Tuesday, December 9, 2014


by Mark Love, HKC, ACE

I trained today. The main lift I did was the deadlift. For my last set, I used 315 pounds, for three repetitions. This is not a lot of weight, regardless of whether we talk about absolute strength or relative strength. Plenty of men a good deal older than me can do better; hell, plenty of women can do better. 315 x 3 is not even close to my lifetime PR (and even that number is no big deal). So, you might think it odd that I pumped my fist and felt like King for a Day.

You see, it was the first time in a very long time I deadlifted any amount of weight that started with the number three. There was a long spell during which I never did the lift at all (mistaken training philosophies). Then there were setbacks, the kind that leave one with a broken body, and for longer than I like to think about, a broken spirit. So, modest as the performance was, it was something of a big deal for me.

Now, you might wonder, why am I going on about all of this? (I, like a lot of introverts, would rather have my teeth pulled sans Novocain than talk about myself.) Well, I got to thinking that maybe other people could relate. Maybe one of you has been through a tough time—maybe you're still in it. If so, let me tell you, I saw bits of my old, best self today—bits I'd not thought lost, but forgot existed. I saw a glimpse of a guy who used to be a pretty fierce competitor, who used to take pride in achievement. And I left that workout so happy I found myself doing things I sometimes forget to do: I smiled more, offered more compliments, listened a little better.
So, if you can relate to any of this, I humbly offer one piece of advice: go create a victory for yourself. It doesn't matter if the performance is still way off what you used to do; it only matters that it's better than you've been doing. And it doesn't matter what kind of victory—it might be that you smile at people more, or tell someone who needs to hear it that you love them, or you put down the Double Stuff Oreos and eat some real food, or maybe you go lift something kinda, sorta, a little bit heavy.

It might feel like that victory is a one-off. Maybe, but maybe not. It was only six weeks ago, that I didn't even attempt the clean and press test at my DVRT certification, because the pain in my hip kept me from generating enough force to do the workout (don't worry, Coach Fury, I will not let you down—I'll submit my video soon). Now, I'm picking up more weight than I had in a long, long time (and I had more in the tank!). Next thing you know, you'll be doing bigger stuff, too.

I hope this comes off a lot closer to helpful than to self-indulgent (because, damn, it really feels self-indulgent to this ISTJ). If you made it all the way through, thanks for your time.

-Mark Love

Mark Love has trained clients from teens to 80s, homemakers to (multiple time) world champion squash players, in and around Philadelphia for the last 18 years. He is certified with ACE, TRX, and has recently become a proud HKC, working toward his RKC. When not training clients or himself, he lives as the introvert he is, reading everything he can get his hands on, listening to a ridiculous amount of music, and finding clever ways to sneak out of social engagements. You can reach Mark via email at: markjlove@mac.com

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I thought I lost this video to an iMovie crash last month. I was surprised (and stoked) to find it working today. Here's the scoop, on my 40th birthday I challenged myself to a 40kg (88lb) kettlebell press per arm on the minute for 40 minutes. I turned 42 this year and thought I'd use 40kg x2 for half the time. So here's a double 40kg press on the minute for 22 minutes. I feel stronger than ever. Enjoy!


Friday, December 5, 2014


From Skateboarder to Strength Coach-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

How to Get Results in the Real World

Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
DVRT Master Chief Instructor, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor & Other Stuff
ultimate sandbag instructor

-What is your philosophy in fitness and what made you interested in DVRT?

As coaches, we have a responsibility to better the lives of the people we train. We also have to find safe, honest and effective ways to do so. It’s that simple. This is the core of how I view what I do. Someone may come in off the street wanting to lose 20 pounds but there’s always a deeper reason as to why they chose that goal. The psychological effect on a person when they start moving well and feeling stronger will often have a greater impact than the goal of losing some weight. This isn’t meant to undermine their initial goal, we’ll get that, but we can offer so much more to people.

My friend, mentor and DVRT Master Instructor Gavin Van Vlack first introduced me to Ultimate Sandbags and the previous incarnation of DVRT (then called LIFT). The idea of moving with load in all the planes of motion immediately hooked me. As a skateboarder, I was always twisting and turning (and falling) in all directions. Why shouldn’t we train in multiple planes. The way the DVRT System progresses and regresses movements was a huge eye opener for me. DVRT is at the core of how I view everyone I train.

-What surprised you in using and teaching DVRT?

Initially, I was very surprised with how little load we needed to make something challenging. Having come more from the world of kettlebells and barbells, I was shocked by how heavy a 60 pound Ultimate Sandbag could feel when matched with the right DVRT movement.

As I continue to get deeper into the system over the years, I’ve grown to fully appreciate how much DVRT has to offer as coach. Viewing the people I train through the DVRT lens has refined my process of coaching, cueing and programming. I had never expected it to have such an impact on everything I do.
ultimate sandbag training

-What do you think are things that people don't know about DVRT?

The biggest misconception is that it just a “sandbag” certification. I will fight to change that view with my dying breath. DVRT is a complete and well-rounded system. As I mentioned earlier, it is the foundation of how I coach people regardless of the implement or goal. DVRT is powerful stuff.

-What results have you seen with clients?

The things I’ve been the most proud about have been significant changes in the quality of person’s movement. In my opinion, improved quality of movement, means an improved quality of life. I’ve also seen many people get exceptionally strong using the DVRT system. Hannah Fons is a perfect example of this. Hannah’s dedication to training has not only led her to becoming a DVRT II Coach and a straight up beast strength-wise.

-What are some tips you can tell us to successfully add DVRT into a fitness program?

Whether it’s private, semi-private or group training, DVRT is very easy to put into practice. You won’t need much gear to get significant results. I suggest starting by assessing your current clientele and try to see where there may be some shortcoming with either their results or their current programming. Then take a moment to see what aspects of the DVRT System will best fill in those blanks. Start simple. Then let it grow organically. In short time, you’ll begin see DVRT’s influence on your overall coaching method.

ultimate sandbag training

-How can people reach you if they want to contact you about how to use DVRT to raise their game?

I’m here to help. For more info you can check out my website coachfury.com orfacebook.com/coachfury. The best way to reach me directly is through email at coachfury@gmail.com.

ultimate sandbag training

Want to learn more how Coach "Fury" has used DVRT to help people have a 100% pass rate in the challenging HKC kettlebell certification? You can read about it HERE

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


by Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner, Senior RKC, DVRT Master Chief and OS Instructor

HKC NYC with Steve Holiner Group Photo
Winning at video games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat is all about performing well executed combinations. Linking up the right sequence of punches and kicks can get you that perfect score or a flawless victory.
The same can be said for combining strength training systems. In November, I taught the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Level 1 Certification and Dragon Door’s HKC Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification over the course of one weekend. I have spoken before about how DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) and HKC/RKC strengthen and support each other. Well, this powerhouse certification combination delivered the perfect blend of education and hands-on application that lead to a flawless victory—everyone passed on the day of the HKC. That’s right, we had a 100% pass rate for the HKC.
Isn’t that what we all want? We are all trying to find the very best strategies to fully unlock our own potential.
How did the 100% pass rate at this HKC happen?
Honestly, the DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) Level I certification set everyone up for success at the HKC. Often mistaken as just a “sandbag” certification, DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is a well-rounded system of coaching, progression, and regression of movement. Though the USB (Ultimate Sandbag) is our main line of offense, the DVRT system can be integrated with any implement. Obtaining quality movement is at the core of DVRT. We dig deep into hinging, squatting, pressing and lunging patterns throughout the day. We also teach important factors of stability, optimal breathing and how to create tension in great detail.
You might THINK you know these movements, but the DVRT attacks from a whole new position that both excites and challenges the students.
DVRT Workshop with Steve Holiner group photo
And what most people don’t realize is that the DVRT cert is very physically challenging! The clean and push press test is no joke. Hopefully, people come to the DVRT having trained harder than they might have for an HKC. It’s hard to fail when you are strong and have excellent technique. By day two, all of the candidates were ready to kick HKC butt—and kick it they did!
At the HKC, we cover the kettlebell swing, goblet squat and Turkish get-up in great detail. Candidates are also tested on how well they coach these movements. We dig deeply into many drills which help people learn and troubleshoot the lifts. Much of this information reinforces what we taught at the DVRT. At the HKC the next day, the participants were able to soak in the knowledge then apply it—instead of just hitting a wall or feeling like their central nervous systems were fried.
Just like any video game, to really win you must pick the right characters for your team. I picked a group of awesome characters perfect for the job. Fellow Master DVRTs James Newman and Gavin Van Vlack and DVRT-II Hannah Fons are exceptional coaches I’ve worked with several times in the past. They NEVER disappoint, and have brought so much value and experience to the DVRT cert.
Teaching the get-up at the HKC
For the HKC team, RKCs Jason Kapnick and Joe Boffi are also stellar when it comes to kettlebell training (among their many other skill sets). They also happen to be partners at the host facility (along with the awesome Dr. Kathy Dooley) Catalyst S.P.O.R.T.
So where am I going with this?
MK_FlawlessVictoryIn a time when we are bombarded with fitness trends and certification chasing, it is easy to just “mash buttons” like you would on a video game controller. But, those button mashers usually don’t do too well in the long haul. The smart player, or strength coach, learns how the system works inside and out and then destroys his opponent. DVRT and HKC/RKC are for those that want to be the skilled player. That’s how you earn a flawless victory!
There are many DVRT/HKC Combos in the works.
Now there’s an added bonus if you have the RKC in your sights. Certified HKC instructors will receive an immediate, extra $200.00 discount when they register for a future RKC workshop.
If you are a current HKC Instructor in good standing, receive this immediate, extra discount on an upcomingRKC workshop by simply logging into your account on DragonDoor.com. After adding an RKC Workshop of your choice to your cart, enter the following Promo Code at checkout: HKCSPECIAL
Upcoming DVRT/HKC Workshops:
Quest Fitness. Guilford, CT. May 16-17.
*Registration opens next week.
Yours in strength and fury,
-Fury out
Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, DVRT Master Instructor, Senior RKC, is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury is 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. Check out www.coachfury.comfacebook.com/coachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.


By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, DVRT Master Chief Instructor, Senior RKC, OS Instructor

Let’s admit it, the push up can be a pain in the ass for many. How many FMS Trunk Stability Push-up 1s have you screened? Building a strong push up can be a slow and mentally painful process. For some it is absolutely a strength issue. For others, it’s the inability to generate the right amount of tension and really tie the whole body together. Here’s where the DVRT Training System comes into play. DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) is based on movement and obtaining strength. The Ultimate Sandbag (USB) is one weapon in our arsenal, but not the only one. 

To get back to the point, how do we improve your push up? As is often the case, our clients or students don’t quite “feel” what we’re hoping they will in the push up. The idea of lat, abdominal and glute engagement can be a hard concept to put into practice. 

Well, one simple Ultimate Sandbag Training drill allows your student to actually feel much of this without this without having to deal with their own bodyweight at the start. 

THE SETUP-Start with your knees under your hips, both feet dorsi flexed and in a tall upright posture. -Grab a Core or Power USB by the outside handles.-Brace your abs, drive the balls of both feet and toes into the ground and squeeze you glutes tightly.-Pull the outer handles apart as you press the USB forward to lockout. *Avoid a change in the angle of your torso as you do so.*Avoid a change in the angle of your torso as you do so. 
-Hold the extended USB out for beat and then pull the USB back to you. Be sure to keep pulling the handles apart as you pull the USB back to you. -Try this for 5 slow reps.ultimate sandbag trainingIf done correctly, it won’t take a heavy Ultimate Sandbag to make your students feel their glutes and abs fire up. I usually use a 15 to 20 pound Core USB. The pulling apart of the handles makes it difficult for shoulders to rise up as they tend to do in a push up. If they don’t realize they have lats, they will now. Being locked into that tall kneeling position truly forces you to use your lats for the push/pull aspect of the push up.
Mark Fisher Fitness ninja and early morning badass, Gabe Schwartz had this to say about the drill: “It really helped me feel my lats… I felt a lot stronger and more stable.”

Fellow MFF staffer Stefanie Miller (aka: Rainbow Dash) had a similar result. Rainbow Dash had this to say about the drill: “The DVRT drill really helped to turn on my lats and engage them in a way I wasn't nailing before… also in applying that sort of full body tension.” sandbag trainingMFF’s own Sexy Siren, Christian Sineath, simply said: 
“That felt much better and easier.”

PROGRAMMING ITHere is how I would suggest you use the Ultimate Sandbag Outside Handle Tall Kneeling Press-Out (USB OH TK PO) drill. Perform 5 slow reps before you’re first set of push ups. Use again as needed if you see that form starts to falter. 

Try this quick ladder workout to feel the benefit of the press-out. You’ll start each rung with 5 slow Outside Handle Tall Kneeling Press-Outs. The push ups will descend by 2 reps each rung and your USB Front Loaded 1 &1/4 Squats will go up 2 reps each rung. Rest as needed between rungs.

USB OH TK PO 1x5Push ups 1x10, 1x8, 1x6, 1x4, 1x2USB FL 1&1/4 SQUAT 1x2, 1x4, 1x6, 1x8, 1x10

Now, I have to add that the Tall Kneeling Outside Handle Press-Out is a great drill for many reasons other than just push ups. It will light your system up and get you primed for anything. Mix it with deadbugs for some super abs of fire. 
Give the drill a try and let me know how it goes. To learn more check out a DVRT Workshop or Certification near you. Click HERE for dates and locations.
I hope to see you at one soon!ultimate sandbag training-Fury out

Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner, DVRT Master Chief Instructor, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor, is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury is 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. Check out www.coachfury.com,facebook.com/coachfury and twitter.com/coachfury for more info.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


by Adrienne Harvey, SrPCC, RKC-II, CK-FMS, Primal Move Nat'l Instructor

Steve Holiner Sr RKC, DVRT Master Instructor
Dragon Door: You’ve been involved with kettlebells and fitness for quite a while, how did you get started in your fitness career?

Steve Holiner: Basically this is a second career for me. I grew up as a skate punk in Long Island so I was always active. I was never on any kind of team until I started at Five Points Academy, but I was into skateboarding and much later, BMX. I had to have a couple of surgeries because of skateboarding. I blew out my shoulder and after surgery and physical therapy I unfortunately did what most people do—as soon as it started to feel better, I stopped working on it. Soon after, I had my first kid and while carrying her, my shoulder started to hurt again. At that point I knew I had to make a change. So, I started going to the local gym at five in the morning and working out for an hour and a half. I just did what I knew at the time which was basically bodybuilding—back and bis, chest and tris—for six days a week. The gym and running got me into good shape and I lost a lot of weight, but I was spending a ton of time training.

Then I blew out my knee at the skate park. After that surgery, I healed much faster because I was in shape. As soon as I was cleared to exercise, my best friend from high school and I decided to try Muay Thai kickboxing at Five Points Academy. They also had kettlebells. I took a class and instantly fell in love with the kettlebell—I immediately knew I had been wasting time in the gym before now. Since I could get a great full body workout that kicked my butt in just 45 minutes with kettlebells, suddenly I had all that time back in my life.

It just really changed everything. Soon I was taking two kettlebell classes a week and three Muay Thai classes. Two months later, Five Points hosted an HKC workshop. I decided to do the HKC as a "civilian" to learn the get-up, improve my kettlebell swing and squat. Even though most of the other participants were trainers, I held my own. I just loved the get-up and the whole vibe of the workshop.

After going through the workshop certification process for the first time, I wanted to find out more about kettlebells, and other systems like TRX. I bought a TRX on Craigslist then saw they had a certification class coming up and did that too. I wasn’t concerned about certifications, I just wanted to learn! One of my mentors from Five Points Academy, Gavin Van Vlack was also an RKC at the time and involved with Josh Henkin. He said that if I loved kettlebells then I also needed to check outUltimate Sandbags. These two implements play very well together. I signed up for a workshop Josh Henkin was teaching in the city about a month after the RKC I planned to attend in Philly (in 2010). So I signed up for it!
Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner

Originally, I had signed up with the New York Road Runners (a few weeks before I injured my knee) to try for a spot on the NY Marathon. Since I had to put that aside, I started to think of going to the RKC as my own version of the New York Marathon. Would I be strong enough to get through the weekend? Could I dial in my technique like I used to do with my skateboard tricks? At the time there wasn’t as much information out there about the RKC Workshop on blogs or social media other than, "This thing is just super hard—be prepared!" In a way it was scary! I wanted to nail it, while learning as much as possible and having a good time too.

While I was preparing for the RKC, people began to suggest I start training others. I met up with my friend Keith Paine from Nimble Fitness and asked him if he had any advice. Keith’s support encouraged me to talk to Steve Milles at Five Points Academy about it. Steve said if I passed the RKC, I could start leading a kettlebell class. So I passed the RKC on a Sunday and that following Monday I taught my first kettlebell class. It was a game changer for me, then a month later I took Josh's Ultimate Sandbag certification which was just as crucial.

At my first RKC I learned how to regress and progress the movements and teach people the kettlebell lifts. Then Josh helped me learn how to coach—and not just about kettlebells or Ultimate Sandbag—but how to progress the body for anything. Kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags became my two big implements, I even stopped barbell training at that point. After finding out that a few people from Five Points Academy were going to the RKC-II, I decided to do it too!

So I went to the RKC-II and that's where we [referring to interviewer] met! But, I failed my half bodyweight press at the workshop which kind of crushed me, since I had at least five videos of me doing it on my phone! But for some reason, I just couldn't do it at the certification. The next day after the workshop, I landed in New York around noon. I went to work and taught class, but by 5:30PM I had posted my new testing video.
Then I took some time off from pressing that bell, but set up a challenge for myself so I could crush it next time. I came up with a six-week program that led me to a double 44kg press and pressing the Beast—which I thought was farther off in my future. Based on those results, I was asked to write my first article for DragonDoor.com. That article got my name out, and people began to reach out to me for advice—it’s also how I met Ari Harris, a really good friend.

At that point, if Dragon Door had a workshop, then I did it! The CK-FMS was a massive game changer for me since I learned even more about how to assess, coach, and progress people. I did the Indian Clubs certification, which is now a huge part of my training and has helped me keep my shoulders nice and healthy. I did the Marketing Mastermind with John where I learned a ton and made some very good friends. It’s been a great adventure for me. Eventually I asked if I could assist at an RKC workshop and pay back what my teachers and team leaders did for me. That was a great experience that opened up a bunch of different doors. Then I started training people who were working towards their own RKC certifications.
Steve Holiner Kettlebell Juggling

Dragon Door: How did you decide to change your career?

Steve Holiner: Slowly but surely my name got out there, and I started to consider training as a career, but I was still working full time in visual effects. I had gone to film school and tried many different random jobs in the industry—assistant talent agent, working in the shipping department of an editing company, and as a production assistant which eventually led me to getting into a job with an advertising company working on commercials and radio. Then I transitioned into visual effects as an executive producer. But after the RKC when I started teaching classes, I knew that I wanted to make training my career.

Three and a half years ago, I quit my job in visual effects and have been a full time trainer ever since. I was very lucky to have Five Points Academy as my main home for a very long time, and now I am at Mark Fisher Fitness which has been a dream come true.

I got started at Mark Fisher Fitness because Phil Ross had an emergency need for an assistant at an HKC. At the workshop, I hit it off with two of the participants—Jen Frankle and Adrian Couvillian who later contacted me about training for the RKC. They also told me about a crazy gym where everyone is super smart but kind of silly and that I would totally hit it off with the owner, Mark. They suggested that I ask about leading a workshop there. So I reached out to Mark and ended up teaching a get-up and snatch workshop at his gym. I was extremely impressed and inspired by Mark, his staff, and the members who were all very eager to learn.
Steve Holiner leading MFF Workshop

Several months later, I felt like it was time for a change. I emailed Mark to see what else we could do together, and within a week he wanted to know how soon I could start working at his gym. It was a huge decision to leave my fulltime position at Five Points, but my heart told me it was the right move. Even though it’s a completely different environment and the way we teach is different—the classes are programmed and we do semi-private training instead of one on one—I have been able to get my hands into everything there. It's a great experience and I'm looking forward to seeing where we all go with this together. I’m also fortunate to continue with private training at Five Points and at Catalyst S.P.O.R.T.

Last year Josh promoted me to DVRT Master instructor. It's really great to teach more DVRT Workshops and be very involved with that program as well.

Dragon Door: 
What do you like most about combining kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbag training?

Steve Holiner: 
As a skateboarder I like simplicity. The idea of a heavy ball with a handle that delivers almost limitless possibility really appeals to me. I really enjoy the challenge of working on the techniques until I really own a kettlebell before moving up to a heavier one. I thrive on trying to get my skill level as sharp as possible—then seeing how heavy can I go!

Ultimate Sandbags add stability challenges and more movement through the frontal and transverse planes. Once you understand the DVRT system, there’s a lot of creative freedom—which as a skateboarder, I appreciate! DVRT and RKC complement each other so well, and improve on each other with limitless potential. It’s been exciting to be a part of both practices. If you are struggling with a kettlebell goal, there’s often an Ultimate Sandbag drill which can help—and vise-versa.

I also like that with the Ultimate Sandbag, even if you are able to press a heavy weight, you might struggle with a 60lb sandbag that feels a whole lot heavier. Sandbags can be deceptive! Because of the way the USB is made and the handle placements, there's so much freedom of movement and so much you can do. And we’re not talking about circus tricks, it’s legitimate training. I have also found that when I’ve backed off on my USB training, I start to become more prone to injury!
Josh Henkin and Steve Holiner Lead a DVRT workshop
Dragon Door: Are you working towards any specific goals in your own training right now?

Steve Holiner: I need to have training goals and a program or I get lost! Right now I am doing a lot of barbell work along with Ultimate Sandbag, kettlebells and Original Strength (I like to crawl a lot). Recently, I wrapped up an 8-week powerlifting program that helped me get my Beast press back. Last year I had some back and thyroid issues that caused a big drop in strength, but this year I’ve got that mostly sorted out and finally got my Beast press back a few weeks ago. At the moment, I’m looking to crush a 450lb+ deadlift.

I’m also seeing a double beast press in the not so distant future. Having a training goal also helps me stay on point with my technique so that I’m sharp when I teach at an RKC or DVRT certification.

Though I always tend to have specific goals for myself, the real end goal is to simply be healthy, strong and move well. It’s about longevity for me—I want to have an active life and be there for my kids and family.

Dragon Door: Many people can get distracted with different programs, as someone who knows a lot and uses many things, how do you stay focused?

Steve Holiner: 
I’ve had the unique opportunity to pursue only what I am passionate about. Luckily, that passion drew me toward things that work well together—there’s a common theme of simplicity, movement, and progression. In the last few years, I realized that I needed to focus on just a few systems and learn them inside and out. I might have looked guilty of this at first too, but there are people who are trying to learn new systems and new implements on a weekly basis. You can learn so much that you realistically can’t have enough time to practice and master any of it. So whether it's a certification or workshop, it’s important to think about how much time on top of your daily life can you invest to own the material.

For the past couple of years, I have tried to assist and teach as much as possible so that I could watch other people teach, consistently test my skills, and help others on their journey.

Within the last year and a half I've really stayed focused on kettlebells, Ultimate Sandbag, and Original Strength. I figured that if it works for me, it will work for others, depending on their goals. I’ve become very good at seamlessly blending these systems in my programming as well. While it may seem like a big toolkit, all the tools are in the same basic pool. Now, when I add in something new, I add it in little by little. I want to keep learning how to do what I do better, instead of just learning new things to do.

My "desert island" lifts are deadlifts, swings, get-ups and crawling—everything else I do is aimed towards improving those basic patterns. My approach is to find the game-changing movement or tool for a given individual client and their goals. Now learning something new is super fun because I don't have to stress out about my basic systems. The systems are all are similar to each other—they beat from the same heart.

Dragon Door: 
Are you still skateboarding?

Steve Holiner: Not as much as I would like to, but only because of my schedule with kids and work. Now that I have kids, I have tried to teach them if they're interested in it. While I do miss it, the thrill ofmastering a technique or getting a lift has filled that void—and that’s also my happy place.

I will be 42 next month, but still feel like a high school kid. I want to share that possibility with others. Whatever someone's reasons are for starting to train—fat loss, muscles, gun show, those abs—if you get them moving better, they will start to feel better. When we feel better, we gain the confidence to actually allow ourselves to look better. I help my clients build strength from the inside out. The RKC principles provide us the opportunity to take people through this journey—it's a gift. We're not just trainers or coaches, we are "Agents of Change". As professionals, we have the ability and responsibility to improve the lives of those we train.
Steve Holiner Instructing at a DVRT Workshop

I want the RKC to grow. It's a personal mission of mine. It's a fantastic system that has helped me in so many ways. I want to share that with others so they can do the same. I also want folks to see just what an amazing monster the RKC/DVRT combo is. Throw in Original Strength and I’m a happy man. I still can't believe that I get to represent the systems that I love. It's a privilege I won't squander.

Steve Coach Fury Holiner Senior RKC, DVRT Master InstructorSteve "Coach Fury" Holiner, DVRT Master Instructor, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor, is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury is 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. Check out www.coachfury.com,facebook.com/coachfury and twitter.com/coachfury for more info.

Friday, October 10, 2014


by Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner

Master DVRT, Senior RKC & Original Strength Instructor

Though I didn’t know it at the time, my career as a fitness professional started in June 2010 when I attended an HKC. My main goal at that time was to improve my swing and learn the Turkish Get-up. I was not a trainer at the time but I LOVED kettlebells. In September 2010 I went through my first RKC. As a birthday present to myself, I followed that up a month later with my first DVRT: Dynamic Variable Resistance Training certification (the program was called LIFT back then). Four years later, it blows my mind when I think about how much of an impact these two programs have had on my life.

sandbag training
In less then a month I get to teach these two amazing systems over the course of one weekend. I’ll be leading the first DVRT Level I and HKC Kettlebell certification combo on the east coast. This is a magic opportunity for me to share my love of these two systems to other trainers and fitness enthusiasts. By the way, I love when enthusiasts come to these things. Why? Because that is EXACTLY how I started. 
You see I worked in visual effects for over a decade. The sole purpose of my initial interest in strength training was to be strong and healthy for my kids. Since I wasn’t planning on becoming a trainer, I only pursued the things that I was personally SUPER passionate about. That’s what led me to the HKC, the RKC and DVRT. It was during my training for the RKC that I had decided to pursue this career switch and I’ve never looked back. The knowledge bombs Josh Henkin dropped about coaching at that first DVRT cert empowered me to feel more confident in training people. Within that 30 day period, I went from Bald Fury to Coach Fury. That passion is what drives me to this day. I’m not interested in chasing trends, I want to learn, use and teach the things that I whole-heartedly believe in. Better yet, I get to do this for a living now.

I’m often asked how these systems work together. The answer’s easy. They feed and support each other. In the HKC, we show people in detail how to coach the swing, goblet squat and the Turkish Get-up. These are some powerhouse moves that just about anyone can benefit from. We show you how to progress, regress and troubleshoot each movement.

In the DVRT system, we take the coaching aspect a step further and really look at how we coach or train people regardless of the implement. Don’t get me wrong we use the Ultimate Sandbag as our main tool, but the goal is to get people to move safely through various planes of motion regardless of the implement. We also look to make things more challenging by altering the stability of the person or the type of USB we use. DVRT Training is not about simply adding weight to the bar or grabbing a heavier kettlebell. That opened my eyes to a lot of things and had a dramatic impact of my coaching career.
sandbag rotational lunge
Combining the principles of the HKC (and RKC) systems with the DVRT is also very easy because we use very similar types of breathing and tension techniques. We also believe in quality of movement over quantity. Individually, both systems are very powerful. They are even stronger when used as two systems united by strength.

You don’t have to take my word for it either. A few weeks ago, Josh Henkin, Joe Chalakee, Troy Anderson and I got to teach over 40 of the Marines Semper Fit Trainers how to use these systems.
sandbag training
There are still some spots available for the DVRT and HKC combo on 11/1-2 at Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. in NYC. You can REGISTER HERE.

Come on down and let me show you first hand how what the DVRT and HKC have done for me.

-Fury out

Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, DVRT Master Instructor, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor, is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury is 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. Check out www.coachfury.comfacebook.com/coachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


By Josh Henkin, Master RKC, Creator of the DVRT System

Marines Semper Fit HKC Group Photo
When I received this invitation in an email, "Josh, we would like you to come to Miramar and help our Semper Fit instructors with an HKC and DVRT program," I couldn’t wait to accept! How could I say no?

The Marines are currently developing alternatives to some of the super high intensity workouts that had become common on many bases. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries had accompanied the popularity of those workouts. In fact, so many injuries occurred that the Marines decided they could no longer condone these specific workouts on their bases. So, they contacted us to learn about what they could do instead.

With a team of three very talented RKC and DVRT instructors, I would provide an alternative. It was very exciting since I have long believed that both the HKC and DVRT systems could be immensely beneficial to the tactical athlete. And, both systems have a history of helping police, fire, and military personnel excel at their jobs while staying healthy.

It was a big task since more than 40 students would be attending, and none of them had experienced a formal training program for Hardstyle Kettlebell OR Dynamic Variable Resistance Training. Fortunately, I had an awesome team, and we all learned a ton. Since it was such a tremendous experience, I wanted to share what we learned. I hope you will get many ideas from this article about how to reach out to your local police and fire departments. At the same time it is also important to remember how training these brave men and women isn’t much different than training people from any other profession. That really was lesson number one!
Semper Fit HKC Steve Holiner Teaching

In the past, I’ve seen other programs make the mistake of trying to strong-arm their way into military, police, and fire departments with over-the-top brutal workouts. These men and women have already experienced a lot of intense training in their lives. Their fitness program shouldn’t be about beating them up. Instead it should identify their specific needs and help them attain their goals.

Presenting the HKC to the Semper Fit instructors was very exciting. They had been looking forward to the HKC program for a few years, so it was awesome to be part of the team delivering it to them. Like most groups, their familiarity with kettlebells was varied. Some participants had received instruction from outside sources, and others had tried to train themselves.

Unfortunately, the participants who had the most difficulty were the ones who had tried to train themselves. Trying to learn about kettlebells on their own not only led to bad habits, but less than optimal experiences, too. After the HKC, one Semper Fit instructor said that before our training she didn’t like kettlebells very much. Before the HKC, she hadn’t thought that kettlebells were even useful! This was mainly because she had lousy experiences while trying to implement and teach them before the HKC. But, afterwards she was excited! She understood the system—not just kettlebells, but also movement—and she couldn’t wait to start helping others become successful with it. That’s darn cool!
Semper Fit HKC Learning Get-Ups

For the first time I could remember, the get-up was met by cheers! While it was obvious that many of the participants had been previously exposed to the get-up, their confidence in teaching it was shaky before we presented it to them at the HKC workshop.

As instructors, Senior RKC Steve Holiner and RKC Instructor Joe Chalakee knocked it out of the park. And I learned a lot by watching how the students were involved in the step-by-step learning process. The students felt how each movement impacted the next, and discovered how the get-up is really not complicated. They were so excited to see how the whole exercise fit together. We also helped them understand the importance of the "little things"—how the right hand or foot position could change EVERYTHING about the exercise once they applied force. Throughout the workshop, our team of instructors focused on the idea that the HKC and DVRT systems aren’t about lifting the weight, but moving the body. It was great to see that this message was well received!

We didn’t try to beat them up, but helped them practice great form during the entire day. We learned from each other, and no one needed to prove how tough they were. It wasn’t even necessary because everyone respected the education, process, and care from Steve, Joe, and RKC Troy Anderson.
Semper Fit HKC Planks and Deadlifts

The highlight of the day was at the end of the program—not because everyone was tired and ready to stop, but because of the smiles. These new HKC instructors were excited because now they knew how to teach and coach the kettlebell foundations. Their enthusiasm—even at the end of the day—told me that we had succeeded as leaders and instructors. But the participants really deserve the credit—their positive attitude, attention to detail, and willingness to be coached was just awesome.

This is what an educational experience SHOULD be—an opportunity for interaction, progress, as well as making and learning from mistakes. I’m grateful that being a Master RKC brought me this wonderful opportunity, and I hope that we made the same impact on the Semper Fit instructors as they made on us.

DVRTBookCover thumbnailJosh Henkin is the author of DVRT, The Ultimate Sandbag Training Systemnow available in paperback and ebook format.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


by Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner
Original Strength Instructor, Master DVRT, Senior RKC, MFF Fitness Ninja

The Beast Press. That 48kg/106 pound fickle kettlebell vixen. A couple of years ago, I was able to nail a Beast press about 70% of the time. And then it went away. 

I've been pretty public about the lower back issues I had last year. Forget about a 48kg press, a 40kg suddenly felt insanely heavy. Original Strength played a major role in getting my lower back in order. OS also got me a Beast Press on the right arm earlier ithis year. Now, it's played a big role in reclaiming some lost lifts. 

Two weeks ago, I wrapped an 8 week program that was a combination of OS, DVRT and RKC training. A client had cancelled last minute and I had a little time to get some lifting on. Screw it, I went for the Beast Press. Short on time, I did some OS band resisted rocking and started climbing up the bell ladder. That was my only warmup. Band resisted rocking. As Tim Anderson says, "it will light up your Christmas tree." You can just feel all those stabilizers firing up. And yes, I nailed that Beast press for 3 singles per side. I hadn't gotten that press on the left in almost 2 years. It also felt easier than it ever has before. 
OS has been major game changer for me. We're holding the next (and last on in NYC for over 6 months) Original Strength Foundations 1 Workshop at Mark Fisher Fitness on September 27-28. There are still a few spots open. Whether it's for lifting heavy things, improving your resiliency, reclaiming lost mobility or whatever... come on down and see what OS can do for you. 

Use the code: RESETNYC to save some money. 

I hope to see you there. 

-Fury out

Thursday, August 14, 2014


by Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner

Master DVRT, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor, MFF Fitness Ninja
Coach Fury Kettlebell Get-UpIt’s time for another fitness tip from your man Fury. The Turkish get-up is one of my all time favorite lifts. The relative simplicity and overall impact of the TGU make it an absolute desert island movement in my book. Few things get me more excited than a beautifully executed TGU (especially when heavy). Sometimes we fall short of beautiful and need to think “out of the box” on how to hit that high standard we strive for. This is whereDynamic Variable Resistance Training (DVRT) and the Ultimate Sandbag (USB) comes into play.
Coach Fury TGU with Human WeightPersonally, I find the three hardest parts of a get-up (regardless of weight) to be the initial roll to elbow, the half kneeling to stand and the final roll from elbow to your back. Whether it’s a kettlebell, barbell or the occasional human being (not recommended), I usually know I’ll make it (or come close) if I get to the elbow. The half kneel to stand will usually by my next sticking point. The roll back down from the elbow is often more nerve racking from a self preservation standpoint.
I think most will agree with me on these three positions within the TGU sequence. Here are three DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training exercises that will help the cause.
1. Ultimate Sandbag TGU. In the DVRT TGU, the USB is loaded over the shoulder and it will drape over part of the back and chest as you move. Some key points here. Being shoulder loaded removes the leverage generally provided by the locked out arm of the kettlebell TGU. The USB is literally pushing you directly into the floor while sand in the front and back of the USB is pulling downward too. The USB is doing it’s best to keep you on your back. What’s awesome about this, is that you truly have to develop the rolling pattern to get to the elbow. You are forced to get that proper diagonal roll from the shoulder to opposite elbow. Given proper thoracic mobility and the ability to lockout the arm, a kettlebell TGU to elbow will feel easier after nailing this down. This delivers the same payday on the descending elbow to back roll. The USB TGU also removes all fear of dropping a bell on your head while training the roll to and from elbow. Strength+Safety=Glory.
2. USB Lateral Lunges. Damn you sagittal plane! That half kneeling lunge to stand is a stability monster when you’re doing a TGU. Sometimes, instead of stepping back from a problem it is best to step sideways. There are a bunch of killer USB Lateral Lunge exercises and any of them will help with your half kneel to stand. Training your lunges within the frontal plane (side to side) will help you build some untapped stability. Spend some time with USB Lateral Lunges and watch how your half kneel to stand becomes a thing to be feared.
3. Rotational Lunge. This move delivers similar benefits to the lateral lunges but now we’re moving in even more plains of motions. Transverse much yo! This will bullet proof your TGU. Ever feel those legs and hips wobble under a heavy getup? Get good at rotational lunges with a USB and see how they feel know. The RT adds another killer bonus: by snapping the hips similar to a swing, but within a lunge pattern, you will very likely find it easier to simply stand up a helluva lot quicker in your TGU.
Now those are three ways to use DVRT/Ultimate Sandbag Training to help your Turkish get-up. I’d bet these lifts would help your deadliest, squat and press too. Doubt me? Try it. These aren’t meant to be quick fixes or voodoo tricks. Step away from your TGU for 1-3 weeks and focus on one or more of these DVRT exercises. Then check out their impact on your TGU and smile big in the post PR selfie you just took.
Please keep me posted on your progress.
I suggest digging deeper into the DVRT Training system by attending a workshop or one of our certifications.Click here to find dates and locations. Yours truly will be leading a DVRT Level I Cert and an HKC Kettlebell Cert at Kathy Dooley, Joe Boffi and Jason Kapnick’s place Catalyst S.P.O.R.T. in NYC on November 1 and 2nd. You can register for one or both (big discount on both) through the link.
I hope to see you there.
-Fury out
Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, DVRT Master Instructor, Senior RKC, Original Strength Instructor, is a proud member of the Ninja Army training staff at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury is 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. Check out www.coachfury.comfacebook.com/coachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.
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