

The best part is their having a Thanksgiving Week sale to celebrate the launch of Prograde Longevity. From now until Friday you can get 11% off Longevity or any of their other exclusive products they offer.You can check out Prograde Longevity for yourself here.

Just be sure to enter this coupon code in when you checkout: (yes, it's all lower case)

The code is "thanks"

Oh, and just so you know, you can't find Prograde products in stores anywhere. They're so exclusive they only let fitness experts work with their company to help them get the word out.BTW Prograde's 11% off Thanksgiving Week Sale ends this Friday at Midnight EST, so be sure to get over to the Prograde Store before then to stock up now.

Kettlebells, Functional Movement Screen, Goals and my knee

Well, I am getting an insert for my shoe and doing a little PT for my knee. Mark Snow, who is in my morning class is going to be helping me out. Mark is a fan of kettlebells and the Functional Movement Screen, so I just might learn something in the process.

Thanksgiving goals: I got my 16kg pullup and double vertical phonebook tear, so I feel pretty good about that. However, I didn't make my 40kg Bottom up press and doubt I'll get it in the next two days. I burned the candle at both ends for that one and did a little too much. I did learn lesson on that one and gain experience. The neurological demand of the bottom up press doesn't mesh well with a high volume approach for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I had my annual checkup last week and told the Doc about the recurring stiffness in my knee. She diagnosed it as a meniscus issue, which is nothing new. My chiro and Gray Cook both told me the same thing. She referred me to a Vanderbilt sports doc, and she reccomended physical therapy. My first appointment is this afternoon. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's my birthday

Thanks to everyone for all the emails, calls, forum posts, etc. wishing me a Happy Birthday. It means a lot to me. I will do my best to continue to improve as an RKC instructor and to push the limits of my own ability.

In an interview on DVD with Dennis Rogers, Slim the Hammer Man said something to the effect of how he" didn't reach peak until after 40. Between the ages of 40 and fifty, I was dangerous."

Another year and I get to be dangerous ;)

So until I get to be dangerous ( I am only 39 this year) I decided to rip this liscence plate into 39 pieces. I dropped a couple thru the cracks in the floor of the Shed of Strength, I actually made a few more than 39, but who's counting?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have heard before a quote that is something like "The difference between who you are now and who you'll be in 5 years is the people you meet and the books you read."

What am I reading?
On the plane to Tampa I re-read one of my favorite books: The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein-The Mighty Atom. I have only had it a few months and have read it 5 times now. It is hard to get ahold of, I got mine from Grandmaster Strongman Dennis Rogers. He only had 12 copies. They were autographed by the author Ed Speilman. I got 2 and gave one as a gift.

As a professional strongman in Vaudeville before the Great Depression, the Atom would routinely pull cars with his hair, bite thru chains and nails and bend steel as a part of his act. There are several quotes of worth in the book, but one that always jumps out at me from the Atom is "Imagine a new kind of man....A man without learned limits...." He harnessed the mental and physical potential the he had inside him.

What company am I keeping?
While in Tampa, I was surrounded by some of the sharpest minds in the fitness business for our Mastermind meeting. Jayson Hunter, Jim Labadie, Nick Berry, Pat Rigsby, Jason C Brown and Pamela MacElree and several others.

One of the participants was my friend Brian Grasso, head of the International Youth Conditioning Association. Brian has removed many of his own learned limits in both his personal and professional life. I am looking forward to working with him in June 2009 at the RKC Level Two certification. He has learned to create a vision and then make it into a reality. And he was just one of the 17 people I spent the past 2 days with.

All of them are already successful.

All of them are looking to learn more and improve what they do.

All of them understand that the only limitation is the one you allow yourself to believe.

What are you reading? What company do you keep?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Enthusiasm meets overtraining

Written on Monday, Nov. 17th, before getting on yet another airplane.

I am tired. Not just the kind of tired where you stayed up too late, but the kind of tired where you are travelling all over the place, not getting enough good food or rest and continuing to push yourself to meet goals that you set.

I set the goals to do a few things by Thanksgiving. (Remember that? Are you on track? Are you there yet?) I hit the first one several weeks back when I did a double vertical phonebook tear.

Monday, before I left for Tampa I hit another: the 16kg pullup.

The final one is a bottoms up press with a 40kg, a goal I set back at the RKC Certification in October. I got really close a couple of weeks ago (before Tokyo) then started sliding backwards.

My mistake: I did not figure the toll that so much travel and such an erratic schedule would take on me, mentally and on my nervous system. My enthusiasm over-rode my knowledge of training and myself. I had an interesting conversation with Master RKC Brett Jones about how we seem to mpourselves from our own advice much of time.

I am forcing myself to mostly take a break from training for the next couple of days while I go to Tampa. I will give the 40kg another shot or two over the next week and we'll see what happens.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Travel....

I headed to Alabama last Friday night, stopped over in Huntsville for the night with some friends and then made my way to Montgomery early in the morning to teach my last workshop of 2008. Mark adn Gwen Lehmkuhl, both RKC, have a Crossfit facility there and we spent 4 hours or so outside drilling the basic drills we teach at the RKC Certification.

The group from Montgomery AL.

After the workshop, grabbed a little Bar-B-Que w/Mark & Gwen and hit the road home.

This afternoon I head to Tampa for a 2 day meeting with my business mentors Pat Rigsby, Nick Berry and Jim Labadie and a mastermind group that includes the Undergound Strength Coach Zach Even-Esh and Jason and Pam from Kettlebell Athletics. I come back late Wednesday night in time to prepare for my birthday weekend.

The common them (besides me running all over the place) is that I am surrounding myself with people who want to learn, grow and improve themselves. Yes, I teach kettlebells, but the real focus of my profession is self improvement. Sometimes the tool to accomplish that is a kettlebell. Sometimes it is a blog ;).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Warrior diet

My 100 day experiment with the Warrior Diet which began with reading Marty Gallagher's book the Puposeful Primitive is in its' last weeks and I am very pleased with it. Here is a list of pros and cons from my little experiment in self nutrition:

1. Compliance
. This may be the easiest plan I have ever encountered in terms of schedule and food selsection. Undereat all day, overeat at the big meal and stick to mostly natural food sources. Of course there is more to it than that, but that is the essence.

2. Schedule. I really love not having to stop and eat every 3 hours.

3. The BIG meal. On frequent feeding schedules, I often never feel like I quite got enough to eat at any single feeding. Not so with the PM Throwdown on the WD.

4. Fat loss. No doubt about it, the WD works for both shedding fat and building strength. I am a full 15lbs lighter than when I began and am about to drop below 260lbs for the first time this decade.

5. Taste. When the PM Throwdown rolls around, a couple of interesting things happen: Food tastes better. It's like a sharpening of the sense of taste. This also makes me crave the good stuff, especially beef and fruit.

1. Compliance.
This is not a problem witht he Warrior Diet, this is a deficiency in my personality. As I stated above, the WD is the easist, simplest schedule of eating I have ever followed. My compliance problem with it is the same as with any other: Poor choices and lack of planning.

Example: I did not plan well when I went to Japan. The time difference, available food and change in schedule were tougher than I anticipated.

Example: My inner fat kid can will take control if I let him, and he like cookies and fries. I let that happen too much during this 100 day jaunt.

2. Explanation. I get strange looks when I explain the WD. I get a lot of "they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day" or "you shouldn't skip meals" if I don't have lunch. I tell them I do eat breakfast and lunch-at 8pm with supper.

Then there is "they say that you shouldn't eat after 6pm", etc. I have to ask exactly who "they" are and how they know. Still don't have an answer on that one.

However, my profession is Instructor, and I am getting more confident and skillful at explaining the WD, so I don't know that it is really a con so much as I just need to get better at it.

I plan to continue on the WD and am looking forward to seeing what happens as I get better at it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Typical Warrior Diet day

I have had a number of requests to outline the average day for me on the Warrior Diet, what I am eating and how I time it with training.

I have in no way mastered the WD, but this is a glimpse at where I am now, after being inspired to do the WD by Marty Gallagher's book Purposeful Primitive.

Depending on whether I have 6am class, I wake up between 5am and 8 am. I'll get some coffee in my belly and usually add little milk to that. I generally do my own training session somewhere between 10 am and noon. After training, I'll have a shot of protein powder, sometimes in milk, and an apple or a banana.

If I get hunger pangs during the day, a handful of almonds, walnuts or pecans and some water tends to shut them down.

The big meal comes at around 8pm. I have a couple of favorites.

Spinach salad w/feta, raspberry vinaigrette, strawberries and walnuts.
Beef, I don't measure, but probably 16-20 oz of either steak or ground beef. My father in law is a farmer and I am currently making room in the freezer for a repeat of last Christmas-a side of beef. High quality stuff and super tasty.
If I am still hungry, yogurt mixed with protein powder and some peanut butter.

I mix 6 whole O3 eggs and 4-6 whites in a skillet and scramble them with black pepper and sometimes chopped green pepper. I'll heat up a can of organic black beans and mix it all up in a bowl with some cheddar cheese and chili seasoning. I call it a chili omelet. I'll eat this with whatever fruit/vegetable suits my fancy.

I have found that it is vitally important for me to not overdo the under eating. It leads to me being too hungry come time for the big meal and I wind up eating cookies or fries. When I eat a little more during the day, just enough to kill the pangs, I don't have to fight with my inner fat kid when the big meal gets there.

My friend and colleague Sara Cheatham Sr. RKC gives her perspective on it here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adam Glass explains reverse bending

This clip is 2 minutes of gold for anyone who wants wrist strength. Adam is as sudent of Grandmaster Strongman Dennis Rogers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Extra session

I am still feeling a little "out of whack", presumably from the jet lag. Went ot the shed to work on ....whatever I felt like.

60d nail bend, Slim style (double overhand at chest level)
BUP 40kg attempt-about half way up on several attempts.
BW pullup a double & 3 singles
blue nail, reverse grip
BUP 32kg-a couple of solid singles on the left (PR) and a few doubles on the right.
16kg pullup attempt. Eye level.
Blue nail, Slim style.
BUP 28kg- ladder 1/1,2/2,2/3....1/1,2/2,2/3- Lowering on the left is crapping out on the 3rd rep.
12kg pullup-1 single, a few that were eye/nose level
A few iso-pull on my duct taped phone book.
1 book tear
BW pullup x 3 singles

16kg VO2 max :15:15 x 10 sets of 9 reps. My conditioning is feeling a little down today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting "The Call"

It was one year ago today that my phone rang and after I answered I heard Pavel's familiar voice on the other end.

"So Dave, how are things going? How's your training?"

I don't remember exactly, but I recounted to him whatever I had been working on for the past few days.

After I finished, he said " There is something I want to ask you about..." and he proceeded to tell me about Brett and Andrea being promoted to the new Master RKC position.

Then he asked: "I was wondering if you would be interested in filling one of the Senior instructor positions?"

Of course I responded yes, and thank you. It was, and still is, a tremendous honor.

Especially when he told me that there were two other men on the list: Jeff O'Connor and Geoff Neupert. I have the utmost respect and admiration for both of them and am thankful for both their professional and person presnce in my life.

It has been an extremely wonderful year for me. I am certain the next year will follow in kind......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I have been home a couple of days, managed to get back onto a somewhat normal schedule and am working on getting the video clips together from Tokyo.

Here are the guys from Day One.
The plan for the day: The RKC Basic Six.
These guys were subject to a continous onslaught of swings , getups, cleans, presses, more swings, more getups, squats, snatches, more getups, more swings, snatch pulls, snatches, more getups, Jeff O'Connor's goblet squat ladder and more swings. Between sets I gave limited translated lecture and a few feats of strength to underscore the principles of tension, alignment and power generation.

They learned the meaning of the Hardstyle School of Strength. I gave them several tools for generating tension. At the top of every getup and squat they would shout "HARDSTYLE!" It was a thing of beauty.

All of them had been coached by Taikei Matsushita, RKC II and were versed on body alignment, hip drive, etc. I introduced them to the overspeed eccentric and the painful realization that a swing is not just a swing. They were very friendly and treated me extremely well, wanting photos with me and even asking for autographs.

Koba, on the bottom row, far right in the Iron Tamer baseball jersy proclaimed to me that he is "Number one fan of Iron Tamer mania" and asked me to sign his shirt.

The group from day two.
Day two was the material from my Full Body Power DVD. Review of swings and getups, then into the windmill, getup-windmill combos, Follow the Leader series, and the Burpee series.
The description from Koba's translated blog: "It was Demon's menu".

The last teaching segment was the bent press and 2 hands anyhow. After that, more swings.

Anjin, standing fourth from the left with an open mouth (shouting) in the picture above expressed to me in his best broken English "Today I learn spirit of kettlebell and heart of kettlebell from you. Thank you." I cannot possibly imagine a higher compliment.

To my new friends: Domo Arigato, HARDSTYLE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Crossing the ocean

In a few mnutes Taikei is picking me up to head to the airport, then home via a layover in Chicago. I have a bunch of cool footage of the workshop that I will post in the next few days. It has been an amazing experieince for which I am extremely grateful.

More to follow when I am back in Music City........

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Live from Tokyo......

Konichiwa! That's Japanese for "how ya'll doin'?"

I managed to find a computer in the business center at the hotel. Today's workshop was great, lots of sweat, lots of swings and lots of Hardstyle!

Tomorrow promises to be great as well. To eveyone who made it out today: Aragato! ( Japanese for " I 'ppreciate it")

Full report when I return to the states......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heading to Japan

In the morning I depart for Tokyo to meet up with Takei Matsushita, RKCII for my first-ever workshop in Japan. This is extra special for me because I am the first Senior RKC to make it to the Land of the Rising Sun to spread the message of our Hardstyle School of Strength. Konnichiwa!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Easy day

Took it pretty easy training-wise today. I am not sure how the plane ride to Tokyo is gonna affect me, so I am treating this week like a taper.

I tore 5 phone books ( 3 were sharkbites), 2 decks of cards, bent 3- 60 penny spikes, 9 pullup singles and 20kg snatches for 2x20 per hand.

Friday, October 24, 2008


October 24th 2008
A rainy Friday morning. 51 degrees. In the park after class.

A single 24kg kettlebell. . Soundtrack by Alice in Chains

"Scary's on the wall........Scary's on his way........"
53lbs of steel, worn and familiar, beginning to circle my waist in the slingshot. Nothing super strenuous, just a continuation of the Joint Mobility drills from earlier, loosening up, prepping the nervous system for the tension to come. Feeding into the uppercut drills and ending up with some swings. Didn't count the numbers or the time, an unusual practice these days, just going by feel.

"Field of pain is where I graze....."
Bottom up Clean and press singles. Surprisingly tough, on the left especially for the first few. I can feel the effects of the recent high volume grip work, fatigue, deep in my palms. The kind of fatigue that increases awareness, not saps strength. But this is not a heavy weight for me, and as my hands wake up, the reps get easier.

"I'm the man in the box........."
Getups, slow, controlled, adding the tight-rope press for triples in the high kneeling position. A drill I learned at CK-FMS, increasing trunk stability, improving weak links. Making the my chain of strength unbreakable.

"Ain't found a way to kill me yet....."
More bottom up pressing, this time in ladders. 1 &1. 2&2. 3&3. Left hand is tired, I reign the volume back a little, stopping at 3 reps instead of the intended 5. Right hand is solid. Working on the lat engagement. BUP is becoming my favorite total-body-tension move.

"Did she call my name? ........I think its gonna rain....."
More getups, done in moderate rhythm. Moving smoothly, feeling strength. Knee is doing better. I have avoided getups lately, because of my knee, but it feels very good today.

"I feel so alone, gonna end up a Big ole pile a them bones"
Snatches switching every ten reps. Quick and steady, a little below top speed. Total of 100 reps. Didn't count the time but I would guess it to be around 4 minutes. Steam is coming off me in the cool air. Breath is deep but not labored. Heart Rate monitor says 168.

"If.......I.........would...... could you?"
Walk around a bit, heart rate dropping back to normal. No PRs today. Not huge accomplishments. I didn't feel off and I didn't feel great. This was the kind of session that happens most often but gets the least mention. What is strength is made of? These are the sessions that answer that question.

It's still raining, it's still cold. I am heading home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Warrior Diet Questions

I had a few questions that needed answerin' regarding the Warrior Diet. Since reading Marty Gallagher's opus, The Purposeful Primitive and beginning the WD, I have arrived at the following answers, based on my own limited experience.

1."Will the WD affect performance adversely?"
Recent training highlights, since warrior day one(about 7 weeks ago):
80 sets of 8 snatches in VO2 style with 16kg.
30x8 with 24kg
Closin' in on BUP w/ 40kg
Bending 60d nails like paper clips
All this with inconsistent training and a lot of travel.

My experience answers "NO", it will not have adverse effects.

2. "Will it help to shed fat/weight"
Begining at high-270s, today I dipped below 265.
Pants falling off.
Veins in forearms becoming more visible.
I have made some pretty bad food choices more than I care to admit. There ain't no mention of french fries being a good idea in the WD book.

Simple calorie deficit? probably, but I'm cool with that.

Answer: YES

3. "Is it sustainable?"
This is the biggie. Despite my afforementioned unlean food consumption, I LOVE the WD schedule and not needing to stop and eat every 3 hours.
I have found it quite condusive to my travelling as well. Some nuts & H2O on the plane, get to the hotel, head out to the feast.

Answer: YES.

4. "Is it better than (insert other dietary protocol here)?"
Since I am most familiar with Precision Nutrition, Naked Nutrition and the ketogenic diets, I will speak on my experience with them. "Better" is a subjective term. Better for what? Muscle? Strength? Fat loss? Enjoyment? I ahve found utility in all the approaches. I am currently rockin' on the WD like Molly Hatchet at the state fair.

Is it better than plan XXXXX?
Answer: NO

Nor is it "worse". I find it very usaeable, comfortable, efective and enjoyable. I shall continue with it.

Final Thoughts:
Consistency over time is the key. It must be liveable, not just endurable. I am living it and loving it. Perhaps at some point I'll shift into another mode, but for now, the WD is rocking.

Learning Curve

I have a couple ( Mark and Nikki) who are new clients and very into the kettlebell thing. Here is video Mark shot of them swinging. Safe and effective, but not perfect. Yet.

We'll see how things progress for them over the next few months....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fat, Broke and Stupid?

The economic situation and the obesity problem in the USA are symptoms of the same thing. A mindset of entitlement.

The Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (emphasis added by me)

The "Pursuit" of something does not guarantee it's achievement or procurement. Or to put it more simply in country terms, you might have the right to go fishing, that doesn't mean you will always catch fish.

Happiness is NOT a God-given, inalienable right. Nor is happiness the same thing as pleasure. Ask an addict.

If you eat from the drive-thru for every meal, do not be surprised when (not if) you are fat.

If you finance this this lifestyle with credit cards, rent to own appliances and huge car payments, then don't be surprised when (again, not if) you are broke.

Declare your own independece.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dream chasing.....

Do you express gratitude every day? Are you able to be thankful for what you have and for what you are even if everything doesn't seem to be going the way you want it to go?

After an amazing weekend in Texas, then another indescribably awesome RKC weekend, Kenneth Jay asked "are YOU chasing you dreams?" in a recent blog post. This made me start thinking. Pondering my dreams, etc. and it left me with this conclusion:

I can without doubt say that I am absolutely NOT chasing any dream. I am living my dream. For that I am SOOOOOO grateful.

So how did it turn out this way? I will tell you, but it will be lost on a great many. If you have the ears to hear it, here it is:

Be thankful in all things.

If it sounds Biblical, that's because it is. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18 for more.) But I am not writing to preach, that isn't my calling. I just want to say a bit about being thankful.

Gratitude is not an emotion, it is an action, the first action required for true success, prosperity and happiness. Being thankful is the OPPOSITE of complaining. Of course, I complain about things far more than I care to admit, but my baseline attitude has become one which allows me to find whatever opportunity exists in a situation. Sounds simple, but it takes practice to get there.

If you are truly thankful for everything you have, everything you do, you will manage things well and more good stuff will come to you or happen to you. If you complain about everything or make excuses (I don't have time, money, opportunity, etc) then you are setting yourself up psychologically for doom.

I am busier now than I have ever been, it can be overwhelming, but the second I start to complain, I give myself a mental ass-kicking to get back on track. Example: I was looking over my flight schedule for my Tokyo kettlebell workshop next week. I will spend 30+ in an airplane over the course of 5 days. I caught myself thinking about how cramped that is going to be, how long that amount of time is and then I realized I was complaining about being successful! Not only that, but the circumstances of that "complaint" are completely self-created and self-imposed. I put a LOT of effort into getting to the point that I can travel and get paid to teach kettlebells. After thinking about it for a moment, I was overcome with gratitude.

Think about this: Whatever circumstance (whether you enjoy it or not) exists in your life, YOU probably had a huge hand in creating it. Be thankful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One goal achieved

Double vertical phonebook tear. Another feat I learned from Dennis Rogers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photos from Frisco, Texas workshop

A couple of weeks ago I did a workshop in Frisco Texas at Full Throttle Athletics for fellow RKCs B.J. and Kori Bliffert.

Mandy went with me and took a bunch of photos, which are now up on her website. To view them, follow the instructions below:

Go to:
Click on: client proofing
Type in the password: fullthrottle (one word)

Friday, October 17, 2008

More from the 2008 Oct. RKC after party

Post RKC at the Great Waters Brewery, I am performing my patented version of the classic Two-Hands-Anyhow lift with Mary Ann Lubas, RKC in one hand and a glass of seaonal fall beer in the other.

That big good-lookin' dude in the background is my friend, colleague, and fellow Sr. RKC Jeff O'Connor.

Notice the couple on the street that stops to take a photo thru the window.

How's them goals a comin'?

Six weeks to go until Thanksgiving, how's it going on your goals?

I'll share some brutal honesty with you, I am not on schedule.

First- nutrition: While I am LOVING the Warrior Diet schedule, I have been too relaxed on clean food choices, especially when travelling. More raw veggies, less crap like french fries over the next 6 weeks.

Next- pullups: I think that my original goal of a 24kg pullup is a little too ambitious. I did not factor in the travel I will be doing and how that is/will affect my training. I am changing the target to 12kg.

Next- 120 40kg snatches in 10:00: While this is a reasonable target for me, ( I got 96 in 10:00 this week) I don't have the urge to hit it that I need in order to be successful. I have been enamored of the bottom up press lately, so I am changing the target to a bottom-up press with 40kg.

The double vertical phonebook tear is remains unchanged.

So that's my update, where are you?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The force is strong in this one.....

Kelly Cassidy, RKC of Massachusetts was a member of Team Whitley at the October 2008 RKC. She showed strength, skill and character, the kind of stuff that we look for. What impressed me the most was her attitude- she lifted hard, every set, every rep, even if she didn't know her instructor (me) was watching. She moved with power and enthusiasm, never fearing to dive into the dirt face first. Amanda Sullivan, RKC was her partner, the "strong and dirty girls".

Kelly's willingess to perform feats of strength, on the spot, which reminded me a female version of myself. A much better looking female version of myself!

Check her out with these "hold my purse and watch this" feats.

The pitcher press, demonstrating excellent groove and tension , with just the right amount of rock-out attitude. Another strong woman from my Team, Mary Ann Lubas, RKC, cheers in the background.

2 beers anyhow. Perfect Getup form and note the focused intensity. As "showy" as this is, it's main point is to generate perfect tension and alignment. I will watch her progress with great interest...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I am back from the RKC certification and finally able to relax for a minute. Oh, wait that's not true....I have a TON of stuff to catch up on before I can relax! I have to get ready for my Nashville TN kettlebell workshop this weekend (Oct. 18th) and then in 2 weeks I am off to Tokyo, speading the Hardstyle message like Godzilla.

Several folks who I have trained attended the cert, and I was proud to see them go thru the process and have the experience that is RKC.

On Saturday after teaching the snatch I led the group thru Kenneth Jay's Max VO2 snatch workout and allowed them to earn their lunch.
It was great to see old friends too, like Jeff O'Conner, Brett Jones and Pavel.

Delaine "of Pain" Ross, performing a deadlift with 2x48kg Kettlebells. I hope this help destroy the myth of lifting heavy causing women to bulk up.

I got a lot more stuff to post about it, I'll be following up soon.

Congrats to all the new RKC instructors and I look forward to seeing you again at the RKC Level Two in June.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The past week has been a blur of travel, teaching and other activity, with no sign of let up. I got back from Frisco Texas yesterday. A big "thank you!!!" to everyone who participated in the workshop.

Here is a clip of the Dallas Phone Book Tear:

I leave tomorrow at 6AM for the RKC certification in St. Paul MN.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Feeling Uncomfortable

After the post "9 week from today", I got several emails from people who didn't want to publicly post goals, but wanted to share them with me anyway. That's really cool, and I am thankful that you trust me to share and help you.

On the other hand, it is always interesting to me that whenever I send out a "challenge" of any sort, I get a mass of "un-subscribes" from my newsletter.
The first few times it happened I found it puzzling, thinking I had somehow done something wrong and pissed off the people who were bailing on me. Now I realize what is really happening.

I know from my own experience that when I purposefully look deeper into myself, past my excuses and beyond my limitations, to see what is really going on, it is uncomfortable. I don't always like what I see. Obviously this is true for others as well. Sometimes this discomfort results in running some people off. They sign up for some free workout info, not realizing that I am going to call them out on their BS excuses. I even get the "how dare you" emails, like I have somehow been spying on someone in California or Vegas, studying their habits in order to anonymously embarrass them online. HUH? You place far too much importance on yourself.

Here's the thing: If you feel uncomfortable or inspired by anything I write, it is because we are alike on a very base level. When I do something publically like post goals and challenges I have set for myself, I am forcing myself to look inside and while at the same time asking you to do so for yourself. It helps me to stay on track, to Walk the Talk so to speak.

If I say "I think I might like to do that" it most likely ain't gonna happen.

If I tell YOU that I am going to do something, then I have upped the stakes quite a bit, putting myself on the line publically.

If I ask you to join me, then we get to take advantage of our collective character, flaws and all, toward our greater good.

Let's rock this thing from now until Thanksgiving.

Nine weeks from today

Thanksgiving is nine weeks from today.

Thus begins the American cycle of overeating, oversoending and skipping workouts, sliding into the New Year in fatter, weaker, more broke and more miserable than ever, only to begin anew come January 1.

Does it sound familiar? This doesn't have to be you. Not this year. You can break the cycle. If you have already successfully broken this cycle, then I applaud you! If not, I would like to help you.

How am I going to do that? By issuing a 2-part challenge to you:

Number One: I want you to set at least one performance goal that you want to accomplish by Thanksgiving. What is a performance goal? It could be something like doing 50 consecutive push ups, or hitting 200 reps of kettlebell snatches in 10 minutes. It's important for you to know that I DO NOT mean weight loss goal, like "drop 15 pounds." I'll explain why in a moment.

Number Two: Set a nutritional goal. Decide on what your nutritional strategy will be and follow with tremendous purpose. I don't even care which plan it is so much, just follow it to the best of your ablitlity for nine Straight weeks. Don't wait until Monday to start. Decide NOW. Begin TODAY.

I am going to list a few things that I have decided I will make happen in my life before Thanksgiving.


I will complete a pullup with bodyweight PLUS a 24kg kettlebell. Of all the exercises that we cover in the RKC Level 2, the Pullup is the one I have the most trouble with. It's time to bring it up to speed.

I will snatch a 40kg kettlebell 120 times in ten minutes. My previous best is 106.

I will do a triple vertical phonebook tear. This means tearing the book into three pieces parallel with the spine. This is a feat I learned from Dennis Rogers, but cannot yet complete.


I will continue refining my Warrior Diet approach, inspired by Marty Gallagher's approach in The Purposeful Primitive. I will concentrate on making cleaner, more organic food choices.

By training for performance goals and nutritional compliance goals I will be improving my body in the process.

That is why I said NOT to make it a weight loss goal. Increase your performance. Improve your nutrition. Do these two things and it is a mathematical certainty that you will have a better body. Don’t get trapped by "weight loss" goals.

So what are the goals that YOU will accomplish by Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

John Brookfield and Jon Bruney World record feat of strength

I got an email from John Brookfield asking me to pass along this information

On Saturday November 1st in Fairmont North Carolina at 2:00 in the afternoon John Brookfield and Jon Bruney will be pulling a semi-truck a distance of one mile plus using only their physical strength and mental discipline.

This will be a World Record. John Brookfield and Jon Bruney have performed this record feat on several other occasions, however, this time they will be pushing the limits as they increase the poundage of the load and also push themselves to complete the mile course as quickly as possible.

Many are saying that this feat and test may be the greatest physical achievement ever accomplished when it comes to strength and endurance. Come out and witness this event and walk with them as the push themselves to keep the semi-truck moving through the street. For more info on the location or more specifics please contact John Brookfied by email at

Monday, September 29, 2008

102 workouts

It's time!
I am pleased to announce the official launch of the 102 Kettlebell Workouts eBook, the sequel to 101 Kettlebell Workouts. The regular price is $27, BUT....
I am going to give a 15% discount until 12:00 midnight Central time tonight 9-20-08.
This link is all you need to get a copy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Still a few spots left.

For my final US kettlebell workshop of the year, in Nashville TN on Oct. 18th 2008.
We'll be covering the RKC basics and I'll answer any specific questions that come up as well.
Nashville workshops = less travel expense for me so they are always a little lower in price.....
You can sign up here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How's that Warrior thing going Dave?

Well. Very well, in fact, thanks for asking.

Last week before departure to CT last thursday I tipped the scale at 267.5lbs. I started at about 276 on the Friday before going headfirst into the WD, which was one day shy of 5 weeks.

Of course the scale is about the lousiest measure of what is really going on with a body. Up until Saturday I was feeling really strong and was puting the hurt on a half dozen or more phonebooks a day in addition to swings, pullups and other Hardstyle excursions.

This cold has whipped my ass for the past few days and I have been over hydrating to be safe. I have also had practically no appetite. This morning I was an even 270lbs. I feel my strength returning, which is good because I gotta go to Texas and St. Paul back-to-back weekends very soon.


Congratulations to the newly promoted Senior RKC instructors:
Shaun Cairns, Jon Engum, Brad Nelson, Doug Nepodal, and Will Williams
And new Team Leaders -
Cortez Hull, Dan John, Peter Lakatos, and Jeremy Layport
I am excited to work with you at future RKCs.

My cold is releasing it's grasp on me. I have spent most of the last 3 days in a Thera-Flu induced coma. Today I am sniffly, but better. I'll prbably train a little tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Triple Skillet Roll

My first attempt at the 3-in-1 roll up, in front of probably 150 people at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp Friday night social.

There was no beer available, all they had was Budweiser, so I had to say "Hold my wine and watch this".

I learned this from Dennis Rogers. You can too, if you click HERE.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brian Grasso of the IYCA

Brian offered up this testimonial for me at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp over the weekend.

Brian is the Founder and CEO of the International Youth Conditioning Association
and is a respected and outspoken leader in the youth athletic development industry.

He's written feature articles for sport training magazines throughout North America including, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, SportingKid, American Track & Field and Personal Fitness Professional.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Purposefully Primitive cardio

In The Purposeful Primitive Marty Gallagher describes three modes of cardiovascular training:

1st way-Steady state aerobics. Choose your cardio mode, such as outdoor walking, and hit it in a steady fashion for the prescibed time period. Keep a steady, even pace and heart rate.

2nd way-Interval training. Alternating periods of high intensity "bursts" with lower intensity recovery. Alternating sprinting and walking, or snatches and jogging meet the bill for this one.

3rd way- "Aerobic sessions with a strong element of resistance". Generating sustained strength for an extended period of time. It is intense AND sustained. It apparently reconfigures the muscle in a way that develops more mitochondria, dubbed "Hybrid Super Muscle" by Ori Hofmekler. Kenneth Jay's VO2 Max protocol is an example. The Secret Service Snatch test is another.

But what if you combine? What if you begin with 2nd or 3rd way and then after you start to get fatigued you ease into 1st way to prolong the calorie burn and finish things off? That's what I did today.

Warmup-Some bending and card tearing. Strength training.

3rd way beginning- 40lb weighted vest + 20:00 of 24kg snatching (total 280 reps). The first 100 reps are on the video, done in 4:00.

5:00 recover and rehydrate

35:00 1st way finisher-outdoor walking.

According to my heart rate monitor, I averaged 150 beats per minute for the hour and burned 1108 calories.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Like Godzilla

I am going to Tokyo! I'll be teaching 2 kettlebell workshops there on November 1st and 2nd. I have been in working on nailing down the details with Taikei Matsushita RKC II, and we finally got it all figured out.

Imagine if HE had used Kettlebells!

Cornering a Phonebook

As promised, here it is.

The cool thing about the corner tear is that is impossible to fake or use a "trick" to accomplish. It requires grip strength, period. You either grip and rip or you don't get the tear.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Warrior Diet

So 16 days in I am tipping the scale at 269 (down from 274 on day Zero). Strength is good, pressing, pullups and destroying phonebooks, steel, etc. are all progressing. Shorts are getting loose.

I have settled into the "groove" of this warrior diet thing MUCH easier than I expected. I understand the "mental crispness" of the undereating phase that I have heard and read so much about. Food choices for the big meal have ranged from very clean (steak, eggs, salad, yogurt w/fruit, nuts, peanut butter, steamed veggie) to not-so-clean (wedding cake, a couple of fast food burgers, fries, frozen custard). I drank some light beer at the wedding on Saturday too. Utterly disgusting. I prefer beer that I cannot see through. I have had wine a few evenings as well. Dark, red, dry. We returned from southeast Missouri last night with a cooler full of farm-raised beef from my in laws. Meat is good food.

Today I met Mandy for lunch as it is our 2nd wedding anniversary. I had a Ceasar salad and a little gumbo. Tonight we'll make pizza and drink some wine.

Training today: 20 minutes of continuous snatching with 16kg, switching hands every minute, 20 rep per minute pace except at 12:00-16:00, where I sped up to 26 reps per minute.
My new Heart Rate monitor says I averaged 154 for 22:00 (include a little walking around after the set) which is 84.6% of my Max HR. I have been inspired by Marty Gallagher's Purposeful Primitive in this respect as well.
Strength work today was phonebooks, I finally got a corner tear on Nashville Yellow Pages. Youtube will be up soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Roll up a Skillet

Another feat of strength I learned from Dennis Rogers

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Paying for the Doughnuts

This is an interesting article.
My southern neighbors in Alabama have decided that overweight employees in state government jobs have a year to get fit or start paying for free health care.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beef, Beer and Bells, West Virginia style.

I got in from West Virginia last night after good workshop at Jackson's Mill.

I was gonna do a write up, but host P.J. Wilson beat me to it with this post on his blog.

A big thanks to everyone for coming out, to the Patterson's for opening up the Mill for us and to P.J. for doing the leg work. I am looking forward to KBWV 09.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

But Aren't You A Precision Nutrition Guy???

I have used Precision Nutrition in the past got great results. I still endorse it and have nothing but good things to say about either the system or the organization and staff.

So why the Warrior Diet?

A few things led me to this experiment.
1. Because of my station in the RKC ( and it's close association with the Warrior Diet) lot of people ask me about the warrior diet, and my honest answer has been (must be) "I have never done it, so I can't say one way or the other." I need to know.

2. I wanted to do something different. In Purposeful Primitive Marty talks about using 2 nutritional approaches, Parillo (which has MUCH in common with PN) and WD. Both are valid tools which can be Periodized and Rotated. It seemed like a logical thing to do.

3. Will Williams, Doug Nepodal, Jeff O'Conner, Rif, Pavel and others have encouraged me to give it a shot. These are all very smart guys, so I decided to listen.

Here is the first clip of the experience:

Monday, August 18, 2008

A new dietary experiment.

Several years ago when I began lifting kettlebells I was also introduced to Ori Hofmekler's Warrior Diet. The general concept is undereat during the day, overeat in one big meal at night and stick to natural/organic sources of food. I never really paid much attention to it primarily because the idea of not eating during the day didn't appeal to me and I had always had success with frequent-feeding programs such as Precision Nutrition.

Recently, after spending a good deal of time combing through the vast amount of information in Marty Gallgher's new book The Purposeful Primitive the Warrior Diet started to make a lot more sense to me. Then I spent some time with several of my RKC colleagues who swear by it at the CK-FMS workshop.

I often treat my own training as a laboratory of sorts, testing things on myself, then on clients. Most recently I did this with a modified version of Alwyn Cosgrove's Warp Speed Fat Loss and dug the results.

Anyway, the next experiment for me: The Warrior Diet. I am comitting to 100 days of it, beginning today, August 18th. To measure compliance, I'll use the 90% rule of Precision Nutrition, which means that I'll have 90 out of 100 days of compliance to the WD guidelines, minimum, since there is only 1 main meal each day.

I am excited to give it a go and will be posting updates as I go along.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Defense against unruly paper...

You know what is cool about many of the Feats of Strength I have been learning?
Destroying things? Of course! But there is also the inherent sense of Justice in doing so.
How often has a phone book or deck of cards offended you in some way and there was nothing you could do about it?

Well, thanks to Dennis Rogers, I am no longer powerless against these thoughtless objects and their senseless transgressions against humankind.

Tearing in Toronto. These Coupons flung themselves off the shelf at me and nearly ruined my vacation.

The dreaded Yellow Pages. Appearing on your porch without an invitation, if you bring them in you house they WILL NEVER LEAVE. They will infest your house for years if you don't throw them out. I rip them in half to make sure they NEVER bother anyone again.

Learn to defend yourself against these Paper Villains! Click here to learn how!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Strengthen the Chain

The old saying about weak links in a chain is the truth, we all recognize that. The hard part is setting ego aside and working those weak links.

At the CK-FMS workshop last weekend Gray Cook talked about ignoring weak links as being analogous to driving over a pothole at a high speed. If you go through it fast enough, you barely notice it, but it is still there, waiting to break. This way of thinking, coupled with his assement of my right knee: "You're about a year out from a scope if you don't fix it...", has changed my approach in my own training quite a bit.

Over the course of the weekend much was said about how training is not meant to be entertainment (Although I do find it to be just that) and that as professionals we should give our clients what they need for improvement, not what they think they want for entertainment.

Of course I must extend this to myself.

So today's perscription for me: Get-ups, slow and controlled, pausing in different spots, working back and forth in those spots, finding depth. I am reminded that mastery is simply finding depth in the practice of the basics.

It's humbling to drop back in weight and do Get-ups perfectly each and every rep, pausing in the weak parts, hanging out there, finding the exact alignment required to stimulate the desired nervous system response. Today I rolled around in the park with a 16kg kettlebell doing just that. Just because I can do them heavier doesn't mean I should.

My priority number one in training at this time is strengthening my weak links, particularly my right knee and wrist. I want my chain to be unbreakable.

Monday, August 4, 2008

News that's New

We are back from the North country, I will try to post a few photos in the next couple of days and talk a little more about it, very good vacation. Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake and Toronto over the course of 5 days was a bit hectic, but a lot of fun.

On the kettlebell front, my friends and RKC colleagues Kenneth Jay (the Dane of Pain) and Mark Reifkind (Rif) were both promoted to Master RKC over the weeknd at the UCLA RKC certification. BIG congrats to them both for a well-deserved honor!

Back to normal for a a couple days before heading to Minnesota for the CKFMS certification!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ryan Lee Bootcamp

I am proud to say that I will be representing the RKC at this years Ryan Lee Bootcamp on September 19th and 20th, 2008 in Stamford CT. I'll be on a panel talking about workout design for groups and also talking about running a successful local bootcamp/group exercise class. If you are in the business of fitness, this event is a must-go. Other presenters include Alwyn Cosgrove,Brian Grasso,Craig Ballantyne, Zach Even-esh, Jim Labadie, Pat Rigsby, and many more....

Here is the link

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Interview with Vadim Kolganov

This is Vadim Kolganov, Master of Sport in the martial art of Sambo. He recently became an RKC and Dragondoor has a kick-ass interview with him on their website HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Heading South....

I'll be in Frisco Texas for an all-day kettlebell workshop on October 4th 2008.

Details are HERE.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

bottoms up flip, catch and press

Demonstrated are some key RKC principals:
-Tension from the catch until the end

-Irradiation- EVERYTHING is tight and steady or the whole thing falls.

-Packing the shoulder/engaging the lat in the press.

The point is the flashy, the new & shiny, the "hold my beer" feats MUST be rooted on the basic principals, if not, then it ain't RKC

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Kinda fun, kinda tough.

Danish Olympic wrestler Mark O. Madsen and his coach the Dane of Pain Kenneth Jay have upped the ante with VO2 max snatch protocol. Mark recently completed 80 set of 8 reps per side in the 15 second version, using 24kg.

The previous "standard" was 50 sets. I haven't done much 24kg VO2 max training of late, mostly using the 16kg at the end of my workouts, after heavier interval work of :30-1:00 with 1-2:00 medium effort recovery. Example: last week I did 2x32kg long cyle sets (getting 7-8 reps per set) for 1:00, 16 kg snatches for 20/20 (which took about 1:30-1:40) and began my next set of LC. After 6 rounds of this and a 3:00 break I moved on to 16kg VO2 :15/:15 for 20:00.

So with this 80 sets thing is bugging my mind yesterday, I took a 16kg and set about going the distance. 15 seconds work, 15 seconds rest, switch hands every set, 8 snatches per set. I also decided that for the first 30 minutes, I would not let the KB touch the ground.

The first 10:00 were deceptively easy. I would call it a warmup.

The next 10:00 were still quite easy, and fun, I am groovin' along.

From the 20:00 mark to the 25:00 mark it started to catch up with me a little, just systemic fatigue.

At about 26:00 I settled into that elusive mind state, the rest of the world kinda got quiet, it was just me and the snatches, with a heighten sense of awareness of the smell of the wood from the shed, the breeze cooling my back where the sweat ran down.

At 34:00, I began dropping the KB between sets.

I finished the 80 sets at the 39:45 mark, feeling hit pretty hard, but good. I decided to keep going for a couple more minutes, finished up with a total of 84 sets of 8 reps per side. 672 snatches with 16kg.

Being the sharp young man that I am I realize that it will take a few weeks to work up to doing this with 24kg. I think the next step will be go the same distance, but introduce the 24kg into the mix for 10-20 sets, then over time gradually increase the number of 24kg sets & decrease the sets with the 16.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the Local Front

Do you live in Nashville?
Are you planning to visit Nashville?
Wanna see what my classes look like?
Wanna know if it's right for you?
Wanna talk to the people who are out there busting it with me?
Check out the brand-spanking-new social networking site for my Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp Class,

To sign up, or for more info on the class times, location, etc., go here:

Friday, June 27, 2008

June 27th

I looked at the calendar earlier and noticed that today is June 27th. I'm sure you know that already.

So why am I talking about it now? What is the signifigance of 6-27?

Five years ago today I attended my first RKC certification and began my journey as a professional kettlebell instructor.

Five years ago today, I stood on the field and learned to do the drills I thought I knew how to do. I learned to teach them. I learned that this is what I was meant to do in life.

There are events that wind up impacting us so deeply, become such a part of us, that it is not possibly to imagine our lives or ourselves without them. Graduations, marriage, military service, etc. are pivotal events, defining moments in our adult lives. The kind of events that you classify other things as happening either before or after.

June 27th 2003 was like that for me. That weekend changed the course of my life and how I define myself forever.

Over the past five years I have built a business, taught and coached hundreds of people, improved my own health and strength, as well as helping others to do so, all because of that weekend.

Even more importantly, I have met some first-class people and made lifelong friends as a result of the strangely shaped hunks of iron.

The level of gratitude I have to Pavel, Dragondoor, & the RKC organization cannot ever be fully put into words.

If you want to experience something like that, attend the RKC. We will do our best to give you the same experience.

Today is June 27th 2008. My name is David Whitley, Sr. RKC, and I am living my dream.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My student speaks

The iron ore feels its self needlessly tortured as it goes through the furnace. The tempered blade looks back and knows better.-Japanese Proverb

As an instructor, I feel very proud when a student has breakthough. It could be finally getting a particular technique that has been challenging them, dropping body fat, just about anything that takes them in the direction of fullfilling their potential.

At times the courage and toughness of my students amazes me.

Jen Bryan is such a student. I have put her through some of the toughest workouts that I have ever constructed. I have pushed beyond the edge of what she thought she was capable of and she continues to emerge more and more tempered.

On her blog she reveals things about herself that most peopple would hide away from their own eyes, never mind the public.

This makes me proud:

"There have been quite a few posts lately on the AOS forum from people who I frankly just don't think have the mettle to workout with kettlebells--or much of anything that might cause discomfort from the sound of it. Anyone who can actually, seriously, post "callouses, gross!" on a kettlebell forum just needs to go the f^@% home.

Yes, some people are limited by circumstances and may need to or want to workout inside. Injuries might make some moves difficult or impossible. But... kettlebells are what they are. Don't try to make them into something easy or soft.

Kettlebells are not for the faint of heart.

They are not for those who whine about the heat or the cold or dirt or sweat--or any other thing for that matter.

Kettlebells are best battled outside in the rain or sleet or sun or wind where you can beat them or they can beat you, and the story is told only by the pock marks in the grass and the dirt on your hands.

Though they will do so, they are not meant to make prettier muscles but better muscles.

They are meant to temper from the inside out, testing your mettle, strengthening muscle, ligament, tendon, and even a little skin.

Those who fear such a challenge from a small metal ball and do not wish to bear its mark are not worthy of its gifts. And they should go home.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes I don't even think I'm worthy. But I'm working on it."

Jen, you totally kick ass!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Long Cycle

First- a bunch of low rep overhead work today, mixed in with various pinch work.
24kg press
32kg press
40kg press
44kg (32+12 in one hand)
3x 1/1
48 kg bent press
48kg pushpress

Somewhere in there I tore a deck of cards for the first time since May 10th, when my wrist went to crap. It was slow, ugly and sloppy, but I tore it.

I wanted to do some condition, but didn't feel snatching because my grip was comfortably worked, not wanting to mess with that.

So, I did Long cycle clean and jerk with 1x24kg, 10 minutes straight, changing hands every 10 reps, 10 reps per minute. Ending heart rate was 156, medium. Felt pretty good.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You don't have to be a Titan

Check out this article from yesterday's Tennessean:

The Tennessee Titans have discovered what clients already know...kettlebells are an outstanding strength and conditioning tool!

The good news is, you DO NOT have to be a member of the Titans to get the benefits of kettlebells. You can join us at, Nashville's ORIGINAL kettlebell bootcamp workout...with guaranteed results!

The next Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp begins on July 30th. Reserve your spot today at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And we are LIVE!!!

The new DVD Full Body Power: Kettlebells Beyond the Basics is is Live!

The first 10 people to purchase will recieve a 30 minute phone coaching session ($100 Value) with me for free!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Less than 24 hours to go!

We go LIVE with the Full Body Power: Kettlebells Beyond the Basics DVD at 12:00 Noon Central Standard time Tuesday, June 10th!

The first 10 people to purchase will recieve a 30 minute phone coaching session with me for free!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Full Body Power

We are ON SCHEDULE to launch the Full Body Power DVD on Tuesday, June 10th at 12:00 noon Central!

I am very excited about this and I am looking forward to your comments after you see it.

Here is what Pavel had to say about it:

"Comrade, if you liked More Russian Kettlebell Challenges, you will enjoy Full Body Power: Kettlebells Beyond the Basics by David Whitley, Senior RKC. A strong presentation of advanced kettlebell exercises which seemlessly blends strength, conditioning, and flexibility. The "Hold My Beer and Watch This" section is worth the price of admission. Dave's blend of truck strength and size and kid flexibility is rare and inspiring. -Pavel Tsatsouline, the author of The Russian Kettlebell Challenge and Enter the Kettlebell"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is my wife's birthday, and she is AWESOME!

Happy Birthday Babe!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A nice way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Set Gymboss for 1:00
5 reps per set
begin each set at the beep
alternate between A1&A2 for 5 sets of each (10 total)
do the same with B1&B2

A1 pullup (I used a band to assist)
A2 2 kettlebell C&P ( I used 2x32kg)
B1 Zercher Squat (I used 100ish lb sandbag)
B2 Double Kettlebell snatch ( Again, 2x32kg)

Done in just under 20:00. By done I mean DONE.

My adductors needed some stretching after, so I did the frog stretch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why did you start training?

It's a pretty common question.

And my answer is "When I was eight years old, I wanted to be the Hulk."

This movie is gonna rock!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Full Body Power DVD

The planned launch date for the Full Body Power DVD is next Tuesday, June 3rd.

As the time to launch approaches, I want to go ahead and answer a few questions that have come up about it.

What the Full Body Power DVD is NOT:

  • A repackaging of the same old double kettlebell drills that you have already seen pretending to provide a new solution to a different training problem.
  • A massive encyclopedia of “filler” exercises that serve no purpose other than to increase the running time of the DVD.
  • A follow-along kettlebell workout ( If that’s what you are looking for, go to
  • An entry-level explanation of the swing, clean, press and snatch (That is all covered in Enter the Kettlebell)

What the Full Body Power DVD IS:

  • A clearly explained progression of intermediate to advanced exercises, so that you can develop your skill and strength over time.
  • A detailed description of the windmill, Turkish getup and Bent Press.
  • A starting point for you to use your imagination in developing your own unique expression of strength, using kettlebells.
  • Logical combinations of basic exercises that flow from one to the next.

Stay tuned......

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Jolly Game

Someone recently asked where I came up with the name "Iron Tamer".

Like most things related to my training and business, I owe it to Pavel.

In the Russian Kettlebell Challenge , the book that started the American Kettlebell Revolution, Pavel quotes Olympic weightlifting legend Yuri Vlasov. He called his training "a jolly game of taming iron."

I found this clip of Vlasov on youtube. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Dane of Pain and Mark O. Madsen

Thhis is the reason my colleage and friend Kenneth Jay Sr. RKC won't be at the CK-FMS workshop in August. He will be missed, but the Olympics is kind of a big deal.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at the RKC in Denmark last spring. Look for him to take the gold in Beijing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chiropractic magic

So after my unfornuate collision on Thursday mornin', I felt pretty good on Friday, a little stiff/soreness in my right wrist. Nothing major. I carried on with business as usual.

Saturday it felt about the same. Donnavan Stephen's was having the 2 year birthday celebration for his school Shaolin Concepts and he asked me to perform some feats of strength during the demo section on Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the usual kettlebell stuff and 2 hands anyhow with a KB and a girl, I tore a deck of cards, did a 64kg one-finger lift and bent a 4 foot piece of 1/2 inch round steel into a fish shape. I am pleased with the progress I have made since joining Dennis Rogers Oldetime Strongman University. Fun stuff.

Anyway, I got home, helped Mandy plant some stuff in the garden and felt a strange pain in my wrist/palm while shovelling. By Sunday morning I couldn't close my fist. It hurt and the nerves seemed to stop working before the fingers completely closed.

I went to see my chiropractor yesterday and he figured out that one of the bones in my wrist had shifted so far out of whack that it was putting pressure on the carpal tunnel and also the flexor tendon that runs to the middle finger. He adjusted it and IMMEDIATELY I had relief and only the mildest of pain.

Took it light today, did a few swings with 24kg and some double snatches with 16kg. I am scheduled for another adjustment today and Thursday. I expect to be 100% by the weekend.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Photos from Atlanta workshop

All the photos from the workshop last weekend are up on Mandy's website. (BTW she is available for traveling photo jobs)

To see them, follow the instructions below.

Go to:

Click on "enter site"

Click on "clients"

Enter password: irontamer

hit submit and you'll be able to view a slideshow of all the photos

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Video from Condition ATL

Ron Jones sent me links to some footage he shot during the Snatch segment last week.

Me, doing a demo of the Ultra-secret Double breath at the fastest snatch speed possible (32-33 reps per minute). Listen close and you can hear it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So there I was, minding my own business....

...driving to my morning class when a woman in a little red car ran a red light, directly in front of me and I plowed into her driver's side.

Thankfully, God was looking out for me and I emerged unharmed. So did the 20 or so kettlebells I was carrying.

My car on the other hand ain't doing so well. I haven't heard from the insurance adjuster yet, but I am expecting it to be a total loss.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Tamer at Gym Condition in Atlanta

Over the weekend we made the drive down to the ATL to deliver some Full Body Power to RKC Delaine Ross' Gym Condition.

6 hours of advanced kettlebell training and feats of strength, including pressing combinations including no-hands and double kettlebell Turkish Get-ups, and the EVIL kettlebell burpee series.

We spent the final hour with tips and techniques to improve the Secret Service Snatch Test. We covered pacing, the Super Secret Double Breathing technique and programming to increase numbers.

This of course meant finishing off with a five-minute snatch test to put it all together!

Yasser sums the whole experience up in this photo, which I like to call "Aftermath":

Here is the whole group, looking strong:

Thanks to my beautiful wife Mandy (in the red) for her using her mad camera skills. She is working on a web gallery of all the shots, hopefully it will be complete in a few days.
Thanks to everyone who participated for making it an awesome workshop, extra-huge thank you to Delaine for having me down. I look forward to the next one!