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!



Personal Training/ new Kettlebell package offer

Hi all,

Those of you in Japan that are just starting out and looking for guidance, or those of you who are more experienced but in need of tips and a new kettlebell- look no further!

This fall I am offering special training/bell packages that give you a discount on your next purchase- just in time for the cooler weather and your winter training plans.

I also offer regular training packages designed to help you to meet your training goals faster.

Contact me at japankettlebellclub[@] for details.

Kettlebells 101: What’s in a handle?

I have been meaning to write this for a while, as I get a lot of questions from people as to the right kind of kettlebell to use. Here in Japan (and anywhere in the world for that matter), if you jump on the internet, you will most certainly find other brands and types that are cheaper than the ones I use. A kettlebell is a kettllebell, right?

The design of this device is critical to your ultimate success and progress as an athlete. And perhaps most critically of all, the design of the handle is key.

Today I will take the time to explain. I will use the types currently available in Japan as a guide.

The Bad

Ouch! Buyer beware!

Extreme Triangle handle type, bevelled grip. – The cheapest available. My answer- ouch. Definitely designed by someone who has never done kb work. Thanks to the sharp angles of the handle, this thing is not going to move smoothly in your hand if you try anything beyond a kettlebell swing. More than that, in order to hold it, you will find yourself compromising your natural wrist position almost immediately, leading you closer to potential injury. If its of any size/weight, you will find turkish get ups and any other big movements a chore as they just dont “sit” naturally. Finally, the textured grip of the handle will act like sandpaper on your hands, rapidly wearing away your skin as you try to clean or snatch it. Try a five minute set of snatches….not.

My advice- regardless of how cheap they are- don’t buy them. And dont say I didnt warn you :).

Goldilocks still wouldnt be happy.

The Bodymaker– aka- “the copy”. Is exactly as described ( ie, a copy), but a poor one at that and made by someone who has obviously never really swung a bell for any length of time. The handles are roughly finished, with mould seams under the handle waiting to cause you pain and rips when you try to snatch it. The handle design is too short, still too triangulated and too close to the handle, causing difficulties when cleaning the bell to the chest and not allowng the bell to move freely around your grip as you move in more complex movements.

And the Rubber handle version bell- I am not going to even bother telling you anything about this baby 🙂 Next!

The Good.

RKC workhorse. Solid.

The RKC type bell– This is your base, reliable, workhorse bell. Its made to RKC standards which are high, and ensures that the handle is smooth and the bell sits well in the main positions – enough room in the handle for two hand swings, sits well in the “rack” position, and moves well enough around your arm when doing more complex movements, snatch, tgu etc.
Many people are happy with this kind of bell and get great results with them. All your RKC certifications are done with them- that speaks volumes in itself. They were the first bells I ever owned.
The only disadvantages that I can state personally are in the handle design for long cycle/ competition style sets, and the fact that the bells are different sizes according to weight, which means that as you move up, your body has to re-learn the position of using the weight in position/ rack etc. But for many, this isnt a problem- it all depends on personal taste.

The Sportsman.

The pro- series bell– exactly as it says- this baby can do it all. One common shell size means that once the body has gotten used to moving and holding the bell in position, all you need to adjust to is extra weight as    you go up.
The handles are taller and squarer than the other types of bells, finished to a high buff smooth surface and more roomy. This allows the bell to move extremely freely in your grip and rest comfortably against your body in all positions, which is critical for all advanced movements like competition style lifts and timed sets. Want to do a ten minute set of swings? No problem- this bell will move smoothly in your hands and wont get in your way at all. They are designed to help you just focus on the task at hand, hence at any major girevoy competition, this is the standard bell in use. Ten minute long cycle sets, snatch records and the jerk- this is the basic tool.
You do need to keep and eye on the handles, and “condition” them once in a while to keep their smooth surface ready for work.

Any other bells out there are variations of the theme above. Good and bad- look before you leap and don’t get cheated.

The choice of course is always yours, but my advice is, if you want to do things properly, get the right equipment to help you achieve your goals.


Damn that heat!

This is for all my Tokyo friends who are probably suffering this year with electricity restrictions affecting their lifestyles, and are struggling to motivate themselves in the heat. Believe me, I share your pain, so a couple of simple tips that work for me to help you keep at your training goals.

  • Get plenty of sleep. You are probably feeling a bit drained already in the constant heat, so be considerate to yourself and get the extra rest you need to keep yourself up and at ’em.
  • Get plenty of fluids. You need that water, especially you urbanites that love to drink your coffee and tea. Keep your body well irrigated. train smart. Pick the time of day when you have the most energy, or when the day is coolest.
  • Train efficiently. A short, intense, focused workout is going to do you a lot better than a long protracted tooth pulling session. Get in there, get it done, and enjoy the post workout feeling .
  • Eat well. Watch out for the sugar craving, salt craving, and keep your diet balanced and healthy. Plenty of fruits and greens should be staple.
  • Stretch. Keeps you supple and the mind more agile, and less willing to succumb to the every day stresses that can drive you nuts in the heat.


Train smart,


Advanced Kettlebell Training And Hormone Optimization Information

Check out Mike Mahler’s latest dvd here:

Here’s an excerpt on the video from his site:

You are going to love this new DVD set! The DVD footage is from my last Level 2 Advanced kettlebell course in Las Vegas. People absolutely loved the course and could not get enough. Everyone stuck around after the course to ask questions which is a clear sign that they enjoyed the course thoroughly. The attendees had a blast learning new exercises such as ballistic work done outside of the feet. This gives an entirely new feel to standard exercises such as Double Swings, Double Cleans, Double Clean and Presses, and Doubles Snatches. You will have a really good time with these new variations. In addition the attendees really enjoyed all of the new core exercises, complex drills, and stacked kettlebell work!

In addition to the extensive training, I delivered a ninety minute lecture on hormone optimization. Hormone optimization is a rapidly growing field that people are starting to become very interested in. Whenever I talk about hormone optimization to anyone they immediately show a lot of interest and cannot stop asking questions. I have been professing the benefits of natural hormone optimization since 2004 and this lecture is my most detailed and comprehensive material to date. You will learn how to tweak your nutrition plan to optimize the three main players in hormone optimization. In addition you will learn what supplements work to increase testosterone, lower estrogen, and help with stress management. The hormone optimization lecture disc alone is worth the several times more than the asking price for the DVD set.

For more information, check out Mike’s site at

Questions from readers

Here’s a question from one of my regular readers, Sharperatio:

You’re halting workouts for a month and a half? Why? I can understand taking a week off and even two weeks off. If I were a fighter or a pro athlete, I could understand a complete stop after a fight or after the season ended. The soviet Olympic athletes had a training tempo of three weeks on and one week off. I would definitely stop working out if I were ill or needed a medical procedure. Work, travel, injury all conspire against setting and keeping a regular schedule. Why the stoppage in your case? Is a big break something that Steve Cotter or Ken Blackburn have prescribed, and if so, why? When I try to work out regularly, I frequently have enough interruptions to jar consistency. If I feel like it’s all too much, I ratchet back and adjust my workouts, increase rest times or more rest days, space out the workouts, consider other exercise methods for variety, add sleep, etc.

Actually, although I am finished the 8 week program, I am continuing my training and working on building a more solid foundation of strength and flexibility for the next cycle of training at the end of January. The intensity is down in some ways for the kettlebells, but I am now focusing more on GPP work (general physical preparedness) to keep my body primed in my little off season.
The GPP stuff is very challenging, especially as you start working with heavier weights and race against yourself to better your time each performance.
Its December and workloads can be busy, not to mention the other year end activities which interrupt our training time and concentration. Taking this all into account, I am “dialing back” so to speak in some ways, and concentrating on increasing flexibility work as well as overall conditioning.
I have been pushing hard on the ‘bells and it feels great. However, I need to give my body a bit of a break as I adjust to other realities. I have put on a bit of muscle and now I have to get used to carrying that around and not letting it impede my sports performance. I also now require a higher level of flexibility to perform the GS lifts correctly. And in general, I have to get used to a more intense physical lifestyle that must live in tandem with my daily work life.
Its a challenge for sure!

Does music get you amped when you train?

Music’s effect on your workout- fact or fiction?

NYT has done it again with another interesting article relating to the effects of listening to music while training.
Not just any music and any tempo, but certain ranges which seem to induce better athletic performance.

Well, it does work for me. I regularly jump rope for sessions lasting longer than 20 mins, and the music I use helps keep me focused and psyched, making the time spent go by faster and encouraging me to work a little longer.Music for me induces a trance like state where I can focus on breathing and relaxing my body to allow peak efficiency, regardless what I am doing. As a responsible athlete, this means I need to be conscious that this state of mind probably doesn’t suit pedaling through rush hour traffic, and I need to be paying attention to what is going on around me as well.

Read the article, and ask yourself- whats the right balance for you?


The Tokyo special: short, focused workouts

Q. Ok, so its damn hot and you work an 8-10 hours workday these days thanks to the recession.
By the time most of you get home you are already done in and working out is often the last thing on your mind, but somehow or other you want to try to maintain your fitness level and keep body and mind sane and healthy, right? What are you going to do?
A. Get smart and versatile.
If I am too tired to train at night, I train during my lunch break; 30-40 mins of fairly brisk paced workout at my nearby gym, then its shower and back at work at my desk within the hour.
Due to the shortness of time, I cut my rest times down during sets, keeping the cardiovascular/conditioning part of what I do pumping away effectively. I super set at times, working one set of muscles and then the sympathetic muscles in tandem, resting one group as another works, again saving me time and meaning more sets for my time.
if its a super hot day, dial back your working weight and concentrate on form and repetitions. Adjust yourself to your environment and pay attention to your energy level. I find that even in the hottest Tokyo day, once I get started I find a bunch of power just waiting to be used.
And after the workout? Yep, there’s me at two pm, freshly showered and ready for the second half of the day, wide awake and raring to go, feeling better that I actually did do something other than languish in the heat. I leave having done 12-18 sets worth of work and feeling damn good.
The other option is of course train in the morning, but our new puppy has me fully booked these days, so lunch time it is. For you, you might have more choices!
Here’s a tip breakdown for you:
  • one hour break means 30-40 minutes of intense, focused workout
  • keep your rest times between sets short
  • if necessary, drop your working weight a little to allow for the faster paced routine
  • between sets, keep active, walk around, do a set of chins/pull-ups, keep your heart pumping and active
  • since you are working at a higher intensity, monitor your breathing, keep it steady and efficient
  • water yourself well

And after your shower, step back into the office with a smile!

As they say, make time, or its gone in a moment.

Keep well watered!

Kb friends and all,

Especially in this hottest July on record, whatever sport you are doing- keep yourself well watered and away from any form of dehydration. Not only is it dangerous to be functioning at high performance levels without sufficient water, its just downright silly to do. So don’t!

Here in Tokyo, the sweat is pouring off after just a few minutes of regular exercise. If you feel yourself getting a bit feint during your regular workout, perhaps tone things down a notch if necessary, or take more breaks and keep on the water a little at a time. Make sure you prep yourself well before the workout as well- plenty of fluids, dont overeat, and give your body the chance to perform under these at times extreme conditions.

Whatever you are doing, whether its going out for an all day hike, a shop fest or tennis with friends, get enough water!

Most of all- have fun, but be safe and smart.