Charleston’s School of Strength


Charleston Kettlebell Club is The best place in Charleston to learn proper technique for Hardstyle Russian Kettlebells, Barbell lifts, and Bodyweight techniques for Strength, Performance and Resilience. We believe ‘Strength is a Skill’ and practice movement quality before quantity.

We provide our students with instruction designed to promote real world strength and conditioning utilizing kettlebells, barbells, and bodyweight exercises. We offer personalized one-on-one training and group classes. Our mission is to help you become stronger both physically and mentally!


Instructor Certification


Previously known as Progressive Fitness, Mike Fickling and Brett Bracken have been personal training for the past 10 years. They are excited to bring Charleston their modern take on an old-school approach to strength training.

Each one of Charleston Kettlebell Club’s team of trainers brings a unique background and perspective to their work and therefore have specialized expertise. We strive to match the best trainer to the client based on goals and needs. While all of the team are C.H.E.K Institute Trained Professionals, we encourage each team member to follow their passions with all types of continuing education and personal growth from Olympic and Power Lifting to Yoga training to StrongFirst and RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) Certifications. We practice what we preach.

We are very proud to be StrongFirst Instructors.  Founded by Pavel Tsatsouline, father of the modern Kettlebell Revolution, StrongFirst is a school of strength.   StrongFirst is one of the few certifications our there that require their instructors not only be able to pass a written test, but also demonstrate rigorously tested exercise technique, prove their teaching skills and pass a strength test.  Needless to say, one must prepare for this education!  We must be able to “walk the walk” to be StrongFirst.  In addition to being certified with StrongFirst, we were also chosen to assistant instruct at other StrongFirst SFG 1 Certifications and Kettlebell User Courses, both of which expose us to the best of the best.  Read more here.


Our StrongFirst Certifications


SFG1 held by Mike Fickling & Brett Bracken

SFG stands for StrongFirst Girya.  Girya is the Russian word for Kettlebell.  This certification is the entry level to other StrongFirst certifications but is by no means easy.  Considered the highest standards in the industry, it is a three day test designed and refined by Pavel, to insure that you can successfully teach the “big 6” lifts for Russian Kettlebells safely and effectively.  These lifts are the Swing, Get Up, Double Clean, Press, Double Front Squat and Snatch. Read more here.

SFB held by Mike Fickling

SFB stands for StrongFirst Bodyweight.  This certification presents Pavel’s bodyweight principals and its instructors learn techniques to instruct students to get a powerlifting-quality practice anywhere, anytime.  It is a fundamental distillation of the principals of StrongFirst.  Read more here.

SFG2 held by Brett Bracken

StrongFirst Girya 2 is the next level of Kettlebell training.  Instructors learn to perform and teach some of the most extreme drills that round out all serious kettlebell practice.  An SFG2 has to not only demonstrate all level 1 skills and strength but pass the skills test for the Windmill, Bentpress, Double Push Press and Double Jerk and a Clean and Overhead Press strength test relative to their bodyweight.  Learn more here.

SFL held by Mike Fickling & Brett Bracken
SFL stand for StrongFirst Lift and is the essential barbell certification as developed and refined by Pavel and Dr. Michael Hartle.  It focuses on the three timeless powerlifts:  Deadlift, Squat and Benchpress as well as their accessory movements.  This is a principal-based barbell system designed to get you strong!  Like all StrongFirst certifications, SFL certified coaches meet the highest standards in strength, movement skills and coaching.  Read more  here.