Why we choose StrongFirst

Here at Queensland Kettlebells, our training is primarily informed by three different systems:

  • StrongFirst

  • Function Movement Systems

  • Original Strength

In a series of posts (probably three, because of the number of systems that we use…) I’m going to unpack what it is that makes each system compelling, and how and why we use it to help our clients to achieve their goals.

The StrongFirst system of strength training is based upon ancient ideas that Pavel Tsatsouline has simplified and made accessible for a modern audience. It is a system that is based upon training that is: simple, but not easy; heavy, but consistently achievable; that builds people up, instead of breaking them down; and that should result in people being stronger next year, and the year after that, not just tomorrow.

Training shouldn’t be about entertainment, it should be about results. Results are fun, and results make the times when training isn’t fun worthwhile. This doesn’t mean that training isn’t entertaining or fun, or that those things don’t have a time and a place in training, but, at the end of the day, if you’re choosing between entertainment and results, the StrongFirst system, and people who follow it will prioritise the outcome.

StrongFirst is about following a plan. Too many people indulge themselves in random acts of variety (see entertainment above…), instead of following a structured plan that takes them towards the outcome that they want to see. People who make a plan and execute it, are people who get results. These are the people who win at sport, games, and at life. It’s possible that people without a plan will get lucky occasionally, but most people will eventually find themselves flat on their face, or spinning their wheels if they approach activities in their life without a plan.

StrongFirst prioritise sub-maximal training. In other words, people who follow this system won’t be trying to set a new record every day, instead, they are going to consistently “put money in the bank” towards their goals. Mark Reifkind SFG talks about the cycle that people follow a lot of time when they train where they go heavy, heavier, heavier, damage something, and then start again. People repeat this cycle again and again and find that their lifts, their health, and their quality of life have ended up traveling in the wrong direction. Instead, as Geoff Neupert SFG talks about in the SFG II training manual, people should consider the way that old time strongmen would train; performing multiple lifts throughout the day with a comfortable, moderate weight, practising their skill without a significant risk of injury. This was a time that produced strength legends such as the Mighty Atom, George Hackenschmidt, and Arthur Saxon (if you haven’t heard of these guys, look them up, you’ll be amazed, they are each heroes in their own right - Dave Whitley gave me a book about the Mighty Atom, it blew my mind, one of the best presents I’ve ever received…).

Finally, StrongFirst is about changing the world around it. At the end of the day most people’s number one goal isn’t to be stupidly, ridiculously strong, and StrongFirst recognises this. StrongFirst has the quote, “Strength has a greater purpose” prominently displayed upon its website, and this quote says volumes. It’s not about getting strong for strength's sake, it’s about getting strong enough, and moving well enough, that you can do the things that you really want to do. Here at QLD Kettlebells our goal is to promote healthy strength training that will bleed out into your everyday life and result in a richer, more fulfilling life because you are being empowered to do whatever you want by your body rather than having it hold you back. In this, you see StrongFirst’s influence.

If the idea of moving well and being strong appeals to you, and you can stomach ideas such as training for results rather than to get sweaty, and following a plan rather than prioritising entertainment, then I highly encourage you to explore StrongFirst.com and learn from the outstanding articles (including this one where Pavel outlines what StrongFirst is about: http://www.strongfirst.com/about/) that the world leading coaches and trainers associated with the system have put up there.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog.

Move Well. Get Strong.


qkb, our-whyPiers Kwan