Kettlebells Mill Park

Kilcunda Trail Run

Kilcunda Running Event

The start of the year for our running was held down by the coast located in Kilcunda located just past Philip Island. We decided to tackle the half marathon distance as it was a nice course with not too many hills to climb and an overall low elevation grading.

It turned out to be a great call as it will certainly be an event Claudefit personal training will have marked for next year.

We try to participate in only a hand full of event as we mostly just enjoy running the local trails or an urban run close to home. The priority for us is for Health, Fitness and overall Conditioning that consistent running delivers, so when we do participate in an event it’s generally a fun time to push the limits and find out how all the base runs have served us.

It’s a varied running course on single track, gravel, grass, bitumen and even has a nasty component of running on the sand while the spectacular views along the beach front make you forget that you were running a half marathon trail event. Well almost!

We had been running over the whole summer so we didn’t think that it would cause too many problems. The run was on the second of February so by then we had all worked off the Christmas pudge and were keen to take on an event. Over the last few months we mainly focused on our own individual runs during the week and got together as a group on the Sunday. Once again we ran either around the many track offering of Plenty Gorge (Mill Park) or for a change ran the historic rail trail located in Tallarook.

The Running 

The training over the last couple of months for myself consisted of 3 x 10klm runs, a 5klm recovery run on Saturdays with the Sunday run been anywhere between 15klm to 25 Klm’s on the trial. On the rare occasion we hit a 30klm trail for additional conditioning. This usually added up anywhere from a 50klm per week to 70klm per week loading on the legs.

Runs were mainly performed at a continuous comfortable pace that didn’t break me at the end or made me feel that I had not pushed enough. The Friday 10 klm was often slow and kept it at a point here we could easily talk at a perceived exertion of 7 out of 10. The whole idea about our runs was to keep the klms ticking over without overtraining or not getting enough conditioning. The Sunday run was kept for a bit of speed work along certain section of the trails that often included some challenging hill work. Depending on the run I could make the course hilly, flat or plain nasty. Once again it had to be stimulating without getting overtrained or injured.

Leave your best for the event.

The reason for the tight managing of runs was due to the complimentary resistance training that we all did during the week. As part of our running workouts my running buddies are also clients of Claudefit and all work out with weights in both strengthening and conditioning their bodies for the constant pounding the body takes during any type of running.

It’s unfortunate that I see many people who just focus on running and carry their injuries as something they simply have to put up with. This is not true. With an effective program you can do both and even improve on your running if you’ve made your body resilient enough to push harder.

The weight Lifting program

The whole point of the resistance workouts was to ensure that the whole body was strengthened with a slight emphasis on running. I’ve outlined the main movements below that are the groundwork supporting my running client base.

Deadlifts – How can you incorporate a running strength program with this ever reliable movement? It work the posterior chain (engine room) along with the overall body stimulus that the movement returns.

Front squats – My choice movement to develop the quads and a great compliment to the Deadlift. The bonus here is the demand on the core for a more upright position. The carryover is stability in running.

Single leg deadlifts – For those who lack the necessary glute development this is the go to movement to add on to your program. Once you go SLD you don’t go back. It provided you with the stability, strength and conditioning that allows the runner the confidence to push harder when both sprinting and climbing.

Standing Shoulder press – I choose this over chest a primary as it helps me compliment the previous exercised in the way it requires the core to become involved.

Other movements to include are the many and varies Core exercises available to runners for both stability and strength. The Humble kettlebell swing also gets a mention as it works well on days where you need to take a rest from the constant pounding from running.

When choosing the right kettlebell it can benefit with high volume work with less impact on the joints, providing you use good form. Lastly is the availability of Glute ham raise machine, at Claudefit I’m fortunate to have one available for my clients.

Overall it was a good day out with most of us running well over the course given that it was at the beginning of the year. We look forward to the next even in the Victorian high country on the famous and very scenic Mt Buller.

See you on the trail.

Ladies fitness and strength workout

Northern Suburbs Kettlebell trainer

Having been involved within the fitness industry since 2006 in starting from walking the gym floor, group fitness and now operating my own personal training private facility I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of women in both group fitness and now in personal training sessions. Prior to that I had been involved with martial arts and seemed always to be in the teaching and training others mode. By now I think I’ve got a general idea as to what works well for the ladies, what they like and definitely what they don’t like.

If it wasn’t obvious to you the ladies have a habit of telling you outright what works, what they like and over time you get to learn a lot. Sometimes more that you would read in a book.

Now that I operate my own place I’m able to continue to deliver a high level of service in conducting my personal training sessions. I have the space and equipment now without disruption to cover the entire basis on what the ladies need.

Some of the requests I’ve had include. (In addition to strength, fitness, weight loss) are working the Hips, thighs, flabby triceps, bottom of the belly, muffin top and puny legs. OH let’s not forget their Bu**!

The exercises that are my go to movements will basically cover all the bases with the many and varied requests I get from clients and additionally allow me to provide them with a decent base of Strength, Fitness and ensure they move better. It’s only logical that with all programs you don’t just focus on just one element. You need an all over balance. Still hitting those areas a little harder doesn’t hurt.

Well almost.

Here are my most dynamic and effective exercises that are a favoured with the ladies I work with. As an experienced RKC2 kettlebell instructor with several years of ladies group fitness under my belt, watch out as you might get what you want!


  • Kettlebell Squats – With any effective program the inclusion of squats in any form provider they are performed correctly will go a long way in achieving results. The kettlebell squats sith in the rack positon and hits both the quads and gluteus while the more upright position gets the core activated. Go get some.
  • Kettlebell SLDL – this little gem I picked up a few years ago from a fellow female fitness kettlebell instructor. How? It simply isolates the gluteus while working the single leg. Give this one a go and see how you negotiate the stairs at work the next couple of days. To date I haven hear one lady complain about the effect this one has.
  • Kettlebell Swings – A staple within the kettlebell world and a dynamic standalone movement that works your, hips, butt and legs all in one. The cardio gets an absolute boost while also promoting grip strength. It’s a go to for me when warming up that posterior chain. (Hamstrings, gluteus and lower back) and easily fits into the programming needs of my female clients.
  • Kettlebell Military press – One of my favourite movements is the classic Military press (standing shoulder press) that is performed standing up, as most kettlebell movements are. The simplicity with correct technique makes the Military press and ideal upper body movements. For the ladies the arms get a tremendous workout so there is rarely enough gas in the tank to even consider curls. An excellent shoulder workout with additional benefits when performed correctly.

Core work

  • Medicine ball sit ups – This old classic is basically performing a high volume of medicine ball throws while you complete a sit up and throw it back. Give this one a go with a lighter ball and go the volume. Your abs will be screaming for a while.
  • Hanging knee raises – This is an alternative to the good old crunches. It works the same muscles however the loading on the body creates a greater return with isometrically holding the core, grip strength overhead extension and works the core brilliantly.
  • Hollow position/prone holds – These two I stole from my gymnastics buddies and is a well know one with the yoga group. I rotate the hollow (dish position) with the classic bridge hold to ensure your core area is also strengthened during strict stability work. Who’s up for a tight set of abs then?

This is just a small sample of the few exercises that work with only a kettlebell and 3 selected core movements. Obviously we can get results with a barbell and other equipment. For the sake of efficiency and keeping a solid tempo I have chosen the kettlebell for its ease of use and immediate effect it has during the session.

The ladies like to know what works ASAP, for now the kettlebells it is.

There are many more ways in hitting certain areas as requested. The above ways simply works for me given my experience with this dynamic tool in providing you what you want.

A firmer, leaner and fitter body.

Claudefit Operates his own private gym facility within a professional environment and takes a straightforward no fuss approach in delivering results.

Strength and Fitness program

Strength training Mill Park

Most of the times when people are seeking to get fit and “back in shape” they often neglect the importance of getting stronger. You see by getting stronger all the other variables will sit on top of an already built up strength base and set you up to build a better fitness( cardiovascular) engine , be structurally resilient and with an understanding of movement you are well on the way in achieving your goal of “getting back into it”.

It pays to have a plan.

For the people who chose to ignore the strength component in their general fitness goals and think “I’ll just lose the weight with cardio”, you will simply be a smaller version of yourself and most likely be weak, have an ordinary immune system and not be strong enough to perform normal every day activities. To just do cardio and starve will leave your body depleted and not feeling too good and you will most likely go back to old habits.

Not everyone has to own a 100+kg deadlift, bench press or squat, however neglecting your strength is more of limiting factor in promoting a more active and healthier body and lifestyle.

The following is a basic yet effective two day workout that will deliver an honest all over strength base that is complimented by a 3rd running day. Keep in mind that with the use of Kettlebells you are still getting an adequate dose of cardio. Take my work for it it’s just the way the humble Kettlebell works. The running is what works well with any weigh management program and delivers you more than an adequate fitness base. Don’t neglect it as the longer you leave it the longer it will take to get.

Strength training program

Day one

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell back squat
  • Kettlebell front squat
  • Double kettlebell clean
  • Barbell Military press
  • Kettlebell double press
  • Kettlebell push press

Day one will cover the lower body/core with the traditional and effective Barbell squat while the double kettlebell cleans will sort out the posterior chain recruitment. The front squat with the kettlebells delivers more in recruiting the core and clearly gets the job done. The upper body is looked after with the military press and once again in working the double kettlebells the shoulders will be broad and resilient when you can manage the workload with an effective (pressing movement ) technique.

Day two

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell dead lift
  • Barbell upright rows
  • Barbell bent over rows
  • Chins
  • Barbell bench press – flat
  • Barbell bench press Incline
  • Barbell bicep curls

Day two will finish off the full body workout in working the hip hinge joint with the ever reliable and dynamic Deadlift. With the addition of the upright row and bent over rows the barbell will leave you fully worked (pulling movement ). The chins will take anything left you have in working your back. Add in the bench press with the flat and incline option and you have covered the upper body (Pushing movement).  Any program would be lost without the humbling barbell bicep curl. If you have anything left in reserve.

Strength based cardio reserve

Day 3 run

You need cardio remember? A 1-5 klm steady run as a beginner will do you good. It should be your minimum cardio base and should only be a shorter distance that you can manage and will complement the two day weight program nicely. It will allow you to get into a steady tempo and start to burn some extra calories and keep the weight under control. The message here is to be committed and stick to a program that will deliver a balanced return- a leaner, fitter and muscular looking body.

Remember a body that has a bit of muscle can burn more calories than one that doesn’t.

To cap it off all of the above is the active component in getting results. If would be dismissive if me if I didn’t include the element of nutrition and how much of an effect it has with any fitness/strength and well-being program. Neglect your nutrition and any results will be slow and minimal. Managing you nutrition is not always about weight loss, for some it’s about performance. As the saying goes, Junk in = junk out . Don’t be that person!

The above was just a basic (not to be confused with easy) start up program that takes up only 3 days of your week. Alternatively you can (with time permitting) treat it as 3 days on and take the fourth day off. It up to you, when you have committed to it for 4-6 weeks the results will be obvious and you will need to tweak it further.

This is where a personal trainer can assist you and ensure you are achieving results.

Women’s Strength training

Women’s Strength training workout

Unfortunately many women think that once they start lifting weight they will all of a sudden get big or “too bulky”. This way of thinking has been around for as long as a can remember. It’s a pity that some simply don’t understand that a woman’s body simply does not release enough testosterone in the body to create this perceived increase in size. What I have found is that (with no offence) their poor diet and over indulgence in food over time has caused them to get big.

The benefits of getting some muscle onto you frame are many. One reason is to simply get strong enough to be able to cope with the daily workload and another is the fact that if you are carrying a bit of muscle your body it is in a better position to burn more calories when either doing low impact movements or attacking the local group fitness class. It cost a lot of energy (calories) in moving a more muscular body and the body is now programmed to burn more while still at rest.

A clear benefit when you are fitter and stronger.

So gear up and hit some of those weight and start building that body you are after. Simply doing cardio on the treadmill at home will not do the job. Apart from making you bored it not enough.

A sample workout that I roll out to my clients is as follows. It cover a full body program in my women’s only class and gets them stronger , fitter and with a sound nutritional plan much leaner, with nice muscles to boot.

Women’s strength exercises

Warmup – Mobility drills

These involve a quick series of drill that cover the most basic movements the body also depends on the weather in how long we will stay on the warm-up drills.

Kettlebell swing – A fundamental within the Kettlebell series of exercises the swing and it variants offers a dynamic workout to those hips, legs, core and is an absolute cardio workout. It’s basically one of my go to movements when it comes to looking after the ladies.

Kettlebell around the legs. – This movement involves the manoeuvring around the legs in a figure 8 patterns while keeping the hips folded back. It’s for a bit of fun while still providing a challenging workout those hips and thighs. Obviously you will be taught how to perform this movement before we hit you with a heavier bell.

Double Kettlebells deadlift – The deadlift on its own it a rewarding movement and is not specifically Kettlebell related. Due to the ease of the movement we don’t require the set up time when conducting a group session and simply grab two bells and hit those reps. The Kettlebell deadlifts happens to offer a better range of motion on the back phase those tight areas and sits quite comfortable at the top end. This allows me to get some high volume work in while keeping user friendly.

Double Kettlebell cleans – With a solid understanding of the basic Kettlebell lifts the introduction to the clean with the bells is a great way in teaching you to absorb impact, work those hips and keep the core tight. An added benefit is the workout the arms get in holding onto those bells. A fundamental move that allows you to safely pick the Kettlebells up in an efficient and safe manner.

Double Kettlebell squats – Once you have become efficient with the Kettlebell clean you are now able to pick them up and start you squat training. Once they are taught to be held in position your are then able to execute the front squat with the bells in getting those quads truly worked. Having the bells in from are that your core in works hard in keeping an upright position while also promoting a good posture. A great one for the ladies.

Double Kettlebell Shoulder press– One of my favourite movers for the upper body are the Double bell press. They allow you to have a nice overhead positioning and when worked in volumes also hit the core well. The aesthetics results with the press are sure to come when adherence to proper technique is applied along with a pair of nice looking shoulders. By the way ladies the arms get a solid workout and take a more natural shape in hitting a well-known target area of the triceps.

Single leg deadlifts – To fully appreciate how good this hits the gluteus, the use of a Kettlebell becomes an essential tool. When performed properly the gluteus get the best workout that I can deliver with any exercise. I have heard many comments after working my group with this exercise -never a complaint.

Once the strength component of the session is complete its fair to say that the cardio component was also looked after. You see by using the Kettlebell the effect on the cardio system also gets a workout so you don’t have to do the old weights first and cardio last program you get rolled out at most commercial gyms.

The cardio and strength are worked together.

For a finisher and depending on time I usually get the sandbags out and for a bit of fun do the drill for time. These put the icing on the cake for a greater calorie burn. They are safe and get the job done and given the already established fatigue on of the body certainly add value to my ladies group class.

  • Sandbag power press
  • Sandbag shouldering

In finishing we perform the same mobility drills that we did from the start. It allows the ladies to get their heart rate down and test out their mobility compared to when they commenced class.

It also puts them in a better frame of mind knowing the belted out a solid and rewarding workout.

Claude Castro runs his business Claudefit Personal Training in a private setting. Premises are located in Mill Park.



Olympic Weightlifting for Crossfit

Olympic Weightlifting for Crossfit

The Olympic Weightlifting movements are made up of only two major lifts, however in the process of becoming as efficient as possible to allow you to lift the heaviest as possible you have an array of options in relation to breaking down these two unique and dynamic lifts.

The clean and jerk and Snatch are the two dominant lifts that you can perform for absolute power transfer that also have an enormous carry over effect in several of the power sports and are a staple of the Crossfit training practiced by many during their famous WOD’s. I myself at Claudefit Personal Training use the power version of these lifts in relation to building up a power base for my clients who practice martial arts, play AFL, Rugby and in the past taken on the rigours of American football we call gridiron. In addition my ladies group fitness class

The following plan ( in point form ) is just a sample of the work that goes into teaching the members at my local crossfit Craigieburn box in relation to the snatch and other specific lift and strength related exercise. Add in some mobility drills you are well on the way in getting a grip on how to perform the Snatch. Or at least be armed with a bit of knowledge in practicing these exercises with a safe and technical approach.

After a warm up that involved a series of total full body mobility drills we covered the following:

Bottom positioning cues                                                                                   

* Feet Hip width apart

* Chest is inflated

* Upright position (chest inflated)

* Hips Higher than Knees (80-100 degrees angle)

* Shoulders over and in front of the bar

* Arms straight and elbows out

It’s important to emphasise the set up and ensure that all participants are able to ask question if they are not sure. Given the various skill levels it allows for the less experienced and new members to get a solid understanding of the basics.

Progressive exercise for the snatch.                                                                                 

Full Snatch from Hang (knee Height)                                                                                                    

* Enhances the ability to accelerate the bar in the second pull

* Skill at receiving the bar

* Top of thigh /lower / explode up

Power Snatch                                                                                                   

* Emphasis on explosive phase

* Accelerate as much as possible

* Avoid pushing head forward (promotes hips going back)

* Lower than 90 degrees it’s not a power snatch

Snatch/High Pull

* High transfer into power production

* When comfortable (more experienced), done at maximum speed

* Start position of snatch (wide grip)

* Pulling straps can be used

Snatch Shrug                                                                                                     

* Start up on thighs

* Emphasis on the final explosive phase of the snatch pulls

* Heavier weights

* Power rack/Blocks required

* Shorter range

* Straps required

Drop Snatch                                                                                                      

* From chest

* Drop into snatch position

Once the class was able to be taught these progressions, given the time to practice, and allow for question time, we simply moved onto the strength exercises related to the question asked. Most of the lifts performed by participants related to their own needs.  At Crossfit Craigieburn we are proactive in a high level of client deliveries so question time is important in allowing member to find the exercises most suitable to them that will best help them out.

Strength Exercises                                                                                                         

* Overhead squat            * Lift offs

* Front squat                  * Romanian Deadlifts (second part of pull) snatch and clean

In finishing off the session we quickly went over the remedial drill that particular class participants needed. With the use of the Kettlebell the job of opening up the hips and working on the overhead extension finished off a productive and rewarding class


* KB – Goblet squat

* BB/KB Overhead shrugs

* KB – Overhead stretch

* Hanging knee raise (decompress spine/ core/ hips)

Claude Castro is owner of Claudefit Personal training located in Mill Park. Is a Level two Weightlifing coach with the Australian Weightlifting federation and currently taking the Crossfit Weighlifting class held at the newly establish Crossfit Cragieburn.

Kettlebells for Mobility

Kettlebells for Mobility and Strength

It still surprises me to this day that most gym goers neglect something that is an important component of their overall fitness and strength program. People tend to neglect their mobility work in stretching and flexibility as parts of their workout not realising that it will go a long way in adding value to their program. It’s best described as something they will do at home later. Somehow I don’t think this will happen. In the past I’ve myself have been guilty in taking this approach. I guess I was too busy and in a rush wanting to get home and didn’t really place too much emphasis on it.

The bottom line is we all need some form of Mobility for the benefits it brings. Take yoga for instance and you will soon understand why it’s such a popular past time. Its stretches you out, makes you feel great and promotes a healthy outlook in life. However one component is missing. It’s not strength training.

So what will allow you to both get a strength and mobility workout in a single session? well this is where the ever reliable Kettlebell comes into it. The Kettlebell will allow a natural pattern of movement and with the three exercises I will cover with be all you need in combining the elements of mobility, stretching and strength.

The Kettlebell movements here are the Turkish get up, the goblet squat and the dynamic swing. Along with the relevant stretches (depending on your needs) you will be well served at getting what you want. A more flexible, stronger and mobile individual.

The Turkish get up. This old and dynamic exercise will allow you to from a lying position stand up again with the weight been held above your head in a press/locked out position. It’s not just a “trick”exercise that gets you to stand up and lie back down again. It’s more than that. The benefits here are within the transition of various positions in getting you to stand up and get back down again in benefiting both sides of the body. With an experienced RKC Kettlebell Instructor you can be sure this single exercise can work your movement, flexibility and strength components all in the same workout.

The Goblet Squat. This little treasure if performed correctly benefits you in getting those tight hips to open up in a controlled and safe plain. I’ve used it many times in getting the older gentlemen with tight hips in both aiding inflexibility and simply taking away the pain of feeling rigid and sore as men often do. The other is that it promotes a solid postural position in its application, on obvious carry over effect if daily life. Especially for those office workers who seek comfort from sitting down all day. It’s also an excellent way to teach someone how to squat. If you can get them to perform a proper goblet squat it makes sense to be able to do a freestanding one and then progress with load.

The Kettlebell Swing. One of my go to movement for most fitness requirement in delivering results. The swing allows me in one movement to get the hips to fold and contract the posterior chain , it helps me indirectly teach the deadlift, compliments your running mechanics, builds stamina and is a clear winner in burning calories.Overall performing the kettlebell swing and its many variables is a staple here at claudefit. Because it works. 

The above three exercise on their very own are great for delivering solid results in movement, flexibility and strength and have certain carry over effect in many sporting application. You can also add more specific exercises depending on your needs. Together they make up a total movement package in making you both stronger all over and mobile.

Unfortunately a lot of trainers get to the fun stuff because they mistakenly think this is what client needs.   Yes it is what the client needs but with most movements you are required to have an adequate range of motion. (ROM)   And guess what gets it done. mobility work.Without a sufficient ROM you will not be able to benefit from the exercises properly and get the results you are after.

It’s important to include mobility work into you program, over time you will learn to move, stretch and work on flexibly more efficiently over a workout. Once you take the time to apply some simple drills you will never look back.

I’m sure you work out to Move better, feel better and look you best. So grab a kettlebell now and get started.

Claudefit is a certified RKC2 instructor with over 7 years of practical experience.

Running Strength Program

Running Strength Program

Over the last 3 years I’ve been a fairly consistent runner and at the moment I’m having a good time running during our Melbourne winter months and will keep this up as part of my basis of keeping my bodyweight in check ,still staying strong and as a Personal trainer hold an expected level of fitness while staying injury free. Currently I’m running 40-60klm a week at 79kg.

So how do I keep myself reasonably strong, fit and unbroken with all the running I do? I’ll outline a typical week of training and hope this can help you out. You can adjust according to current fitness levels. The workout template for the winter period is going to be quite simple and will support my running base. Naturally this will be altered over time and most likely change post winter heading towards the warmer months where ill increase the volumes. So basically this is my running strength program.

Here’s a typical week of training. Please note mobility and flexibility Drills are done during workout.


2xKettlebell Military press 5×5

2xKettlebell Cleans 5×5

2xKettlebells Squats 5×5

2xKettlebell Swings 5×10

2xKettlebell SLDL (works the Glutes directly)

Hanging knee raises 5x 10

5klm recovery run

Tuesday: 10 klm run

Wednesday: 10 klm run


Barbell Bench press 5×5

Barbell deadlift 5×5

2xKettlebell renegade rows

5klm recovery run


10klm run with client (6:15am start)

Saturday – Free day of mobility drills with a light Kettlebell

The Turkish Get Ups are done with a kettlebell that will not put too much pressure on me while I move. So it depends on the day on how my body feels that will determine the weight used. Remember you need to use the right tool for the job and not always the “heavy one” The  Goblet a squats for me are quite strenuous at the beginning and end up feeling the best once I’ve warmed up and finished a few sets. You only need to do 3 reps per set at most, keep the hips open and stay in the bottom position and you are done. In finishing off with the single bell Kettlebell Swings it’s just a matter of complimenting the previous two exercises and during winter goes a long way in keeping you warm. Add in a foam roller and the above exercise and you most likely feel you might need a run. Most of the time it’s enough for me and don’t need to run. Only if I’ve for some reason I had to make up some klms I did get in during the week

Sunday – 20klm run with running buddy (6:15am start)

The long run is basically a great calorie burner and allows me to own a solid running base over the winter months. It also keeps me with a reasonable fitness base for the running events myself and clients do.

Naturally this is a base program and can be altered as time goes by, as I need to increase the running kilometres or add in a couple of well-paced 5klm runs for added strength.

The bottom line is that I’m kept strong, fresh and injury free and my bodyweight is in check.  Like most I Just need to keep an eye out on the food intake over winter!

The best part is I’m getting out there in the cold and having good time.

Happy running



A few of my conditioning exercises.

As many experiences Personal trainers will tell you if you are after quick results it’s all about keeping to the basics and doing them well. A basic movement should not be confused with an easy movement!  I will say this, for the athletes, Crossfit enthusiasts that enjoy their sport and the committed individuals who make training part of their lifestyle, it’s the only way. It’s a must and is the most valuable component we need. They simply return more bang for your buck and are proven superior to the many fads that have come and gone.

Do them well and results are sure to follow. Neglect them and you will not progress.

A somewhat downbeat view to take on this is the fact that doing the basics over a long period of time is boring to some and in my opinion is not handled well by the 99% of the regular weekend fitness crowd either. The cries of “gimme another program because this is not working” is common in commercial gyms after giving it a try for only two weeks and maybe just 3 sessions.

In order to be able to grind out proper session after session sometimes the training can be changed to add a fresher approach and still be results based. The following are some of my got to movements in relation to my fitness and strength client. These are great for strength and conditioning, suitable to Crossfit type training or those who are already following a somewhat rigid and set plan catering to more specific needs can be used on lighter days and still cover the main body parts.

  • The first one is a variation on the old power move with the bench press and power clean. Basically I use a bench protocol of 5 x 10 with a reasonable weigh superseded with a set of 10 double cleans with pair of kettlebells. This gets the heart rate up and allows for a nice compact hit to the system. Give me a couple of these sets and you’ll soon have the lungs working overtime. Repeat for 5 sets
  • The next one is basic ally a set of barbell front squats superseded soon after with a set of 10 Swings with a pair of double Kettlebells.  Again the same response in reaching for the imaginary oxygen mask (that I never have around) and one you’ll soon find an appreciation for fresh air. The response from the front squat alone works your heart rate to the max. The kettlebell is these just to test your will. Go ahead challenge yourself.
  • One of my favourites for the shoulders is performing a set of ten double kettlebell push presses followed immediately by ten fast bodyweight push ups. Try these with a limited rest in between sets. Basic and brutal if you choose the correct set of bells.
  • The use of gymnastics rings are also a stapler here. For example try pushing out 10-20 chest presses  ( alter angel depending on strength ) on the rings followed immediately with  a set of 20 hard style swings with a single “ heavy” kettlebell that will allow you to get 20 solid swings done. You have to be honest here in choosing the right bell and angle used on the rings. Given the proper application you are sure to get that hear rate up and as they say in this industry -feel it. Great for the hips.
  • Just to add a bit of bodyweight mix to these conditioning movements the last one to try is one for the bodyweight tough guys. Perform a set of sprawls to a chin up (back) and repeat for a set of ten.  Try to ensure that the start and end position of the feet are the same than jump up and in one smooth flow perform a pull up. Repeat for ten. This one takes a bit of practice like most of them. Once you get it right it sits in these nicely as part of your conditioning arsenal.

At Claudefit my client base is generally people like you and me. We want to get fit, lose a little weight, have some muscles and look good. The above movements are part of what is introduces to incite a response in delivering results. Great for those who are interested in Crossfit preparation in a one on one environment.

For the more advanced types. Learn them and then hit them hard. With the correct application to protocol you are sure to get the desired effect.

HKC, it all starts with a swing

The HKC is simply a Kettlebell certification. (Well sort of) It is the first one recommended in achieving further development in both a Kettlebell and strength knowledge base for progressive fitness professionals. It’s a whole day even that only covers 3 major exercises. The efficient Kettlebell swing, Complex Turkish get up and complimentary Goblet squat. Yep that’s all, only 3 exercises. When I realised this, I immediately though, What? I’m paying for 3 exercises and given that I had previously received a lot more in “another cert” What could this offer me now?

Well for starters it offered and delivered a lot more.

When fitness minded individuals look into enrolling into a fitness certification they should be seeking out what best suits them in relation further business opportunities, getting more clients and own professional development. Sometime people just want to gain the knowledge for their own personal understanding on different training methods used in this ever evolving industry. In this case the humble Kettlebell. For some trainers sadly it’s only about the allure of obtaining CEC’s (continuing education credits) and cost can sometime be an issue. I understand. However with the recent changes to include CEC’c to the HKC it now carries vital points. It’s pretty much a double win if you choose to go down this path.

As you progress your knowledge into the Kettlebell/strength/ movement realm of your professional growth you will appreciate that these unique movements are quite dynamic in how they form the basis of a strength, mobility and fitness program. It is this reason that once you complete you HKC you will be well versed in demonstrating, teaching and utilising this knowledge straight away in benefiting your current and future clients.

I’m still learning more about these 3 exercises, and I did the HKC back in late 2010! If you’re currently a fitness professional that is looking and making the Kettlebell one of the disciplines you will use with your business and own training it’s important to understand that the HKC three are basically the foundation of the system learned, and without it the “house of cards will collapse” They are the building block that all other movement are built on. for the progressive ones ,think RKC here.

The stronger the base, the more you can build on.

My basic preparation and approach

When I was initially making online enquiries about the HKC one of the questions I asked was what I have to do to be prepared for this workshop. Keep in mind that I had previously done another cert that taught me around 12-15 exercises, did a short test, and got a cool manual so basically “I already knew Kettlebells, ok”.  The respond from Andrew Read was simple and to the point…..”You need to do swings, a lot of them to prepare” so that’s what I did.

Swing preparation. I played around with the swing for a few weeks and then decided to go all out and based on my logs I did 10,001 (had to do the extra one) swings the month prior to workshop. Here’s how they went. I used the 12, 16, 24 and 32kg bells and swung them as I felt like it (great plan I say) they would simply be at around volumes of 300 to 500 total reps in sets of 20-50 a day according to my strength levels and Kettlebell used, so don’t assume I swung 500 with a heavy one. Occasionally I did 700 on the day, most likely a weekend. Obviously having this focus and putting all other training aside ensured the swing volumes added up nicely.

TGU preparation. How hard could it be to stand up with a bell and get back down right? Well I did manage to get it down pat I though. I even had a “bent arm” (the holding arm) and to my surprise around half a dozen other items that were later fixed. (Well you are paying for the knowledge aren’t you?) With previous lifting experience the TGU practice was rather raw during my preparation. It was just bullying it without much technique at all. Still I was fortunate enough to not get injured and made it to the cert unscathed. The rep/set range per session was to get 5 on each side a session using the 24kgs. Fortunately for me that I didn’t injure myself with my lack of technique, I can only sum it up to respecting the weight and not doing something heroic or plain stupid. Glad I made it to the HKC with healthy shoulders. I recommend you do same.

Goblet squat preparation, this was quite limited as I basically performed it in reps of 10×10 in a typical two hand front squat fashion going as deep as I could and just repped it out. How hard could it be?  So I put that under the “no worries” category. What a surprise I got when finally learned to do it properly.  Didn’t think my hips could do that!

The sole reason that got me conditioned for the day was the return on investment in working those swings, it prepared me to the point of being pretty much recovered after all the working sets performed during the constant breaking down of all the movement. During the HKC, the exercises are broken down to such detail that you don’t realise the continuous testing of the technique unless you turn up, well unprepared. So be ready.

For example after the swing is broken down and explained, you swing, learn the relevant stretches, you  swing  and expected participant questions ,well you Get it by now , swing. Wait till you get to the breakdown of the Goblet squat and TGU and you will soon realise why you are only taught 3 movements. By the end of the day your body is spent and your brain is fried. If it’s not, you are truly a physical specimen or haven’t worked hard enough!

So clearly the conditioning of the body will allow the mind to absorb all the information that is passed onto you by the Instructors on hand, the notes you take, the questions you ask and the workshops manual.

Be prepared, do the work beforehand and reap the benefits of what the HKC course offers.

Now go out and get those swing sorted out, and prep well.


Here is the Link and a few words on what you get.,com_eventbooking/Itemid,140/view,category/

Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

  • A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
  • A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
  • A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
  • A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
  • The ability to competently perform the three foundational kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
  • The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
  • The unique HKC template for designing an unlimited number of effective kettlebell workouts.


Passing the RKC. It’s about the weekend.

If you are one of the many who have taken the path of working towards the RKC you will soon realise that it’s more than the one item that typically becomes the mental barrier in getting your RKC. This means the whole weekend and not only the often dreaded snatch test, as the title spells it out my intention is simple. Provide you with solid advice to incorporate into you own programming and get you to pass the “weekend”.  Time now to throw my hat in and assist you with what I consider a realistic plan and mental approach in what’s required to obtain membership into the RKC community, which incidentally is one of the standards of all things kettlebell related among  other  strength and conditioning education.

As a current RKC11 with a couple of decades in “lifting weights” I can certainly point you in the right direction in getting your RKC. If you choose to do your own thing, good luck.

In planning towards the weekend it basically starts the moment you put the money down and commit, that is the first step. Like most things, thinking about it won’t motivate you until you invest the fee towards your professional development. It’s amazing how motivated one gets when payment is made compared to just thinking about it. The fee for the RKC depending on when you pay is not the cheapest workshop you pay for, but its all so worth it for the ones who achieve it. The next step in my opinions for some is to arrange a few sessions with an RKC instructor that will help you out with technique and just as importantly place you in a position to receive some vital information that will help you with your goal.  Remember, they have been there and done it so take notice. No one passes it with luck. Last time I checked it was roughly 30% failure rate on average, how?  A lack of preparation I guess.

Be warned as you need to be prepared, well conditioned, and teachable to pass.

You need to be aware of the standards required to get through the 3 days. You need to be ready. And I mean not just being strong, but physically and mentally capable of performing the required lifts as required with good form and (GPP) conditioning in dealing with the volumes of work dished out by the team of instructors who are there to get you by. This is not a walk up workshop where you are rubber stamped and given your piece of paper at the end.  It is also not a beat down either. Be ready to learn as the proud and very capable team of instructors on the day are there to offer expertise, help out and get you to pass all components. The RKC will not simply give you the certification. It has to be earned.

Your next move is to find out how long you have and work backwards. The term periodization comes to mind. (a fancy word for planning). Often people think that the snatch test is the be all, end all of the weekend and if they pass the snatch test they are done, well sort off. (You still have 2 days and 7hrs to deal with) You also have various workouts during the day and the final graduate workout. This was quite challenging as we experienced during the first ever Australian RKC. It was dealt to us outside in the scotching Aussie heat! –  A memorable experience.

The plan….yes my plan.

The template I used was simple. The way I like to keep things. It consisted of roughly 6 month of planning (lucky me) and was broken down to training in block of 5-6 weeks with the first phase logically being base building. I got stronger first (no pun intended) and then took it from there. I worked on simple 5×3 to 5×5 blocks on getting my Barbell Deadlift, Squats, Overhead Press strong and worked on increasing my chin ups with a simple 5×5 method and was able to knock off roughly 50 (10×5) reps on any given workout. Having previously done the recommended HKC , The Goblet squat, Turkish Get Up and swings were included in building my strength platform and blended in nicely with programming.

I also managed to get myself down to Read Performance Training and under Andrew Reads tuition participated in their RKC preparation workshop. It made sense to me to do the workshops as Andrew was the one hosting the RKC. Who better to refine the movement and throw a few tips your way? Once I got an idea of what to do and brushed up on my technique, off I went and started to build up my necessary base strength and conditioning to better deal with the volumes required.

After a few months of getting the basics down, my next block(s) I would introduce double kettlebell work and build up my “Kettlebell strength”. The RKC was tested with the single bell so I took the approach of getting as strong as I could with the doubles. If you don’t have doubles available using the single is fine. Please note during my preparation I was 90kgs in bodyweight and fortunately for me as operator of Claudefit Personal training had the preparation time and equipment freely available.

A sample workout on a “feeling good day” would now be;

  • Double presses(2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double squats(2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double cleans (2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double swings (2x24kg) 5×5
  • TGU with the 24 about 5 per session.
  • Goblet squat used a warm up when required
  • Heavy single one arm swings. ( 100 per session with single hand 10/10 x 5)

The simplicity of the Snatch test preparation that worked for me, here it is.

Single Kettlebell swings with a 32kg twice a week working towards a 10/10 x 5. (for me this was my heavy one) basically I build up my grip strength and endurance in just using the heavy swings as conditioning. Occasionally when I felt strong I would work up to 100 one arm swings in one set following a 10/10 x 5 with the 24kgs. I just build it up to a point of being able to do repeated sets of 10 swings on each side at will with never doing more that 100 per session. Twice a week was enough.  During my testing days along with a friend who was the time keeper, using the 24kg I would adopt a 10/10 x 3 stop (re-chalked my hands) and finished off with 10/10 x 2 equalling 100 reps.

The overhead positioning of the TGU and kettlebell press with a heavy bell ensured the top component of the snatch was covered. The body of the movement comes from the hip drive. All in all I only tested the snatch test 5 times once a week in leading up to the weekend.  At my age( then 45) I managed to get it done on 4min and 5sec which is not required. You have 5 minutes. Experience suggests you use the time wisely. Let’s be clear. For me the conditioning was there but not the technique as master RKC Andrew Read dutifully advised me after he saw my YouTube clip offering. So I went back to the drawing board, fixed my technique and let the conditioning look after me on the day of testing.  Glad I put my ego aside and took the advice. The test is about passing. “Make it pretty not fast” Andrew would say.

It worked for me during both RKC1 & RKC11

The Reality.

1)      Being injured does not help at all, as unfortunately one of my fellow strength coaches found out over the weekend. It was only due to his his sheer mental fortitude, plain stubbornness and overall never give up attitude that he persisted over the weekend, however this still wasn’t enough to pass the set criteria. He did however meet the requirements and got his RKC once he was injury free and his body allowed him to test.  I’m sure he would have preferred to get it done on the day. It was still not gifted to him.

2)      On passing the snatch test you need to cover all the 100 reps in 5 minutes with an efficient technique without dropping the bell and only placing the bell down to rest.  I have been in the unfortunate position in witnessing one of our own team members fail his test and if my memory serves me well it was on 98 or 99. He did not get passed.

3)       I myself completed the test well within the time limit, passed all the others tests over the weekend and was still required to submit a video later on to show “proper technique” on the snatch. It was borderline, but not to standard on the day. It took me a 3 minute video 2-3 weeks later on to finally get my cert.  A lesson learned.

(For further details on the testing criteria refer to the information easily found on the Dragondoor website where you registered for RKC)

As most of you leading up to the RKC have your HKC, you simply build on this already established base of knowledge, strength and movements to your program. Believe me it all adds up in getting you the conditioning up to successfully pass the weekend.

Take action now and look forward on hearing about your inclusion into the RKC community.

Book A Session Today!