Michael Ranfone BS, CSCS, LMT, FRC, ART is the founder and president of Ranfone Training Systems located in Hamden, Connecticut. For the past decade he’s dedicated himself to improving athletes as a performance coach and manual therapist.
Mike graduated Cum Laude from Union College with degrees in Economics and Psychology—earning recognition in the National Honor Society of each discipline. While at Union, Mike excelled on the football field—he was a four-year letter winner, three-year all-league and all-league academic starter. He served as a captain during his senior campaign. His football career culminated in several tryouts for Arena and Canadian Football League teams.
He started his professional career at Yale—serving as the Strength and Conditioning coordinator for more than 500 Division I athletes. In 2005 he returned to school and incorporated Ranfone Training Systems. Since then, he’s coached and treated thousands of athletes—while also consulting with professional and collegiate sports teams.
Mike’s given performance enhancement lectures at private venues and universities across the United States—focusing on strength and movement improvement. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) as recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a Licensed Massage Therapist in Connecticut, a Level 2 Functional Movement Specialist, as well as the only Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist and Functional Range Release practitioner in Connecticut and is a certified practitioner in Active Release Therapy (ART) among other specialized techniques.
This week's guest is Dr. Carlo Varalda. Dr. Varalda is the Executive Director of NSCA Italy. He has worked with the Italian Rowing Federation and currently is working with the Italian Short Track Team in preparation for the Winter Olympics. His work focuses on research for the improvement of performance and methods for the assessment of athletes. He evaluates muscle, posture, and function. Dr. Varalda is convinced that there is still a lot to do in the sport and, more generally, in the movement for all age groups.
This week's podcast features two return guests: Dr. Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll.
Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a professor emeritus of the University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance.
Brian Carroll is world class powerlifter with over a decade of elite class lifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, Brian returned to world class form and was able to establish a new world record for the squat at 1185 pounds all after his back injury.
This interview tells the story of Brian’s injury and his journey back to health and elite performance with the help of Dr. McGill.
Here are 3 things you will learn from this interview:
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Gift of Injury you can find it on Amazon.com, Powerrackstrength.com and BackFitPro.com and I will also include those links in the show notes.
Brian and Dr. McGill
In this week's podcast episode I had the pleasure to sit down with Alex Wolf, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for English Institute of Sport.
Alex Wolf is the Head of Strength and Conditioning for the English Institute of Sport where he leads a team of 60 plus Strength and Conditioning Coaches working with the majority of Olympic and Paralympic sports for Team GB. Alex spent almost six years working with GB Rowing including the preparation for London 2012 where the GB Rowing Team topped the medal table with their best ever medal haul. Alex has spent over a decade working in elite and high performance sports working across Olympic, Paralympic and Professional sports in the UK and abroad. Alex is currently completing his PhD around neuromuscular physiology and biomechanics out of the Biodynamics Laboratories at Imperial College, London.
In addition, he is the co-author of the book "Training the Complete Rower" along with Coach Paul Thompson. This interview is a fantastic look into the training principles executed by one of the most successful rowing teams in the world. Alex discusses the strategies and principles of the book as well as the key lessons he learned that he feels are invaluable to rowers.
This week's podcast guest is my friend and Women's Head Rowing Coach of Old Dominion University, Dan Garbutt. Dan and I are both South Jersey natives so it was a ton of fun for me to sit down and reconnect with him.
Dan Garbutt is a 2001 graduate of Princeton University. He began his collegiate career in 1998, winning the Freshman Award and being named a member of the United States National Team, while the Tigers captured the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship. He went on to earn three varsity letters in men's heavyweight crew as Princeton won three Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) Championships (1998, 1999, 2001). As a senior in 2001 he received All-Ivy League and All-American honors.
Dan has been the Head Coach of Old Dominion Rowing for the past six years and has led the program to new heights and success. Some of his accomplishments include:
This week's podcast guest is Dr. Craig Marker. Dr. Craig Marker is an associate professor, Chair and Program Director of Clinical Medical Psychology at Mercer University. He is also the Chief Operating Officer and Team Leader with StrongFirst.
Craig is a fitness enthusiast who has spent his life trying to help people improve their lives. As a professor, he works with students on how best to understand research and place it into context. He has published over fifty articles, chapters, and textbooks on psychology and research methods.
As a researcher, he understands the cutting edge of strength, sports performance, body composition, and nutrition. As a psychologist, he has focused on research and treatment of anxiety disorders, which positions him to understand motivation and the fear of making life changes.
Craig’s upcoming book, the AntiFragile Self, takes on the topic of building a stronger person in the mental and physical domains.
As a certified StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor, Craig views kettlebells as one tool in the trade of forging a better person. He uses the Functional Movement Screen and multiple corrective movements to make sure his students are performing at their best for the rest of their lives.
In this week's podcast interview my good friend Allan Phillips takes over the reins as guest host of the LEO Training Podcast to interview me.
I share my journey and preparation for the StrongFirst Level II Kettlebell Certification that I attended in King of Prussia, PA on September 23-24, 2017. You will learn what specific training protocols I utilized to prepare for the certification. In addition to my preparation I also recorded a short 15-20 minute recap of my experience with my good friend Dr. Matt Rice. Matt and I attended the SFG II together and provided a breakdown of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the weekend with an improptu interview we conducted in the hotel room.
Here are 3 Key Takeaways you will learn:
In Episode 094 I sit down with Kevin Rail, an expert in physical education culture based out of Utah. He specializes in functional training, core training, three-dimensional movement, motivation and Restorative Arts. He has a B.S. in Sport Management/Fitness &Wellness, and is certified through ACSM, NASM and ACE. Kevin is a fitness coach featured in the upcoming documentary film The Motivation Factor by Doug Orchard Films.
Restorative Arts involves the use of classical training tools like Indian clubs, wands, meels and maces. All the movements are based off of circles, spirals and figure-eights. Kevin instructs on how to do these patterns and integrate the tools into your daily practice. Not only are they good for posture, flexibility, and injury correction and prevention, but they also help improve brain function.
Kevin and I cover some very though provoking topics from both a training perspective as well as a historical perspective. Here is what you will learn.
My guests for Episode 093 of the LEO Training Podcast are Charles Bustos, SFGII and Master SFG Zar Horton.Charles is a husband, father of 2 boys and a firefighter/paramedic with the Albuquerque Fire Department. Charles served 6 years of active duty service in the Air Force. Zar Horton, the founder of FIREBELLZ, is a 28 year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department currently serving as a Battalion Chief. He currently holds position of Master Kettlebell Instructor with STRONGFIRST. He has instructed across the United States and internationally.
Charles and Zar were gracious enough to make time for a dual interview and share their experiences as full time firefighters. Together, they have over 40 years of experience and share their thoughts and expertise on training various law enforcement and tactical operatives.
Dr. Greg Rose is a Co-Founder of the Titleist Performance Institute (MyTPI) and Functional Movement Systems.
Greg is a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic and holds an engineering degree from the University of Maryland. Greg specializes in assessing and treating golfers, 3-dimensional biomechanics, strength and conditioning, manual therapy, rehabilitation, nutritional supplementation and therapeutic exercises.
Combining an engineering background with an expertise on the human body, Greg helped pioneer the field of analyzing 3-dimensional motion capture models of the golf swing. That research has helped golf professionals all over the world gain a better understanding of how the body works during the golf swing.
Through the past 17 years, Greg has helped thousands of golfers of all skill levels reach peak athletic performance. His cutting edge yet research-based form of functional training combined with golf-specific motor learning drills have made Greg one of golf’s top strength and conditioning professionals. Greg also helped develop the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), a revolutionary movement assessment that helps identify altered motor control and guides medical practitioners on how to treat patients more efficiently.
Greg frequently appears on the Golf Channel. The TPI certification seminar series has made Greg one of the most requested speakers in golf health and fitness. He has lectured in over 21 countries and has been featured in many golf and news publications.
Brandon Hetzler is a Certified Athletic Trainer who serves as the Manager for Mercy Sports Medicine in Springfield, Missouri, where he oversees the Sports Medicine program as well as the Sports Performance program. He helped to develop the curriculum for and teaches in the Masters of Athletic Training degree at Missouri State University. He is a StrongFirst Senior Instructor, SFG II, SFB, and SFL and holds several additional credentials in multiple training disciplines.
Brandon is the co-creator of Movement Restoration, LLC and the Athletic Development Institute, LLC. He has written a book titled Movement Restoration, which proves anyone with enough free time and persistence can write a book. He teaches several workshops every year and when he is not traveling to teach, he spends his time trying to keep his wife, son, and dog in line and going strong.
My guest this week is Brad Kearns noted speaker, author and coach in the health & fitness world for over two decades. During his nine-year career as a triathlete, he was one of the world's top ranked professionals, amassing 30 wins worldwide on the pro circuit. Career highlights include a remarkable streak of seven victories in a row, a world duathlon series championship, and two national triathlon championships and a #3 world ranking in 1991. Brad is the last American professional male in to place in the top-5 in the ITU World Championships (1992) and still holds the Hawaii Ironman 24&under age division American record at 8:57 (1989).
Brad currently works with health&fitness expert Mark Sisson on a comprehensive lifestyle movement called the Primal Blueprint. He is the President of Primal Blueprint Publishing, helped develop the Primal Health Coach certification program, has delivered nearly 30 Primal lifestyle seminars across the USA, and organized and presented at nine "PrimalCon" health and fitness retreats around the world from 2010-2014. He and Mark authored the 2016 release, Primal Endurance, a comprehensive guidebook on how to escape the carbohydrate-dependent, overly stressful conventional approach to training in favor of a healthier, stress-balanced, fat-adapted primal approach.
Andrea U-Shi Chang, Master SFG Instructor, FMS Instructor, Ground Force Method Global Instructor, Z-Health Movement Coach, and advisory board member for R2P (Rehab 2 Performance), has specialized in movement training and kettlebell coaching since 2005.
In 2009 Andrea opened the Pacific Northwest’s first kettlebell gym—Kettlebility —her Russian Kettlebell Instruction and Elite Performance Coaching studio in Seattle. A successful high school and college athlete, Andrea had stayed active after college (she thought), playing competitive soccer and tennis and 'working out.' But she weighed in at 195 pounds and 34% body fat. Technically obese, she realized something had to change. After a childhood friend introduced Andrea to kettlebells she was amazed. Not only was kettlebell training fun and challenging, it was melting off the fat and giving her back her fit athlete body. In just five months, Andrea lost more than 45 pounds. Better yet, she went from 34% to 18% body fat and gained lean muscle mass. Hard style kettlebells had literally changed her life.
Andrea has been featured in Oprah Magazine and local broadcast and print media. She has worked as a technical advisor on several training and fitness books and edited and co-authored the Ground Force Movement Instructor manual. In 2016 the Seattle Seahawks hired Andrea to set up their Functional Movement Systems (FMS) screening program for players. An early member of the instructor staff of kettlebell pioneer Pavel Tsatsouline, Andrea became editor of Pavel’s online newsletter and authored several articles in StrongFirst and Dragon Door.On a never-ending quest to follow her passion and learn more about strength and movement, Andrea continues to study to refine her knowledge and become a more effective coach. Andrea travels globally as a certification instructor for StrongFirst, Ground Force Method, and FMS. She holds specialty workshops, instructor certifications and group classes and provides personal training for elite athletes and people from all walks of life at her studio, Kettlebility.
Jim is a lifelong innovator who has always been one of those people who thinks differently. He believes balance training has sharpened his ability to make new neural connections and see the possibilities and pathways that others miss.
Originally Jim was looking for a way to maintain his own athletic performance well into his 90s. But the Slackbow Balance Training System he developed turned out to be a key to whole body and mind fitness that was even more revolutionary than he could have imagined.
He is eager to spread his knowledge, techniques and tools far and wide to help seekers like him tune their brains to perform better in work and sports, sleep better, look younger and live longer.
Hector is the owner and head instructor of Hardstyle KBJJ in Corpus Christi, TX.
Hector discovered his passion for strength training and overall conditioning in 2000 at Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Now Presa BJJ) under mentor Aurelio Gallegos Jr. Advancing through his training, Hector became an assistant instructor in 2003.
While instructing students in a variety of techniques, Hector realized the importance of human movement, proper biomechanics, balance, strength, mobility, stability, and endurance.
Inspired, he pursued education in Hatha Yoga, becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). In 2009, through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (N.A.S.M), he became a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).
Hector then began a search for a training technique/tool that would enable him to evolve athletically. He found his answer after a Jiu-Jitsu seminar with black belt Tyrone Glover at Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Hector asked Tyrone, "What are you doing for your strength and conditioning? You have the strength of a 200-pounder but only weigh 165 pounds!"
The answer was Kettlebells. Taking up this new discipline, Hector immersed himself in Russian Kettlebell training. Looking to maximize his potential, he turned to the expertise found at the elite level of the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) now StrongFirst.
After 10 intense (and challenging) years, incorporating the Russian Kettlebell into his Jiu-Jitsu training, Hector earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt August 22, 2011 from Ricardo (Franjinha) Miller and Aurelio Gallegos Jr..
In 2011, he established the first and only movement based kettlebell / Jiu-Jitsu school in the world.
Hardstyle (Kettlebells / Jiu Jitsu) KBJJ!
Joel Proskewitz is an internationally acclaimed strength coach and health and fitness expert. His unique approach focuses on effective, tailored training and rehabilitation programs that achieve results that really last.
With an excess of 30,000 hours of training, Joel has worked with a wide range of clients including Olympic medalists, business executives, rehabilitation patients and families keen to improve their long-term fitness.
After becoming a national champion in two of the most demanding sports, Karate and Bodybuilding, Joel has spent the last 23 years working as a personal trainer, continuously developing his skills in training and rehabilitation.
Joel works with Professor Stuart McGill (head of spinal biomechanics – University of Waterloo, Canada) in the rehabilitation of lower back pathologies. He also an assistant instructor for Prof. McGill on the McGill clinical courses and a lead instructor for the McGill Trainer courses.
Joel has been a presenter at high profile health and fitness conferences such as the Discovery Fitness Convention and the South African High Performance Institute, giving advice on topics including strength training for women, Olympic lifting for sports performance and practical nutrition for fat loss. He has also featured in leading publications, such as Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health.
We’re back with Episode 084 of the LEO Training Podcast. I am pleased to have Dr. Stuart McGill back on the show as a return guest. His first interview, LT 012 | Dr. Stuart McGill - Spine Hygiene for Rowers. has been one of my most popular episodes to date. Today’s interview will focus on one topic into which Dr. McGill and I will diver very deep into: enhancing athleticism in rowers - simply put what can we do to improve performance.
Dr. Stuart McGill is a retired Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Dr. McGill is the author of over 400 scientific publications and 3 textbooks that address issues such as, lumbar spine function and injury mechanisms, patient assessment, corrective exercise prescription, and performance training. Dr. McGill consults for many medical management groups, governments, corporations, legal firms, and elite sports teams and athletes from around the world and has won numerous awards, including the Volvo Bioengineering Award for Low Back Pain Research. Dr. McGill is one of the few scientists who are regularly referred challenging patients for consult from around the world.
Here’s what you will learn in this episode:
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My guest this week for Episode 083 of the LEO Training Podcast is Kettlebell Sport World Champion, Valerie Pawlowski. This is a fantastic interview chronicling her journey between both hardstyle and girevoy sport and her path to eventually becoming a gold medalist on the world's stage.
Valerie Pawlowski earned her B.A. degree in Communications from William Paterson University, Paterson.
Valerie is a NESTA Certified Adventure Boot Camp Instructor. She is certified as a Medical Exercise Specialist by AAHFP, and as a Personal Trainer through ACE and AFAA. Valerie is also a Nutrition Specialist with Lifestyle Management Associates and Certified in Pilates and Flexibility Training.
With more than 18 years of experience and expertise, presently the Owner of The Body Barn, Co Owner of Punch Kettlebell Gym, Far Hills and Art Of Strength Training Center, Warren Valerie is dedicated to inspiring others to pursue and achieve their goals for a more healthy and improved lifestyle.
Additionally, Valerie is personally involved in many diverse activities ranging from Triathlons, Adventure Racing and Mountain Biking to placing first in 1998 in the New Jersey Natural Bodybuilding Championship. These achievements not only satisfy her drive for success but also serve as an example for others to “believe it and achieve it”. Helping others to build confidence in their own abilities, and exceeding their own expectations is her ultimate goal!
In Episode 082 of the LEO Training Podcast, I sit down with my guest, Tony Cowden to discuss two of my favorite subjects: strength and endurance.
Tony has 21 years in the Special Operations community, serving over 8 years and 26 deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Central Asian and Africa countries. He began training for and competing in triathlons in 1998 and in 2005 in functional fitness competitions. He got his Level 1 CrossFit® Certification in 2006. He affiliated CrossFit Wilmington in 2007. He qualified for the 2012 Games., is a USAW Masters Weightlifting Champion in both the 94kg and the 105kg divisions. He is a successful triathlete, completing more than 50 races, including Iron Distance races.
Tony coached his first athlete to The CrossFit Games in 2009, and has since sent 16 more, including teams and masters athletes. He has sent 28 athletes to The Games Regional competitions, and developed Powerlifters, Strongman Competitors, triathletes, Ultra Endurance athletes and Military personnel.
In recent years, Tony has helped lead the way in developing hybrid endurance and strength athletes, especially within the military. His END|Strength™ Programming develops high levels of endurance and strength simultaneously and has become the go to of the US military special operations personnel as well as athletes looking for new challenges.
Proving his END|Strength methods, he completed the Beach 2 Battleship Half IronMan Triathlon in 6 hours and the following day Squatted 505lbs and Deadlifted 565lbs.
On April 9th, 2016 Tony squatted 600lbs, Deadlifted 600lbs and ran a sub-six minute mile (5:41), making him one of the very few who have completed The 666 Challenge… the only man over 40 years old to.
Tony’s most recent accomplishment is completing the first annual 106º West Triathlon in Dillon, CO. At 10,000 plus ft, the 106 West is the highest elevation half iron distance triathlon in the World. With early morning temps at just over freezing, gusting winds, water temp of 50 degrees, and the steep climbs you would expect of the Colorado Rockies, the 106 is one of the most challenging. Further proving the END|Strength methods, two days after the race, Tony squatted 505lbs and Deadlifted 505lbs for 6 reps.
In Episode 081 of the LEO Training Podcast I sit down and interview Danny Clark. Danny has an incredible background as an athlete and coach.
He is a Beast Tamer with StrongFirst and is currently acting as the Performance Director for MovNat. In addition, he also owns a gym, Rebar Fitness, a scientifically based, strength and conditioning personal training practice. He is a world-class athlete, a scholar in evolutionary biology and archaeology, and has extensive knowledge of exercise science and S&C programming. His unique skill set and expertise enables him to develop thorough and highly informed MovNat movement progressions and performance programming standards, as well as class profiles for MovNat Gym and Class Licensees.
Throughout his youth Danny was recognized for his exceptional athletic talents. His training in wrestling and judo earned him a Division 1 scholarship to the University of Virginia. An injury abruptly ended his wrestling career, but fortunately instigated a transition into Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA training. He would go on to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the UWW World Grappling Championships in Krakow, Poland in 2012. All along Danny has immersed himself in many alternative arts, such as yoga and kettlebell training, in an effort to correct some of the imbalances and wear his body had accumulated from years of heavy physical stress. But nothing had a more profound or long-lasting effect than training first-hand with Erwan Le Corre. He learned that MovNat could heal years of abuse, neglect, and over-specialization.
After he and his wife, Abby, received their Level II Certifications they immediately started implementing the MovNat method into their coaching and classes and saw great results. Natural Movement® provided a solid movement, skill, and physical foundation for everyone while fixing many glaring issues of the fitness industry in the process. Danny went on to complete his level III certification and is now a MovNat Master Instructor.
Danny is grateful to help bring Natural Movement to the masses and affirms with confidence that MovNat “is certain to become the most complete and effective fitness system the world will ever know.”
My guest this week is Jeff O' Connor. Jeff is a former Master RKC, veteran of the United States Navy, and a career firefighter. In addition, he is a two time winner of Oklahoma's Strongest Man and 2001 Winner of the North America's Strongest Man, 275 lb Division (NASS).
Jeff has devoted much of his time to the development of children and adolescents. He places a strong emphasis on movement. Jeff believes that teaching the skills of strength, coordination, mobility, agility, and flexibility at the proper stages of development is the foundation for athletic performance at the highest levels.
This past week Jeff and Senior SFG, Brandon Hetzler released a brand new work "The New Language of Movement Vol 1: The Push/Pull Strategy". It's available for free through iTunes and can be read in iBooks. Be sure to check it out!
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LT 079 | Dani Almeyda - Original Strength
My guest for Episode 079 of the LEO Training Podcast is Dani Almeyda, co-owner of Original Strength.
Dani has worked in the health and fitness industry for the last 10 years. Throughout her whole life, health and wellness have had a major influence on Dani. Whether it was from her experience as collegiate athlete, as a Director of Campus Recreation, or as a Fitness Professional, her experiences and formal education have provided her with the tools necessary to be successful.
Dani is a co-owner of a private training studio in North Carolina, OPT Fitness, and has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. She brings an abundance of energy, passion, and an incredible drive to help the world regain it’s Original Strength. Almeyda, a mother of two, is also working on a developing a program specifically for mom’s.
It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!
This week my guest is Joe Daniels from Swing This Kettlebell & Strength. Joe was a former bodybuilder who moved into kettlebell sport and not only competes but also owns a facility in Kentucky focusing on competition kettlebell training, improving movement. He also owns a flotation tank that helps to aid in recovery and promote better tissues quality.
This interview is focused on three main topics: