Hardstyle “isms” and “Ah Ha! Drills”

“Shoulders are ear poison!”, and “Pull your armpits to your butt crack!” Cues like those and many more are “isms” used in hardstyle training that are constantly being boiled down and distilled in order to make the learning process easier, safer, and faster. These, along with “Ah Ha!” drills, which are simple drills like “Hit the book with the bell” are drills that leave the student only one way out…the right way, are all from Pavel himself and other Master and Senior SFG Instructors to teach the Strong First Standards of learning strength as a skill.

Each Instructor has his or her own unique teaching style, but the standards should be taught in the same way across the system for safety and consistency. Strong First Instructors must re-certify every two years and should be constantly keeping up with new evolutions that are developed by the Senior and Master Instructors. Instructors are students as well, and strength is a lifetime pursuit. My job is to pass on what I have learned from my Instructors…and they from the Chief Instructor, Pavel Tsatsouline.

Many of my students report hearing my voice in their head while they practice, sit, walk, hike, run, (if you must), or while driving. The ones I get back the most are “where are your shoulders?”(drop them into your back pockets) and “where are you breathing?” (to your BELLY) and “Walk like a Russian.” (Hips extended…hips first). I know as a teacher, when I hear MY words coming out of my student’s mouths that they really HEAR me, and that makes me happy! I hear the voices of Pavel, Riff, Andrea U-Shi Chang, Dr Mark Chang, Dan John, Brett Jones, Gray Cook, Tracey Riefkind, Geoff Neupert, and Tim Anderson…I could go on… in MY head.

Strength is a skill, and strong WILL fix almost anything when it comes to body mechanics. Myself and my students have come to understand this and we keep practicing and honing the skills. We keep growing stronger in the process.

There are several great DVDs and books on the market to help students with their practice. Nothing replaces a trained eye and in-person instruction. Grooving a bad movement pattern will not help you grow and may cause pain and injury,the exact opposite of what we want.

If you want to get stronger, and have decided that the kettlebell is the way you want to do it, WELCOME! Strong First’s community of brothers and sisters in strength is a great place to be. There are SFG Instructors all over the world and you can find us at http://www.strongfirst.com! Just like our students, we are all students ourselves. We each have our own experiences and teaching styles, but we all teach to the Strong First Standards and guaranteed you will hear us all use many of the same “isms” and “Ah Ha!” drills to help our students learn as quickly, safely, and effectively as possible.

“Strength is a skill…Happiness is a choice”.


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