Question Minimum effective dose

Discussion in 'Simple and Sinister FAQ Questions' started by HUNTER1313, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. HUNTER1313

    HUNTER1313 More than 500 posts

    What is the minimum effective dose for health and physical improvement? Every other day? If you're chasing the standards/bigger bells almost daily is probably the way to go.
  2. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

    I believe that to be a very personal thing. An effective dose for one individual might already be way to much for another, or hardly anything for another. I guess the best way to discover this for yourself is to listen to your body. It will tell you when it is enough, the soft or the hard way.
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @HUNTER1313, a good question. I think the minimum effective dose is the program, as written, meaning 100 swings and 10 getups, performed once a day, 5 to 7 days per week. The program can be scaled back to allow other foci in one's athletic life, but scaling it back just to scale it back will yield scaled back results. Exactly how reduced frequency will reduce results is difficult to say. I imagine that 3x/week would still yield something positive for many beginners but that more frequent practice will be needed in order to progress up to even the Simple goal.

    Discipulus, BCman, The Nail and 2 others like this.
  4. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    I think the minimum effective dose depends on what you are after.

    If we consider, as you said, "health and physical improvement", I tend to think that the book is enough. There is no need to go any further.

    If you want to go really heavy, it might be a good strategy to use it as a stand alone. Once you get used to the weight, adding activity can be safely considered.

    If moderately heavy is the target, after a while, it can be possible to add other physical activities to develop other skills.

    Kind regards,

    Billy59 likes this.
  5. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I'm going to respectfully disagree here. Everyone is different and I believe that less will equal better results for some. Since the original post didn't ask about a particular program it makes this a very wide open question.

    "For health and physical improvement" is the original question. That's a pretty broad spectrum. What exactly is meant by health? A lower resting heart rate, a less than 40 inch waist line, or a 2x BW deadlift? What would be physical improvement depends on the individual.

    Is your ability to recover from a physically demanding session a part of health or physical improvement.? For a young new trainee this would be true generally. But for an old trainee they may need additional recovery time. No program is a one size fits all endeavor.

    If you are not seeing improvement over a period of time, let's say three months. Most would agree that is sufficient time to see improvement for all but the most advanced trainee. Then you may need to take a break, say a week, and then return. If you are still not seeing improvement and sessions are not making you feel refreshed, there could be other issues, but the first place to start is with recovery.

    I believe we do some a disservice by sticking to a dogma regarding certain processes that have worked for us and then thinking that others should follow this process to the letter.

    The program may say 5-7 days per week, but if you are seeing results doing the program every other day with a nice brisk walk on days between sessions, then continue with what you are doing until that stops working.
  6. apa

    apa Triple-Digit Post Count

    Tim Ferris 4h Body book has some good info regarding this. Especially when it comes to KB Swings. Pavel also mentions it in S&S. p.75
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    @banzaiengr, if one is not recovering sufficiently to do the program on a daily basis, one is not following the program. Gently work your way into each new weight, and own it before moving on. While an S&S session is supposed to be more vigorous than walking a mile, there is no reason any healthy person at any any cannot learn to do both.

    There are many valid reasons why someone would need a break from S&S, but S&S isn't, or shouldn't be among them. A busy time in life, an injury, an illness, and more things, I'm sure.

    But sticking to the program isn't dogma, it's the program's design. Former Senior instructor Rob Lawrence used to say, "It's your fault." I know that sounds harsh as a response to everything, but if you learn good form, practice good form, and follow the guidance about what weight to use, there is nothing to prevent any _healthy_ individual from following S&S into old age. If one's health declines in old age, that's another matter that needs to be attended to separately. Less will equal better for some _if_ their lives demand less, but that is part of the program design as well - it's designed to be scaled back as needed. My point is that scaling it back for no reason will not yield better results - remove the reasons for scaling it back, and then it ought to be done every day.

  8. Tim Randolph

    Tim Randolph Double-Digit Post Count

    I found this to be true in my experience. If I was doing swings and get-ups 3 or 4 times a week (and not even consistently at that) my fitness improved and I got in shape for my baseline, but I didn't make real progress. Sometimes in life not going backwards is plenty, but if you want to hit the Simple goal you will need to follow the program.
  9. Tim Randolph

    Tim Randolph Double-Digit Post Count

    In the Sinister article, Pavel is clear on the target and actual compliance. Based on that and the other answers here, I would say the answer to the FAQ question on the minimum effective dose for S&S is "At least five times a week" and the answer to it for "health and physical improvement" is that it depends on your goals.
    The Nail likes this.
  10. rickyw

    rickyw More than 500 posts

    Looks like I had better retire and move to the Bahamas...;)
    BCman and Steve Freides like this.
  11. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Yes. I shamelessly replace S&S with an insane 2 hour kendo battle-session training Mondays, and another once or twice a week with a long walk/hike. I think it's dumb not to get some long walks in. I think we lose mobility fast when we don't do the most natural of exercises which is walking. Nothing replaces it.
    Michael Scott, Sauli, BCman and 3 others like this.
  12. Sauli

    Sauli Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Thierry Sanchez actually achieved Sinister goal practising three times a week, 60 swings and 6 get ups total each session, but he had lots of experience from kb sport so he probably had needed strength and conditioning already in him.
    malleus and masa like this.
  13. Jonathan

    Jonathan Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    I agree with @Steve Freides. 3X a week min.

    I box 2-3 times a week and too see progress 3X is the min.

    I would even suggest going Monday-Tuesday back to back, Wednesday walk. Thursday back to S&S.

    Have to get used to greasing the groove.
  14. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    ...and no.
    He clearly uses GS swings and not max power HS swings (100 swings GS-style are definitely easier than 100 HS-style).
    I usually wouldn't write about this, because I don't want to diminish other peoples achievments, but the thread is about the minimum effective dosis and when someone reads this he/she might get the wrong impression that Sinister is achieveable with only 3 minimal sessions per week...
    Using a former world champion GS guy, who uses "wrong" (wrong in the sense of S&S standards) technique as an example is misleading.
    Andrew Malanga and rickyw like this.
  15. Sauli

    Sauli Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I understand your points and agree with you mostly, but anyway his programming worked very well for him. He achieved those "sinister" numbers actually in three months too. :)
  16. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    This is an interesting topic. I think a good approach for the original post question would be "Which is the minimum effective dose for maintaining current level of condition? (applied to S&S, since we are at S&S FAQ)". Then, anything reasonable above that would bring improvement, anything below and you would slowly lose your fitness level.

    So lets say you have achieved simple. Then, which would be the minimum effective dose of S&S for maintaining it? Anything above that and you would progress towards sinister.
  17. MicahK

    MicahK Double-Digit Post Count

    "Health and physical improvement" is certainly a broad term, and certainly something we all strive for one way or another. One could argue that merely doing a single swing a week is better than doing no swings, and therefore must be contributing to health and physical improvement on a micro scale of some sort.

    As a 41 year old male, average build and body weight, who sits at a desk all day and takes care of twin babies all evening/night (and gets a few hours sleep when he can), I can say that three times a week is the absolute minimum effective dose for keeping me at whatever level I happen to be at that week. I've never done less, but I can attest that three times a week anchors me against the storms of life, but does not allow me to progress. I see real improvements at four or more times a week.

    By the way, even though life is hectic and sleep is often measured in minutes, I still run circles around people younger than me. It's not even a fair comparison. S&S has given me greater health, strength, and energy than I ever thought possible, and shored up my troubled shoulders and back. When done properly it truly acts as a recharge, not a drain.
    Discipulus, lalf and Sean M like this.
  18. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Here’s a thought for anyone wishing to make 4-days-a-week progress in 3 days a week: do 400 swings over 3 days.

    Get there as follows, owning each increase in swing volume before moving on. NB: no weekly order is given so choose your own or vary randomly.

    100, 100, 100
    100, 100, 120
    100, 120, 120
    100, 120, 140
    100, 140, 140
    100, 140, 160

    For getups, divide above by 10.

    (To minimize heavy day fatigue, pair the most swings with the fewest getups and vice versa, e.g.,

    100 sw + 16 gu, 140 sw + 14 gu, 160 sw + 10 gu)

  19. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    This link is quite interesting regarding some kind of minimum effective dose and also some "common sense":
    How To Look Good Naked And Live A Long Time. - Ben Greenfield Fitness - Diet, Fat Loss and Performance Advice

    At the end of the link, there's the actual protocole (which I copy below), in the "Summary & A Done-For-You Approach":
    - To maintain your cardiovascular fitness and VO2 max, do five 4-minute intense intervals once every two weeks.
    - To improve your aerobic capacity and muscle endurance, do 2-3 Tabat sets a week.
    - To maintain the ultimate combination of strength and muscle mass, do one 12-20 minute super-slow strength session per week and one 7-14 minute high intensity body weight workout per week.
    - To maximize mitochondrial density, do a short series of sprint bursts one to three times per week (e.g. five 4-second all-out sprints with 20 seconds of rest).
    - To increase fat burning and metabolic efficiency, include fasting, avoid snacking, avoid sitting, and figure out ways to engage in low-level physical activity all day long.
    - To increase stamina, do something 90+ minutes at low-to-moderate intensity one to two times per month.

    Kind regards,

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