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

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Phil S, excellent result! Please post a review on amazon.com if you haven't already, and thanks in advance for doing that.

-S-
 

Breck

First Post
I did it as of Monday, April 5, 2021!

Started back in March of 2020 working with just the 16 kg, and that was after doing 10K swings and ETK ROP with the same weight. So, started KBs for real in October/November of 2019 or so.

47 y.o. man, toddler at home, working as a physician in the US during this plague year, I needed an anchor every morning, and S&S was perfect for that.

Immediately prior to this bout of using KBs, my weight had crept up to around 215 lbs (98 kg) I'm 5' 11" (180cm) through inactivity, eating whatever I could reach, and enjoying beer and cocktails w/o considering weight implications at all for a few years.

Previous fitness experience has been running (cross-country in HS, trail running in college, one marathon during medical training- never again!), cycling (road racing once upon a time), and fooling around with weights for a few weeks at a time before losing interest, including the 16 kg budget KB I bought in around 2010. Well, there was a while when I did Starting Strength for something less than a year in my 30s - that was the most serious strength training I ever did. Max DL was around 300 lbs at a body weight around 180.

I would go according to the book, with a 10 minute mobility sequence to limber up the thews and sinews at 0445 each morning, and adding sets at the next weight up every 4 weeks or so, then when I could do the next weight all timeless, would compress until I could do it in the time limitations. When able to do this with the 24 kg, I took a detour and did 10K swings again with that weight. A couple months later, took a flier and tried to do 100 burpees in a day (starting from none). That was a Very Bad Idea and forced about a week of rest. Up until around then, I had also been doing indoor rower workouts 3-4x weekly also. Weight got down to about 180 lb (81 kg). I have since dropped the cardio (but starting to pick some up again - see below), and went from calorie tracking with Noom to calorie and macro tracking with the Carbon app to not tracking at all now, with current weight at a comfortable 185-190 lbs (c. 85 kg).

24kg to 32kg went slower, I got the 28kg bell as intermediate, and spent about 2 weeks (sometimes more) with each increment. Somewhere along 28-->32 I got a mace to mix up my warmups, but was over-enthusiastic with that, which slowed my progress down. Back to the usual warmup as written after that.

After getting 32 kg Timeless about a month ago, I tried to switch to 4 day/week schedule (from 6 d/week pretty religiously) as suggested with heavier weights in the book (adding a round of 36 kg, increasing that way), but found I couldn't floor press 36 kg safely, so instead compressed the time from EMOM for swing sets/90 s for TGUs, dropping 10 seconds weekly until I felt confident I could do the Simple Standard earlier this week. And I did.

Here's a photo of my tally sheet. Each mark is 10 swings; I kept count of my TGUs on my own. After #262, I was using a timer for the last few weeks, so didn't mark those one. I guess maybe 20 more total workouts before hitting Simple.

893B9794-350B-475F-B592-442DB25CDBDA_1_105_c.jpeg

What's next is I plan to keep up S&S 3 days of strength work, one day speed work as described in the book until I can do 40 kg Timeless and bang out Simple Standard crisply and easily any day of the week. This Monday's test was completed in time, and w/o any unsafe breakdowns in form, but could've been prettier. Prettier is the goal for now. Mon-Tues-Wed strength, Thurs and Sat will be Tabata Burpees (much fewer than 100!), pistol squat progression and pull-up progressions. Friday will be S&S for speed. Hope to get a little leaner with this approach, but main goal is still strength first.

After that, back to ETK ROP with whatever I can manage it with at that point. I expect it'll be a 24 kg bell. Work that until I hit that standard (one-hand press 1/2 body weight), then go for Sinister standard.

Biggest long term goal for now is Beast Tamer. I've been at this KB thing with some regularity for about 15 months total now. I expect it to be something like *at least* 4 more years until I hit that goal, but I feel pretty locked into KB work for now, in a good way. Can't see myself dropping this habit any time soon.

After Beast Tamer, who knows? Might mess around and switch to KB sport!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Breck, welcome to the StrongFirst forum. Please post a review of S&S on Amazon.com if you have a moment.

-S-
 

markiebaby

First Post
Hi guys & gals,

Very nice to read you're stories.
I am Mark ,52, from the Netherlands.
Never did much of strength training other then push-ups or something.
I am training with kettlebells now since the summer of 2019.
Immediately loved it.
I tried to improve using the youtube explanations by Pavel.
First observation : i was not able to do a TGU with 16 when i started and felt very weak ?
At that point i could not believe that i would ever be able to achieve Simple (timed or otherwise) but ... After some weeks of training i mastered the 16 and progressed.
Also from the 20kg on i followed the S&S book that i still enjoy regularly.
Following the protocol, i have not yet attempted Simple timed with the 32kg as i am still progressing with the 40kg.
Currently i am trying to master the third set with the 40.
My routine now :
Monday 2handed 2sets x32 3sets x40, same with the TGU, wednesday 1handed , same weights and friday timed with 28.

I hope that in a month or 2 i will achieve Simple timed and after a great celebration ??? i would like to do the SFG1 certfication weekend if it is in the neighbourhood of the Lowlands somewhere.

Power to you comrades !
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@markiebaby, welcome to the StrongFirst forum, and congratulations on your progress.

Please, if it's not too much trouble, post a review of S&S on amazon.com, and thanks for doing that.

-S-
 

smueqas

First Post
well done!
Thanks. My experience is similar to yours except for a lower max (subtracting a much larger number)
 

Red_and_Black

Level 3 Valued Member
Just completed Timed Simple this morning. Have posted how I did it here...

 

Strong_dad

First Post
Hello all!

I'm a 34 yr old male, 165lbs, low body fat, and a seasoned fitness enthusiast with at least 18+yrs of experience training in a wide-range of fitness modalities who joined the Canadian Military in late 2019. I have a background as a fitness trainer, university educated with a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics. I know some things about exercise, but not all the things about exercise.

However, I haven't had access to a gym since late 2019 where I did a combination of HIIT, weighted ruck marches, and long-distance runs. 2019 was all about preparing myself for Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) with the Canadian Military (That was fun! ?).

During Basic, my exercise was whatever they told me to do, with enthusiasm or else. 4 months of Basic was tough on my body, but I did rather well with the fitness evaluations. After Basic, I came home and discovered a pandemic had hit and was ordered to stay home and healthy. And as my wife was an essential worker, I ended up looking after 3 kids myself for the most part while she was at work during the day. Going to the gym was not an option.

For the first, several months after, I focused mainly on running late at night, and did push-ups and burpees every hour, on the hour during the day. However, I really didn't feel all that well rounded, nor that I was going to be able to maintain this weird exercise schedule, and interesting to note, I was developing exercise-induced eczema - The doctor said it was because of soo much cortisol caused by a LONG history of HIIT, lack of sleep during Basic, and then combined with stress during a pandemic which also meant more cortisol and so my skin was breaking down in a weird way all over my hands and arms.

This led me to researching workouts to be done in under 30-minutes, and kettle-bell training kept coming up. I had always dismissed it because the KB's seemed so light in comparison to a loaded barbell... I figured if I was going to do KB training, I would do it right, and contacted an old colleague of mine who is a SFG Coach. He told me "Simple and Sinister. Read it. Do it, come back once you're done". I arrogantly thought only doing two exercises would be insufficient, and that I could start with a 24kg KB, but BMOQ had been rough for my left shoulder. I had to humbly go down to a 16kg KB, and then build up from there.

And so, I am absolutely thrilled to say that as of today, after 5-months of training, I met the standards for Simple. Personal bragging point... I did it after having been sick with a fever yesterday.

Throughout the training, I have noticed that my ability to sprint faster during intervals has sky-rocketed, despite only running a few times during the KB training. My ruck march posture has improved, and my resting heart-rate has also improved from 52 BPM, to 48BPM! That might not seem like a big jump to the un-initiated, but I have never had a resting heart rate that low before from doing so little training. And remember that part of my exercise-induced eczema? GONE! Short workouts with the KB failed to raise my cortisol levels to the levels they were at before. And one more awesome thing to add is that because of the TGUs, my shoulder health has improved significantly.

This has been a long "hey! I did it!" post, but I wanted to express gratitude to Pavel and his team for his S&S methodology. And yes,
I have posted a review on Amazon already - good products deserve recognition. ?

Lastly, I look forward to the 40kg KB that is on its way ?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Strong_dad, welcome to the StrongFirst forum and congratulations on achieving Simple.

(If it's not too much trouble and you haven't done it already, please be kind enough to go to the amazon site and post a review of S&S.)

-S-
 

mightstone2k

Level 6 Valued Member
Well... it's finally story time. I am a 32 y/o lawyer and Air Force officer. I got into kettlebells in January 2015, my last semester of law school. I ordered the original S&S and the recommended starting set (16-24-32). And I started swinging in the living room of my little apartment. Bless my roommate for putting up with that. Anyway, I continued with S&S for years, taking breaks along the way for basic training, ROP, some bodyweight cycles, and the like. But I kept coming back. I struggled with my grip and blistering, and did my best to learn from the Internet and the forum. I definitely did not learn the lessons in the book; I figured that I just needed to do the reps, figure out my grip, and I'd get there.

When I got to Spokane in August 2019, I finally started seeing an SFG. I could afford it and was in a place where there was a coach, so I jumped on it. We met twice a month for a few months before COVID shut us down. During the lockdown, I paid out for 36 and 40 kg bells. I figured if I could hit Timeless Simple with those, timed would be easier. It helped, but not quite enough. @Mark Limbaga recommended testing my 10x10 EMOM with 32 kg. If I could do that, he said, I was one peaking program away from timed Simple. I could do that, so I went back to my SFG. Thankfully, he was open for business in April. He put me on an eight-week program. I tested today under his eyes, and passed! Now I'm ready for Novocaine training for the next year while my trial and travel schedule goes nuts.

Big thanks to Luke Lollis at Forward, and to @Anna C and @Mark Limbaga, who gave me perhaps the best advice along the way!
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 6 Valued Member
Well... it's finally story time. I am a 32 y/o lawyer and Air Force officer. I got into kettlebells in January 2015, my last semester of law school. I ordered the original S&S and the recommended starting set (16-24-32). And I started swinging in the living room of my little apartment. Bless my roommate for putting up with that. Anyway, I continued with S&S for years, taking breaks along the way for basic training, ROP, some bodyweight cycles, and the like. But I kept coming back. I struggled with my grip and blistering, and did my best to learn from the Internet and the forum. I definitely did not learn the lessons in the book; I figured that I just needed to do the reps, figure out my grip, and I'd get there.

When I got to Spokane in August 2019, I finally started seeing an SFG. I could afford it and was in a place where there was a coach, so I jumped on it. We met twice a month for a few months before COVID shut us down. During the lockdown, I paid out for 36 and 40 kg bells. I figured if I could hit Timeless Simple with those, timed would be easier. It helped, but not quite enough. @Mark Limbaga recommended testing my 10x10 EMOM with 32 kg. If I could do that, he said, I was one peaking program away from timed Simple. I could do that, so I went back to my SFG. Thankfully, he was open for business in April. He put me on an eight-week program. I tested today under his eyes, and passed! Now I'm ready for Novocaine training for the next year while my trial and travel schedule goes nuts.

Big thanks to Luke Lollis at Forward, and to @Anna C and @Mark Limbaga, who gave me perhaps the best advice along the way!
I completed a Timed Simple for the first time today as well! I hit timeless simple for the first time 9 weeks ago, then did that for 4 weeks, spent 5 weeks doing a peak, and hit Timed today. I am going to do some BJJ tomorrow, then vacation, but I plan on hitting Times Simple again next week before focusing on a strength/hypertrophy block for the next 3 months.
 

Bobmilam

First Post
I discovered Pavel just after the quarantine began in his "Enter the Kettlebell" video. After a little more research on where to begin as a beginner girevik, consensus pointed to Simple and Sinister as the best starting place. After finally being able to secure a 16K KB, my journey began on May 29th, 2020. I will admit that the initial 16K seemed a little difficult at first, but I owned it fairly quickly. My first sets with 24K, I thought were incredibly hard but, once again, by patiently sticking with the program, I owned it in the scheduled time frame as laid out in the book. I started picking up a 32K before I was really supposed to add the sets, and I must say, I really didn't see how I would be able to make Timeless Simple. Once again, however, by patiently sticking to the program, I attained Timeless Simple in less than a year from me first picking up that 16K. I can now say that on June 21, 2021, the day before my 46th birthday, I achieved the Simple standard. I am stronger than I have ever been in my entire life. I am more flexible and move better than I ever have in my entire life. My confidence in my physicality, ability, and appearance are better than they have ever been in my entire life. Thanks, Pavel, for showing me that middle age is just a state of mind. I have a lot of potential strength still waiting to be discovered and look forward to mastering the essential KB movements and attaining the Sinister standard, and maybe even the Strongfirst SFG certification, by the time I turn 50. I left a well deserved five star review on Amazon and just bought the Kindle versions of Q&D and The Naked Warrior to continue growing in my strength, power, and endurance. I am, however, completely open to any advise that you all would offer on working towards the Sinister standard, as I have recently bought my 40K and must admit, that it seems like an impossible task, much less another jump to 48K. I do have faith though, in that I never would have thought a year ago that I could attain Simple!
 

TMJ

First Post
42 year-old bloke. I've been big all my life but by two years ago I was up at 140 kg, at 1.85 m not a good place to be at all.

Six months of dieting, jogging and going to the gym got me to 125 kg and left me realising: 1) I prefer my own company when exercising 2) I cannot stand waiting for resistance training machines 3) I can't plan or log a workout.

Internet research led me to kettlebells by Easter 2014 and 'Enter the Kettlebell' - I still think this is the clearest description of remedial exercises for learning the swing.

I bought a 12 kg kettlebell initially (no confidence, should have started heavier) and set to work learning how to swing and get-up. I bought S+S and the simple everyday programme really clicked for me and I began doing it by the book at least 5 nights a week in my garden or garage. The jump from 16 to 24 kg was a massive shock and I scared myself once or twice with the get-ups. I went from 24 kg to 32 kg via 28 kg as a result.

Springtime this year I got interested in the writings of Phil Maffetone (someone in this forum called him the godfather of easy-running so I looked him up) and gradually tried to turn my S+S practice into a more aerobic event by using a heart rate monitor and longer rests. I still don't know if this helps at all with strength development but I do feel very good working like this. End of July 2015 I tested myself and ignored heart rate and nailed the simple goals every night of a week then took a two week holiday.

Bodyweight is currently at 102 kg with a resting heart rate of 48-50. On a good day I feel indestructible, and most days are good - swings, get-ups and not eating crap has completely transformed my life, although there is clearly some way to go. Only regret is that I should have done it 20 years ago!

I've switched to the Rite of Passage from ETK now as my press is weak (20 kg) and I have a long term goal of an unassisted pull-up (currently doing band assisted with the RoP). I am unsure yet if I will stay on this programme to a half body weight press - it feels frankly impossible to me and so far snatches are beating my hands up. But I will progress to ladders with 32 kg and see how I feel. I will come back to S+S and try to achieve the sinister goals.

Apologies for the long post but S+S is a great programme and I feel passionately about it (and yes, I have reviewed it on Amazon UK). This is also a great forum and as a KB novice I appreciate the advice (and attitude) of the community.
I know this is an old post now, and don't know how you are doing now, but just want to say how inspiring your story and what you've achieved is! Good for you. Bravo!
 

revdeac06

First Post
Reached Timed Simple this morning and don't really have any friends that would understand/appreciate the accomplishment - so I'm celebrating here.

Background: Starting in 2019, did a kettlebell class 2 days/week at the gym. Was a fairly basic class, but was a good intro. Then came the pandemic and the gym closures - so it started with buying one bell on Amazon. Found this sub and just did general workouts from a kettlebell app through fall 2020. I then bought S&S in early January 2021 and began with a 12kg bell. Not a big guy, 5'5" and 125 lbs, so I wasn't sure that the 32kg was going to be possible, but figured I wouldn't know unless I tried.

Process: Moved quickly from 12kg to 16kg. "Owned" the 16kg weight by early February and started in earnest with the plan laid out by Pavel 6 days/week.

Goal Reached: Had just finished transitioning to working 100% with the 32kg and felt good about it this morning. Did the swings in 4:15 and the get-ups in 7:00. I knew I was going for the Timed Simple, so I had some extra juices flowing - but it was actually quite easy. Just shows how following the progression schedule really does work. Slow and steady - but 12kg to 32kg in 7 months!

What's Next: Going to do Simple for one more week (not worrying about the clock) for good measure, then will move to either DFW or the Wolf with some heavy clubs thrown in on other days.

Many thanks to this sub for the infectious enthusiasm, the camaraderie, and the support/advice.
 

pedroigmagalhaes87

Level 2 Valued Member
Hi guys!

I've just reached Timed Simple last saturday and it was such an acomplishment for me.
My background: I am from Brazil, 34 years old, 176 lbs.
Until the beginning of the pandemic, I used to practice jiu-jitsu 4-5 times a week plus 2-3 barbell strength/hipertrophy trainning.

I discovered Pavel at the beginning of 2020, when I was searching some program to improve my overall conditioning, so I could apply it to my jiu jitsu training.

I read S&S's first edition and 2 times a week I used to play with the 16kg KB at the gym.

When the pandemic and quarantine hit me, I didn't know what to do.
I was 'addicted' to jiu jitsu in a manner that I was just terrifyed to be without it.
Jiu Jitsu brought me back from depression, anxyety and so other mental issues I used to have.

So I had to find an alternative, something thar would challenge me and that I could do at home.
Thus, I bought a 20 kg kettlebell and started to practice S&S daily.

I read the revised edition, watched lots of videos, instructions, and used the forum and all your guys' help in order to learn the movements and progress through the program.

I followed religiously the program, and progressed from 20 kg to 24 kg to 32kg.

In 2021 january I achieved Timeless Simple, but decided that I would try one more step before I get to another program.
So I bought a 40 kg KB (that actually weighed 42kg, poor quality control) and kept on my training.

In the days off, I decided to learn the C&P (Single and Double KB) and the Snatch.

I discovered that for the TGU I could not make de 8kg jump, so I progressed to 36 kg and then to 40 kg.
In the meantime, thanks to the community, I also discovered Original Strenght, which really helped me with my previos shoulder and back issues.

Last Week I finally was able to conquer my timeless sessions with 40 kg and decided to give it a try at my timed training.

I didn't expect to achieve it in the first time. I thought that i would take 3-4 weeks or even more.

Instead, in my first attempt, I achieved it.

Now I plan to keep with S&S for more 4 weeks and then try a new program, maybe ROP or a Double KB program.
In the future, I plan to apply for SFG1 and never let KB's get out of my life.

I used to say that Jiu Jitsu saved my life.
Now, I can say, for sure, that, in the pandemic, KB trainning has saved it too.
 

acutaiar12

Level 6 Valued Member
Hi guys!

I've just reached Timed Simple last saturday and it was such an acomplishment for me.
My background: I am from Brazil, 34 years old, 176 lbs.
Until the beginning of the pandemic, I used to practice jiu-jitsu 4-5 times a week plus 2-3 barbell strength/hipertrophy trainning.

I discovered Pavel at the beginning of 2020, when I was searching some program to improve my overall conditioning, so I could apply it to my jiu jitsu training.

I read S&S's first edition and 2 times a week I used to play with the 16kg KB at the gym.

When the pandemic and quarantine hit me, I didn't know what to do.
I was 'addicted' to jiu jitsu in a manner that I was just terrifyed to be without it.
Jiu Jitsu brought me back from depression, anxyety and so other mental issues I used to have.

So I had to find an alternative, something thar would challenge me and that I could do at home.
Thus, I bought a 20 kg kettlebell and started to practice S&S daily.

I read the revised edition, watched lots of videos, instructions, and used the forum and all your guys' help in order to learn the movements and progress through the program.

I followed religiously the program, and progressed from 20 kg to 24 kg to 32kg.

In 2021 january I achieved Timeless Simple, but decided that I would try one more step before I get to another program.
So I bought a 40 kg KB (that actually weighed 42kg, poor quality control) and kept on my training.

In the days off, I decided to learn the C&P (Single and Double KB) and the Snatch.

I discovered that for the TGU I could not make de 8kg jump, so I progressed to 36 kg and then to 40 kg.
In the meantime, thanks to the community, I also discovered Original Strenght, which really helped me with my previos shoulder and back issues.

Last Week I finally was able to conquer my timeless sessions with 40 kg and decided to give it a try at my timed training.

I didn't expect to achieve it in the first time. I thought that i would take 3-4 weeks or even more.

Instead, in my first attempt, I achieved it.

Now I plan to keep with S&S for more 4 weeks and then try a new program, maybe ROP or a Double KB program.
In the future, I plan to apply for SFG1 and never let KB's get out of my life.

I used to say that Jiu Jitsu saved my life.
Now, I can say, for sure, that, in the pandemic, KB trainning has saved it too.
Awesome!!! I love hearing about other’s accomplishments. Keep that momentum going!
 
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