Saturday, October 24, 2015


*On October 21st (Back to the Future Day), I turned 43. Double legal plus! I was deeply touched by all of the calls, texts, messages and social media posts I received that day. I'm humbled that so many people took a moment to think of me.
Below is an incredible birthday message I received from a former student of mine. I don't share this to brag. I share this as an example of why I do what I do.

This is the power coaches have when we focus on the work and not image or ego. The message here also shows the value of investing in a good coach versus winging it in a gym.

Please take a moment to read:


My birthday gift to you is actually feedback and a progress note of something that you did for me. You drilled paying attention to form into me and with my injury list. Quality over quantity is my mantra.

Over a year without upper or lower back injury (for the first time in 20 years). Shoulder is never going to be 100%, but it is stronger and injury-free and I'm back to pull-ups. I keep to simple stuff: pushups and planks, pull-ups and hanging planks, swings, cleans, crawls, squats, lunges, deadlifts. All while remembering your cues.

My main recent accomplishment was at a GORUCK Challenge a few weeks ago. After covering multiple miles, carrying heavy shit and getting smoked doing calisthenics for nearly 12 hours, our last task was to cover a mile. That mile was split between bear crawls, walking lunges and buddy carries, with rest breaks for overhead presses and pushups. To further break it down, exercises for roughly half a mile, buddy carries for the other half. It was a constant rotation and it took a long time (about an hour), so it's not a straight crawl, lunge, carry, but still very hard. The biggest thing for me was the buddy carry. Half a mile split with a partner: I carry him, he carries me, so quarter mile per person. While this is something that's not that hard to accomplish for some, it's a big deal and a benchmark for me. I carried a 195lb dude, plus his 40lb pack, plus my 40lb pack for total of quarter of a mile.

To borrow a saying from one of the GORUCK event cadre, "Nobody cares what you can do when you are fresh". After being beat for almost 12 hours, I kept my mind focused and kept my form. Your coaching gets full credit for my performance.

Thank you. Happy Birthday.

Keep doing what you're doing.


Friday, October 23, 2015


By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
Master DVRT, Senior RKC, OS Instructor, MFF Tattooed Menace
*This article is for the enthusiasts out there. If I can do this, anyone who cares can.
Five years ago I signed up for my first certification with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag creator Josh Henkin. The cert was a birthday present to myself. At the time, I was simply excited to become proficient with Ultimate Sandbags. I had zero idea of the impact that course would have on my professional and personal life. 
Here’s a bold statement: 
If you like how I coach or write, it is because of what I got out of that innocent one day.
That first cert (then called LIFT) occurred just as I was transitioning from an enthusiast to a professional. Whether I was using Ultimate Sandbags or not, DVRT became the backbone of my work as a strength coach. Henkin melted my face off with his approach on movement over muscles and thoughts on progressive overload. Not a new concept to many, but I definitely learned how poorly applied it was! 
Here are THREE KILLER THINGS you should know about DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training.
1. DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is a fully realized, yet easy to understand, strength training system. Send me a person and I’ll find the right DVRT movement for that individual. We can meet anyone where they’re at. We can make anyone stronger. 
2. Through our approach on movement and the use of living weights we focus on building strength inside and out. DVRT looks to build stability and reflexive strength in addition to high tension techniques. We create real 3D real world strength.
Doesn't get any more real than on the farm with Coach Anderson!
3. Hey, gear costs money and Ultimate Sandbags have a huge return on investment. Since we’re not solely load based, you can get a lot of usage from a single Ultimate Sandbag. 
Hopefully, I’ve got you pretty pumped on Ultimate Sandbag Training right now. What’s the next step? Brothers and sisters, find a DVRT Workshop or Certification near you. Like Professor X, Henkin has assembled an uncanny leadership team to teach these courses. Spending a day or two learning from one of our Master Instructors will be money well spent. Heck, you can see what it did for me. Always remember, I was one of you, I was a fan first. 
You can find a course near you at HERE
Worried that there isn’t a course coming up yet, or you’re still on the fence about what to do next? No problem. Fury’s got your back. 
Here’s a simple (not easy) workout that I put together with fellow DVRT Master Instructors Sean Kim, Dio Vujich and Larisa Lotz. We call it READY. SET. CRUSH! While some workouts may seem random, this one has very specific purpose. The intent is to get you on your way to owning the DVRT essentials and help you be workshop/cert ready. Here it is. 
1) Clean and Press x8
2) Bent Over Row x5 to Front Loaded 1 1/4 Squat x5
3) Max Lunge x5 per side
4) Iso Pull x:05 hold per side
Minimum :60 Rest
3-5 rounds
Spend some time with this and I assure you it will make your workshop or certification experience a brighter place. 
If it feels like I’m pushing hard for you take a course, it’s because I AM!
DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training is the center of all things Fury. I want you to experience the power of it and nothing beats hands on experience. 
Give the workout a shot and let me know what you think. 
Keep an eye out for the next evolution of Ready. Set. Crush. The full four day a week CERT KILLER program is coming!
Thanks for the read!

Monday, October 19, 2015


By Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner
MFF's Godzilla Geek, Master DVRT, Original Strength Instructor and Senior RKC.

*This is the start of a new series of "FURY FOR COACHES" blogs aimed directly at helping fitness professionals. 

We are teachers. We are salespeople.

Teaching’s the rewarding sexy part. Selling is usually the stress and conflict inducing side of things. That feeling of sales anxiety is really based on our perception of sales and the act of “selling.” If you dread it, change your perspective and see if that helps.
I have a visual effects and advertising background. I learned to hate the notion of sales over the years. The main reason was that while I fully supported the companies I worked for, I could rarely back the products sold in the commercials we worked on. Those feelings of unease remained attached to my notion of selling until I learned to love what I do.

You see I love strength training, DVRT, Mark Fisher Fitness, the RKC and Original Strength. Most importantly, I love helping people. My grand victory in life would be to share those passions with as many people as possible. Did you read the key word there? SHARE. Getting people to register for courses is my way of having the ability to share what I love on a bigger scale than I can in classes, semi-private or personal training. I am a ripple. I can only train so many people in a day, week, month or year. On the other hand, if I can teach hundreds of other trainers and enthusiasts to do what I love, that ripple becomes a mighty tsunami of strength.

Sharing equals Selling. Selling equals Sharing.

Sharing is a significantly more positive concept to embrace. Yes, there will be a financial transaction. Think of the cost of a course (or your training) as a life necessity that enables you to continue sharing. We are experts in our field with limited time. The cost involved by someone buying our expertise is what makes all of this possible.

Now just what are we selling?

We’re selling an experience, based upon the systems we love and believe in. Please read that previous sentence again. If you don’t love and believe in what you teach, stop now. You’re still a fantastic human being but it’s time to reevaluate the path your on. Selling and teaching courses is a ton of work and a waste of time if you’re not fully invested in the material. Your bosses and the attendees will pick up on this.

Let’s talk about the course experience.

“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.” –Daniel Pink. To Sell Is Human.

Pink’s approach to selling was a game changer for me. The best part of courses is the hands on participation. The attendee gets to learn and train directly in something that we already know they have an interest in. How far they take that interest will depend greatly on their experience at the course. The sharing/selling doesn’t stop at the point of registration. That is only the beginning. This is why it so necessary to believe in what you do. You must be authentic in how you represent the material. You must be authentic in how you represent yourself.

Please take Allan Jason Pasco for an example. Allan is a wonderful guy and software developer from New Jersey. He’s also a dedicated strength enthusiast. Allan took a DVRT Workshop with me over a year ago. That workshop was a small group and I was sure that each attendee got plenty of personal attention.

Through that, Allan and I stayed loosely in touch on Facebook. Based on his experience with me as the coach and respect earned at the course for Josh Henkin’s material, Allan registered for an RKC with us. This is completely different material but he trusted in Josh and I to deliver another great experience. When his RKC was over, Allan wanted more and he signed up for a DVRT Level 1 with me. This isn’t a brag about me, but an example of how delivering a memorable experience will surpass the content at the course. People will not leave a workshop remembering everything you taught them.
They will remember you.

A software developer from Jersey has spent thousands of dollars and several days of his time away from his family to learn with me. I find that incredibly humbling. That is the goal for all of us. We teach to grow the tribe. We sell to grow the tribe. We share to grow the tribe.

That is how we build our community.

Thanks for the read.


Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury’s a Senior RKC, a DVRT Master Chief, and an Original Strength Instructor. He is available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. Check out Instagram@iamcoachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


by JOSH HENKIN on OCTOBER 14, 2015

Steve Holiner Squat with Mismatched Kettlebells
Senior RKC Steve Holiner Squats with mis-matched double kettlebells
Recently, I had a blast teaching the first RKC in Sacramento, California. We had a fantastic group of people—coaches who wanted to learn. We are all coaches, even if that simply means we are coaching ourselves. When I teach RKC Workshops, my goal is not just to teach people great technique, but I also teach why we do what we do. The RKC method is a powerful functional fitness system because of the deeper understanding we have with our drills, along with our detailed techniques.
Is all this information really that important? Isn’t it just about having a great kettlebell swing? While the answers to those questions are ultimately up to the individual, the old saying, “knowledge is power” still holds true. The knowledge from an RKC Workshop gives so much more power and value than most people expect. Each time we teach the deeper explanations behind “just” another clean, swing, snatch or squat variation, it is exciting to see everyone’s eyes light up.
The best part is the realization that powerful results don’t require complicated applications. Using two different sized kettlebells for double kettlebell drills is a wonderful example. Of course using mismatched kettlebells can simply be a way to perform double kettlebell drills when only a few kettlebells are available, but there is also a better reason to train with them: setting up progressions for RESISTING rotation. Many coaches also refer to this as anti-rotational training.
Before we get into the details of anti-rotational training, we should acknowledge that you may already be using some forms of it. Snatches, one-arm swings, presses, and cleans all represent anti-rotational movements. Renegade rows, suitcase carries, and other similar drills are additional variations of anti-rotational movements. Overall, I think one of the BIGGEST benefits of kettlebell training is the number of anti-rotational exercises that can be performed.
According to renowned physical therapist Shirley Sahrmann, anti-rotational training is important because, “During most daily activities, the primary role of the abdominal muscles is to provide isometric support and limit the degree rotation of the trunk… A large percentage of low back problems occur because the abdominal muscles are not maintaining tight control over the rotation between the pelvis and the spine at the L5-S1 level.”
Learning to resist movement decreases the risk of back injury and allows us to move through the hips—the way the body was designed to move. The ability to resist excessive motion also gives us a foundation to progress and learn more complex movements over time. The first and foremost of these more complex motions is rotation. As many coaches have said, “We can’t produce what we can’t resist first.”
Rotational training is really important for punching, kicking, throwing, and almost anything which requires a great deal of power.
With so many different anti-rotational exercise options available with kettlebells, why choose mis-matched kettlebell training? First, it gives us many more progression possibilities. Secondly, it will allow us to introduce the concept of anti-rotation very gradually. Most people struggle when complex ideas are taught in an overly aggressive way. Lastly, mis-matched kettlebells will make some of our classic exercises that much smarter!
Instead of just throwing some random weights together, we will start sensibly. This will allow us to meet an individual client’s needs, as well as easily see when they have hit their limit. In general, I find starting with a 4kg difference works well for most people. For example, a good starting place might be performing mixed kettlebell front squats using a 16kg and 12kg.
Next we’ll need a dowel rod, chalk line, or mat line for measurement on the ground. It will give us some important feedback. During a mis-matched kettlebell exercise, we will predominately watch the front and back of the movement to see if the trunk or hips are moving in rotation, or leaning. Many times, the trunk and pelvis will hold still, but the feet will move to compensate for the instability applied to the body. So, placing the a dowel rod along the toes, or lining the toes up to the edge of a chalk line or edge of a mat will provide quick and easy feedback. How much movement of the feet should we allow? My rule of thumb is “really technical”, if you actually need a tape measure to determine the amount of movement, then you are doing fine!
Remember, you will be switching sides, so keep that in mind when programming. The easiest solution is to use even numbered sets and just switch off on each set. However, if we use an odd number of sets, we will typically perform half of the set with the weights one way and switch halfway through.
You probably guessed that the most obvious way to progress is to add more weight… While that is true, I actually find that increasing the difference between the two kettlebells is even better. For example, if we are doing front squats and start with 16kg and 12kg kettlebells, we have a total load of 28kg. If it goes well and we want to increase the challenge, instead of just going heavier (which we still could do), we might try the same front squat with a 20kg and an 8kg kettlebell. Even though the total weight is the same, the larger weight difference between the kettlebells increases the challenging anti-rotational effect.
Another option is to change the position of the load. If we use this strategy with an exercise like a lunge, we can hold the load low by the hip and simply move the weight to the rack position, or finally overhead. That changing leverage will make anti-rotational challenge harder and harder. Keep in mind, during more unstable drills like single leg deadlifts, step-ups, and lunges, the anti-rotational forces are more difficult due to the instability of the movements.
The overall goal is to eventually move to true single arm exercises. If you have been around kettlebell training long enough, you will probably notice that as simple as one-arm exercises sound, getting people to do them really well is not so simple.
On the other hand, it is also a really cool way to making jump towards heavier loads. For example, double 32kg swings might just be out of reach. But, swings with a 32kg and a 24kg might be very possible. While the weight is quite a bit lighter, working on resisting the rotational forces will not only allow us to build upon heavier loads, but build a stronger and more stable foundation.
As we often say in DVRT, strength is not just what we lift, but what we resist. Try using some of these mixed match kettlebell ideas in your training and let us know how your kettlebell training takes another leap!
Josh Henkin, Master RKC, CSCS has been a RKC instructor since 2003 and has implemented kettlebell programs for major Division I programs, SWAT teams, and many different general fitness programs. Josh is also the creator of the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training system where he is a highly sought after presenter worldwide. He can be reached at or Josh Henkin is also the author of DVRT, The Ultimate Sandbag Training System now available in paperback and ebook format.
Print Friendly