Simple and Sinister & The Rite of Passage

Discussion in 'Old StrongFirst Forum (Read-Only)' started by rarthur, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. rarthur

    rarthur My Third Post

    Can Simple and Sinister and The Rite of Passage be used at the same time?
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor


    Simple and Sinister is, as the book itself says, the updated, improved version of the Program Minimum from Enter The Kettlebell.  As such, you generally wouldn't do both programs at the same time.

    I suppose you could, but the Rite of Passage is a very demanding program and specifically tells you to take it easy on the days when you're not doing one of its prescribed routines.  Doing them both would lead to overtraining for most people unless you purposely used lighter than recommended weights for one or the other, which kind of defeats the purpose of either program.

    Generally speaking, follow only one program at a time and stick to that program's advice about what other things are OK and not OK to add.

  3. Sven Heidenreich

    Sven Heidenreich Double-Digit Post Count

    The advice to stick to one program at a time is difficult but wise.  From my own program-mixing indiscretions, I think this comes from individuals whose program planning occurs in the theoretical world, or in their heads, vs. those design the programs based on real-world limitations.

    I once devised a schedule in which I could press kettlebells, practice a full compliment of gymnastics strength training, and still deadlift 5X5 three times a week.  By devised I mean that I could manage to cram it all into the boxes of a weekly desktop calendar; when real life variables like fatigue and hunger came into play I didn't even make it a week in practice.

    As one who always tries to devise a way to do more, the best solution I've found to remedy this is to intentionally channel all your effort and energy into a given program.  Sure, you probably could do more, but what would happen if you did less but better?
  4. Mattsirpeace

    Mattsirpeace More than 500 posts

    Sven, very well said.  Articles and forums can be misleading.  After lifting for, say, 25 years, a person has a repertoire of exercises and methods.  But at any given time a simple, under-stimulated program is better for almost everyone.
  5. Jason Ginsberg

    Jason Ginsberg More than 500 posts

    Well, doing 10 getups and some goblet squats on your variety days is not that big of a deal. Indeed, it may be helpful for some, especially those preparing for SFG.

    Doing that many swings though is not a good idea if following ROP; rather you should take the advice from the ETK 'special report' and do very low volume swings or snatches with a bell heavier than the one you are currently using.

    Let me offer another point of view as well. Rite of Passage is a fine program, but imho, for the vast majority of people, S&S would be a better choice. What are your goals?
  6. jhpowers

    jhpowers More than 300 posts

    I have to say that this question has occurred to me as well.  I was doing the ROP, but as I pushed the limits of the 20kg bell for swings, snatches and presses, I started to run into back issues.  I've been doing S & S for the past month.  My back pain has resolved and I'm starting to feel more knit together (if that makes sense), but I really miss pressing.  I also felt like I had more hypertrophy gains on the ROP and more gains with body composition.  I'm hoping that I can meet the simple goals and get back to the ROP, but then would like to continue with TGU to hold onto my progress there.  Really, there are so many fun things to learn and try it is painful to stick with a program.

    Then again, I hear that..."Consistency trumps intensity; all the time. That intensity is born from consistency..."  That is quoted on Rif's blog.  I don't know where it comes from, but I repeat it like a precept or mantra to stick to S & S.
  7. AndyMcL

    AndyMcL More than 500 posts

    Well, like many of you I too love S+S, but also have the goal of a half-bodyweight press. So, in order to follow this I made a sort of Frankenstein program, patching together S+S, RoP and Pavel's Total Package Weekly Template. It looks something like this:

    Monday: Heavy RoP Ladders + Squats

    Tuesday: S+S

    Thursday: Medium RoP Ladders + Squats

    Friday: S+S

    I was initially worried about the wear on my shoulder and fatigue following heavy presses. However, if anything doing get ups decreases soreness for me. I don't know if it's my mind playing tricks on me, but I actually enjoy doing get ups the day after pressing.

    I left out the easy day; I thought about putting it on Saturday, but that seemed like it might be a bit much in the long run. Another option would be to cycle through over multiple weaks (IE Week 1: Heavy, Medium then Week 2: Light, Heavy followed by Week 3: Medium, Light and you're back to Week 1). This would provide slower progress, but probably allow for a longer run.

    I've been on this for about 4 weeks now, and I'm enjoying it. Came down with a cold during my second week, so my progress was slowed slightly. Started with 3 ladders of 1-2-3 with the 32kg, and just made it up to 5 ladders of 1-2-3. Initially the 32kg was my 4RM for my left arm, so I'm very happy to be knocking off 30 reps with it on my heavy days. Will be interesting to see how the increase to 4 reps on the last rung goes. Replaced swings with barbell squats so that I could focus on swings during my S+S sessions. While goblet squats did maintain my squat groove, I lost a ton of strength on my front squat, and it took me about 4 weeks to regain it.

    As for S+S, I've made some progress, but obviously not as much as when I was performing the exercises 6 times a week. My Get Ups have plateaued at around 8:30 minutes, and my swings are consistently between 4:30 and 5:30. These are slight improvements on where I was when I was performing only S+S.

    So, in summary, you can combine elements of the two. However, you will make slower progress at each. As the saying goes, "Jack of all trades, master of none." I would likely have made more pressing progress if I simply followed RoP and my improvements have slowed since reducing my S+S volume.

    Interesting experiment. I definitely plan on following it for 2-4 more weeks, and hopefully by then I will have a 40kg 'bell. It definitely makes sense to me to have S+S as a baseline sort of program. Do it for 8-12 weeks, then follow a more specialized routine for 6-8 weeks, and cycle back and forth.
    Geoduck likes this.
  8. BrianCF

    BrianCF More than 300 posts

    Andy, looks like a great workout to me.  Are you doing the pullups as well?  I like the squats in there.  When I did the ROP, I took the day before and after heavy day off.  I know I went harder than I should have during variety days but made good progress.

    Have fun doing Getups with the 40.  Especially the Get down.
  9. jhpowers

    jhpowers More than 300 posts

    Andy, I'm glad to hear your experience.  I had thought about doing something similar, either the way that you have it structured using ROP as a template or with doubles using "Strong" as a template and pairing presses with Double Front Squats.


    Right now, I'm going to continue with S & S until I reach the Simple goals and then maybe implement something along those lines.
  10. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    The ROP is one of the most successful programs I know in terms of delivering the promised results.

    The beauty of the S&S program is that, although you are no longer followed the program as written because it calls for practice of its warmups, lifts, and cooldowns almost every day, is that you can scale it back and do some of those things as variety activities - nothing wrong with that.

    IMHO, you are not "mixing" the two program, you're doing the ROP and you're doing some swings and getups as they're taught in S&S.  One ought not to mix two programs, but the concept of variety day in the ROP is open to almost anything, including some of the lifts specified in S&S.

    Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

  11. jhpowers

    jhpowers More than 300 posts

    Isn't there an option in S &S for doing a two day a week program if you are doing other significant strength training?  It seems like what Andy is doing would fall under that heading.
  12. AndyMcL

    AndyMcL More than 500 posts

    Brian, thank you, I'm enjoying it so far, and my lifts are all improving, so I'm going to stick with it. I am including pull ups, mixing in both weighted chin ups and unweighted tactical pull ups.

    James, the addition of two days of S+S programming, like Pavel recommends in his book, to other lifting works really well. I could see a double program complementing S+S nicely.

    Steve, I would not say that I am mixing the two programs. I took elements from both (ladders from RoP, swings/get up scheme from S+S), and the rest of the program is actually taken from some of Pavel's blogs, format is from his Weekly Template, and the squat progression is the same as his Bench Press program. I do not want anyone to think that I am following either program, because I am not. But, I thought it was applicable to this topic because the author was wondering if you could do both. My answer to that question is no, but you can incorporate parts, and that S+S makes a fantastic addition to most training programs. I agree that one is best not to mix programs. But, if you have particular goals then I definitely recommend you construct your own routine to bring you closer to them.
  13. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Andy, as you can see, I'm picky on the point of mixing programs because so many people abuse it.  I think what you're doing sounds fine - you've thought it through, you've picked a secondary program that explicitly says it'll be twice a week when another strength program is your focus - all good.

    The only thing I'd disagree with is your last sentence.  Most people shouldn't construct their own routines, they should follow something that's already out there and proven to advance them towards their goals.  You just aren't most people. :)

  14. Mark Limbaga

    Mark Limbaga Quadruple-Digit Post Count Elite Certified Instructor

    Nothing wrong with constructing your own program but not when you still do not have a firm grasp of the concepts and principles.
  15. AndyMcL

    AndyMcL More than 500 posts

    Steve and Mark, very true. Let me rephrases that, everyone should go through programs as written, and then take what they've learned from the program when they move on.
  16. Gary Music

    Gary Music Triple-Digit Post Count Team Leader Certified Instructor Elite Certified Instructor

    I do my own programs all the time that is fine.  :)  The thing to remember is if you change a program it is your program now, not the original authors program.  Own it.
  17. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Not literally at the same time, but easily combinable.

    ROP pressing ladders 3 days a week as written.

    S&S warm ups and swings more or less daily as written.


    Feel free to:

    Add pull ups to your press ladders.

    Skip swings on your heavy press day.

    Clean once for each press set.

    Snatch instead of swing on your easy press day or a non-press day (snatch volume can be lower than a normal swing day, depending on your snatching ability).

    Do some non-taxing get up practice on one or two non-press days.
  18. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Weightlifting is a complicated thing based on lots of trial and error by other people and some scientific research too. Reading Pavel's books shocked me as to the depth of this experience and research. I'd like to come to understand WHY the S&S programme works so incredibly well, but I think that is totally beyond me. All I know is I went from weak fat guy always getting his back hurt when lifting anything to Hercules in a few months.
  19. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    "Understanding is a delaying tactic."

    :) Glad you've chosen not to worry about it - carry on!

    The brilliance of Pavel's simple programs lies in their simplicity. It's hard enough for a coach to design an effective program for a student - hard enough but within the abilities of a sizable group of people on our planet. But the ability to design a program that is simple and effective, and on top of that, is also applicable to a very wide group of people - well, that is truly exceptional. Simplicity increases adherence and, in the end, yields more progress for more people, I think.

    I had the experience of trying a program Pavel had given me, one specifically for my needs, and in the end, I stopped doing it and went back to the Rite of Passage. I told him and I was pleased he forgave me. :)

    Pavel Macek likes this.
  20. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I'm looking forward even more to getting the "Enter the Kettlebell" book now. It sounds like the ROP programme is extremely good!

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