Preparing to Ring the P.R. Bell

Like Pavlov’s dog that learned to salivate in anticipation of food, you can teach your mind and body to prepare for a success when presented with a new challenge.

Training to Failure Vs. Training to Success

Training to Fail:

  • Continually pushing against your limitations and getting schooled by them.
  • Teaching your mind and body that giving 100% will never be good enough.
  • Your mind and body become accustomed to routine failure regardless of the effort.

Training To Succeed:

  • Making excellence, safety and success a regular occurrence.
  • Expanding your limitations by working wisely within them.
  • Teaching your body that is safe to give 100% and no task is too hard so that it will grant you strength when you need it the most.

“Pavlov’s Dog” 

If you’re not familiar with the story of Pavlov’s Dog (not to be confused with Pavel’s dog) and its relevance to conditioning here’s the general idea:

Every time the researcher, Pavlov, rings the bell, a tasty meal immediately was immediately fed to the dog. The dog eventually learned that the sound of the bell means food is about to served. Every time the bell is rung, the dog begins to salivate in anticipation of the food. The researched continues to ring the bell but no longer serves the food. Even though food is no longer served the dog will still begin to salivate upon hearing the bell.

The same method can be used to teach the dog that effort is futile a.k.a. “Learned Helplessness”. Every time a bell is rung an unpleasant stimulus such as pain in the form of electrical shock is delivered through the floor. There is no escape from the shock. Because the dog has learned escape is futile, eventually the dog comes to react with fear and helplessness every time the bell sounds and resigns itself to getting shocked. Later on, even when the researchers introduce a possible escape for the dog by only delivering a shock on one-half of the room, the dog remains in place and gets shocked.

Now imagine for a moment that instead of training to muscular-failure every time you train with heavy weights you do so in such a way that guarantees success. Pretty soon, you will become the equivalent of the salivating dog who anticipates an imminent meal of P.R.s.

Did Somebody Say Heavy Heavy Deadlifts?

In the same regard, when you train to failure your nervous system reacts like the dog who expects to get punished with electricity. Instead of pain you are teaching your nervous system to prepare for and expect failure. If done often enough regardless of the weight put in front of you your body will simply prepare to shut-down and fail… after all…that’s what you’ve trained it to do. Essentially you are inducing depression, teaching your muscles that success is not likely.

Instead of training yourself to fail, we believe in training to succeed by treating your heavy weights as if they are light and treating your light weights as if they are heavy. How? Treating heavy weights as if they were light means typically performing 2/3rds of the reps you could do with a given weight  leaving one or more perfect repetitions “in the bank”.  By doing so, your nervous system will come to expect and prepare for success. Treating your light weights as if they are heavy means to approach them with the same state of mind, internal dialogue, techniques and rituals you would as if setting a new personal best. By doing so you are repeatedly rehearsing ideal habits and visualizing success. You nervous system is essentially learning to become the opposite of depressed and constantly has a can-do attitude. In this manner when you do decide to go all out your nervous system will be trained to expect success and grant you permission to be stronger than others who have train their body’s to expect to fail. If you’ve put in sufficient practice and volume at the correct percentages of your 1 rep max the result will be a new personal best.

Like Pavlov’s dog that learned to salivate in anticipation of food when it heard the dinner bell, you can teach your mind and body to prepare for a personal best when presented with a new challenge.


Are you expecting success or failure?



Join Us On October 31st: Tactical Strength Challenge [ Deadlifting, Pullups, Kettlebell Snatches ]

On October 31st Omaha Elite Kettlebell will be hosting The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC)
The TSC is a strength competition consisting of three events:

  • a three-attempt powerlifting deadlift
  • pull-ups for max reps
  • kettlebell snatches for max reps in a 5:00 time period.

These three events test a unique trade-off between these abilities, and while larger participants may have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter participants have an advantage in pull-ups, and the kettlebell snatch tests all participants equally.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER – Please Select  “OMAHA ELITE KETTLEBELL” as your Venue Location
Enroll by Sep 19th to Receive Your Free T-Shirt


We all know that to realize your physical potential it helps to have specific goals and deadlines.
The T.S.C. is an excellent opportunity to improve yourself.

If you value strength,
If you want to improve,
If you’re motivated by goals and deadlines
If you yearn for a supportive community of like-minded individuals people who feel the same as you do…
then the Tactical Strength Challenge is waiting…for YOU.

Register by Saturday September 19th to receive a free t-shirt.
Register Now



If you want to participate and would like coaching in the deadlift, pull-up or kettlebell snatch then
For the remainder of September and October Omaha Elite Kettlebell is extending the a fantastic pricing for group classes and one-on-one personal training

Subscribe Now & Save 20% OFF Any Group Training Package
Expires Oct 24th

Q: What if I can’t do one or more of the exercises as written?

First and foremost we believe this event is about self-improvement, participation and community. In order to be accommodating to people of all abilities and a injury histories at Omaha Elite Kettlebell we will help you choose an appropriate technique regression that suits your individual abilities and/or limitations. Please understand that if you must use techniques are other than those accepted by the Tactical Strength Challenge your results won’t be posted to the international database.

An individual who cannot yet perform pull-ups can perform a timed hang, someone who lacks the shoulder mobility to put their arm overhead safely  can substitute bodyweight rows for pull-ups and kettlebell swings for snatches.

Q: Where can I read more about the rules and divisions?

Learn more about the TSC RULES  [here]


A Sandwich a Day 

One way to get plenty of iron in your diet is to have a sandwich a day with kettlebell ballistics as the main ingredient. Just insert any form of kettlebell ballistics in between your slower lifts (a.k.a “grinds”).  The pairing of slow moves and fast is great way to get some conditioning and burn calories while you keep things moving and interesting.  Here are a few recipes to for a spicy ballistic workout… Continue reading


When performing a Google search for “Best Kettlebell Workout” there are About 1,890,000 results.
If there truly is such a thing as one single “Best Kettlebell Workout” that means there are potentially one-million, eight-hundred and ninety-thousand wrong ones. With so many choices how do you find the kettlebell workout that is best for you?

The Best Kettlebell Workout you is the one that meets the following criteria:

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48kg Turkish Getup

Kettlebell Getup Progressions

The Getup also known as the “Turkish Getup” or “TGU” is a fantastic exercise for strengthening fundamental movement patterns and building resilient shoulders. If you’re unfamiliar with the movement you can find a great video demonstration here [ https://youtu.be/l5qB0nILpko?t=4m39s ]

One way to progress the getup is to just get stronger and use a heavier weight, but that takes time… as it should.  When the weight gets heavy and you are finding it takes longer and longer to transition your getups to a heavier kettlebell, one way to keep getting stronger with the same kettlebell is to find ways to increase difficulty that don’t involve using a heavier bell.

Here is a six step progression of mine to make the getup more challenging and more interesting while working your way towards using a heavier weight.

Photo of 48kg (106lb) Getup

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Double 32kg Kettlebell Setup

6 Stages of Kettlebell Training and Templates for Adding Kettlebell Training to Your Workouts

For people who are new to kettlebell training it can become confusing trying to determine where to put them into your normal workout routine.  Here are the stages I’ve gone through personally in my kettlebell journey and  a few simple templates to make your entrance into kettlebell training easier.

STAGE I: Use Kettlebells on your off days or different times of day from your normal training
This template is for individuals who are still learning how to perform kettlebell techniques. When learning kettlebell techniques for the first time practice either on your off days as a form of variety and active recovery or practice at a different time of day from your main workout.  At this point in your journey your focus should be on technique. You should treat your kettlebell training more like a lesson where you’re learning to dance with a new partner, instead of sparring session or a W.O.D. Continue reading



Part of what I do is teach people how to build strength, flexibility and work-capacity with kettlebells. Often I’ll have a prospective student who seeks to take a 30-minute to 1-hour private session and expects me to teach them how to perform about a dozen techniques and then send them on their merry way.  I’ve got news for them, it doesn’t work that way.

Kettlebell training and resistance training in general is very much like martial art training in the sense that it doesn’t matter how many techniques you know, what matters is understanding the principles that allow success, how wisely you choose the tools, techniques and tactics for the job, then how expertly you can put them to use.  Continue reading