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

Pete L

Level 5 Valued Member
Apologies, it’s another 40 something here that’s found S+S!

Stats: 47yrs old, 5’8 and 177lbs. Married, stressful job, 3 teenage kids (enough said).

I’ve always had an interest in looking after myself, but didn’t really get ‘into’ anything serious until my early 30’s. Back then it was cycling, running, callisthenics and some kettlebell training of sorts, but work/life always got in the way. Fast forward to 2020, 45 years old and life takes a severe turn for the worst. 20 months of hell followed, notwithstanding the COVID pandemic. At the end of it all I'd smoked and drank myself into oblivion a thousand times, developed a superb tyre and was over 190lbs in weight, not in a good way. In general I'd ruined my physical and mental health. 2022 and I'm getting myself back on my feet, and desperately thinking about how to recover my strength and general fitness. I ditch the drink, the cigarettes, and I find Pavel's S+S again, but this time I'm determined to follow it properly, so I get myself set up with 16, 20 and 24 Kettlebells and I get to work.

I'm training on average 5-6 times a week, as directed. I do the prescribed stretches and mobility exercises, and I stick to the routine 100 swings and 10 Get-Ups. At least once a week doing 2-hand swings flat out. At the end of each practice I hang on my pull-up bar for around 45-60 secs, and most nights I also follow the practice with two or three sets of 5 x chin-ups, or 20 x press-ups, I just find these help me to loosen up, and I just like chin-ups. I'm now 8 weeks in, and I've dropped the 16 and 20kg kettlebells; I've bought a 32kg and am comfortably swinging this (2-hand) for 100 swings, and when I'm swinging 1-hand I've incorporated it into my last two sets, after after the 24kg. I'm comfortably doing ten TGU's with the 24kg, and as of this week I've managed to do 1 TGU both sides with the 32kg, something that when I started, I couldn't honestly see myself managing. I've lost 10lbs in weight, lost my 'tyre' but have gone up a shirt size because my back and shoulders are building; I'm stronger I think, than I've ever been. I'm trying NOT to progress too quickly; I keep thinking about what Pavel said, and even if the 24kg feels too easy, I'm sticking with it for now, just gradually stepping up with the 32kg. My goal is 'Timeless Simple', by August-September, if I manage that I will feel I've achieved something. Just a brilliant programme, thank you Pavel!
I'd highly recommend the progression as outlined in the book, it really works.


Level 2 Valued Member
Thanks Pete, I've only got the book in Audio format, but I'm going to get in in paperback as I think it will definitely be easier to refer back to.
Also available in Kindle format. I have it on my laptop whenever I need it...


Level 2 Valued Member
Hi, I’ve been lurking on the forum since January, I achieved Timeless Simple back in June and I’m currently taking a roundabout route to the timed standard, so I thought I would tell my S&S story. Steve, before you ask, I already posted a review on Amazon.

I’m 42, I’m an ER doctor, husband, father of three little boys ages 6, 4 and 2. I have always been reasonably fit - in my 20s and 30s I was primarily a runner (never a great one) but I also regularly did bodyweight exercises including push-ups, pull-ups, hanging leg lifts and squats. I also lifted aimlessly at the gym. I probably spent most of my exercise time trail running, which I still love.

Two years ago I joined the local CrossFit box. This was very positive in some ways, particularly because I started doing regular barbell lifting and also started using kettlebells. I made some nice gains. However, I frequently felt burnt out from going balls to the wall every day, and I always seemed to have a nagging injury. A year or so ago I decided I that I had had enough, and I outfitted my home gym. I bought a power rack, barbells and plates, and a variety of kettlebells with the intention of doing barbells and kettlebells at home. For a couple of months I aimlessly did kettlebell workouts I found online but ultimately realized I needed some direction and focus. More than that, I needed to learn some fundamentals. Then I discovered Pavel and S&S. I initially put off starting it because it sounded mind numbingly boring, but ultimately I committed to it. I’m so glad that I did. Rather than find it boring I realized that I enjoyed its “monastic simplicity“. Starting in January and for six months afterwards I did S&S four or five days a week - at home and at the rec park across from the hospital - and ran long easy distance one or two days a week. I started with a 24 kg kettle bell and achieved Timeless Simple with the 32 kg bell in early June.

Towards the end of June I scaled back my S&S practice to two days a week, still with a 32 kg bell, and began the Rite of Passage three days a week with the 20 kg bell. I have a few more weeks of RoP left, and I’ve been really enjoying it. When I finish this particular block I’m planning to do S&S three days a week and start introducing the 36 kg bell, which I recently purchased. Two days a week I plan to do the one arm moving target complex with the 20 kg bell to solidify my clean and press gains. Once I’m doing all of my swings and get ups with the 36 kg bell I plan to do another RoP block, this time with the 24 kg bell. At some point after that I’ll probably see if I can meet the Timed Simple standard. But I’m in no rush.

What can I say about this experience? I can confidently say that I am stronger and more mobile than I’ve ever been. (I should add that I do the mobility complex first thing almost every morning. That has helped tremendously. Mobility was something I ignored for 40 years - to my detriment - and I realized, when I started CrossFit, that I was incredibly stiff.) Moreover, the strength that I have gained is functional strength. I can easily carry both of my older boys up and down the stairs on a whim. I feel like my body is properly knit together. I have steadily been making gains without injuring myself. I currently have no nagging injuries. For all of this I’m grateful. I’m playing the long game: my goal is to be strong and mobile for decades to come, especially because I want to be able to keep up with my boys for the next 20 years.

I also look great - my wife says my traps, back, forearms, glutes and calves look noticeably bigger. I think I look “old man strong”, as we would have said as a kid - like a dad who does manual labor and can actually lift things - and that’s a good thing.

Anyway, that’s my S&S story thus far. I’m looking forward to continuing to chip away at S&S and RoP for months and months to come. Eventually I plan to pick up the barbell again and do PttP or maybe one of Fabio Zonin’s barbell programs. I also hope to start using two bells and doing Geoff Neupert’s programs but, again - what’s the rush?
I started with a 24 kg kettle bell and achieved Timeless Simple with the 32 kg bell in early June.

Towards the end of June I scaled back my S&S practice to two days a week, still with a 32 kg bell, and began the Rite of Passage three days a week with the 20 kg bell. I have a few more weeks of RoP left, and I’ve been really enjoying it. When I finish this particular block I’m planning to do S&S three days a week and start introducing the 36 kg bell, which I recently purchased. Two days a week I plan to do the one arm moving target complex with the 20 kg bell to solidify my clean and press gains. Once I’m doing all of my swings and get ups with the 36 kg bell I plan to do another RoP block, this time with the 24 kg bell.

I like your thinking here. Please keep us posted on how it goes for you, and please start another regular thread or a training log here for that.



Level 2 Valued Member
Hi all!

Long time reader on the forum and but haven't posted anything so far. Well, yesterday I achieved timed simple and decided that maybe it's time :)

I'm 38 and a bit on the heavy side (94kg) and so far have been mainly interested in trail running ja cycling (road / mtb). I have some background on strength training, but usually it has been 2-3 months somewhat regular barbell or bodyweight training and after that something has happened. Injury, lost interest, wanted to focus more on endurance training or just life happened.

Started Simple and Sinister in August 2021. I have been mostly training S&S on my lunch break (remote working benefits) and because of the recharge nature of the workout, I've been able to have another training session later in the evening like running or cycling. I have been mostly training 3 times / week. I tried 4 times a week at beginning of my journey but it was too much at that time.

Starting weights in 2021 were 20 kg for 2 hand swings and 8 kg for TGU. I had tried swings before but TGU was completely new and had to start from the basics with very light weight. Soon I was doing 1H swings with that 20 kg and 16kg TGU. Since that, TGU has been behind one bell size (4kg). Last August, just after reaching timeless simple, I didn't focus enough on TGU and got an injury on my right palm while catching the bell. That didn't stop my swinging, but I couldn't do TGU for two months. After that it took one month to get TGU results back to where they were before the accident. So now TGU is even more behind. Currently swing sets are 36kg/40kg/40kg/40kg/36kg and I'm planning on testing 36kg TGU for the first time next Monday.

The progress with S&S has been better than I expected and it would be tempting to see how long gains keep on coming with S&S, but because heavy kettlebells are so expensive I think I might try something else next when current S&S progression would require 44kg bell. The other option would be to focus on compressing rest times with that 40kg and set aim to simple standard with 36 kg. Not sure yet. S&S has been great but I have done it so long that other programs are also tempting. Like 10 000 swing challenge or RoP.

Last few weeks I have tried adding that fourth training session again and now it works. That extra session has been light RoP ladders C&P (16kg), pullups and snatching (16kg). I want to have some experience with those before actually starting RoP. I would probably start it with 20 kg.


Level 1 Valued Member
Hello All-

I just hit timed simple 2-days ago, almost three years since purchasing S&S 2.0. You will enjoy every minute of the burn in your lungs after you complete the goal. The training may seem boring at times; however, you will be grateful for each rep. that you did, especially in Turkish Get-ups (TGU), when you're lungs are burning and legs are shaking during the test so you can fall back on technique over everything to finish strong. I received the book S&S 2.0 on April 17, 2020 when my BJJ gym closed and I was looking for a new routine to do at home. I started with a 16 kg KB and worked quickly to own this weight, practice my technique, and complete the timed test with it. I moved up to the 24kg KB and this felt like a big jump at the time. Heavier weight, especially during TGU, really ensures you are practicing to learn the new weight and are not just trying to muscle it.

I also learned a lot about using chalk and hand care during this kb switch as I bled often. Unfortunately, my demons which I have now conquered, and other training (triathlon and other workouts that did not provide any strength I was just chasing the new & fun train) stopped me from mastering this KB until about 1-year ago. I re-read S&S and continued the path. If you want to complete this challenge- you need to be regimented and follow the plan in the book. I was all over the place and was not tracking as I should have been. I completed the timed test with the 24kg KB and purchased the 32kg KB. This was the real deal. Heavy weight is a lie-detector and I actually began talking to the damn thing before each TGU- telling it how much I respected it and let's go. The talk test and progression to build up the 32kg KB is extremely important. There is no need to rush progress as it will come.

I really began to understand the message Pavel stated about your workout should give you energy and not drain you. I followed the progression plan to the next KB as discussed in the book. I was moving the 24kg KB handedly but for month-1, only two KB swings with the 32kg KB and two TGU with it per practice, then building from there on a monthly schedule. I have attached the OneNote doc. I made to check off reps. I completed as I went during my workout and to track my build up to the 32kg KB. After I completed timeless simple, I was very excited to begin the next section of the book. It was a nice change to reduce training days and use Fridays as a test mimicking day. You absolutely need this change of training in order to complete timed Simple. Your lungs must become adapted and I contribute stronger endurance background from triathlon training to help me push through the burn.

One Friday, I felt good and I went for it. "What have I got to lose?" I just kept going, lungs burning, swings completed. Ok- let's see how TGUs are. Legs wobbling, lungs on fire, technique sets in. Now I see why ten minutes is alloted- I did not need this for the others KBs. Have water next to you during this test! It saved me for sure.

Read and re-read the book- you will get there. I guess this may be different for everyone but this was my training routine that I loved to do: Wake up, drink a lot of coffee with grass-fed butter blended in, work for 90 minutes, then practice with my KB. Empty stomach training became my way to earn food and I feel great doing it. Afterwards, gorge on food the rest of the day. I am more keto / high protein minded; however, I did not completely avoid carbs during this program as you definitely have an increased appetite. Good luck!


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Level 2 Valued Member
Hello everyone.
This is my first post on this forum, although I have been following it for quite some tome. Last week I have achieved Timed Simple standard, and it seamed appropriate to make my first post here and briefly introduce myself and describe my journey towards this.
So lets start: 46 years old, 81 kg, 182 cm, involved recreationally in different sports since high school, in last 10 years mostly enjoying various activities related to mountains, and preparing for them (bike, run, gym climbing, strength training). My first serious attempt on following Simple & sinister program was last winter season when I achieved Timeless Simple Standard. When starting the program I was surprised how one arm swings were significantly more difficult than two arm swings. At that time I could comfortably swing 32kg with two hands, but was forced to start my program with only 24 kg on one arm swings. I progressed in 4 kg increments by adding 2 sets with higher weight every two weeks, as suggested in the book, until I reached Timeless Simple in early spring. After spring/summer season in which I typically concretate more on conditioning and mountaineering activities, I returned to S&S this autumn and progressed from 32 to 1A swings with 36-40 kg, and TGU with 40 kg, by training 3 times a week. Other days I did some clubbell swinging, lower legs training, HLR, and some stationary bike riding and gym climbing. In February I started Brett Jones peaking protocol as described in online course by Pavel Macek, and confidently reached Timed Simple last week.

I decide to test myself in some other moves two days later and check transferability of S&S to some other strength moves. I was able to do:
- 1A KB press with 40 kg – both arms (this is personal best for left arm; 1 have pressed 40 before with right, but never more than that)
- chin-up with 40 kg (this was easy: I could do more, but just wanted to check if I can pull half BW)
- chin-ups: 20 (personal best is 22 I think; I don’t do chin-ups in training, just go to climbing gym once a week and test them occasionally)
- Nordic curl 1 rep (I could do at least 3 – I just wanted to confirm that I can perform them; I actually tried them this winter after starting to do swings with 40 kg and was surprised that I could do 1 rep – I never did this before)
- standing ab-wheel rollouts 1 rep – this was the biggest surprise, as I could not do them for last 10 years after having some surgery and cutting of abdominal wall.
- pistol right leg 32 kg (I have slightly overstretched my left quad by doing something stupid, so tested only right leg).

Altogether, I am very pleased by results of this program.
Now, I am turning my attention to some double KB work.
Although I did not post on this forum before, I have been following it for some time, and I have learned a lot. Thank you all for that!
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