all posts post new thread

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

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Assisting Master Instructor Shaun Cairns at an SFG Workshop in Sydney in 2017 was enough to inspire me to start S&S. Shaun asked me to demonstrate the Get-up on both sides for the new batch of students. Up to then I was lifting mostly barbells and had neglected my trusty kettlebells for several months. Being left handed, my left went up no problem, my right was a little less "poetic" than I would have liked. It probably looked ok, but I knew it definitely wasn't.
So there and then I vowed a specialisation program of S&S.
After a Sunday of good food, some drinks and lots of stories with Shaun, I began my journey the Monday. My one arm swings were solid with the 28kg bell and therefore I left them as they were. I followed an easy training regimen swinging only when I was ready, concentrating on generating power and quality in the reps.
The Get-Ups on the other hand needed work. therefore, I began at the best place possible, the beginning. I started with "naked" getups, (unweighted) 10 per day for the next 10 days along with my 100 swings. Concentrating on position and stability. Each rep slow and precise. I would take a full minute easily to complete the rep, "hanging midway" between positions. After those 10 days, everything was finding its groove and progressed. I spent the next 10 days serenading the 12kg bell, slow and steady, followed by 10 days with the 16kg, 10 with the 20kg, 10 with the 24kg and then I spent around 20 days with the 28kg bell. That's 70 days straight with maybe 2 days off in the whole process. 700 getups, 7,000 swings. The 28 kg bell felt so light during my swings I just wanted to snatch it all the time, however as tempting as it was, I resisted. I rested 2 days then tested with the 28kg bell. Easy!
I then progressed to the 32kg bell. spent 28 days on this bell. With so much practice, the extra 4kgs didn't make a lot of difference and again after 2 days rest I tested without too much problem.
The end result? My getup was poetic again, my swings powerful and violent. I often judge a program on how it makes me feel. I can tell you when I went in to buy coffee, I always felt like jumping up onto the counter. (I was 55 at the time) I felt strong, athletic and powerful.
I still practice with the simple bells just to keep my hand in.
I would highly recommend just spending the next 100-120 days concentrating on S&S if you haven't yet done it. It has the potential to transform you.

Now I feel bummed I wasn't in your line at your SFGII when we were reviewing the level 1 skills. I would definitely want to see how you execute both moves as I may pick up a few gems
 

Axel

First Post
Hallo.
I am Axel, 31 years old from Germany. I work as a dentist.
When I was younger I was very active and did a lot of sports.
I have a background of Tennis, rock climbing, crossfit and American football. During that time I joined a few kettlebell workshops but did not train with kettlebells very much.
During my time as a dental student I totally stopped working out.


In in March 2020 I started training again and this time with kettlebells exclusively.
I am 180cm tall and my starting weight was around 77kg.

I read S&S and started with 16kg. The progression to 24kg was fairly easy and it felt natural to progress to 24kg within 1 month. I know that’s not how it is described in the book, but it felt right for me. I trained 6-7 times a week. Because I was laid of from work I slept about 10-12 hours each night and trank a gallon of milk a day.
I did the progression timeless simple in half of the prescribed time reached it at the beginning of June. I gained about 10kg of body weight during the process.

I could not progress to 40kg because that was to taxing on my body and my mind. So to took a step back and did ROP for a while and did S&S with 28kg on variety days with a focus on technique.

When I came back to S&S in December i started with 32kg and stayed there for a month. My goal is to progress now within the described timeframe. In January I incorporated the 40kg for 20/2 and it all went smooth.

Yesterday I was really short on time after work and did not want to skip my workout for the day. So I choose to just stick with the 32kg kettlebell. I did not force myself to do the timed simple standard but realized that it felt possible. So i did the swings in 4:30 minutes, took 1 minute rest and tried to keep the rest in between the getups to about 20 seconds. I did the getups in about 8:30 minutes.

I have never tried the timed simple before so I had no idea how it would go.

I must say, that sticking to the program is far better than not sticking to the program.

Thank you strongfirst and Pavel for the great resources and the great training programs!

P.S.: Thats the screenshot from my heart rate monitor. You can see the heart rate graph for the warmup, the swings and the getups. The last part is the monitoring of the heart rate going down while stretching.
 

Attachments

  • 4A30FDC6-F8FD-4CEA-A95D-B14B264442B8.png
    4A30FDC6-F8FD-4CEA-A95D-B14B264442B8.png
    173.4 KB · Views: 43

Richm24

Level 2 Valued Member
Hi all,
My name is Richard Moreno, I completed time simple this past Friday, 1/22/21.
Heres my story of the journey I took to get there.
I have been into fitness for the past 8-9 years. When I first started, I was into bodybuilding. I spent around 5-6 years doing bro splits and endless amounts of bicep curls. Then around years 6-8, I focused on powerlifting. I never competed, but I built a decent amount of strength with a deadlift of 450x3, squat of 385, and a bench of 305 at 160 lbs. bodyweight. But throughout all this time, the benefits I reaped, the numbers I achieved, Were not worth the time and effort I put in to achieve them. I became too obsessed with how big my biceps were, and how strong my bench was. My goals were purely aesthetic, and maximal strength. Which isn’t bad for some ppl, but I think for the average joe, it’s not worth the output. What do I mean by average joe? Anyone who is using fitness for the purpose of living a better life, just for the sake of health. Coming home from a long day of work, and getting a quick workout in because it’s just good for me, not because I have aspirations of competition level strength, with no practical need for such a level of strength.
when I first started simple and sinister, I was nervous. All I could think of is, this isn’t enough volume for my chest to grow, I’m going to lose all my deadlift strength. But these exact thoughts are what probed me to try to develop a healthier relationship with fitness, a more simple approach. After I let go of these worries, after I adopted a mindset of loving fitness for what it was, I was hooked. I was much more happy with my training, and it was finally fun. I then looked forward to a simple session of swings and get ups, when beforehand I ran such complicated, percentage based, high volume, mind draining, energy zapping programs. The best part about it all, I still get the satisfaction of heavy lifting from it! I feel powerful when I swing, like a deadlift, and focused on the get up, like the bench press. But on top of that, I’ve built a level of conditioning I have never had before. I’ve always been strong, but my cardio has always sucked. I feel kettlebells are a healthy blend of strength and cardiovascular endurance. What I truly mean by a healthy balance, is you will be strong enough for what is demanded of the average joe in every day life. I feel as if our training should reflect our lifestyle. No need for the average joe, in my opinion, to train like a competive athlete, if their goals are just to be more fit. I may not be as big as I ever have been. I may not be as strong as I have ever been. But I feel as if I’m in the best shape in terms of endurance and mobility of my entire life. The term power endurance now intrigues me more than maximal strength does, and I feel as if would benefit me more in everyday life.
 

Chugachjed

Level 1 Valued Member
I never really did much past C&P with kettlebells but I blew up my ACL/MCL/popliteus tendon/meniscus last february. Never was a gym guy, I always ride mountain bikes, ski, BJJ, and kickbox but never anything with strength. But after my surgery and the pandemic I got a 60lb kettlebell to do PT stuff and I learned swings and snatches and did those randomly during the summer and fall. I got the ebook for S&S and decided that for a guy that can't bear to program and can barely count reps this was simple enough for me. I was quickly able to do the 100 one arm swings and getups but I couldn't afford a 32kg bell to move up so I started doubling the workout doing 200 swings and 20 getups most days and doing the getups with long pauses. I got the 32kg finally and was able to complete Simple timed the first day. now I'm doubling that because I live in Alaska and a 40kg bell is prohibitively expensive.
 

Chugachjed

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks Steve. I can’t stick to a program but I can make myself do this one everyday. Worked 8 hours in a crawl space hauling wood and concrete still managed a double tonight. Did second 100 swings 2 handed which seemed as hard or harder than 1 handed. I was probably driving harder with both hands, I flung the 32 into the garage door a couple weeks ago, want to avoid that again.
 

wowzer

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi everyone!
My name is Michael and I just accomplished timed simple this past weekend! I'm 37 with 3 little kids.

I got my first kettlebell a 16kg bell Jully 2018. I slowly worked up to do rounds of 2-armed swings. When COVID hit I started getting more and more into swinging. I got a hold of the S&S book May 2020. As you all know it was hard to get a hold of bells, but I started swinging a 24kg bell June 2020. I've been sticking to the scheduling described in the book and have been learning a lot along the way.

The first time I tried a 32kg TGU it seemed like a ridiculous weight that I'd never be able to lift. My arm was shakey and I thought the bell would fall on me. As the weeks went by it got easier and easier to the point where a 32kg TGU is comfortably in my arsenal now.

Technique-wise there were two changes I made that were super important to moving forward with the S&S goals. First, the TGUs were hurting my hip. I went slowly and realized that on the way down I just needed to adjust a bit more from move-to-move to more comfortably elbow. I had to push my butt further towards my feet. The second item is that after rereading the book a week ago I realized that I missed the cue to inhale twice quickly on the way down. When trying the timed tests I was completely winded by the 8th round of swings, working in the inhale on the way down made it much much easier to work through the timed test.

One mistake I made along the way is that I tried playing with the 40kg bell before I was ready. I had ordered the 40kg bell and it took about 2 months to get to me, so when it got to my house I was excited to give it a shot. I tried a L-TGU and on the way down I lost control of the bell and my left arm got hyper extended putting me out of commission for a couple weeks. My arms feeling much better now, but be careful when moving up to the heavier bells; do not proceed until you're ready.

I've never felt stronger before in my life. I'm also not scared to pick up heavy things for fear of hurting my back. I went to Home Depot a couple times during COVID and picked up lots of heavy items by myself without any issue.

I'm working my way slowly up to Sinister, but the Beast is intimidating.

Thanks Pavel for a great program and a clearly written text!
 

Lotto

Level 5 Valued Member
Achieved Timed Simple this morning. So so happy. It took me slightly longer than I anticipated but I got there in the end. My body feels in a good place just now . My swings were never an issue but timing the get ups to allow completion in time were. Found my groove with them and just greased them to get me in on time.
Not sure what program next. I've only completed the 10k swing challenge and now S+S. I have one bell available that I'm allowed to borrow, most weights are available.
I'm thinking Q+D as I love simplicity and repetition and the book is readily available?
Not sure what I want to achieve, more of the same as S+S I guess, fighters physique with the workout feeling more like a recharge than a beat up.
I'm having a week off exercise and I'll take that time to research.
Thanks Pavel for such a fantastic program.
 

exrandrewexr

Level 4 Valued Member
Hey there!

Achieved Timeless Simple this week -- I did it for a week just to be sure I can write this on the forum :) --

Here's the journey:

31yo with a 5m baby, started on S&S path in March 2020 after my gym closed due COVID. Prior to this I did the typical bodybuilding, bro-splits, acid bath type of training for 2-3 years. Besides this, more or less zero sports training, skinny-fat, insulin resistant type of guy with 0 attention to my diet.

Buying my 16kg KB made me reconsider my fitness, which I thought I was quite on the good path at that time :) The swings were akward, the TGUs were terrible, I couldn't get up. After 3-4 months I completely owned 16kg and brought in 24kg. Again, swings were terrible, but TGUs were surprisingly easy. Another 3-4 months and 24kg was gone, 32kg joined. Guess what? Swings were hell again, TGUs were more easy than I was expected. Now, after 1 year I can say 32kg is owned in both 1H Swings and TGUs, though on the swings some power can be added.

I trained almost every day, with ocassional days off and since my baby was born I had quite a few :) But I always tried to get something done even it meant swings in the morning and TGUs afternoon between naps. Sleep has been disrupted a couple of months, but now I am back on track.

During this period I didn't chased any body composition goals. I lost some weight adjusting my diet and bringing in some fasting since I sat on my but multiple hours a day working from home. My abs are started to show some months ago for the first time in the recent history :)

My body feels just right, I feel more strong than I've been ever and I will work toward Timed Simple after will chase something else. Sinister is not on the table for me at the moment and I need some variety after 1 year of same thing :)

I'll come back with the Timed Simple!

Power to you!
 

spiderman

First Post
My experience with kettle bells has been great they provide a much better base to improve functional strength , way to go cheers!!!!!!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Snake River Jim, @Axel, @exrandrewexr, and everyone else who has completed Simple / Timeless Simple, please go to amazon.com and post a review, and great if you can include some of the specifics about how and why the program has worked so well for you.

Thanks in advance.

-S-
 

Jean-Marie

Level 2 Valued Member
Hello Everyone,

I've just achieved Simple today.

I've discovered Kettlebell training a little more than a year ago in the begining of March 2020. I was then sailing on a cargo ship (I'm a merchant navy officer) After reading a lot of stuff and watching a lot of video I decided to start my S&S journey with the only KB we had on board, a 16kg. At 1m93 (6'4") and 115kg (255lbs) I already had some stenght but also a lot of fat to loose. After a few weeks and the technique mostly dialed in the 16kg KB was not a big challenge anymore but I had to keep using it until I could sign off in early June and order a 24kg bell.

June - August 2020: I trained 6 times a week with the 24kg Kettlebell. The first time I used the 24kg bell, I felt like my lungs were going to explode and I did not know I could keep improving. As I was just back home, the 24kg KB was my only training tool and I had to suck it and keep training with it, taking huge rest periods. Meanwhile, I slowly acquired a good deal of information about diet and nutrition. Started to track my calories and macros and got to a 2000kcal/day diet. By the beginning of august my weight dropped to 102kg (225lbs) and I was fully owning the 24kg KB. I received my 32kg KB at the begining of august and started to use it more and more.

August - November 2020: It was time to sign on on my next sailing contract. Although I did not fully master the 32kg, I wanted to keep on improving and decided to take it with me, I had no more room to bring the 24kg so I had to do the full S&S sessions with the 32kg the hard way. And it was really not easy in the beginning especially regarding the grip and the ship's rolling was really adding some funkiness to the TGUs. My right shoulder started to hurt a little bit, too much TGU volume with the 32kg, too soon. I was starting to regret not sticking to the 24kg and be patient. I stopped doing TGU to give my shoulder some time to recover and focused on swings. I did a lot of 2 handed swing volume to improve my conditioning and my grip, I was a little disappointed in myself to drift away from the original S&S protocol but it still paid off. On the last weeks of my contract I was fully able to perform Timeless Simple with good One hand Swings form and good grip stamina (During the time I drifted away from TGU I also realized I was able to perform my first strict pull up with no assistance, it felt quite magical for a person who's been overweight most of his life) I was also crazy low in calories with just 1500kcal a day (which was very stupid of me) By the end of my contract my weight dropped to 96kg (211lbs)

November 2020 - January 2021

I kept doing Timeless Simple and I would do Timed simple with the 24kg on fridays. Nothing exciting here, just solidifying was was just build. No real improvement during that period and still eating roughly 1500 kcal a day. My weight in the beggining of january dropped to 92kg (202lbs)

January 2021 - March 2021: I got rid of my fear of gaining back some weight and increased my daily Kcal to 1800 (still way too low, how stupid I was). I kept loosing some weight slowly and kept increasing my daily kcal 100 by 100. I ordered a 40kg KB in the beginning of February and started to add some Swings with it. I did not yet felt confident to use the 40kg for TGUs in my home without a spotter even though I thought I would be able to do the TGU with it. During this period I trained 3 - 4 times a week. With the Friday as a 24kg Light timed test day. my weight kept going down until mid February where It dropped to 89kg (195lbs), my diet was 2200kcal with low carb. I started to add some more carbs to 2500kcal. My weight suddenly increased to 92kg again (202lbs), but I was not afraid. I was feeling my muscles refilled with energy. My performance in the S&S sessions increased dramatically at that moment (Early March). Last week my typical S&S session was :

1h Swings: 40% with 32kg, 60% with 40kg in roughly 7 minutes.
TGUs: 100 with 32kg in roughly 12 minutes (I was already able to go below 10 but I did not do it in regular sessions)

Earlier this week on tuesday I tried a 40kg TGU, It was a success with both arms.

Today (Friday) I wanted to try to perform my light timed test day with the 32kg.

-100 One hand swings in 4min 40
-10 Turkish Get-ups in 8 min 49

I maintained the same weight of 92kg (202lb) during the whole month, eating 2500kcal a day. My bodyfat dropped to 16%. I can now perform strict pull-ups in series of 5 for 5 sets it almost feel like a superpower as I always was unable to perform this movement.

That's my story and how S&S changed my life in about a year. And I'm really excited about all the doors opened by this physical conditioning.

As for what comes next, as I will sign on for my next contract next week and will be able to bring only one KB with me. I think I will stick to the 32kg KB and try waving my volume as per this article:

From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst

since my contract will be 12 weeks long, it looks about perfect to me.

I was also thinking of trying Q&D, but my wiser self advises me to stick to S&S to fully own it and reduce risk of injury.

In the long term I would love to transition to ROP, I already have a decent snatch technique with the 24kg, but my press lags a little bit behind, I would need 24kg for the snatches, 32/40kg for the swings and 20kg for the presses => not suitable for travelling with me on the ship.

Any advice on that would be welcome :)

Thanks to Pavel, strongfirst and everybody here for such a great program and inspiration.
 

Rumsmike

Level 5 Valued Member
Hello Everyone,

I've just achieved Simple today.

I've discovered Kettlebell training a little more than a year ago in the begining of March 2020. I was then sailing on a cargo ship (I'm a merchant navy officer) After reading a lot of stuff and watching a lot of video I decided to start my S&S journey with the only KB we had on board, a 16kg. At 1m93 (6'4") and 115kg (255lbs) I already had some stenght but also a lot of fat to loose. After a few weeks and the technique mostly dialed in the 16kg KB was not a big challenge anymore but I had to keep using it until I could sign off in early June and order a 24kg bell.

June - August 2020: I trained 6 times a week with the 24kg Kettlebell. The first time I used the 24kg bell, I felt like my lungs were going to explode and I did not know I could keep improving. As I was just back home, the 24kg KB was my only training tool and I had to suck it and keep training with it, taking huge rest periods. Meanwhile, I slowly acquired a good deal of information about diet and nutrition. Started to track my calories and macros and got to a 2000kcal/day diet. By the beginning of august my weight dropped to 102kg (225lbs) and I was fully owning the 24kg KB. I received my 32kg KB at the begining of august and started to use it more and more.

August - November 2020: It was time to sign on on my next sailing contract. Although I did not fully master the 32kg, I wanted to keep on improving and decided to take it with me, I had no more room to bring the 24kg so I had to do the full S&S sessions with the 32kg the hard way. And it was really not easy in the beginning especially regarding the grip and the ship's rolling was really adding some funkiness to the TGUs. My right shoulder started to hurt a little bit, too much TGU volume with the 32kg, too soon. I was starting to regret not sticking to the 24kg and be patient. I stopped doing TGU to give my shoulder some time to recover and focused on swings. I did a lot of 2 handed swing volume to improve my conditioning and my grip, I was a little disappointed in myself to drift away from the original S&S protocol but it still paid off. On the last weeks of my contract I was fully able to perform Timeless Simple with good One hand Swings form and good grip stamina (During the time I drifted away from TGU I also realized I was able to perform my first strict pull up with no assistance, it felt quite magical for a person who's been overweight most of his life) I was also crazy low in calories with just 1500kcal a day (which was very stupid of me) By the end of my contract my weight dropped to 96kg (211lbs)

November 2020 - January 2021

I kept doing Timeless Simple and I would do Timed simple with the 24kg on fridays. Nothing exciting here, just solidifying was was just build. No real improvement during that period and still eating roughly 1500 kcal a day. My weight in the beggining of january dropped to 92kg (202lbs)

January 2021 - March 2021: I got rid of my fear of gaining back some weight and increased my daily Kcal to 1800 (still way too low, how stupid I was). I kept loosing some weight slowly and kept increasing my daily kcal 100 by 100. I ordered a 40kg KB in the beginning of February and started to add some Swings with it. I did not yet felt confident to use the 40kg for TGUs in my home without a spotter even though I thought I would be able to do the TGU with it. During this period I trained 3 - 4 times a week. With the Friday as a 24kg Light timed test day. my weight kept going down until mid February where It dropped to 89kg (195lbs), my diet was 2200kcal with low carb. I started to add some more carbs to 2500kcal. My weight suddenly increased to 92kg again (202lbs), but I was not afraid. I was feeling my muscles refilled with energy. My performance in the S&S sessions increased dramatically at that moment (Early March). Last week my typical S&S session was :

1h Swings: 40% with 32kg, 60% with 40kg in roughly 7 minutes.
TGUs: 100 with 32kg in roughly 12 minutes (I was already able to go below 10 but I did not do it in regular sessions)

Earlier this week on tuesday I tried a 40kg TGU, It was a success with both arms.

Today (Friday) I wanted to try to perform my light timed test day with the 32kg.

-100 One hand swings in 4min 40
-10 Turkish Get-ups in 8 min 49

I maintained the same weight of 92kg (202lb) during the whole month, eating 2500kcal a day. My bodyfat dropped to 16%. I can now perform strict pull-ups in series of 5 for 5 sets it almost feel like a superpower as I always was unable to perform this movement.

That's my story and how S&S changed my life in about a year. And I'm really excited about all the doors opened by this physical conditioning.

As for what comes next, as I will sign on for my next contract next week and will be able to bring only one KB with me. I think I will stick to the 32kg KB and try waving my volume as per this article:

From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst

since my contract will be 12 weeks long, it looks about perfect to me.

I was also thinking of trying Q&D, but my wiser self advises me to stick to S&S to fully own it and reduce risk of injury.

In the long term I would love to transition to ROP, I already have a decent snatch technique with the 24kg, but my press lags a little bit behind, I would need 24kg for the snatches, 32/40kg for the swings and 20kg for the presses => not suitable for travelling with me on the ship.

Any advice on that would be welcome :)

Thanks to Pavel, strongfirst and everybody here for such a great program and inspiration.
Great write up and congratulations!

I'd seriously consider bringing the 24kg and doing 12 weeks of Q&D snatching. The weight should be about right and that time period is exactly what's described in the book. When you come home you can hit up S&S again. Rinse and repeat. They compliment each other perfectly and you can avoid doing TGUs in rough seas, which seems pretty risky once you're at 32kg and above.
 

Jean-Marie

Level 2 Valued Member
@Steve Freides

Thanks sir, I will!

@Rumsmike

Thanks for your advice, I had thought about this snatching program in the past and almost forgot it. Thanks for your insight !
Ballistics are way more convenient than grinds in rough seas indeed.
 

Phil S

Level 1 Valued Member
Timeless Simple achieved today. Felt good so i went for it. Background is in this link - so i won't repeat those parts.

Simple and Sinister : Intermediate to Advanced

Here is my log entry:

A1: 1 arm 10x10 @70 in 13:38 HR max around 160ish, dropped <120 between each set
rest 3 mins
B1: 5x 1+1 TGU in 8:42 HR max near 130ish. sets done as ready, not based on HR (no 2 pood to face!)

I'll use the next 7 weeks to consolidate this. My 20, 40, 44 and 48 bells arrive late April. Change programs then.

I do grip/hangboard work virtually every session. Train 5-6 days a week. When i am not yet recovered from swings and get ups i will practice bent presses & drills, side presses and snatches. Sometimes 20 mins of strength aerobics. I walk or carry children or skateboard with them for activities outside training. But mostly just working the 24 and 32 and my grip for the last 3 months. Good use of time.

Without pasting my entire log i did wave the volume and move between the 24 and 32 and 2 arm swings as the day dictated. If i felt good i did a little more than before on the 1 arms or maybe blasted 2 arm 32. TGU have been easier than swings during the training. I have done a 100lb DB TGU before and trained them for almost 15 years on and off. 1 arm swings were fairly new - although i have snatched the 32 at one time or another. My max volume in the 32kg 1 arm swing during this cycle was 8x8. I very rarely did sets of 10 1 arm swings - from my experience and prior training history i am explosive but it doesn't endure. Pavel addressed this in Q&D i believe. That said every swing floated today - felt amazing.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom