BJ Bliffert on Kettlebell Training, Coaching and Sport

BJ Bliffert is the founder of Full Throttle Athletics and the North Texas Kettlebell Club where he helps busy people live a “high performance lifestyle” without the use of dangerous workouts or fad diets.

Over the last 20 years he’s been fortunate to help thousands of busy people get into the best shape of their lives. And BJ is no stranger to being busy – he’s not only a business owner but a father and husband as well. He Co-Authored the International Best Seller “Total Body Breakthroughs”, and has earned a feature in USA Today for being a World Fitness Elite Trainer of the Year.

BJ’s has competed internationally in the sport of kettlebell lifting, not only competing multiple times in Russia but, twice earning a spot on TEAM USA in 2015 & 2016 competing in Hamburg, Germany and Dublin, Ireland at the IUKL World Championships.

In this show, BJ and I talk about how getting dominated by a 16 kilo kettlebell sparked his interest in kettlebell training, his favorite coaching cues for the kettlebell swing and clean, and what it’s really like to compete in kettlebell sport.

While this show is a bit different than some of the other ones, I think it’s really unique and BJ has a ton of knowledge when it comes to kettlebell training and coaching.

Show Outline

Here’s a brief overview of what we covered in this week’s show:

  • MR Monologue: Understanding the Light and Dark Side of the Force (and a tease for next week…)
  • How BJ got started in the world of physical preparation (and how getting dominated by a 16kg ‘bell sparked his interest in kettlebell training)
  • The differences between the standard kettlebell courses and kettlebell sport
  • A primer on kettlebell sport: The events you perform, and how to train for them
  • How to keep your hands from getting shredded while training with the ‘bells
  • The kettlebell lifts he has his clients and athletes start with, and how to cue them
  • BJ’s “one piece of advice” for someone who wants to improve their coaching of kettlebell lifts and training
  • The BIG Question
  • A really fun lightning round where we talk about his trips to Russia, the most impactful book(s) he’s read in the past year, how he earned the nickname “Flex,” and the big project he wants to get rolling on.
  • Call to Action: Please subscribe to the show and download your episodes!

Related Links


Connect with BJ

Books Mentioned

Video Clips

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Leave Comment

  1. Hey Mike,

    I saw this KB hold recently on Mark Twight’s site for Gym Jones.
    Please explain to me how loading the spine with hyperlordosis can be a good thing.
    Reposting here in the comments as I think I sent this request to your email! Doh and oops.

    • Hi Toni,

      In the overhead position the bells are stacked through the arm bones, the trunk and the hips. The thorax projects forward and hips back to achieve this position. It’s similar to what occurs in Olympic lifting, but because this is not a barbell but 2 separate weights which hang beyond the lifter’s hands, the body must project thorax forward and hips back to “stack” the weight over the bones. Then resting Rack position the bells are loaded over the hips with the thoracic spine’s curve accentuated to make room. The lifter is not loading the spine in hyperlordosis. What appears to be hyperlordosis is the result of a full-body position in order to get the bones placed under the bells. It is also not detrimental to the kifter’s spine.

      3-time World Champion
      Lorna Kleidman

    • Toni –

      I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a “good thing” – but it is relevant to their sport. Similar examples would be the extended spinal flexion in cycling, the flexion/extension that occurs in powerlifting, etc.

      Again, it may not be “helpful” – but it does improve performance.


  2. Hi Mike,

    I really enjoyed your balanced introduction and the podcast. As someone that works as a strength and conditioning coach and KB sport coach we utilise both styles. Like with anything it’s always context specific. I’ve been involved in kettlebell research for the last 5 years, one of the articles I was involved in looked at the EMG of the different styles swings. I feel it kind of nicely summed up the different styles – hardstyle is more effective, whilst kettlebell sport style is more efficient. Here a link to the paper –

    Also, if you’re interested in
    those additional moments of rest during the snatch that BJ mentioned, I attempted to quantify this in this paper ( ). In it I look at the forces during the different phases of the trajectory during the kettlebell snatch. Normally I don’t spam people, but I thought you or your listeners might be interested in this research. Basically, I’m just keen to get as many people to read my research that might be interested is possible as a lot of effort goes into it.

    Kind regards,

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