"I Achieved S & S Simple! Here's My Story"

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Steve Freides, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    @North : Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on reaching Simple :)
    Steve Freides likes this.
  2. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    I'm 40 years old, my height is 6' and my current weight is 208lbs. Many years ago, I had practiced with kettlebells after reading and watching Enter the Kettlebell. I did the Program Minimum for a while with my 16kg but I wasn't very disciplined and quickly switched to barbell lifting. I had the tendency of getting bored with a routine and switching to something different without giving the current program a proper chance to help me. So I went from kettlebells, to calisthenics, to barbells and sometimes to not even working out. So as you can guess, my health, weight and strength fluctuated throughout the years.

    After not working out for about 2 years, I had reached a weight of 235lbs. I wasn't feeling good about myself. So I started to workout again (mainly chin-ups, push-ups and 16kg GS snatches) and remembered being told that 80% of my success would come from a healthy diet. So I started to eat smarter. I drank a lot of water and tried to cut back my unhealthy cravings. That got me to 228lbs.

    Then in June 2018, a group of friends and I challenged each other to reach a health goal by September 2018. My personal goal was to reach 210lbs, while gaining strength. While I had reached 210lbs once in the past, it was through dieting and looking like a weakling. So I was determined to do it the right way. I figured I had 12 weeks to loose 18lbs which is 1.5lbs per week. So I had to decide how I would approach this goal: loose weight and gain strength. I immediately decided I would use kettlebells as my primary tool (my friends were curious to see how I would turn out). Then I listened to Pavel's Simple & Sinister several times. Once I was ready, I ordered a set of kettlebells (16kg, 24kg and 32kg). In the meantime, I borrowed my brother's 16kg kettlebell and started doing the Simple & Sinister program daily (along with some snatches, push-ups, chin-ups and presses sprinkled on top). Now because I know myself and how easily I can get distracted with new shiny programs or how I could easily "take a break" from working out, I forced myself to log in our group chat every time I completed a training session. This helped a lot because if I didn't do the program on a particular day, all my friends would know.

    But then I ran into a obstacle. My brother needed his 16kg kettlebell back and I had only received my 24kg from the set I ordered (the 16kg and 32kg were on back-order). So I thought, "How am I going to do my get-ups if I can barely do one with a 24kg?". So I decided to apply the strength training principles I had learned from Pavel and others to my TGUs. I would slowly do a get-up on each side, then rest 5 min... then do another rep. I would slowly reduce the rest time as my body responded to the new load. Eventually I was able to do them within 10min. Then my 32kg kettlebell arrived and I started to slowly introduce this juggernaut into my training.

    Fast forward to the 60th day of my daily training and I tested myself to see if I could reach the "simple" goal with the 32kg kettlebell. Doing the swings was difficult but the TGUs was going to be my biggest challenge since doing 10 in 10 min requires very little rest between reps. But when I finished my last rep and saw 9:45... I was so proud of myself! :D I was not only proud that I reached this goal but that I had stuck to the program. It's funny because now on my light days I use the 24kg kettlebell and it feels so light... yet 60 days ago they felt so difficult to lift.

    Currently I'm on my 74th day of daily training without a single off day and I'm planning to purchase a 40kg kettlebell. I also reached my goal of weighing 210lbs or less with gained strength with time to spare! (y)
  3. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Congrats @SuperGirevik ...great story! Way to tackle that huge jump in bell sizes! You really are, well, a....Super Girevik!
  4. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    @SuperGirevik : Congratulations on reaching Simple, and on keeping on :)
    SuperGirevik likes this.
  5. SuperGirevik

    SuperGirevik More than 300 posts

    @crazycanuck and @Jan, thanks for your encouragement! After reading again the guidelines, I noticed the rest between swings and get-ups is just a minute. To be honest, I can’t recall how much I rested the first time I did it (on the 60th day) and the second time (just yesterday).

    That drove me crazy last night. So I was determined to do it again this morning. I woke up, mentally prepared myself, did an extensive warm-up and did the challenge once more keeping the rest to 1 min...


    I will note today as the day I officially reached the goal.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
    kiwipete and MarkSch like this.
  6. North

    North Double-Digit Post Count

    I too have repeated my Simple test day if only to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke!
    Sean M likes this.
  7. Irenicus

    Irenicus Second Post

    I already left a review on amazon and wanted to share here. It took about seven months, but I hit simple last week. I've always been fairly sedentary. Was super skinny in high school. That changed in college. Not egregiously overweight, but I hovered around 215 lbs. When I was thirty, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (runs in the family), and that made me want to move even less. Nearly two years ago, I had surgery for the a fib and decided fitness would be something to pursue to keep further health problems at bay. I was also up around 230 lbs.

    I tried various things with ok results. I discovered kettlebells this last January and started researching where to start. Enter Simple & Sinister around February. I worked on it by the book, and was excited by the steady progress. By the end of March, I went to see my cardiologist. I was down around 210 lbs, my heart rate had lowered from 70s to 60s, and my blood pressure was 98/69. He was able to take me off the last of the heart meds due to my blood pressure being so low. Even on meds, the systolic would often be above 140. That gave told me I was on the right track.

    The switch from 16kg to 24kg was tough on my grip at first. 24kg to 32kg was murder on my grip. I started working in sets of five with the 32 adding up to the same number of total reps. Once doing that, it only took a couple of weeks to be doing full 32. TGUs were always easier for me and I didn't have to work as hard there to bump up the weight.

    Now that I've completed simple, I feel as good as I've ever felt. I'm down to 197 lbs. No calorie counting, just eating well. I've also enjoyed the What the Heck effect. I could never run for distance. I was able to run 2.5 miles until I started having back problems (old injury). Obviously not record breaking, but it's exciting for me to see. I'm confident I'll be able to fix those back issues. I can swing without aggravating it at all and coupled with Original Strength and The Back Mechanic, it's better than it's been in ten years. I couldn't press the 24kg and could get 3 or 4 reps out of the 16kg when I started. I'm up to 14 reps on the 16 and 5 reps on the 24, and I've started Rite of Passage. I was able to do a full pistol squat on each leg which surprised me, I'm going to have to work those up. I was able to work up to my first pull up then put that on the back burner as I pushed towards simple. I tested afterwards and could suddenly do four.

    I think best of all, I'm looking forward to training now and am confident I can stick with a program long enough to see results. I also work from home for three out of five workdays, so GTG is always there for me. Looking forwards to seeing where this all goes in the next year or two or thirty.
  8. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Irenicus what a story...congratulations! Especially for you taking charge of yourself and your health. So many people in your situation just sit back and treat things as just the "way it is"....good on you for being so proactive :D(y)
  9. Brookes

    Brookes Triple-Digit Post Count

    Congratulations! Truly inspiring. And keep us updated!
  10. somanaut

    somanaut More than 300 posts

    Well done!
    And +100 points for user name, one of the best rpg's pf all time. Allow me to share a quote from the character Minsc: "sword meet evil, evil meet my sword!"
    Brookes likes this.
  11. Irenicus

    Irenicus Second Post

    Thanks everyone. And @somanaut I could totally see Minsc using kettlebells. Boo would approve.
    somanaut likes this.
  12. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    @Irenicus : Super inspiring, thanks for sharing!
  13. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    @Irenicus : Congratulations on reaching Simple, and welcome to the forum :)
  14. ibonhomme

    ibonhomme Double-Digit Post Count


    I am a French guy, living in Nantes FRANCE, 45 years, 1,78m for 76Kg, I practiced quite a lot of TRX and I tried the kettlebell in autodidact, swing one and two hands, halo, squat. Without going towards the movements that I considered too dangerous to be practiced without wise advice and corrections.
    I came back to discussions on S&S and decided to start on November 27,2017.

    I worked a lot by myself with 16kg and 24kg then I had the chance to meet instructors to be checked on swing and tgu.

    Full session with 32kg since July, I tried today the Simple mode during my diet window of 16/8 intermittent fasting.

    The 100 OH swings in 5 min, One minute rest and 10 TGU in 10 min test is validated. Swings are not fully hardstyle but I am happy. Reached my goal but I know that I have still a lot of work with this level.

    Next week, I will learn the ROP training with instructors. Perfect timing.
    Antti, _matt_, DrFierce and 8 others like this.
  15. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @ibonhomme, congratulations on achieving Simple! (Please post a review on amazon if you haven't already.)

  16. needsomegrip

    needsomegrip Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi all, I’ve been looking forward to sharing my story on this thread for quite some time... This morning, I completed the Simple goal and I am writing this review with a fat smile across my face.

    I’m a 26 year old male who started lifting weights in my teens using barbells and dumbbells with a desire to get stronger for baseball. I was a pretty good athlete in high school but after my freshman year of college, I pretty much stopped doing any form of exercise. As many do in college, I put on a bit of a beer belly.

    September 2017, I wanted to get strong again and lose some fat so I started going to the gym 5 days a week. I was following a generic full-body workout that I wasn’t in love with but I got into a routine and continued on the program for about four months. I started looking for the most bang for your buck exercise program and in early spring I found Pavel’s Simple & Sinister program. I was sold. I started on the path to reach the Simple goal in April, 2018 and kept late September in mind as a desired date to achieve this.

    S&S Journey
    In April, I started working with the 20kg bell. Every practice session, I would look at that intimidating 32kg bell on the gym shelf next to it and think to myself “holy s***, there is no way.” I quickly found that I had no grip strength, soft hands, and that turkish get ups were an amazing exercise.

    As the practice sessions went by, I was swinging stronger and TGUs would take less out of me. I began working in the 24kg bell in May and I eventually hit my first road block. In the middle of month, I injured my upper back during a backswing and was in pain for over a week. During the time I was out, I realized that I wasn’t following the program and was doing two times the amount of one arm swings each session.

    I slowly got back into the practice once my back injury started feeling better. As the summer progressed I was getting stronger and losing fat. I began swinging and doing get ups with the 32kg bell that I once was intimidated by. Practice sessions went by and the 32kg was starting to feel lighter and lighter. Despite some vacation time in late summer where I wouldn’t be training, it was looking like I may be able to reach Simple by the end of September.

    Today, I reached the goal I set for myself and completed Simple by the end of September!!

    Key learning moments and tips for others:
    1. My back injury in May taught me how important proper tension is. I still remember the swing prior to the injury -- my abs weren’t tight and the top plank didn’t really happen. Take care to understand correct tension or it will catch up with you at some point. For me, focusing on squeezing my glutes at the top plank makes everything else tight as it should be.
    2. It’s good to take time off. I was worried that a full week vacation in late summer was going to set me back. Instead, this time allowed me to rest my body and almost completely heal some hand tears that had been hindering how much power I could put into swings. Taking this time off in August turned out to actually be pivotal for me to reach Simple by the the end of September.
    3. Grip strength was my biggest weakness. Work in bar hangs and farmers walk after your S&S practice if you’re having issues with it.
    _matt_, Antti, Jan and 14 others like this.
  17. Brookes

    Brookes Triple-Digit Post Count

    Congratulations! I feel with you regarding your back injury. My lesson was a tweaked shoulder, which schooled my patience.
  18. Chrisdavisjr

    Chrisdavisjr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I hit S&S Simple a few weeks ago. My entire training history with kettlebells is documented more or less entirely in my training log here: https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/chrisdavisjrs-training-log.9683/

    Kettlebell training has taught me the value of patience, consistency, perseverance as well as how to listen to my body and how to move better. It's been quite a journey, but reaching Simple is just the beginning.

    I used to think I was pretty strong before I discovered kettlebells. Now, after training with them for just over a year-and-a-half, I feel like I'm finally starting to learn what 'strong' actually is.
    Lee, Bauer, Brookes and 9 others like this.
  19. Brookes

    Brookes Triple-Digit Post Count

    Great job! Congratulations!

    I know exactly what you mean with "what strong actually is". Before you felt powerful and strong like a race car, but never realized that you can´t get the power to the street with your crappy tires. Kettlebells give you a set of premium race tires. They make you the whole kind of powerful.
  20. Team Peroni

    Team Peroni Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi guys. Am new to the forum so bare with me and hello from England. I've recently started training with kettlebells due to their cardio benefits after an ankle injury.

    I've recently started the simple and sinister program and I love it. I have been training 6 days a week. I have recently this week jumped up from a 24kg to a 32kg. First 2 days I just trained the swings and TGU at an easy pace with sufficient rest periods in between to get use to the weight.

    I have noticed my main issue has been grip strength. First day (monday) was real tough, yesterday was okay and today I just failed in a big way. I got through the workout with aid of wrist raps hooks to assist with swings and took ages to complete the TGUs.

    My question is when first jumping up to a new challenge weight on days I find hard should I drop back down to the Leighton weight (24kg)?

    In my mind I am thinking Monday 32kg, Tuesday 24kg, Wednesday 32kg, Thursday 24kg, Friday 32kg, Saturday 32kg then are a period of time dropping the 1st 24kg day and upping to a 32kg and so on.......any advice would be grateful received and sorry for the length of the message. Thanks guys. Carlo.
    DrFierce likes this.

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