Sunday, 28 June 2009

Tactical Strength Training With Bulgarian Bag

It seems that traditional methods of training are making a comeback, or perhaps they never went out of fashion, just became the cornerstone methods for a select few. With the eternal quest for optimal human performance, gaining the competitive edge can sometimes be found in our past, enter the Bulgarian Bag.

Primarily used by wrestlers and grappling athletes, the Bulgarian Bag is also great for people wanting to develop functional strength and lean muscle mass. The distinctive "yoke" shape means these bags can be used for a variety of effective movements such as squats, lunges, hill/stair running, full body and half-moon swings, bridging, side-to-side "core" and abdominal work, good-mornings, "ground work," overhead pressing, hammer curls, the potential is endless. Comments on the video below are welcome.

Full Throttle Fitness Workout of The Week

Inspired by his recent trip to Trojans Kettlebell Lifting Club run by Bj and Tommy from Optimal Life Fitness (more in a post coming soon) Cj lead this weeks session, focusing on agility and strength endurance.

Full Throttle Fitness Workout of The Week

Warm Up: Joint Mobility
(actively working each joint through a full range of movement 15 - 20 reps each)

Dynamic Bodyweight Movement

Cossack x 1 minute
Walking Lunges x 2 Lengths
Reverse Walking Lunges x 2 Lengths
Low Walking Lungs x 2 Lengths

Agility Ladder Drills

Hot Stepping (double step) x 2 Lengths
Lateral Hot Stepping (Single Step) x 2 lengths
Bear Crawls (Hot Hands) x 2 Lengths
Bear Crawls/ Revers Bear Crawls (hot hands) x 2 Lengths

Kettlebell Section

Freaky 50

(select two Kettlebells of moderate weight)

1) Single Arm Overhead Squat x 10 reps (per arm)
2) Renegade Row into Press Ups x 10 reps
3) Tactical Lunge x 10 reps per side (single Kettlebell)
4) Burpeese x 10 reps

Complete 5 circuits with no designated rest period.

Cool down and stretch out.

Now this may seem like a short piece, but I can assure you that the total of 200 reps will seem like an eternity!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Way Too Thin? Way Too Rich?

Denise Ryan, MBA, is a Certified Speaking Professional,a designation of excellence held by less than 10% of all professional speakers. The eternal quest for a youthful body (synonymous with thin) and financial wealth is something that seems to occupy the psyche of the majority of the western world. No, really, think about it, if you're not trying to earn a living or create wealth to escape the rat race, you're at the gym getting fit, reading magazines about how to get fit, at the pub or bar feeling guilty for partying too much (and not getting fit), reading glossy magazines that tell you that the only way to attract the opposite sex is to have the body of a Greek God a a wallet the size of Everest (plus a successful portfolio to match). Is it me, or is this just a little bit insane?. The following article by Denise Ryan is, in my view, on point.

"You CAN be Too Rich or Too Thin
I know that to many people this seems like heresy - these
are two goals that influence a great deal of human
behavior. But we've all seen someone who has clearly lost
too much weight. Often they think they still need to lose
more. And while it would seem that one could not be too
rich, there is a point at which increasing one's wealth no
longer increases one's happiness.

Here's the human dilemma - once we start to lose weight or
earn money, we gauge our success by every pound or every
dollar. At some point we start to equate our personal
value with dollars and pounds. If we gain weight, we're
fat losers, if we lose weight we're hot and successful.
Same thing with money. I don't know about you, but as my
business falls off with the recession, I feel like a

Here's how this has worked in my life - over the past
couple of years I've lost about 20 pounds. I was never fat
(although I certainly was starting to get there!) and to be
honest, most people haven't noticed. I'm pretty tall, so
it's not as noticeable on me as it would be on someone
shorter, and I've lost it gradually. I actually never
thought I weigh this little again - hell, I weigh less now
than I did in college.

Am I happy about this? Yes, but I still think I could lose
another pound or two. See how crazy we are? We lose
weight and we always think we could stand to just lose a
little more. We make more money and we think we could just
make a little more.... We poor humans are never satisfied.

This is not all bad - it keeps us in the game, keeps us
striving. But it also keeps us beating ourselves up. I
will not be happy with myself if I gain back 5 pounds even
though I'm still significantly lighter than I was and still
would weigh less than my original goal! I am unhappy that
I'm not going to make more money this year than last year
even though the world is in a terrible recession. So what
to do?

1.) Check in with what really brings you joy. I love
fitting into my new hot jeans, I won't lie. But I also
adore food - ice cream in the summer, chocolate all the
time, mouth is watering just thinking about it!
So if I really want something, I'm going to eat it. I'm
going to try not to beat myself up if I gain back a pound
or two. Hell, if no one noticed I lost 20 pounds are they
going to notice I gained three? I don't think so. If
you've lost touch with what brings you joy, think back
about the times in your life when you were the happiest.
What can you do to recreate that happiness?

2.) What REALLY means success to you? If I die skinny,
does that mean I had a great life? How about if I die
rich? I just want to be happy. I think if most of my life
was spent filled with joy, than I had a great life. What
does a great life mean to you? What brings you deep
happiness? Spending time with people you love? Having
adventures? Laughing?

3.) What is enough? I have a home I love (that's paid
for), a nice car, a healthy bank balance. Why do I even
need more and more money? Sure I could buy a bigger house,
a newer car - but what I have is enough for me. Remind
yourself when you really already have enough.

4.) Is it about you? Or about society? Let's face it,
there's a fashion and beauty industry pushing you to feel
inadequate. If we all decide we are perfectly fine just as
we are, they are gone. Same with providers of many other
types of goods and services. I'm not judging - I love nice
things. But each of use needs to know where our desires
end and societal pressure begins. The hardest voice to
hear in this world is your own.

5.) Are you holding yourself to a ridiculous standard?
Think of someone (choose a regular person rather than a
celebrity) who you think has a great life. What is it
about their life you think is great? I seldom find myself
thinking, "Oh I admire so-and-so - she's so skinny!" I
find myself thinking, "Missy has such a great life - she is
surrounded by friends and family who love her." I don't
think, "I wish I could trade places with Fred - he has such
a huge home!" I think, "I'm so happy I don't have to clean
that place! Or hire an army to do it for me." Why hold
ourselves to a standard that really doesn't matter?

Yes, how much you weigh is important if it is making you
miserable. But when you find your mood set by what the
scale says, you need to regroup. Skinny does not equal
happy. The same goes for money. If you can't take care of
your needs (not your every desire and whim, your NEEDS),
money is very important. But after a certain point, more
money does not mean more happiness.

You can be too rich or too thin, but you can never be too
happy. I wish much happiness for you."

Denise Ryan MBA also has here own blog Motivation By Chocolate (intrigued right?)

Also, check out her website where you can see more articles and sign up for a free newsletter.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Fitness Wisom? : F**K It!

"A wise person has the capacity to choose the best means to attain a goal. Being wise implies broad knowledge, learning and experience and the ability to apply such faculties to practical ends."

Now this isn't my definition, but I found it on a website about West African Wisdom and thought it was pretty cool, so I stole it.

The bit that stuck out for me was "the ability to apply such faculties to practical ends". I'm a social creature by nature and my role as a Coach means that ultimately the conversation eventually steers towards fitness. A conversation that I often encounter is "I must get back to the gym" or the one about "I'm just not seeing results" or "I'm still paying but I will go back eventually".

To these people (not the perennial gym rats) I would say, take a long hard look, apply your broad knowledge, learning, experience and say F**K it! Gyms are not the only answer. Do sport, do something physical that you enjoy. Save some money, put it into something that will get you the results and that you love doing. Get out there, just get active. Commercial Gyms are in a stagnant industry that boomed and have yet adapted to the changing modern physical culture. They are possibly on their way out. Now I'm not talking about small or local gyms. Gyms have their place and are useful when they serve their members. I'm talking about the glitzy gyms the pop up ten fold in a space of as many feet like they are fast food restaurants.

Their is a real cost to your health if you are not physically active, and a financial one (as your medical bills will pile up from conditions related to poor health). But there is also a financial cost to working out. On Straight to the Bar, Kat wrote an interesting piece about this,

"I'm posting this to generate some respect for the issue most people have today of fitting fitness into their budgets, and to give some idea of what my investment has been as an example.

It's free to sweat. Ideally, people pay you to work. So this is an exception to the natural structure of life. Don't let anyone bully you into thinking otherwise, or that this is money you must spend. Don't watch people who have achieved some degree of glamor in your eyes in their fitness lives and feel that you should be doing what they're doing, because the activity may not be available to you. That realization gives you freedom, freedom from guilt, failure, and freedom to control the direction of your fitness life. You can stumble into your fitness pursuit, as most people do, arrive at your niche organically and then cater to it economically, or, if you're at a decision-making juncture, you can lay out the costs of various pursuits and assess their availability to you. Whether you're a realist, cynic or dreamer, your personality will drive you to a path from there. Do something. Just don't feel like you should be doing something else....
"read more

So what ignited this rant? working in the Health and Fitness industry for the past nine years plus, its something that has taken root and I have finally managed to articulate inspired by a wonderfully simple, but powerful book. Check out pages 101 - 105 You'll understand what I mean.

Full Throttle Fitness Workout of The Week

This week Coach Skala took the lead, after a dynamic warm up by Cj. Partner and body weight exercises were the flavour of the session, with a the unveiling of the Full Throttle Fitness Human Husky exercise!

Here's what we got up to

Full Throttle Fitness Workout of The Week

Warm Up

Joint Mobility

Travelling Lunges (forwards / Backwards) x 2 Lengths each
Agility runs: Hot Stepping and Lateral Shuffle x 2 Lengths each

Main Session

one person lies on the floor - the other sprints x2 Lengths then lies on the floor and the person who was lying on the floor starts sprinting.
x 5 Sets each (clear as mud right? ; )

Partner carry: x 5 lengths each
Bear crawl x 1 length and frog hops - all the way back. x 5 sets each


Push: 5 stations x 1 minutes each exercise. x 1 round

Push ups of (feet elevated on bench)

Medicine ball slams

Walking push up (medicine ball)

Barbell Push press (light)

2-3 mins rest

Human Husky (see picture above) 2 lenghts x 2 sets

2 -3 mins rest


Pull: 5 stations x 1 minutes each exercise. x 1 round

Sandbag pull (with a rope)

Body rows (on parallel bars)


Kettlebell Renegade rows

Barbell Bent Over Rows

Job done! Cool down and stretch out.

Friday, 19 June 2009

IKFF Kettlebell Course Milan 2009

After arriving at Linate Airport, Milan at 8pm (rather than the anticipated 8am), I made my way to the city centre to meet with the European arm of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation Team, headed by the man himself, Steve Cotter. I was immediately humbled by the hospitality of our Italian hosts, who made both myself and Jonathan Lewis welcome.

This set the tone for the weekend of hard work and equally hard play. With participants from Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, England and the United States, this was truly an international course of the highest caliber. Steve Cotter was phenomenal as ever. I have participated on several IKFF Kettlebell Courses and each time it has been different. Steve's knowledge is constantly evolving, to the benefit of his students, including myself. The Assistant Coaches from across the continent brought their own distinct flavour to the IKFF CKT and the energy of the group carried us all through some grueling tests of strength endurance.

I met some amazing people on this certified kettlebell course, and forged some friendships that will endure for a long time to come. The IKFF family is forever expanding exponentially, and we can only be better off for it.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Beach Babe Bikini Workout? Kettlebells Anyone?

Today I met up with Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditiong Coach Charlotte Ord to spend some time under the Kettlebells with her and Jonathan Lewis. I first met Char at the IKFF CKT Level 1 in Scotland, she impressed everyone with her pressing skills as she took the female pressing competition by the horns. Char has Just finished her first book, Beach Babe Bikini workout, which is fiercely becoming an online hit.

Ever in the pursuit of excellence, never one to shy away from a challenge, or put herself outside of her comfort zone, Char is entering the UK Open Kettlebell Championships this year. Jonathan Lewis and I met up with Char at Balance physiotherapy.

We examined each others Kettlebell technique for the Jerk and the snatch. Noticing the trajectory of the Kettlebell as our arm "corkscrewed" on the descent in the snatch, and loading on the rise phase of the snatch for the correct hand transition. For the Jerk we focused on establishing an effective rack position which would not compromise the ballistic drive in the initial dip phase.

Analyzed out, we decided to knocked out some timed pieces of Jerk and Snatch. Suitably pleased with ourselves we dusted off the chalk and parted ways. Her fluid technique and raw determination will make Charlotte Ord one to watch at the UK Open Kettlebell Championships. Find out more about Charlotte Ord at her website or check out her new book Beach Babe Bikini Workout.

Click Here!

Monday, 8 June 2009

UK Open Kettlebell Championships 2009: Registration Open

Registration for the UK Open Kettlebell Championships 2009 is now live. Taking place at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on the 18th July 2009, this has the potential to be the largest Kettlebell competition in the UK. Men, women and teams from through out the UK and beyond will engage in a grueling test of strength endurance to raise money for two outstanding charities, The Paul D'Auria Cancer Support Centre, and Motor Neurone Disease Association South London.

Alongside the competition this event will feature special guest appearances and performance athletes including Parkour and Free running specialists Urban Free Flow. Steve Cotter and Ken Blackburn of the IKFF will be in attendance. If you want to register to compete at the event or fancy coming down to soak up the electric atmosphere, then you can book online at

In the mean time to keep you entertained enjoy the juggling skills of Ivan Denisov. Take it away Ivan...

Friday, 5 June 2009

UK Open Kettlebell Championships Now LIVE!

Registration for the UK Open Kettlebell Championships 2009 is now officially open. This promises to be the largest Kettlebell competition in the UK. This not for profit event supports two worth while charities that make a difference on a grass roots level. There will also be displays and special guests to keep you enthralled. Confirmed athletic movement dynamos include Parkour perfectionists Urban Free Flow.

You can find out how to register for the competition, or even buy tickets to this groundbreaking event online at Be a part of history in the making.

Kettlebell Competition At The Arnold

Urban Free Flow

Monday, 1 June 2009

The Art Of Movement

Rannoch of Kettlebells Scotland posted this up on facebook, thought we'd share it. A truly phenomenal example of what the human body is capable of. Absolutely breath taking. Enter Damien Walters...

Full Throttle Fitness: Workout Of The Week

This week, we spent a bit more time at the beginning of the session working on technique to prepare ourselves for what Cj had in store. Sabina got the troops warmed up with some body weight exercises and partner drills which brought out the competitive side of a few people (who shall remain nameless).

After working on swing technique, overhead press and jerk, we went onto the following.

Full Throttle Fitness: Workout Of The Week


Double Kettlebell Jerks (Men 24kg : Ladies 16kg)

10 reps x 10 sets with 30 second rest in between sets

Rest 1 minute


Single Arm Snatch x 4 mins (alternating arm at each minute) x 2 sets

1 minute rest between sets


Double Kettlebell Rack postion 1 minute x 2 sets with 15 seconds rest in between.

We cooled down and hit the static stretches after a thoroughly enjoyable and brutal session.

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