70 episodes

Connecting with the top minds in strength to share stories, insights and experiences to help the world get stronger everyday!I'm Michael Kurkowski, strength coach, Kettlebell Instructor and everyday strength seeker for over 13 years. The world of strength is riddled with so much information and marketing that it can be downright impossible to know what is best for you. From reading, studying, and practicing over the years, I've found how impactful being strong is to everything we do in our lives. But the thing that helped me more than anything is connection.Connecting with others and hearing about their experiences, their stories in life has given me a better education and understanding of living a strong life than anything. After co-hosting the very popular Breakthrough Secrets Podcast, I created The Strength Connection to speak with the best of the best to help the audience live stronger, healthier and happier lives.Strength has different meanings for all of us, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. But being stronger and knowing how helps all of us. Enjoy the show!

The Strength Connection Michael Kurkowski

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

Connecting with the top minds in strength to share stories, insights and experiences to help the world get stronger everyday!I'm Michael Kurkowski, strength coach, Kettlebell Instructor and everyday strength seeker for over 13 years. The world of strength is riddled with so much information and marketing that it can be downright impossible to know what is best for you. From reading, studying, and practicing over the years, I've found how impactful being strong is to everything we do in our lives. But the thing that helped me more than anything is connection.Connecting with others and hearing about their experiences, their stories in life has given me a better education and understanding of living a strong life than anything. After co-hosting the very popular Breakthrough Secrets Podcast, I created The Strength Connection to speak with the best of the best to help the audience live stronger, healthier and happier lives.Strength has different meanings for all of us, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. But being stronger and knowing how helps all of us. Enjoy the show!

    #70 - Pavel Macek: Training for Strongfirst Sinister

    #70 - Pavel Macek: Training for Strongfirst Sinister

    In the 70th episode of The Strength Connection Podcast, Mike and our special guest, StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor, founder, and chief instructor at KB5 Gym, Pavel Macek, will talk about his training and achievement of sinister, combining kettlebell swings and getups, and more.


    Join us in this insightful and captivating talk! 
    In this chapter, you will discover: 


    (0:45) Introducing our special guest StrongFirst Certified Master Instructor, founder, and chief instructor at KB5 Gym, Pavel Macek @pavelmacekcom
    (1:05) The Breakthrough Secrets Podcast Ep #140 - Pavel Macek: Breathwork
    (1:25) Completing Sinister challenge
    (1:55) Training for Sinister
    (3:10) Martial arts training
    (4:40) Professional and personal struggle
    (5:30) What is Sinister?
    (6:05) Training after Simple
    (6:10) Solid: in between simple and sinister by Pavel Macek @pavelmacekcom
    (7:10) Shout out to Fabio Zonin @x_fab_69
    (7:25) Doing Solid
    (8:45) Change in training after Solid
    (9:55) From Solid to Sinister 
    (12:10) How Pavel was training himself
    (12:30) Using a dice roll for training
    (13:10) The secret to the success of Pavel’s program
    (14:45) Injuring MCL
    (17:05) Tooth inflammation and food poisoning
    (17:40) Doing snatches and bend presses
    (19:25) Don’t worry!
    (19:45) Going to the gym after surgery
    (20:40) Another example of resilience and determination
    (22:15) “What you've done before, if you can't do that doesn't mean that you can't do anything.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (22:20) Shout out to Brett Jones @brettjonessfg
    (22:50) “No fight ever happens the way that you think it's going to happen.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (23:05) “If life gives you obstacles then you need to find a way around.” - Pavel Macek @pavelmacekcom
    (23:10) If life gives you lemon…
    (23:40) New program?
    (24:25) What Simple & Sinister and injury 
    (25:10) Advantages of doing bend press for snatches 
    (26:10) Why do women have better results with get-ups
    (26:50) “If you move well, and you move often, you will move strong.” - Pavel Macek @pavelmacekcom
    (27:00) Why Pavel loves bend presses
    (27:30) Pavel’s next goal
    (28:50) Bend press world record
    (29:20) One setback while training for Sinister
    (29:40) Reducing training frequency and weight
    (30:20) Pavel’s experience with swings
    (30:40) Pavel’s experience with get-ups
    (31:35) The difficult thing about get-ups
    (32:45) Doing the test and failing
    (35:05) Shout out to Dan John @coachdanjohn
    (36:20) Enjoy the training!
    (37:50) Swings with heavier weights
    (38:30) Shout out to Chris Abbott Linkedin: Chris Abbott
    (39:20) Was the test date planned?
    (40:25) Testing positive for Covid
    (42:25) Repeat until strong!
    (42:30) Shout out to Pavel Tsatsouline @strongfirst
    (42:55) Reservation
    (43:50) Using breathing practices
    (44:55) “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (46:00) What motivates Pavel?
    (47:00) The turning point
    (47:30) 100% product of the system
    (50:20) Repeat Until Strong: a training log by Pavel Macek @pavelmacekcom
    (51:05) Why does Pavel keep a training log?
    (51:35) Improving squats
    (52:40) Training challenge on Pavel’s Instagram @pavelmacekcom
    (53:20) Kettlebell Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline @strongfirst
    (53:30) Shout out to Strong First
    https://www.strongfirst.com/ 
    (54:00) Timeless Simple: a foundational program
    Where to find Pavel Macek? @pavelmacekcom

    • 56 min
    #69 - Dani Almeyda: Women's Movement Collaborative

    #69 - Dani Almeyda: Women's Movement Collaborative

    In the 69th episode of The Strength Connection Podcast, Mike and our special guest, the Co-owner of Original Strength and The Founder of The Women's Movement Collaborative, Dani Almeyda will talk about The 3 Pillars of Original Strength, the importance of mobility, preventing injuries by rolling and if is Tim Anderson a weird guy?


    Join us in this insightful and captivating talk!

    In this chapter you will discover: 


    1:00 Mike introducing the Co-owner of Original Strength and The Founder of The Women's Movement Collaborative, Dani Almeyda @daninicolea
    1:10 Mike is a fan of original strength
    1:10 Remembering Tim Anderson @original_strength https://www.buzzsprout.com/1860981/10161505 
    1:30 Dani Almeyda’s Origin Story
    1:40 Before Original Strength was Original Strength
    2:10 Is Tim a weird guy?
    3:20 Tim was always open to share
    3:50 Pressing Reset by Tim Anderson @original_strength and Geoff Neupert @geoff.neupert https://www.amazon.com/Pressing-Reset-Original-Strength-Reloaded/dp/1624220290 
    5:40 Dani was trained by American Gladiator in High School
    6:00 Mike’s also a fan of the American Gladiators show
    7:55 “Movement is medicine” - Dani Almeyda
    8:45 Coaching vs Reacting
    9:40 The importance of Mobility
    10:20 How mobility impacted my body
    11:20 How crawling has leveled up my game
    11:40 FMS assessment
    12:10 Controlled hypermobility
    12:50 How original Strength was created
    13:30 “The kettlebell industry is always the student” - Dani Almeyda
    14:00 Shout out to Fabio Zonin @x_fab_69
    14:45 “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Da Vinci
    16:00 “When something is so simple, you don’t believe it will work until you try it” - Dani Almeyda
    16:40 Reset
    17:50 The power of breathing
    20:00 Preventing injuries by rolling
    21:00 Original Strength in the education system
    23:00 We are creating movement ambassadors
    23:50 COVID rehabilitative program by Johns Hopkins
    27:40 Everything I can look at, I do it from a very specific lens
    27:40 Original Strength's 3 Pillars: Diaphragmatic breathing, Engage the contralateral movement pattern, Stimulate the vestibular system
    28:50 Functional approach
    29:40 Corrective exercises
    30:10 Don’t only put yourself into one lane at a time
    31:00 The Women's Movement Collaborative
    31:30 A safe space where women can come and learn
    34:48 “We’re trying to improve life” - Michael Kurkowski
    36:25 “A lot of people aren’t trying something new” - Dani
    36:48 In the Women's Movement Collaborative we have everyone from an ultra runner to someone that did parkour
    37:00 We teach women how to ripe apples in a half 😀 
    37:55 Shout out to Brett Jones @brettjonessfg
    38:50 “We’re all in it to help people” - Dani Almeyda
    41:40 Dani dealt with cancer
    44:00 Dani having surgery and maintaining strength
    45:30 Dani tore her Achilles tendon
    46:55 Strength is the foundation
    48:45 The sun is gonna come up the next day no matter what
    49:00 Mastery is falling in love with the process
    49:20 “Just be present in your process in this very moment” - Dani Almeyda
    50:00 Where to reach out to Dani Almeyda @daninicolea

    • 50 min
    #68 - Kelli Calabrese: Divine Health

    #68 - Kelli Calabrese: Divine Health

    In the 68th episode of The Strength Connection Podcast, Mike and our special guest, World-Renowned Fitness Entrepreneur and Best Selling Author, Kelli Calabrese will talk about Kelli’s origins story, her personal drive, the pains and struggles that she went through in becoming who she is today, and more.


    Join us in this insightful and captivating talk!
    In this chapter you will discover: 


    (0:55) Introducing our special guest World Renowned Fitness Entrepreneur and Best Selling Author, Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (2:20) Kelli’s origin story
    (3:05) Manifesting her life into reality
    (3:35) Journaling since childhood
    (4:20) How manifesting works
    (4:55) Identity: example
    (5:45) “Your character really shapes your identity.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (6:10) Being a Do-er
    (6:30) About Kelli’s parents
    (7:30) Having a calculated risk-taker father
    (8:20) Teachings from Kelli’s parents' work ethics
    (9:30) Kelli has only been employed once
    (10:30) Being a certified trainer at the age of 17
    (10:50) Training high profile clients at a young age
    (12:25) Working with an old client
    (14:00) Exercise Science degree
    (14:25) Kelli’s son's graduation
    (15:00) What would Kelli study if she could go back?
    (15:25) “You need to weigh out what's the best use of your time for the value and the goals that you want to achieve.” - Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (15:35) “Information is so fluid.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (16:00) More about Kelli’s son: a collision athlete 
    (17:10) Divorce: a life event
    (17:45) Going on a healing journey
    (18:30) Creating a program to help people during the grief cycle
    (19:50) A forced sabbatical
    (20:05) PTSD from shock and denial
    (22:05) “Courage is really the tipping point between being a victim and living at the highest levels of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness.” - Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (23:00) “If you're choosing not to get back up, you're choosing to die.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (23:30) Different types of people in the grief cycle
    24:55) Shout out to Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (26:05) Repeating the same mistakes over and over again
    (27:15) Taking a deep dive
    (28:00) Identify your core value
    (28:35) “Doing an inventory of your weekdays and your weekends will give you some insights into who you are.” - Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (28:50) “The things that are fleeting and temporary if they were stripped away what's left, what's your authentic self?” - Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (29:00) Shout out to Carrie Campbell @carrie_campbell_wbffpro
    (29:50) Shout out to Brian Grasso
    (30:40) What do we really want?
    (31:25) Unconditional love: definition
    (32:55) How to figure out your identity?
    (35:30) Cycle or season
    (37:05) Daily gratitude journaling
    (38:25) Kelli’s morning routine
    (39:40) Celebrating your wins
    (40:05) Miracles and receiver page
    (41:05) Shout out to Richard Branson @richardbranson
    (41:40) Amazing things about being single
    (46:20) Champion each other!
    (47:00) About mentoring
    (47:25) Success habits of super achievers by Kelli Calabrese @kellicalabrese1
    (47:45) Shout out to Kyle Wilson @kylewilsonjimrohn
    (49:30) “It’s dark before dawn.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (49:55) Shout out to Nick Vujicic @nickvujicic
    (51:15) Kelli’s goal after a divorce
    (52:00) Creating a program for women
    (53:00) Shout out to Tim Almond
    (54:10) Where to find Kelli Calabrese? @kellicalabrese1

    • 55 min
    #67 - Tyler Wall: The School of Atypical Insights

    #67 - Tyler Wall: The School of Atypical Insights

    In the 67th episode of The Strength Podcast Mike and our special guest Coach and Mind Advisor at Contrast By Design, and Host of The School of Atypical Insights, Tyler Wall will talk about the importance of Shadow Work and understanding our dark side in order to grow into our full potential and strength.


    Join us in this insightful and captivating talk! 
    In this chapter you will discover: 


    (00:50) Introducing our special guest Coach and Mind Advisor at Contrast By Design, Host of The School of Atypical Insights, Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (1:55) Tyler’s new podcast: The school of Atypical Insights
    (2:15) Tyler’s first question to Mike @mike_strength_connection
    (2:55) Why Tyler chose this specific field
    (3:25) Working in the rehab
    (3:55) Pain lives in the brain
    (4:35) Taking inspiration from personal relationship challenges
    (5:15) Tyler’s driver in life
    (5:45) Summarizing why Tyler chose this field
    (6:40) “What's in the light isn't always what's necessarily the answer.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (7:45) Example of perceived pain
    (8:50) Distracting yourself from perceived pain
    (9:15) Studies about perceived back pain
    (9:40) Shout out to Dr. John Sarno
    (9:55) “Engaging your core” means nothing
    (11:40) “Unresolved emotions, unresolved feelings, or unresolved challenges in life tend to carry more weight.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (13:05) Focusing only on the positives: a cultural phenomenon
    (13:40) The duality within us
    (13:50) Focusing solely on the positives: a masculine trait
    (14:15) “What is humanity? A spectrum.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (14:50) “If we are only focusing on the positives there is no contrast. Life is definitely not as colorful.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (15:40) “It’s not about time. Balancing is really about energy.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (16:25) Journaling: a slow practice
    (18:15) “There is no right way to do journaling.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (18:55) How Tyler started journaling
    (19:20) “There are no errors in journaling, it’s just finding out.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (19:40) Reading old journals
    (22:10) Shout out to Naval Ravikant @naval
    (22:40) About meditation
    (25:40) Progress in meditation
    (26:40) “The only place we're ever living is in our heads.” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (28:15) Shout out to Kain Ramsay @kain.ramsay
    (29:00) Comfort in the familiarity
    (31:45) Tips for doing shadow work
    (32:40) “If you are constantly healing, what are you healing from?” - Tyler Wall @tylerjameswall
    (35:05) Journaling prompts
    (37:25) “When you believe something wholeheartedly, you identify with that.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (38:05) Tyler’s thoughts about beliefs
    (41:50) Layers of self-limiting beliefs
    (42:45) The reality of personality type systems
    (46:10) What else?
    (48:40) Where to find Tyler Wall? @tylerjameswall
    Podcast Link: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id1618776731?ign-itscg=30200&ign-itsct=lt_p 

    • 49 min
    #66 - Sam Portland: Speed Sportland

    #66 - Sam Portland: Speed Sportland

    In the 66th episode of The Strength Connection Podcast, Mike and our special guest, the Creator of Coach Sportland Sam Portland, will talk about Sam’s speed training breakdown, how they are conducted, how Sam mentors and trains other coaches, and more.


    Join us in this insightful and captivating talk! 
    In this chapter you will discover: 


    (1:05) Introducing our special guest the Creator of Coach Sportland, Sam Portland @coach_sportland
    (2:10) Sam’s mission statement
    (3:00) Shout out to Antonio Squillante @antonio_squillantecscs
    (3:40) Sam’s origin story
    (5:30) Shout out to James Smith @thethinkersmith
    (5:40) Sportland: a dream
    (6:50) Losing a brother
    (7:15) Player welfare issues
    (8:05) Shout out to Alex Gray @alexander_thegrayt
    (8:10) Being the first coach in the UK to work with an active NFL player
    (9:25) Sam’s experience with rugby
    (9:50) Sam’s problem with rugby
    (10:15) About Sam’s father
    (10:35) Learning how to train with weights
    (10:55) First experience with a deadlift bar
    (11:55) Starting speed training
    (13:15) How Sam got into speed training
    (14:15) What Sam learned from speed training
    (15:30) Reorientation
    (15:50) The most common mistake coaches made
    (16:40) Shout out to Dan John @coachdanjohn
    (17:50) “Ultimately being fast makes you strong.” - Sam Portland @coach_sportland
    (19:55) “You can do it one time, that’s great. But if you can go cold, warm up a little and be able to do it again, then you own that movement.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (20:45) Why strength coaches don’t understand speed training
    (22:00) “All you need to do is be able to take a fundamental training principle of progressive overload and apply.” Sam Portland @coach_sportland
    (22:25) Learn, load, and execute
    (24:35) Track and field
    (25:35) Sam’s speed training method
    (27:10) The results
    (28:50) The conjugate method
    (29:05) The reason for conjugate method’s popularity
    (31:00) Working with Alex @alexander_thegrayt
    (33:55) The goals while doing speed training
    (34:55) Finding a client’s top speed
    (37:20) Shout out to Odell Beckham @obj
    (37:45) The contextual side
    (39:25) Shout out to Denis Vasilev @denisvasilevkbsport
    (41:20) Why Sam started mentoring
    (42:30) “It's understanding the scale of which you qualify people through their cut you are coaching.” - Sam Portland @coach_sportland
    (44:10) Same system for everyone
    (47:30) “Natural ability sometimes blocks over-compensations.” - Michael Kurkowski @mike_strength_connection
    (48:15) Speed training analogy
    (49:55) Slow to smooth, smooth to fast
    (51:00) Shout out to Nick Winkleman @nickwinkelman
    (51:20) The progression manual
    (52:20) Sam’s speed group
    (54:00) Most coaches’ common struggle
    (55:40) The unhealthy standards of the fitness industry
    (56:25) Clarity
    (58:15) Emotional support and counseling
    (59:50) Shout out to Brian Grasso and Carrie Campbell @eliminateyourlimits
    (1:01:10) Empowering coaches
    (1:03:05) Not being friends until graduation
    (1:03:35) “The most noble pursuit of mastery is mastery of self.” - Sam Portland @coach_sportland
    (1:04:25) Sam’s first testimonial
    (1:06:35) Where to find Sam Portland? @coach_sportland https://coachsportland.co.uk/ 

    • 1 hr 7 min
    #65 - My SFL Experience: 12 Years In The Making

    #65 - My SFL Experience: 12 Years In The Making

    In this super special episode Mike will be sharing his experiences and his best golden nuggets from the StrongFirst Lifter Certification in Chicago, if you want to feel motivated and full of hope, you don’t want to miss this episode :)


    (0:20) Michael introduces this solo podcast
    (0:30) Thank you so much fans! :)
    (1:00) StrongFirst Lifter Certification in Chicago
    (1:30) 12 years in the making
    (1:50) Such a special weekend
    (2:20) The transitions in Michael’s career
    (3:10) 3 key points from the StrongFirst Lifter Certification
    (3:20) Michael loves the RKC system
    (4:10) This is not the end, this is just the beginning
    (4:40) Now is time to learn
    (4:50) “Not only practice your art but force your way into its secrets” - Beethoven
    (5:00) The pursuit of mastery
    (6:00) COVID changed a few things
    (6:30) I learned in these 3 days more than I learned in any other certification
    (7:00) I’m a unicorn… 
    (7:30) 1) Get out of your own element (get uncomfortable)
    (8:10) Shout out to Fabio Zonin @x_fab_69, Analisa Naldi @italiannna
    (8:20) Challenge yourself with different tools
    (9:10) 2) Invest in the best
    (9:25) “Your network is your net worth”
    (9:40) “Surround yourself with people who make you feel great while simultaneously push you beyond your limits”
    (10.30) They need to make you feel great, but they also need to challenge you
    (10:50) Putting your money where your mouth is
    (11:30) Go ahead and invest in coaching
    (12:20) Expose yourself to great people
    (12:40) No ego allowed, this is all about growth
    (13:20) Analisa and Fabio teaching
    (14:00) Analisa Naldi and her good heart
    (14:50) Borrow energy from great people
    (15:10) 3) Pursue mastery rather than progress
    (15:50) “You never graduate from mastery” 
    (18:20) Shout out to Brett Jones 
    (18:50) StrongFirst is an amazing community

    (20:00) Shout out to Fabio Zonin @x_fab_69, Analisa Naldi @italiannna, Inkyoo Yoo Facebook: 유인규 (Inkyoo Yoo), Sam Gonzalez@ffc_chicago, and Andrew Feltovich Youtube: FeltovichFit

    (21:30) To my coach and my great mentor Brett Jones @brettjonessfg
    (21:50) To all the fans of the podcast :) THANK YOU!

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

louog88 ,

Strength is a knowledge based skill

This show has so many great minds from the strength world that i know and love, and even more hidden gems that i now know. Hearing other’s stories is not only motivational, but spurs me on my path to knowledge as well. Amazing show!

lonnybob ,

Thank You

Thank You Michael for another great PodCast! The amount of knowledge, experience and wisdom that you and your guests’ share is greatly appreciated. Definitely my go to stop on fitness, nutrition and overall wellness. Thanks again.
Cheers

Djteach1981 ,

Content great!

You can hear the excitement and passion in Michael’s voice when you hear him talk to some of the top people in the business!!! Looking forward to new podcasts!

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