Stretching Routine, Denis Vasilev

Who said that strong people cant be flexible?

This guy is a two time world champ, and shows us a fantastic full body warmup routine. For those that are after maximum performance in their kb lifting, its worth a watch.



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,


Back at it

Well its just over three months since the big Earthquake hit us here in Japan, and life is settling down back to as normal as it can be under the circumstances of having life in Tokyo being turned upside down. With everyone trying to conserve electricity, it will truly be a long hot Summer this year. Roll on October….!

As you can imagine, it has been hard to maintain regular anything with increased workloads at the office and real life responsibilities being the priority. Personal maintenance becomes secondary as a consequence. On top of that, when the stress levels go up as in times like this, the energy levels just aren’t
there to “push the envelope” so to speak, so I had to put my plans for a second hard training cycle on hold till my body told me it was ready to go again.

That time has come. My body feels good and rested, and my constant light maintenance training has kept me prepared for some hard work to come. So back to the grunt work again…..

In all things, this year has been a learning experience.
I realized in vivid detail that whether you want it to or not, as you get older, stress plays a
greater and greater part of your life and consciousness. The last few months have illustrated to me in great detail just how harmful stress is to your psyche and well being.

It affects everything; work, relationships, free time, your habits. It saps that extra vitality
that we rely upon to get through the grind, whether that be at work or play, or just spending time with your significant other. Naturally, we start looking for crutches when we cant switch it off, and that’s where the danger lies.

Balance is the key, knowing when to step away from situations and unrealistic expectations and acknowledge that you are under a lot of pressure, thus allowing you to seek solutions and if necessary, help.

But how do you do that when the world around you is out of balance? And everyone you know is freaking out?

And herein lies the lesson. I am still learning.

Back to work for me.



They’re Here! JKC kettlebells now available!

Finally, after earthquakes and whatever else can go wrong with a year, they arrive and are waiting for you!

Beautifully crafted, with a Japan Kettlebell Club logo on the side, these babies will fly out faster than you can say gosh golly!

I have them in these sizes:

  8kg, 10kg, 12kg, 14kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg, 28kg, and 32kg.

They are already flying out the door, so if you are interested, better stake your claim.

Contact me at japankettlebellclub(@) for details.


Ease back workout

Todays work with Jan

w/u swings

2x 20kgs clean and press x 3 1min sets, 10 rpm

Sprint db kb cleans 2x 16s 20 rpm

Snatch 2 minutes x 16kgs


3mins swing,snatch,squat

2x 20kgs sprint 1 minute x 2

cool down