S&S efficacy

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Harald Motz

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
it is not worth, getting emotional with comparison. In the short time S&S is out, practitioners who immersed in it told astonishing stories about it. It goes beyond just physical improvement in some cases.

On this forum @aciampa's contribution and @Pavel Macek's and @Anna C's example (and many more...) gave/give lots of clarification, on how to dig into it.

Personally, I spent a good amount into S&S. When I think about it in retrospect, this led me to go to SFG1 cert, a month later, I was at SFG2, another month later at SFL. Somehow, I did not plan for that, as S&S (for me) is not a totally in stone written plan. More like a compass, one has to learn for oneself to use a compass, to navigate.

The last few weeks I "stumbled" across the get up. The get up is gold. I do some more, or less daily currently. As @Kozushi reflected, there are so many steps. Each one is a mine.

The last two days, I came back to the swing, the mother of ballistics.

At the moment I am doing not S&S, but really enjoy and like to think, practice and tinker around it, separated from time or time standards. Time or the "concept" of time, and how everyone deals with it is a question of...patience?
 
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Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
To quote William of Occam "It is vain to do more with what could be done with less"
Hey! Ever since I started reading this thread I wanted to write that :)

But I think that when you put all the details aside, the use of Occam's Razor is the true scientific genius of S&S.

After reading Shank's article I see two possibilities. The first, he looks at movements in a very bodybuilder everything-can-only-be-one-thing way. A swing is just a "lower pull" instead of a full body pull (or actually a hinge + a pull) and a TGU is a just "upper push" ( really? REALLY??). Therefor there is lack of analysis leading to a flawed conclusion. The second possibility is that Shank understands all of this. If that is the case there is no reasoning for his additions accept "because...".
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
S&S is the foundation of the pyramid, build the rest with whatever materials you want, just be aware your personal pyramid will only get as high as the base is wide. Simple is a wide enough base to build pretty high on - Sinister is wider and can be built even higher.

I would agree that most people want their pyramid to be more than just the base. It simply depends on if you want to build the full foundation of a mansion before building it higher or if you want to start with a small pyramid and build additions.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

S&S gave me an excellent physical condition, and lot of strength while protecting me from overtraining, and while letting me time for a life. There is no unrealistic expectations about this program. You can perfectly "stop" and maintaing Simple or so and being gland and satisfied with that.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Stephen Reynolds

Level 3 Valued Member
I read the article by Mr. Shank. I have some questions about it. He claims by adding the exercises he recommends to your routine and doing less swings and get ups you will not invest more time and will get "more bang for your buck". I question if that is really the case and will put some reasons below. I do mean to be respectful. I have no doubt that Mr. Shank is a highly skilled trainer with a lot to offer. I merely question some of his assertions and what he calls improvements.

Mr. Shank did not mention a warm up. In S&S you warm up with goblet squats and halos. There is a hip bridge for beginners. In regards to the stretch he recommends, flexibility is something which can be taken care of with a stretching routine which Pavel recommends.

In Mr. Shank's routine it looks like he intends the two sets of exercises to be done as part of the same routine. If they are to be done on separate days he does not specify that. In regards to the sets for each side of the body perhaps some people understand the system of numbering them better than I do.

In regards to the get ups, if he is recommending 5 for each arm then you are not saving any time because it is the same amount you do in S&S, that is, unless you are doing the two routines on separate alternating days.
Is he recommending 5 sets of swings using two hands at the same time or 5 sets of one arm swings for each arm? Take a look at it and you may see what I mean. If he is recommending 5 sets with each arm then you are not saving any time and you are not doing less swings unless you are alternating the two routines on different days.
If you are doing 5 sets of swings with 2 hands then you are doing less but you are missing out on the anti rotation benefits from doing 1 arm swings. Perhaps you can make up for that by doing the thoracic bridge.

He recommends 5 sets of rows and 5 sets of reverse lunges. If he is adding these in to the swings and get ups on the same day then there is no way you are saving time. I still am not clear about how many swings or get ups he is recommending or how often they are to be done.

I do question if the rows will be any better for my upper pulling as he describes it. I seem to be getting great overall back development from doing the swings. I am surprised just how well my whole back is developing.

In regards to the reverse lunges, I don't see how this is a great addition to the S&S routine because I do a reverse lunge every time I do a get up.

Thoracic bridge may be a good exercise but is seems like I do bridging with mobility every time I do a get up.

It looks like Mr. Shank needs to clear up some issues and be more specific about what his recommendations are. If you are doing the second set of exercises as an addition to swings and get ups on the same day then it seems obvious it will take more time unless I misunderstood his way of recording sets and reps.
If the second set of exercises are to be done on a different day than the swings and get ups then I don't see how they will make a significant improvement to what you are doing. The swings and get ups are incredible overall body exercises and you get a little extra with the goblet squats and halos you do in your warm up.

Another point is that Mr. Shank did not address the endurance aspect of the routine. S&S is designed to be tested within certain time limits and when done in this way the practitioner will develop a high level of endurance when they are working with the heavier kettlebells. It takes a lot of endurance to do 100 swings in 5 minutes with a heavy kettlebell and then to do 10 get ups in 10 minutes.

Perhaps Mr. Shank's routine would be good for many people but I don't see how it is an improvement over S&S for someone who is looking for a basic all-around strength and conditioning routine. Mr. Pavel Tsatsouline did not recommend S&S as a routine that is designed to take care of everything but rather as a simply designed basic routine for strength and conditioning. S&S is a foundational routine. People who have more specific needs can address them as needed.

I suspect Mr. Shank may have missed many important points about S&S when he wrote his article. I also believe he has failed to demonstrate that the exercises he recommends are an improvement over the S&S routine. It seems like the exercises he recommends in his second set work some of the same muscles as the swings and getups but leave some other areas uncovered. They don't appear to be as good for overall body development as the swings and get ups. Overall there were too many points he failed to address.

In regards to S&S, I have been noticing great development in my whole body since I started doing S&S exclusively. I am building muscles in places I never expected and my endurance is improving dramatically using two overall body movements. I don't see how adding the second set of exercises on the same day can be done in the same amount of time. If I did the exercises as listed it looks like they would take more time and energy. Also, I question whether I would be able to maintain the workload on a daily basis. If I needed more variety it seems like there are other exercises I could add that don't overlap so strongly with the swings and get ups.
I plan to stick with the S&S for now. When I do add other things I will look to the Strongfirst curriculum for exercises to add. I am planning to add front squats, cleans and military presses, and a stomach exercise after I make good progress on the S&S. This is something I can take care of by implementing Pavel's other material in my routine.

God bless and best of luck in your practice,
Robert
Thank you, Robert. Legitimate points and questions all! I, too, plan to stick with Pavel's S&S routine and philosophy. I made the commitment and intend to see it through to, hopefully, the Sinister protocol. On my "rest" day, I try to work in some plyo box and agility practice or yoga or both, if I have the time. Other than that, it's straight up S&S. Again, thanks for your remarks. Very helpful. You got me back on the rails! All the best!, SR
 

Stephen Reynolds

Level 3 Valued Member
Fair enough, but mistake or not, you are asking many questions about the article.

A broad enough for what purpose? I will tell you, for my purpose, S&S addresses _more_ than I need, not less. I'm perfectly happy deadlifting and walking. If you'll forgive me, I will take some examples from my career as a musician and music teacher.

You can hand me most kinds of music, in styles I've never even heard of, and I will play it well enough that you'll say, "Yes, that's exactly how it goes - how did you know?" I know because I have prepared myself by methods that make me an anti-fragile musician - I can play anything someone has written down correctly, and I can figure out just about everything by ear if it's not written down.

I teach my students according to the same philosophy: I teach them to how fish rather than handing them one fish. I prepare them for whatever may come their way and whatever they may wish to do with their skills for the rest of their lives.

S&S is such a program - on it, you can build may kinds of specific fitness, but S&S makes no attempt to be "broad spectrum" in its choice of movements. To the contrary, S&S states, and I agree 110%, that most people will be better off, and most goals better achieved, by achieving a high level of skill in a few, basic movements. A "broad spectrum" of people will benefit from S&S's very limited but highly focused choice of exercises.

Why? One can incorporate other moves when there are reasons to do so. I practice swings and getups, and deadlifts and one-armed pushups and overhead presses. The first two are foundational movements as explained in S&S, and they help me with the other three, which are movements I want to be better at in competition and/or for my own satisfaction.

What "effect" are you looking for?

S&S is enough to build a good foundation, and if it's enough to build a good foundation, what more does one need? Can you build a better foundation? A foundation's purpose is to support what you build on it; if your foundation does that, what purpose is served by having a "better" foundation? If your goals require specific things, let's address those issues specifically. A foundation is, by definition, general.

Is more better? Sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no. All we can say about more is that it's more. All we can say about S&S is that we have a long thread in "I Achieved Simple and Here's My Story," full of people telling us how S&S has improved their strength, their endurance, their martial arts performance, and a whole host of other things. One can build many kinds of house on the same foundation.

Yes. :)

Clearer now?

-S-
Much, thank you. All the comments I've read have re-enforced the philosophy and intent of S&S, a program, as I mentioned to Robert, to which I am fully committed and intend to see through. It certainly wasn't my intent to offend by posting this article. I will say that I am both shocked and delighted at the response! Thanks to all for their heartfelt remarks!
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I can't imagine why I'd leave S&S behind. I'd only do it if there were something that took even less time leaving me as strong in heart, lung and muscle. But 15 minutes (when I use the 32) is pretty darn quick for a full workout already! I really don't expect anyone to come up with anything taking less time yet exercising pretty much everything!
 

MarkSch

Level 6 Valued Member
Agreed, @Kozushi .
I've just had a productive but ultimately failed run at ROP--I did not get a 1/2 BW press(40K), and as for 200 24k snatches in 10 minutes-Ha.Ha.Ha.
I'm back on S&S and really enjoying it, which isn't something I can say about ROP, sadly. It's truly remarkable that such a simple (heh) and short practice can be so productive, yet still leave with a full tank and raring to get on with the day.
 

Sauli

Level 8 Valued Member
I think there is everything in s&s.
Hinge - swing, tgu
Squat - goblet squat, swing(bit), tgu
Upper pull - swing, tgu(packing)
Upper push- tgu(floor press, static hold)
Core - swing&tgu

Actually doing only get ups would be pretty good or clean and jerk. :)
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

I ran through a lot of routines, either bodyweight or with bands. S&S was the first one with kb.

To be honest, I do not know any other program with such a good dedicated time / efficiency / fast results ratio.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

El Cid

Level 3 Valued Member
I made the mistake of reading an RKC article regarding the overall efficacy of S&S. According to them, S&S does not address a broad enough spectrum of fitness and one should incorporate other moves. Is S&S a stand alone effective workout ? Is Pavel T. correct in his opinion that S&S is all one needs to build a good foundation? Confused.
1) It's never a mistake to hear alternate opinions and examine them.

2) S&S is intended to be (imho) a minimalist program that prepares you for the broadest variety of other activities with the least complexity. It's best used (again imo) as either a starting point to strength and conditioning, or a no-frills program to maintain your fitness without over taxing your recovery systems.

3) When in doubt try it out! Even when I've tried programs/methods that were not effective for me I've always learned enough from the process to have made the investment of time worthwhile.

What I like about S&S is that no matter where I'm at, I can pick the right weight KB and put it on "autopilot" for a while and trust that I will be well rewarded for the time when I switch to some other program.
 

El Cid

Level 3 Valued Member
...on another note, after seeing who the author of the article is, I believe it's fair to say that Max Shank isn't exactly an impartial source of critique in this case.

He has publicly taken issue with Pavel as a leader and with StrongFirst in general in a podcast with Mike Mahler and Sincere Hogan. He even takes what I would call personal cheap shots at some former high level RKC who's now with StrongFirst. Without naming names he makes it pretty clear who he's talking about (if I can figure it out, it must be obvious because I'm no community insider). I find that very unappealing and unprofessional.

I'm not saying his points in the article should be disregarded, I'm simply saying it's important to consider any bias the author may have when examining any argument.

 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
Agreed, @Kozushi .
I've just had a productive but ultimately failed run at ROP--I did not get a 1/2 BW press(40K), and as for 200 24k snatches in 10 minutes-Ha.Ha.Ha.
I'm back on S&S and really enjoying it, which isn't something I can say about ROP, sadly. It's truly remarkable that such a simple (heh) and short practice can be so productive, yet still leave with a full tank and raring to get on with the day.
While as many say, ROP is great, it clearly comes across to me as earlier thinking on Pavel T's part. The goto programme now in Strong First is S&S. The ROP stuff is still great as stuff to add onto S&S to make one's training less minimalist and more "programme maximum" like I suppose. I use ROP stuff from time to time and it's fun, but S&S is ideal, and it can be made "maximalist" also by going up in weight.
 

crazycanuck

Level 8 Valued Member
While as many say, ROP is great, it clearly comes across to me as earlier thinking on Pavel T's part. The goto programme now in Strong First is S&S. The ROP stuff is still great as stuff to add onto S&S to make one's training less minimalist and more "programme maximum" like I suppose. I use ROP stuff from time to time and it's fun, but S&S is ideal, and it can be made "maximalist" also by going up in weight.
And I think, as someone who did some of the Rite of Passage program not long after the book came out (met the press but not quite the snatches), I think that it would have been a lot easier if I had something like the Simple standard under my belt, rather than the comparatively much shorter time on the Program Minimum.
 
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