This is a sample of paragraph text created with the text editor. The editor provides a way to emphasize or make a word or phrase strong. Also, you can create a link very easily. Headings, lists and quotes are there too.
Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Morbi leo risus, porta ac consectetur ac, vestibulum at eros. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Morbi leo risus, porta ac consectetur ac, vestibulum at eros. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis
The Beast Tamer Challenge.
Between April 2016 and February 2019, I thought about this challenge every day. It was on my mind every time I trained. I’d start thinking about it as I innocently walked past a kettlebell. Then, without warning, it would enter my dreams. Until I conquered this challenge, it was conquering me.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Beast Tamer, it involves three events with a 106 lb kettlebell:
a strict overhead press with no knee bend and minimal side bend
a dead-hang, thumbless pull-up with the kettlebell attached to your waist (and yes, your throat - not the underside of your chin - must touch the bar)
a pistol - otherwise known as a single leg squat - where your hips must break parallel with your knee while you hold the bell.
For those those of us that have a kettlebell problem, it’s fun. Only 70 men had ever completed it under StrongFirst. My goal was to become #71.
The past month has been incredible. From winning the Tactical Strength Challenge (yes, you read that correctly), to the birth of our son, Ethan (again, you read that correctly!), to a few other items I can’t mention yet, it’s been a month I’ll never forget.
To make it even sweeter, I’m happy to share that StrongFirst just published an article of mine about pull-ups. Specifically, it shares my journey and the program I used to transform a weak point to something I now look forward to.
I don’t think many people believe me when I tell them “strength is a skill.” Just like any other skill - writing, playing the piano, cooking - you’re only as talented as the depth and breadth of your practice. And not to sicken you with cliches, but I truly believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
So what are the best assessments of someone’s strength and skill? The deadlift and a strict kettlebell military press. For those that know me, you can’t be surprised to read that!
Why are these two exercises so important in developing strength? Because neither movement has an eccentric component - meaning there’s no downward movement before someone begins their lift. This eliminates someone’s ability to load their body for the movement upwards. Instead, you see how well someone can “wedge” themselves underneath the weight, and create the requisite force and stiffness to complete the lift.
I'm a firm believer that most supplements are a waste of money. The exceptions depend on the person, but 97% of people can improve their life and results just by eating more vegetables as well as maybe taking fish oil and/or vitamin D.
So I’m never going to tell you what’s the best protein shake (there isn’t one and I don’t drink them), or what pre-workout supplement will spur dem gainz (in which case, address your sleep habits and caffeine intake so you don’t need a pre-workout in the first place).
But there is one supplement I've found to be a vital part of my progress. You can’t buy it, and unfortunately, I can’t just give you some of it either.
What is it?
Consistency. Because consistency is more important to results than stated goals or finding motivation.
The motto of StrongFirst is "strength has a greater purpose." And to paraphrase Jerry Maguire, they had me at "strength."
On that same token, I arrived at my own saying and training philosophy over the years, "Training for life."
Variants of the same message, there's a fundamental truth at the heart of these taglines: the benefits of strength training transcend the physical. Most the benefits we see are mental.
Confidence, self-worth, perseverance, stress management, and industriousness are just some of the mental qualities we train when we build a bigger and better deadlift, squat, press, etc. Heavy weights are egalitarian and the only path to success comes from failing. And succeeding.
"Simple. Not easy."
Aside from being my favorite life mantra, this phrase expresses the struggle of the first step of the Turkish get-up. Also called the roll-up, this seemingly simple first step integrates rolling patterns, glute and lat activation, and shoulder stability, all during an open-chain movement.
Sometimes when we get "stuck" on that first step, it's due to needing more practice at one of these requirements. For example, we don't often roll around on the floor in everyday life, unless of course, you're within earshot of my sense of humor.
Other times, the open-chain nature of holding a kettlebell in the air can make it hard to tell when you're in the right position, versus the sorta-right-position.
But a majority of the time the problem is mental.