Monday, November 18, 2013


It's no secret that Fury's a big geek. Now, it's also no secret that I occasionally refer to myself in the third person. Comic books, movies and toys are all deep rooted parts of my being. Most of my students are not surprised when I reference a comic book or movie character to help cue a technique or lift. However, they are sometimes surprised when something so geeky actually works. These all started out as part of my own visualization process. Yeah, for better or worse, this is how my mind works sometimes. These cues have all been proven to be effective in my own and my students training. Alright, let's dork out.

Here are my top five superhero cueing tactics.  


I've found that some folks have hard time truly crush gripping a kettlebell, bar or other implement. Enter the Absorbing Man. Crusher Creel's power allows him to absorb any type of material he touches. When I set my grip up for a deadlift, I imagine that by crushing the bar the iron of the bar rides up my forearms. My hands and forearms become one with the bar. This helps generate the tension needed to both hold the bar in my hands and get the shoulders stabilized. Become one!
This Spider-Man page immediately comes to my mind when it comes to wedging. Wedging is the technique of placing yourself between the weight and the floor. Say your pressing a 100 pound Ultimate Sandbag overhead. You want to be directly in between the USB and the floor. Not in front. not behind. Directly in between. This will allow you to give it all you got it. People lives may depend on it. 
Wedging is critical in most lifts. It takes perfect wedging technique to allow OG Russian strongman Peter Rasputin, aka Colossus, to press The Juggernaut overhead. Who's the bitch now Juggy? 
Last year I wast a barbell certification and Pavel Tatsouline noticed that my lower back was going into flexion on the deadlift and back squat. Normally, I can feel when my back starts to round but I had no idea it was happening in front of The Chief. In breaking down a way to stabilize my trunk or cylinder, I thought of the Jaeger robot Gypsy Danger from the movie Pacific Rim. Gypsy doesn't go into flexion. Neither will I. I began visualizing my hips, knees, torso and shoulders as giant Jaeger parts. This visualization actually got me through the back squat testing at the cert. It was time to cancel the apocalypse. 
When a student's arms unpack on a lift or swing I often use a G.I. Joe action figure reference. Joes have clearly visible a swivel joint and pin that holds the shoulders and arms together. The arms can move freely and smoothly, while the joint stays in place. Sounds like good swing technique to me. It's the perfect stable shoulder pack. We can all learn from Beach Head. If you're students are younger, substitute Joes with Power Rangers. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. 
Everyone's favorite wall crawler has nothing on my buddy, real life superhero and Original Strength co-founder, Tim Anderson. One of the pound for pound strongest guys I know, Tim has literally Spider-Man crawled a mile (seriously, watch below). With the rise of crawling in systems like Primal Move and Original Strength, I find Tim to be the gold standard when viewing it as a strength training method and not just a corrective drill. If you're going to crawl. Crawl like Tim. Just keep J. Jonah Jameson off your butt.
These are my top five superhero cueing tactics. Play with them and see if they help out some of your students. Us geeks tend to smell our own. You'll know with whom you can use them on. Go lift and then see Thor: Dark World (it's pretty darn good). 


-Fury out.
Coach Fury is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury's available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. He also has availability for private training at Five Points Academy and Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. You can visit, facebook/coachfury or @coachfury to get in contact or learn more about Fury.

Thursday, November 7, 2013



By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, Master DVRT, SFG II
“Hey guys, this year we’re going to be implementing a strength test into the system.” –Josh Henkin
Jeez, thanks Josh. That quote, taken the DVRT Master Instructors forum, was posted about 8 weeks before all the masters would be meeting in Josh’s home base of Scottsdale, AZ. First off, I love well designed strength and technique tests. Testing forces potential instructors to invest some serious training time before a certification. It is my opinion, that certifications should be focused on sharpening the blade, not forging a sword.
The DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Test: For the sake of this ultimate sandbag training clean and presspiece I’m going to focus on my weight class for the test. Rest assured that my training advice is applicable to all divisions. At a bodyweight of 195 pounds I would need to Clean and Push Press an 80 pound Burly Ultimate Sandbag 40 times in 5 minutes.
I’ve done the snatch test a bunch if times. How hard can it be? I can be a dumbass. The DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Push Press is a highly technical full body lift that can smoke the entire body if not done properly. My hopes are that you will be able to use this technique and training protocol to crush it.
I left for Arizona having trained up to 47 reps with an 85 pound Ultimate Sandbag. The Master Instructors all went through the test on the second day of our workshop. I stepped up to the Ultimate Sandbag (USB) expecting to crush 50 reps. I stepped away from the USB furious (go figure). Only 36 reps. That sucked. My shoulders, biceps, legs and lungs were on fire. My technique started to fall apart with the exhaustion. It seriously took about an hour to recover.
DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press Standards
-Women Under 150 Pounds: 40 pound USB Strength for 40 repetitions.
-Women over 150 Pounds:  60 pound USB Strength for 40 repetitions.
-Men under 170 Pounds: 60 pound USB Strength for 50 repetitions.
-Men from 171-210 Pounds: 80 pound USB Burly for 40 repetitions.
-Men over 210 pounds: 100 pound USB Burly for 50 repetitions.
All within 5 minutes.
With defeat fresh in my mind, I broke down the areas I felt suffered in my technique and watched what some of the others were doing. I came up with a plan of attack.
Out of passion, or punishment, I got to the workshop early the next day, grabbed the Burly and stepped out behind the facility with my buddies, Joe Chalakee and Jason Newman to take another crack at the test. Folks, including Josh, thought I was crazy. This session was all about technique. Skill practice.
The results spoke for themselves. I got 43 reps (7 more than the previous day with a huge ultimate sandbag training clean and press level of fatigue already built in.). My technique was spot on as well. The best thing was that I also recovered within 10 minutes with juice left in my legs and shoulders.
Before I drop some knowledge bombs on you, my first piece if advice would be to find a DVRT Master Instructor or take a DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training workshop to get a massive head start skill wise. (CLICK HERE for upcoming programs)
Owning the Ultimate Sandbag Training Clean and Press technique. Here’s how I did it.
Set up for your first clean by actively pulling yourself, hinging the hips back, to the USB. This will pre-load tension to make that first clean solid. Be sure to pull the clean handles apart as you set up. Pulling the handles apart will fire up the lats and aid in catching the USB smoothly to the fists. Take a deep breath into the belly before exploding into the rep. Exhale power breathing style and shoot through your heels, standing up right and catch the bag onto your fists.
With the USB on your fists, take a deep breath and set up for the push press. Until you actually put the bag down after a set of reps, this standing front load position is your rest break. Use it!
Power breath exhale again as you push press. Lock it out overhead. Don’t grind the press. Push press it. Your shoulders will thank you.
Breath into the belly as you pull the USB back into the front load position. Take in another breath as you unroll and follow the Burly onto your feet.
Do not lose tension when the Ultimate Sandbag hits the floor or top of the feet. Use that tension as a spring to launch the USB back onto the fists. Again, your rest period during the lift is in the front load position. Not on the floor.
I found that 8 reps a minute worked perfectly. That will give you 20-10 seconds of rest per set depending on your fatigue level in the later reps. Breath and reset the USB during these true rest breaks.
High five your buddies as you walk away victorious.
That’s the technique. Now how should you train for it?
Day 1 – Heavy Day: Use the actual test weight or 5-10 pounds heavier. Be fresh for this. Try 5 reps every minute for 8 minutes. Cut back if that it is too tough. If possible, I would cut sets back before reps.
Day 2 – Light (Speed) Day: Use a USB 10-20 pounds lighter than your test weight and shoot for 8 reps on the minute for 5 minutes. This will help you identify the tempo and cadence that will be needed for the actual test. I suggest doing this at the end of your normal training session. I find there is an added bonus of going through the test on the light day when you’re already pre-fatigued. Safely. Don’t be stupid if you’re already spent.
All that really needs to change weekly is the Heavy day. You can stick with a USB 10-20 pounds lighter through every light day. Two Ultimate Sandbags are all you need for this program.
Week 1: 5 reps a minute for 8 minutes.
Week 2: 6 reps a minute for 7 minutes.
Week 3: 7 reps a minute for 6 minutes.
Week 4: 8 reps a minute for 5 minutes and victory!
If you are unable to finish the reps/sets one week, simply stick with that week’s programming until you can complete it. There are 4 weeks of padding in there for just that reason. Now some of the weight classes require more reps. Reps divided by the time will get you the reps needed pre minute on the speed day. This rep number is what you’ll need to work up to by week 4-8 on your heavy day. Got it? Good.
The program is simple. The test is hard. Attack. Attack. Attack. Now register for that DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Level 1 cert you’ve always wanted. Use this program. Pass and join the family.
-Fury out.
Steve is a Strength Coach at Five Points Academy in NYC. As a DVRT Master Instructor, Fury developed the popular Ultimate Sandbag and Dynamic Strength programs at the gym. As a StrongFirst SFG II, Steve is highly regarded in the community and often sought out by instructor candidates for training. Fury is also an assistant Muay Thai Instructor and is involved in hosting workshops at Five Points. Founded in 2011, Coach Fury’s Kettlebell Club brings hardstyle kettlebell training to Park Slope, Brooklyn every Sunday. You can visit, facebook/coachfury or @coachfury to get in contact or learn more about Steve.

Friday, November 1, 2013


by Coach Fury

This is a different type of strength article from the one that got out. 

Not many people know this, but I'm a former Executive Producer in the visual effects world. No, I wasn't smart enough to work the super-nerdy computer stuff, but I was damn good at running jobs, handling large budgets and keeping the team and clients happy. Through VFX, I made some of my greatest friends and earned my original nickname of Bald Fury. Yup, technically my full name would be Coach Bald Fury. The money was great (really great). It was a blast solving creative problems, making cool commercials and hitting unthinkable deadlines. Until it wasn't. And when it wasn't, it was miserable. Late nights, working weekends, missing my kids and eating crap from clients started to drain the life out of me. Change was needed. If you're not careful, success can form a pretty tough prison to escape from. I'm passionate about a lot of things like skateboarding, music, comic books and tattoos. None of these would afford me close to the pay rate I would need to break free. Not even close. We're talking a galaxy far, far away close. 

I was trapped and super-depressed. 

Then I found the cannonball with the handle. It was love at first swing. I took the HKC and the RKC, not to be a trainer, but because I wanted to make strong sweet love to the kettlebells. That's when the light bulb hit. I could be a trainer. This would allow me to share my total love of strength with others and possibly make an ok living. Wait, I can actually help people without selling them soda and car insurance?
I never expected to make as much money as I did in VFX. It wasn't about the money. It was about passion. That kind of drive that digs into your guts and holds fast. I spent 5 months building up a part time training business before taking the plunge into full-time strength coach. Salary-wise, I went from 6 figures to fry-guy overnight. Damn, it was rough. At points like these, you can give up and follow the dollar, or you can dig in and make things happen. I made shit happen. 

I struggle to do so every single day. Why? Because I love what I do. I love my students. My new path has given me the power to have an absolute and undeniably positive impact on peoples lives. I will never stop. It's Spidey's credo, "with great power comes great responsibility."

About the only thing I miss from the VFX biz is the people. I'm fortunate enough to train with some of my friends from that life but there are many I hardly get to see. I was at a going away party from my brother from another, Domel, and got to see a ton of old friends. It's very cool to be known as "the one that got out." My career switch has inspired many. I'm proud of that.
My bro from both world's, Mark, after bending his first nail.
To pay it forward, here are some tips to REINVENTING YOUR EXIT

1. PASSION. If you don't have it, don't try it. It can't be faked. 
2. MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING. Easier said then done, but it can be done. I do it every day. 
3. CALCULATED RISK. Make sure there's water in the pool before you dive in. 
4. WINE AND DINE YOUR EXIT STRATEGY. Spend time with it. Make it feel comfortable. Don't make your first move until you're pretty damn sure it will put out. 
5. COMMITMENT SHARK. When it's time to swim, commit and never look back. You stop moving, you die. Be a shark. Be a badass shark.
6. WALK THE WALK. Be yourself. Not a caricature of who you think you are. People smell dishonesty like a fart in a car. Have integrity.
7. ALWAYS BE A STUDENT. Strive to be the best knowing you will never reach that goal. You're lying to yourself otherwise. You'll keep progressing this way. Reach out and learn from the greats in your field.
8. YOU WILL HIT LOWS. Claw your way out of these lows. You'll appreciate going uphill more every time. 
9. WALK TALL knowing you have a big set of balls (or lady balls) knowing that you had the intestinal fortitude to follow your dreams. Tragically, too few step up to that challenge.
10. IF NOT NOW, WHEN? It's probably never. Fortune favors the bold. 

You only have this life to live. It is short and easily filled with regret. Follow your heart. Listen to your guts. Trust your instinct. Escape your prison. Reinvent your exit. 

I sincerely hope this inspires at least one person to chase their dream. Keep me posted if you're that person.

Huge thanks to my family, friends, everyone at Mark Fisher Fitness, Five Points Academy, RKC, DVRT, Rollins, Jason Jessee, Ian Mackeye, Jackie Chan and all my mentors for their support and inspiration. I succeed because of you. 

-Fury out.