Personal/Group training sessions for Kettlebells and Body-weight training available

Hi all,

Just to let you know that I am available for individual or group training sessions. Classes generally run for two hours, which includes a good stretching/posture check first up, then into some band work/body weight resistance training to get your joints and body ready for work, then the ‘bells.

I tailor every class to the individual needs of the student.

In this weather, you can expect to need a lot of water for training,so make sure you bring at least a liter, probably two to be sure. I train the bells with lots of stretching mixed in, and normally end the class with a little Qigong to relax you.

Classes are tailored to your ability and interest, and generally I give some tips and pointers for develoing your own workout regimen.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me here or at my email.


Happy training!



AeroSling: Ready to work!

download 1 I was recently contacted by a fellow called Elmar Schumacher over at Aerobis Germany to test one of their suspension trainer devices- The AeroSling Pro Set. Knowing that I had pretty extensive experience with other suspension trainers and that I have been using them for some of my clients here in Japan, I appreciated their forthrightness in approaching me for a critical evaluation of this new line of equipment

The Goods.DSC_0107

The first thing you notice when you receive one of these kits is the packaging. Its well thought out with little extras that make it obvious that a lot of effort and thought has been put into making this kit as complete as possible. For example, I liked the re-sealable plastic bags that all of the equipment came in, instead of the usual rip and throw variety. It shows an environmental sense. The main parts of the aerosling come already assembled, with accessories separate and each with an instruction guide as to how to set up or add to the assembly.The handy doorknob sign for the busy businessperson staying in a hotel that lets people know- hey, I’m training in here! The exercise chart and easy to follow dvd made my first workout a breeze, with little time spent in set up. My first impressions were- this kit is well thought out.

Getting started.

Compared to other equipment I have used, the Aerosling was both lightweight and sturdy.For anyone carrying equipment or wanting portability with their workouts, a few grams here and there make a big difference. This equipment fits easily into the draw string carry bag (comes with the kit) which can be put in a backpack for an outdoor in-the-wild adventure or take with you to your gym. Here in Japan, we have a mainly urban environment, so the ability for me to pick up the kit and head to the local park is a big plus. All the components were sturdy and built for hours of use. Attaching the device to a wall mount or overhead beam etc was as simple as flipping one end of the attaching cable over the attach point, and then clipping it on the carabineer. For more sturdiness, two winds around the beam give you an extra sure attachment point. Then a simple weight test to check proper set up, and you are off to work.

Having used similiar devices before, I found this one really simple and user friendly. Don’t get me wrong- I like heavy duty, and there is a place for such types of equipment, but there is also some sense of overkill at times, such as in weight. I usually carry other equipment with me, such as kettlebells etc, so the ease of trasnportantion was a big plus for me. For your average athlete or gym who needs equipment that can take a hard workout and still be ready for me, the Aerosling fits the bill.

Instant fun.DSC_0117

If you are already used to doing body weight/resistance training, or have some gymnastic background, you will immediately sense of advantage when training- the core muscles are instantly involved to balance you while you work out. For first timers with this kind of equipment, I recommend watching the instruction video and setting up your Aerosling for beginner intensity level. Then as you gain confidence, you can up the intensity easily by a quick unwind of the main handles.

Scalable workouts.

I love the versatility that this equipment brings a workout. You can push yourself as hard as you like, or take the more moderate path. Each exercise shows a simple form and then an advanced level version on the cd, and the exercises are easy to follow. I recommend though that you watch all the exercises through completely first, and perhaps don’t attempt to do them all straight away. Pick a particular area of  your body that you want to train, and then follow the related exercise. DSC_0122

I tested the Aerosling out on a couple of my students, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Its a fun machine that you can set up in your own house, take to the gym, or set up outside. For us, it was smiles all round and my students were exhausted after a 45 minute session. I can see it being a real boon to any professionals out there wanting to keep fit while they travel for business and have to adjust to busy schedules. You would hardly notice this kit in a suitcase, even a carry on bag. Perfect. Crossfitters, this equipment has something for you too. Fighters, well enough said- this equipment rocks.

What it will cost you.

The staff at Aerobis have made this equipment very affordable. ( see the details and special offer below!)


For those who travel, the lightness, sturdiness and well thought out design of these easy to use kits will mean that you can take it anywhere with you and give yourself a good workout. Whether you are a professional athlete, sports trainer looking for equipment for your clients, or someone just out to keep your body toned, this kit has something for you.

Two thumbs up from me.

Q: How do I get one???

Elmar at Aerobis headquarters sent me these useful links and some extra information for you :

Go to

Go right to the aerosling models: (our aeroSling Models) (I received a Set which is called the aeroSling ELITE)

A new model for you to check out as well. I will let Elmar explain:

The new aeroSling XPE is a lightweight smaller brother of the ELITE that you tested. It retails at 139 EUR incl. Door Anchor and DVD. It also has great material but is simpler as such as it cannot be extended with other grips etc.. So professionals would go for the ELITE or ELITE set – beginners in Suspended Pulley Training would go for the XPE.

And a special coupon offer from Elmar at Aerobis for you!

People that are interested will get a coupon code for 15% off to cover shipping and such (100 EUR order value min):


So..what are you waiting for? Go get one!!! Smile

Kettlebell methodology comparison, Hard style and Girevoy sport methodologies compared


Steve Cotter

Great article written some time ago but still relevant today on the differences between the two methodologies. Informative and succinct, Steve Cotter walks you through the different styles and objectives and explains a lot of initial misunderstandings about these two popular paths.

A Performance-Based Comparison of Kettlebell Methods

Download the pdf here:


read and enjoy!

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© 2006 All rights reserved

Interview with Rannoch Donald, on Simple Strength & Kettlebell Scotland

2903_177996015103_576070103_6436573_3321094_nIts not often that you come across another person over the internet that you immediately feel an affinity for, but  it is a testament to Rannoch Donald’s strength of character and enthusiasm for everything he does that permeates even over the ether.

Ranked the #4 RKC trainer in the world by his legions of happy customers, Rannoch has carved a path of his own, working with both the IKFF and Steve Cotter, while at other times with such RKC heavyweights like Mark Cheng, bringing his students and customers sound advice and the practical means to achieve their best. With all around him, he maintains a rock solid integrity; you can be sure that if you ask Rannoch’s opinion, he will tell it to you straight, and it is his frankness and willingness to listen that has earned him a place at the very top rank of the international kettlebell community.

I took some time out recently to ask Rannoch a series of questions, mostly regarding his current activities in Scotland and the latest developments of his own activities as a teacher and self-practice.

Here is the first part, from a man who is known by one name…

GK. Hi Rannoch, thank you for your time today. Lets start off by please telling us a bit about you, your background, your interest in kettlebells and physical fitness in general .

Thanks for the questions. I am 47, have trained in some form or other most of my life. My first passion was martial arts and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to train with some exceptional instructors in a number of disciplines. I am a product of the 70’s martial arts boom. One of my earliest instructors was a charismatic Malaysian called Jarrod Lee who opened my eyes to the sheer diversity out there.
For many years I labored under the illusion that being fit was the purpose of training. I had something of a wake up call when I broke my leg a few years ago and realized that not only was I not as fit as I thought I was, I wasn’t healthy and I really struggled to bounce back.

The traditional rehab methods offered little improvement, so I did my homework and began with simple mobility drills, moved on to include body weight exercises and finally introduced kettlebell practice. Within a short time I found myself in better shape than I’d been in 15 years. What really amazed me was I could achieve this in a fraction of the time I used to “work out”. And the great thing is this is available to, and achievable by, everyone.n576070103_2752395_1447

I realized that my previous efforts did not reflect certain key criteria.

  • Firstly, I needed to be honest with myself regarding the time I have available, not just to train but to recover.
  • Secondly, as a father of three with a full time job, understanding the methods required to enhance my health, not just my fitness, were absolutely critical.
  • Thirdly, that those methods reflect my abilities, are sustainable and not based on the latest routine of some professional sports star with an entourage of personal chefs, physios and coaches.
  • Finally, that my practice reflects my interests. For example, as a middle aged martial artist, I am looking for balance, symmetry and strength, not massive muscles. My practice, and what I teach, is designed to create and promote power. And that is what every aging athlete should be after.

The key to all this is to treat you efforts as practice. The object is to get better at what you do and remain injury free. That what you do is sustainable. The endless desire to add weight to the bar is ultimately self defeating, there will come a time when the tide turns and all you have are over use injuries and creaking joints.
So I think in terms of tai chi and yoga masters whose movement and performance improves with age. This is key; performance is a product of practice. Practice allows you the time and space to refine what you do. Ultimately that manifests itself when you come to perform.
On this subject, many people decide to get back “in shape” by taking up a sport. A word of caution – you will be lousy at the sport and you wont get fit. Technical skill and physical preparedness are two different things. This goes back to your practice reflecting your needs and interests. So we need a method that creates resilient, healthy, lean and strong individuals who can transfer those benefits to the activities they pursue.

GK. What, in your opinion, is the state of kettlebells today?Its been 8-9 years now since the rediscovery/reintroduction to the general population, and we have seen it gradually integrating itself into the sporting community. What do you see is the future? Where is this all heading?

It’s been great to see how kettlebells training has re-evolved. If we can ensure a high level of coaching then Kettlebells will become standard issue in any progressive training environment. Unfortunately the “hard core” perception of KBs has had an inverse effect with some commercial interests trying to “aerobicize” them, creating bizarre drills and turning them into yet another craze. But when used properly Kettlebells provide a unique challenge. Few tools provide such intensity and such a wide range of benefits across strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and co-ordination. For me, kettebells provide the essential base for my practice. They are not a magic bullet. Nothing is. Used correctly they provide a fantastic return in a relatively short period of time. But as with so many things ultimately effort = results.
My own focus is in promoting in everybody an integrated practice, so along with mobility and body weight, kettlebells provide a well rounded approach.

GK. Many of the readers here, both young and old, are in the process of training or are looking at building themselves a new program. Probably most of them fit these goals around daily work commitments and families as well. What key ingredients do you feel are necessary for an effective long-term fitness strategy for a man or woman who works 9-5? How would you suggest a person assesses their current workout regimen?

Firstly, consider your needs. This requires a tremendous degree of courage because most of us have to first accept we are not as fit, young and healthy as we thought. Many people who come to my workshops get the kind of wake up call I had a few years back. But all this is good because it provides a realistic base from which to start. What I really want is people to take charge of their own well being and the easiest way to do that is to take a serious look at where you are right now.
Once you know where you are you can map out where you want to go. One step at a time, one session at a time. Real fitness and well being is not hemmed in by the constraints of prescriptive programs and inflexible routines. It works because it responds to your life style, your schedule and your abilities. In addition, your practice must leave you with the resources to get on with your life, deal with your job, take care of your family. Anything that leaves you spent is not sustainable.
Also, the mental benefits of training are well documented and can’t be underestimated. There is a self sustaining energy that comes with regular practice.

GK. You and I have had many discussions about the concept of sustainability in terms of a life long approach to fitness. Can you explain in a nutshell what we are talking about here?

It’s important to be open to variety with regard to the methodology of your workout routine and change that is naturally occurring in your body on  a day to day basis, but it’s equally important to not become a victim to novelty. Focus on the basics. Choose a few things and learn to do them exceptionally well. This in turn will pay massive dividends when it comes to tackling bigger tasks. On of my favorite quotes is –
Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things well“. -J. Friedrich von Schiller.

GK. In your own personal journey, what is the greatest challenge for you?

It’s the same as everyone else. Simply getting on with what I know needs to be done. Simple as that.

GK. Rannoch, what drives you? What keeps you going?

The prospect of growing old disgracefully! Being around to see my kids and grow into the the amazing adults I know they will be. I often speak at workshops about our responsibility to the tribe, or in other words, the society we live and work in. Once you stop contributing, you become a burden. I want to contribute as long as I can. I simply want to be awake for the journey; we all need to be participants, not observers and realize that vibrant health is our natural state. We’ll all go the same way at the end of the day but you can influence how present you are for the trip.

GK. What is Simple Strength about? I see you have been developing your site- can you tell the readers a little about what you are working on?

The new Simple Strength website will be unveiled in the next week or so. it will integrate the Simple Strength blog and Kettlebells Scotland under one roof, making it easy to access information, workshop details and articles. It will also highlight events like the forthcoming IKFF CKT Certification in September and our workshop with Frank Forencich of Exhuberant Animal.

GK.So..what is the future for you? Where do you go from here?

As much fun as it is to rub shoulders with Martial artists and athletes I am really interest in people exactly like you and me who simply want to be fit and healthy. This stuff is not the domain of commercial gyms, nutrition companies and personal trainers. It is the natural right of everyone. All you have to do is get on with it.

GK. Thanks for your time Rannoch. I am sure we will be chatting with you again in the near future!

If you have a question for Rannoch, please feel free to write in. Here is  a link to his Simple Strength site:


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A Kettlebell Grip is a Powerful One – 2 Exercises to Get an Iron Grip!

Original article taken from here

By Brandon Richie.

If you have worked with the kettlebells then you understand exactly where I am coming from when I talk about grip exhaustion. I don’t even know if that phrase exist. Anyway, the bell will give you an iron grip quicker than just about anything out there. A quick way to find out is to practice with this device on a regular basis. If you were wondering what it takes for those strongmen to rip phone books in half and bend nails, then you have found the ingredient right here in the kettlebell. Check out these following 2 drills that you can include into your personal strength culture!

1. Dual Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk: This is one of those tough looking drills that you have seen strongmen perform on ESPN. They generally use anvils, but the bell will work just fine for you. This is a wonderful strength and conditioning exercise that you can perform right in your front or back yard. To start, just find a flat open area. Stand at one end of the walking area and squat to pick up your kettlebells in each hand. A relatively strong guy can start with a 28kg (61.6 lbs) kettlebell in each hand. A relatively strong woman can start with a 16kg (35.2 lbs) kettlebell in each hand. From here you just simply want to walk for a designated distance of about 25 yards one way. Repeat this two or three times and you will be ripping phone books in no time!

2. Dual Kettlebell Swings: So you are probably familiar with the double-arm kettlebell swing by now. With the double-arm kettlebell swing you are using both arms to swing a single bell back and forth between your legs. Now we are going to step it up by executing dual kettlebell swings. With this particular drill you will be performing swings with a kettlebell in each hand. To begin, you will make sure that your technique is sound and that you are using bells of equal weight to swing in each hand. You will quickly find that the swings are much more intense this way from a conditioning standpoint as well. You must fight hard to keep a good hooking type grip in order to prevent the bells from flying out of your hands and through your living room wall. Note, its always a good idea to do these outdoors and in the grass.


yin-yang-symbol-blue-flare-thumb3277201Form, in any type of exercise, is critical to the successful performance of that movement. It liberates us and binds us, frustrating us some days, setting us free the next.

Love it or hate it, form is the basis upon which kettlebell exercises are built.

Lifting a heavier than usual weight, I become increasingly aware that my form is going out the window with each progressive movement or action, as my body gets tired and starts to struggle to keep the weight moving.

Doing the same exercise with a lighter weight on another day, I find the weight flying recklessly or jerkily, because some fundamental part of the movement has been overlooked, and I need to go back and polish off the corners, bringing back a smooth and flowing movement that expresses the unification of my body, mind and spirit, like a form of physical meditation.

Kb’s =yoga with weights?? There are definite parallels as I have studied both.

For me, mindfulness of action as I exercise my body, breathing in and out, is key.

Thoughts for today.

hakuinIts a Sunday, the sun is shining after a pretty bad stretch of winter weather. Spring is in sight, and although the air outside is still chill at times, its time to get out and enjoy the sunshine and start exercising outside again.

Sunday is a great day to relax, but also a day to do some light sports if you can and just enjoy the feeling of being in your body, of just…living.

Dont waste your Sunday!



Cutting through to the core.

image_098As I train more and more, I become more aware of my physical limitations at any given time. Of course these parameters change, of course I can influence them up to a certian point, but the physiology that I was born with cannot be radically altered. I can improve my musculature, watch what I eat and balance what I have into the most effective physical package.

The word or idea that I introduce to you today is- balance. I am a “salaryman” here in Japan, and that entails me sitting at a desk for at least 8 hours a day, often longer.  Allowing that to get out of control and make me start becoming sedentary in my free time, I might as well kiss my life goodbye.

Uh-uh. No way.

I let that happen the first three years I was in Tokyo, and it took my a good 4 months of hard physical slog to win my fitness and conditioning back. And here I will stay.

What did I learn from my sojourn in Europe, and what lessons will I apply to my lifetsyle back in the Japanese head office after April 1st?

1. Bike riding to work- 48 kms round trip, one way (24 kms) takes about an hour. I have a fixed gear road bike which will assist me in this endeavor. It takes me the same amount of time to get home whether I take the train or ride- which would you choose? I ride along the Tamagawa bike path, which can get very very windy, but thats all part of the fun. Aargh!

2. Utilize break times at work to do something: stretching body parts, going to the park at lunch and doing body weight resistance exercises, using the gym that I know is there at lunch time!

3. being aware of what I eat, when I eat, and maintaining a steady blood sugar level with good stuff, not crap.

4. Listening to my body- some days train hard, some days get up early and train before work.

5. Don’t eat the crap that they serve in the company cafeteria

6. Last but not least- work is work- it stays in the office, and all the thoughts and stresses that go along with it.

My workouts improve from day to day as I stretch my own paramaters of fitness and well being.

Always balance.