Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Here's the third and final Fury edition of Pharaoh Ari Harris' TRX Tuesdays. In this one, I go over the TRX/Ultimate Sandbag rear suspended - rotational lunge. It was an absolute pleasure working with Ari on these. I hope to do it again sometime. 

Don't forget to check out Ari's facebook page: facebook.com/pharaohsarmyfitness

-Fury out

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Here's the second of three TRX Tuesday guest spots I did for my buddy Ari Harris, RKC/SFG II. Enjoy.

Don't forget to check out Ari's facebook page: facebook.com/pharaohsarmyfitness


Sunday, March 17, 2013


My fellow OG strong guy, Ari Harris, asked me to do a guest spot on his weekly TRX Tuesdays. I threw down some TRX/Ultimate Sandbag combos. This will be the first of three weekly episodes featuring yours truly. 

Go ahead and like Ari's FB page. He always has good stuff going down. facebook.com/pharaohsarmyfitness

-Fury out

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Being Purposefully Primitive

by STEVE HOLINER on MARCH 13, 2013

It was a particularly great day at Five Points Academy, when my boss and mentor, Steve Milles (RKC IICK-FMSCICS) told me in no uncertain terms that we would be going to Marty Gallagher’s Purposeful Primitive Workshop last year. Of course we were! The workshop had the added bonus of being hosted by our friend, and the man who was my RKC Level I and II Team Leader, Phil Scarito. Throw in that it was within driving distance from NYC and was literally located right next to the hotel (and a Hooters) and we were stoked.
 Being Purposefully Primitive
Written by Marty Gallagher and published by Dragon Door, The Purposeful Primitive is an amazing book filled with info on how many of the world’s strongest men train. Having spent a  couple of years primarily using kettlebells, I went to the workshop hoping to sharpen up my barbell skills. I could have sliced a can in half after the PP weekend. It was two full days learning from Marty himself and the one and only Captain Kirk Karwoski. Aside from the great education you pick up at these types of events, I also got to meet some mighty fine people including Cole Summers, Tristan Phillips, John Heinz and Donald Blake Berry among others. Plus, I got to hear some ridiculously funny stories hanging out with Marty and Kirk at Hooters.
One of Marty’s core training principles is “making the light weights heavy to make the heavy weights light.” It’s all about creating and maintaining high levels of tension regardless of poundage while upholding stellar technique. This fit in perfectly with my hardstyle training and much of my own personal philosophies. I take nothing for granted and treat all weights with respect.
The small but information laden manual outlined a pretty straightforward and mildly intimidating 12 week periodization program. I was amped up to start… but I had CK-FMS the following week, then the final Summit of Strength, followed by assisting Brett Jones at a CICS, and finally assisting on Team Heinz at the Philly RKC. My barbell domination kept getting put on hold until I was able to truly focus on it. And focus on it I did.
The program is based on starting percentages of your current PR (Personal Record/Best) in the Back Squat/300, Bench Press/300, Deadlift/445 and Military Press/185. The reps sets are as follows:
Week 1-4
Squat 3×8
Bench Press 3×8
Deadlift 3×6
Military Press 3×8
Week 2-8
Squat 3×5
Bench Press 3×5
Deadlift 3×4
Military Press 3×5
Week 9-12 (or singles)
Squat 3×2
Bench Press 3×2
Deadlift 3×2
Military Press 3×2
Week 13
PRs baby!
10 pounds is added to the BS, DL and BP every week. 5 pounds is added to the MP. I trained the BS and BP on Mondays and the DL and MP on Thursdays with my  training partner Mike Patrick. I would sometimes do a third variety day consisting of barbell rows, kettlebell windmills and some arm work. Captain Kirk was gracious enough to look over my program and give me the greenlight to kill it.
Getting back on the topic of focus. Simply put, I have never been more focused in my life. I stopped doing Muay Thai kickboxing completely during these 12 weeks because I didn’t want any kicks to my legs or knees to my ribs to affect my lifts. I saved myself entirely for my lift days. My mental prep for the day’s lifts would begin as soon as I woke. By the time I arrived at the gym, I might as well have had Braveheart face-paint on. I started to develop some OCD about what rack and plates I would use.  Nothing changed but the weight on the bar.
 Being Purposefully PrimitiveAbout the OCD, it got out of hand. I found myself failing reps because something random entered my mental lifting zone. I was also relying too much on music for motivation.
As the weeks progressed, I slammed into two walls that derailed what my original goals were. The first time I missed a planned rep was on the bench press at 225. I was actually shocked. Kirk and I talked about it and he essentially told me to “get my head out of my ass and not let it happen again.” He was 100% correct. I don’t care how much you lift if you are unable to handle blunt and honest advice. Strength of character is more important than strength of body.
The next time I failed was also on the bench. 3 sets of 5×245 became extremely difficult. 400 on the deadlift became my second nemesis. Not only was a I failing the lifts, but as opposed to the 225 bench fail, this time I truly felt they were out of my reach and that my form was suffering into the hazard to myself realm. The DL struggle was expected. I had never really repped over 400 before. It was always singles leading up to the max in that range. The bench was a surprise though. After consulting with Phil Scarito, I dropped both lifts back two weeks to the last time they were accomplished under solid form and started adding 5 pounds instead of 10 a week. This was fantastic advice. After three weeks, I was able to start adding 10 again.
As much as I struggled with my deadlift and bench, I excelled in the squat and military press. The back squat literally felt easier every week. Same with the MP. At this point, I want to add that all of my formal strength training started in the kettlebell world. I never truly trained with barbells properly before. My max lifts aren’t jaw dropping but as a 40 year old banged up skateboarder, I’m damn proud of them.
Eventually, week 13 came up and I managed to hit two new PRs. I added 25 to my back squat with 325 and added 10 to my military press with 195. I broke even on the DL and BP though I know my form is better and that I’m stronger in the higher weights within my PR range.
Here are my exact numbers through the program:
WEEK 1: SQUAT 3X8 195. BENCH 3×8 185. DEAD 3×6 345. PRESS 3×8 105.
WEEK 2: SQUAT 3X8 205. BENCH 3×8 195. DEAD 3×6 355. PRESS 3×8 110.
WEEK 3: SQUAT 3X8 215. BENCH 3×8 205. DEAD 3×6 365. PRESS 3×8 115.
WEEK 4: SQUAT 3X8 225. BENCH 3×8 215. DEAD 3×4 375. PRESS 3×8 120.
WEEK 5: SQUAT 3X5 235. BENCH 3×5 225. DEAD 3×4 385. PRESS 3×5 125.
WEEK 6: SQUAT 3X5 245. BENCH 3×5 245. DEAD 3×4 395. PRESS 3×5 130.
WEEK 7: SQUAT 3X5 255. BENCH 3×5 245. DEAD 3×405. PRESS 3×5 135.
WEEK 8: SQUAT 3X5 265. BENCH 3×5 255. DEAD 3×4 385. PRESS 3×5 140.
WEEK 9: SQUAT 3X3 275. BENCH 3×3 255. DEAD 3×3 390. PRESS 3×3 145.
WEEK 10: SQUAT 3X3 285. BENCH 3×3 265. DEAD 3×3 400. PRESS 3×3 150.
WEEK 11: SQUAT 3X2 295 BENCH 2×2 275. 1×275. DEAD 3×405 2×1 405. PRESS 3×2 165.
WEEK 12: SQUAT 3X2 305. BENCH 3×1 285. DEAD 2×405. 2×415. 2×1 425. PRESS 3×2 175.
WEEK 13: SQUAT 325. Failed at 355. BENCH 295. Failed at 305. DEAD 425. Failed at 455. PRESS 195. Failed at 205.
This was a great program. Five Points Academy Instructors, Chris Nagel and Lance Turnbow, both went through it and added impressive pounds to their previous best. Chris added a whopping 55 pounds to his back squat and 25 to his bench.
Marty’s book is amazing and the workshop is everything you would hope for. Not to mention it makes your soul feel good when someone of Marty Gallagher’s stature compliments you on a lift. I often feel that workshops that are not directly run by one of the bigger organizations are often overlooked. This is one of them. Do not miss it the next time the opportunity arises. It deserves to be on your must do list. Now go buy the book while you wait for the next workshop to be scheduled.
Yours in strength and fury,
Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
About Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, RKC II, CK-FMS, CICS, DVRT 2:   Proudly claiming Five Points Academy in NYC as his home base, Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner is an RKCLevel II Certified Kettlebell Instructor, a Certified Indian Club Specialist and a Primal Move Coach. He is also CK-FMS Certified and uses the Functional Movement System to help predict and avoid the possibility of injury in his clients. As a DVRT Level 2 Coach, Steve created the first dedicated Ultimate Sandbag class program. Steve is a certified TRX Training Instructor and an Assistant Muay Thai Kickboxing Instructor. Through his guidance, Steve has helped people pass their HKC, RKC and RKC Level II certifications. With over 35 people registered, Steve was the lead coach for the Five Points Academy team in the May 2012 Tactical Strength Challenge. Two of Steve’s female clients qualified for the Power To The People Deadlift Team at the TSC. Steve has been published in the Power by Pavel newsletter, had articles and videos shared by Josh Henkin and written guest blogs.
Founded by Steve in 2011, Coach Fury’s Kettlebell Club (CFKC) has brought hardstyle kettlebell training to Brooklyn, NY.

Monday, March 11, 2013


By now, you have probably seen this poster (everywhere). Nice work by Coach Fury client and impressive photographer, Finlay Mackay for shooting this photo of Nick Hoult. Nick's character, Jack, is the only live action element in an otherwise completely computer generated still.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I first heard of the Velocity Diet during my RKC II certification in July of 2011. Dan John had just helped Danny Sawaya get through it. It sounded awful but hooked my curiosity. The Velocity Diet consists of 5 shakes a day with only one healthy solid meal (HSM) a week for 28 days. There is then a 2 week transition period as you return to solid foods.  There is also a training protocol to be followed but training has never been my problem so I won't go deeply into that right now. You can find out all of the details here: Velocity Diet 3.0

Dan John had also put himself through the diet. You can read his experience about it in his book, Never Let Go. I completely related to Dan's story on many levels. 

Two things appealed to me about this brutal diet program. First, the rules are simple and second it takes 100% commitment. 

A month ago I was wrapping up a 12 week powerlifting program. I had bulked up with some muscle, but also put on a bunch of fat. I will openly admit it, I AM AN EMOTIONAL EATER. Sue me. I always have been and I struggle to control myself everyday. In the past year, I have been dealing with a forthcoming divorce and a semi-state of homelessness. Yes, I always have a place to stay, but consistency was lost. On the bright side, I also found an amazing new girlfriend. So, I would eat and drink when I was depressed and eat and drink to celebrate. At the end of my 12 week program, I was stronger and fatter than I have been in years. 

During this time, I was also honored to be invited to assist at The Boston SFG for STRONGFIRST. It was time to lean out. I order the kit and reached out to Dan and Danny. 

With the support of Dan, Danny and Gary Ralph Music I got going. My starting weight was 216.4. Dan was an invaluable resource because he was able to give some pretty specific mental warnings about when things would get tough. The first few days actually went pretty easily. Day 5 was my weekend with my two kids. They were having pizza and I almost lost my mind. I knew I wouldn't fold, but damn I wanted to. Knowing that Dan, Danny and Gary were supporting me (and ready to shame me for failure) got me through it. By the end of day 5, my HSM meal was close and I breezed through week 1. That HSM was one of the best meals of my life. I took my time and chewed. I savored my food instead of inhaling it. I had lost about 7 pounds in week 1.

Week 2 started easier than expected. However, I noticed two things. My energy levels were a bit low and I had a sore throat that I thought was over, creeping back in. The days with my kids were the worst. It wasn't just that I couldn't have what they were eating, but I missed the actual experience of sharing a meal with them. On day 11, I finally had to see a doctor about my sore throat. It turns out that I had strep and had to go on antibiotics. Antibiotics that needed to be taken with food. Crap.

I called Dan and asked how he thought I should proceed. I won't use his exact words, but I was given his first approved stoppage. The diet had to stop and I had to deal with the strep. At least I didn't have to wear an I AM DAN JOHN'S BITCH t-shirt. 

In 11 days I had lost about 11 pounds. More importantly, I stopped drinking Red Bulls, greatly minimized my sugar cravings and drastically reduced my alcohol intake. With the addition of solid foods, I quickly went up to 209. Then with the renewed control over myself got back down to 207 and continue to lose. My goal is 200 by the April SFG.

This was a great and challenging experience. I wish I could have seen it through. However, this is not for everyone. I will admit that I had lost control of my eating and needed drastic change. Most people can and should make normal nutritional or training adjustments to lose the weight. 

Special thanks go out to Dan John, Danny Sawaya, Gary Ralph Music, Tristan Phillips and my girlfriend Kim for their support.