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

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

  1. Bunn

    Bunn Triple-Digit Post Count

    @Mr Carlo Peroni, welcome to the forum. The method you have outlined is certainly one way to do it. Alternately, you could start your swings with the 32 and when you notice your technique drop, switch to the 24 to finish out. You can also do a more planned approach and integrate the heavier weight one set at a time over a few weeks or months as needed until you are swinging the 32 for all 100 swings. If you search around the forum you will find a lot of methods for making the transition. The best advice I, and many more qualified members will tell is, listen to your body and only increase when you feel you are ready.

    Enjoy the journey, and be patient, it is worth it.
    DrFierce and crazycanuck like this.
  2. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Welcome to the forum. As @Bunn mentions, there are many ways to do this. I am currently swinging 24kg one handed (female here aimimg for female standard). It took me a number of months to use this bell get up to one handed. What I found for myself what worked was to focus on proper reps, not to keep swinging if my technique was getting bad, and not preplan my reps/sets ahead of time.

    What I did was work up to the new weight TWO handed, for 10 sets, to make sure I was not getting too winded, and could generate power. Stayed with that for a little while. Then started with at the top of a swing, I would take my hand off the bell, allow a backswing then back up to the top one- handed. I could only manage one swing on a side at first so at the top would put the free hand back on the bell, do a rep or two two handed, then try with the other hand, or even just go hand to hand with the bell. Eventually could do 3 or 4 on a side before switching, etc and for the last few months have been exclusively one handed in my swings. I found the whole process intimidating at first, especially with the first few times I went one handed, but as I increased reps per side I found my grip improved over the ensuing weeks.

    I think at least for me with the way I did it was to be very honest with myself and how my form was., evaluating moment by moment as I was swinging...if my grip was feeling iffy, I immediately went to two handed for a few, or switched hands, or finished the set two handed for the remaining reps if I was getting winded. What ended up happening workout to workout just depended on the day, but overall I progressed and that bell does not feel near as heavy as it did.

    Welcome to the forum once again, feel free to ask more questions!!!
  3. Team Peroni

    Team Peroni Double-Digit Post Count

    @crazycanuck @Bunn guys thank you for the great advice, very interesting. Crazycanuk I think the approach you've mentioned is spot on. I am going to try swapping to two hand swings when form or grip goes, at the moment I can do 5 with good powerful form. I take lose of grip strength is quite common? I have not encountered it before using 24kg. With resrssr to the TGU what was your strategy when jumping up drop amount of sets or drop weight. I forced myself to do all 10 sets today but took me ages and on reflection my form had gone after the 6th set. Again really appreciate you taking time to help out .
  4. DrFierce

    DrFierce Double-Digit Post Count

    @Mr Carlo Peroni In the S&S book Pavel talks about adding one increase in weight at a time e.g. one set. Perhaps increasing weight a bit slower may be helpful. He also talks about time criteria for increasing weights (for example finishing all of your swings in 5 minutes and all TGUs in 10 minutes) before going up in weight. The elegance of this system is that everything (cardiovascular, grip, posterior chain) needs to be ready and executing well before increasing eight. I would check and see if you can meet these time criteria at 24 kg before adding in the 32.

    A few years ago, when I first started with S&S I tried to go up too quickly in swings and had a lot of issues with back pain. I started again this fall and found that what I need is more conditioning-- I could not finish 10x10 GOOD sets in 5 minutes. So I'm continuing at the lower weight and adding in some low HR/MAF cardio training which is improving the quality of my technique.

    If the issue is grip for you, perhaps adding in some grip training during the day with Iron Mind grippers in a GTG fashion might be helpful.
    Nick Fowler and crazycanuck like this.
  5. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I did not increase in weight until I could do all sets of swings one handed in 5 min when I tested it. This last bought I have done the jump from 16 to 24kg so that is why I incorporated two handed for about a month or two...having good power from the glutes and some extra endurance was a help. Then I started working in one handed eg:in sets 2 and 3 at first...until all sets had some mixed in, then it organically increased from there.

    Getups are my stronger exercise and I progress much faster. Again never bumped up in weight until I could do them with good form in 10 min. And that was only one set a time like the examples in the book. You can even break this down further in the sense perhaps an set of increased weight can be to the elbow only, or to another stage of the getup only, until you get stronger.
  6. DrFierce

    DrFierce Double-Digit Post Count

    TGUs are harder for me but I'm currently increasing weight. Close to increasing weight in swings and I anticipate working with 2H swings first and will revisit this when I try to go to 1H. This is one area were S&S is a little unclear to me. Thank you.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  7. Team Peroni

    Team Peroni Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks @DrFierce @crazycanuck for the advice. I think the definite approach is 2 handed swings and slow increase to 1 handed once forearms burn out. I've been able to reach test standards with 24kg no problems for both exercises. My first 2 days training with the 32kg were pretty good and I just got a wall on the 3rd day. However on reflection I think if I had swapped to the 1 handed swings around the 5th rep instead of being stubornsand refusing to quite I'd more than likely had a more productive trading on the 3rd day and the rest of the week. Again thanks for talking time to help me out.
    DrFierce likes this.
  8. Team Peroni

    Team Peroni Double-Digit Post Count

    With regards to the TGUs I think I might have burnt my arms out and forcing the swings. I am hoping with a more sensible approach I'll be back in the game today or I'll achieve as many sets with 32kg as possible then continue with the 24kg. Thanks guys.
    DrFierce likes this.
  9. Team Peroni

    Team Peroni Double-Digit Post Count

    @crazycanuck thanks for the great advice. Changed to 2 hand swings when my form started to go today. So much better and had a more beneficial practice session. Found the TGU easier again as my forearms weren't burnt out. Thanks again.
    crazycanuck likes this.
  10. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I am writing this today, 2 years and a few months after starting on Simple and Sinister.

    Today, I FINALLY summited that mountain. An epic tale below but I am just bursting and have to share.....

    My background briefly: 47 yrs old, mom/wife, work as a nurse. Never started seriously exercising, until my mid 30's. Heard of KB's at one point, and I bought an 8, 12 and 16kg, and was hooked. Enter the Kettlebell was the first book I purchased and I started following all the big kettle bell forums. Fiddled around with them and all sorts of other things.... a bit of bodyweight, some kettlebells, some sandbags, a home weight set (which I eventually sold to buy more kettlebells LOL), etc over the years, only in the last 5 years or so took them more seriously and worked with them more exclusively, had the fortune of working with a few SFG's by this point.

    My first day of Simple in my paper journal at home was dated June 1, 2016.

    I, at this point, had continued to waffle about and had tried some programs eg: Kettle bell Burn, but never really completed them. I was fairly deconditioned at this point due to not sticking to things in general, having hiatus's off of a few months here and there, and so on. Fitter that the average "middle aged" woman I knew around me, but not up to my potential at all (now that I know, what I know, having done this thing!) Once I came across Simple and Sinister, and read all the rave reviews, and people's results, I knew that I needed this base, and that anything I had done in the past, kettlebell-wise, would have been much smoother had I had Simple under my belt.

    I laugh now, when I look back at my notes in my paper log at home for this day....I started as the book said and used 16kg for my 5 sets of swings, and I note that I had written "WINDED with these". Used 8kg for getups. I started a journal in the workout logs, and immediately could feel the boost that chatting with all sorts of people gave me. I just jumped in and got started.

    A number of things happened along this journey:

    -got up to 20kg single arm swings, 16kg getups. Broke my 5th metacarpal in my right/dominant hand just below the knuckle (long bone in the hand, below the pinky finger)....falling from a pull up bar that I had neglected to check was secure. This was probably my lowest point in all of this. That equaled 3 months total off of cast time/physio time, with arm in a cast and last two fingers casted at 90 degrees, as well. Restarted right from scratch once I was cleared, and as the book said, back to the basics...chose 8kg get ups and 16kg two armed swings due to a very stiff wrist, and unsure of my grip strength with repetitive swings (my wrist was quite inflexible from all that and was harder to regain function vs my grip strength returning. Original Strength rocking and crawling was very helpful!)

    -had 2 stints where I developed some intercostal rib strain, one spell very painful, and backed off what I was doing. Spent some time focusing on thoracic mobility with the second stint for about 6 weeks and took time completely off S&S (and was just starting to work in 24kg swings into my sets). Visited an athletic therapist who was familiar with kettlebells and learned some things I did not realize I was doing eg: sometimes not keeping my lat locked down in the roll to elbow with the arm holding the bell in my getup). Did not regress right back to square one when I restarted, but just knocked back sets and went back to two handed swings for a while. Keeping some of the mobility moves I picked up on since then in my warmup (and being consistent in them), has been a huge help and have had no problems since.

    Fast forward to now, and gradually working back up to a 24kg and 16kg, with testing my previous weight to make sure I could reach the standard and then adding a set here and there of the new weight. Lots of trial and error to get to all one handed with the 24kg...took about 3 months total, even added a 20kg in there for a bit... and have been using one handed exclusively for the last 6 weeks or so now. Getups are my stronger exercise, and have been at 16kg for several months now.

    TODAY I decided to go for my test, on the spur of the moment. I had planned to make this a "push a little harder once a week, the rest of the week easy", like I had been doing all along. I then thought what had I been waiting for, in going for Simple? I was planning for maybe the end of November, looking at life, my work schedule, etc. I knew that I could do 16kg in 10 min, and likely probably could swing in 5 min, but I was really unsure if I could manage this with only a minute rest, on the same day. There was only one way to find out. At worst I would have to practice for a number of weeks more and then repeat. I actually felt butterflies when I decided to commit, because I was not 100% sure!

    I set my timers to do this in the way the Sinister standard is tested....a set of 10 swings every 30 sec for 10 sets, and a minute rest, then a getup at the top of every minute for 10 minutes, alternating arms. Having tested my getups this way, at least at one point, I knew this was a nice way of pacing oneself.

    All in all, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. All those thousands of swings and getups I have done over 2+ years had paid off, as far as things being "automatic" in technique, like remembering/being able to nasal breathe, getting the bell to float at the top and waiting....waiting...for it to fall to just the right point to hinge back. The last 3 sets of swings I had a real mental wobble (the break of time till the next set seemed shorter than what I was seeing on my timer and they were feeling more suck-y at this point)....but I knew I was almost done. Just kept focusing on getting that bell to float and breathing in rhythm and "watching myself, outside of myself" (instead of getting caught up in the discomfort I was feeling), helped immensely. I had a minute to reset a timer, do a fast and loose drill or two, lay down....keep nasal breathing.....and wait for the getups. Then I was done, and was ELATED, and hooted and hollered and am NOT at ALL ashamed to say....actually cried tears when I was done.


    It' s been quite a journey.

    That is why I changed my journal title at one point, that is was a journey, not a sprint...to remind me when I was impatient and wanted to rush. I KNOW from the depths of my being that this program is GREAT!!! I have more endurance for activities without needing a break (like clearing brush, hoisting a chainsaw, yardwork). Getups are my great love, and I love feeling like my everyday movements are strong and SO knitted together. I love being a "middle aged lady" and being able to LIFT STUFF, not just my kettlebells, but awkward things too in everyday life. I see so many people in my line of work (patients/clientele) who just cannot move, and I WILL not go gentle into that good night, and am going forward to maintain as much strength and function as I can.

    I feel great tonight, didn't have to lay collapsed on the floor when I was done the test, and I think I could do this test tomorrow, LOL!

    I could not have done this without this forum. This is the nicest fitness place I have been on the internet. @Steve Freides and others behind the scenes....thank you for your gift of this place. For those of you who have not started a journal, I would highly recommend you do so. For myself, accountability to those in cyber-space was huge for me....! NO word of a lie I often would be tempted to not practice, but then I would think that someone was going to come along and ask why. I had/have no one in my everyday life even interested in "working out", so I really needed all you guys and gals. For ALL of you who encouraged me, especially when I was injured and wanted to give up, I give my most heartfelt thanks.

    And, trust the program. Don't rush. Set high standards and don't allow yourself to practice sloppy reps, rest and regroup. Take care of your mobility shortfalls. Take light days, or rest if you need to.

    And even if it seems "boring" at times, remember, it works.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  11. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @crazycanuck I remember a while back when you injured your hand and asked for advice, now you made it! Congrats and enjoy it
    crazycanuck likes this.
  12. WhatWouldHulkDo

    WhatWouldHulkDo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @crazycanuck , a battle well fought, a victory well earned. Congratulations!
  13. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Awesome! Congratulations!!!

    And on behalf of everyone here, thank you for the kind things you said about the forum.

  14. Neuro-Bob

    Neuro-Bob More than 2500 posts

    So happy that you’ve made it @crazycanuck! You’ve handled major setbacks very well, and got there in the end!
    Steve Freides likes this.
  15. Chrisdavisjr

    Chrisdavisjr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Congratulations @crazycanuck! Us gireviks and girevichkas will often credit the kettlebell itself when it comes to building physical and mental toughness, but a kettlebell is just an inert lump of iron: The real power to transform comes from you. Excellent work and thoroughly inspiring stuff.
  16. Strong Rick

    Strong Rick More than 2500 posts

    Congrats @crazycanuck !
    it has been a real pleasure reading your journey
  17. Mario Garza

    Mario Garza Double-Digit Post Count

    Congrats @crazycanuck ! Thanks for sharing your achievement with us.
  18. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    @crazycanuck : Congratulations on reaching Simple. I hope you enjoy the journey to Sinister :)
  19. Harald Motz

    Harald Motz Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    @crazycanuck really impressive how you achieved the goal dealing with setbacks and putting the work in: rep for rep, session on session, for weeks, months... years. I bet you will keep on rocking.
    Sean M likes this.
  20. godjira1

    godjira1 Triple-Digit Post Count

    ok people I managed to nail the Simple standard today - it took me 66 S&S sessions from June 2018 - Nov 2018, and 1 test session on 3 Dec 2018.

    Quick "how I trained for it":
    1. I found TGUs not very tough as I was doing them to rehab my wonky left shoulder to start with so I was doing 32kgs quite early on (like, I did singles on my 3rd TGU session)
    2. 2H swings - I probably wasted way too much time to them if Simple was the only goal. I worked up to a confident 10x10 2HS before I even did a single 1HS session.
    3. 1H swings - humbling for me. My left grip strength and calluses on both hands did not like them. I spent a full month working on 1h swings with the 32kg. Even on the test day, the final 2 sets were not as powerful as I would have liked.
    A link to the spreadsheet with all the sessions:
    simple plan and work 2018.xlsx

    The Test itself:
    I found it quite ok overall. Once I nailed the swings I pretty much figured I was on the home stretch though the TGUs were more tiring than usual of course! I did the swings using an EMOM timer app (2 x 10 EMOM), and did the TGUs EMOM. So just set a EMOM timer for 16 mins (1 min rest after the swings) and just followed the metronome...

    I got to say, both a 32kg TGU and 1h Swing are pretty impressive things to look at for the average gym go-er so I am happy with it. Has it translated to say, barbell strength or grappling prowess on the mat? Not so sure about weights on the bar per se but I certainly don't feel any weaker... Regarding aerobic fitness though it has deteriorated some over the last 5 months (increased RHR etc). So if that is important to you (most sports, OCR, etc) I suggest you don't ditch the LSS training.

    It might not be much, but I am really quite chuffed about this! I will work on this again next year to really try to "own" the bell.
    kiwipete, DrFierce, FreshMeat and 9 others like this.

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