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Kettlebell Why is S&S boring?

Brookes

Level 5 Valued Member
I thought it was just me. I don’t enjoy get ups at all, I love swings though.

I feel like I could clean and press, squat and snatch forever though and never get bored
Funny, for me it´s the other way round. Getups and Snatches are my park bench program. Swings bore me to death.
 

mvikred

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Haven’t read all the comments here but I would definitely investigate why you feel bored.

- if it’s because you choose variety of movements then maybe try plugging in a couple of variety days
- if it’s because you dislike TGUs, think of improving the movement quality every time you do one. For me TGUs are meditative. Especially when the weights go up, all my attention is on the bell. I focus on everything from the way I roll to elbow, sweep, etc. also I found that after I do my main workouts I do TGUs with a 32 kg and it helps me recover quickly. So TGUs are just brilliant!
- Swings are boring, sometimes that can happen. You can try to make each rep powerful, snappy. You can try other movements to replace your swings - snatches work great, so do high pulls.

I’ve never done S&S in a dedicated manner. I have taken a bit of an unconventional approach to S&S to hit my times Simple. After that I stopped chasing anything timed. Now I’m doing it with 36, and often when I want a break from my main program and don’t want to think much I just go with S&S. as I’m not chasing anything I just focus on technique and recovery. If I choose to I can do the 40kg timeless but I’m sure my recovery would take a hit. So I just choose to do 36!

Also you can think about replacing 1h swings with 2h swings. If you don’t want to inc weight or can’t because you don’t have a heavier kettlebell just increase the reps per set or the total volume of reps. Rather than 10x10, do 12x10!

All I’m saying is that once your training age increases you can tweak the S&S program to progress and keep it interesting.
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
I remember Jim Wendler saying that one of his clients said training was boring. Jim got him to start adding weight and after a week it wasn't so boring any more.

SS you are using the same weight and the same couple of exercises for a long period of time. Exactly the opposite of what Jim did to motivate that guy. So yeah, I can see why some people might say that.
For sure. Nothing more unmotivating than spending a year doing S&S and looking like you just stepped into a planet fitness a week ago.
 

ILweare

Level 2 Valued Member
Here’s my S&S sob story, feel free to skip.

At a time when depression got so bad I could barely think, I found S&S and long walks helped keep me afloat. It’s a great program for the non-weightlifter/powerlifter. It all comes down to “why.” I did barbell programs from around 15-25 years of age, but never stuck with it for more than a 3-6 months at a time because I would eventually ask myself, “why?” I would then give up the program, and injuries, some my fault and others not, didn’t help. Looking back, barbell squats were the only worthwhile lift for me, and that was while I was a basketball player, but you grow and realize grown men throwing orange leather balls through hoops is a coping mechanism for some other deficient aspect of their life, and you move on, and then the “why’s” change (yes, I have been reading Dan John lately!).

S&S was perfect for my state of mind. The simplicity of just practicing the swings and get ups, not even worrying about reps but just power and form, was so refreshing for a beat-up mind. Depressed people don’t exercise because the mental capacity to literally put shoes on can be too much sometimes. If you’ve never sat in front of your front door staring at your shoes for a half hour trying to will yourself to just put them on, not even go anywhere, just put them on, and you just sit there and stare at them and they’re RIGHT there and you can’t do it, you can’t move your hand to even touch them, you just sit there. You just there and ask yourself, “why?” S&S gave me momentum. Bought a couple of bells, then told myself all I had to do was some goblet squats. Just one. More days than not, I could do that. Goblet squats lead to swings. 5-10 reps, 5-10 sets. Always about practice, never cared what the book said about timers or testing. Get ups until I was forced to go do something else to stay alive. Contemplating life in between sets, and more importantly looking back, feeling deeply into my body while doing the reps at I time when I didn’t necessarily feel like I was in my body. By that point, I had built up some momentum and could go for a walk, and walking can lead you to physically, mentally, and spiritually to new places. Ironically, kettlebells are not limited to just physical momentum. Keeping life simple keeps your head above water. Depressed minds need boredom, ironically, because the routine frees up mental/emotional capacity, and strengthens it over time. It got me out of my own head and into my hands and feet. For those who don’t care where we go but need to go somewhere, S&S is a blessing. I may not be competitive in a meet or be a D1 athlete, but I would argue those who strive for that are coping for a lack of something in their own lives, and it keeps us attached to unhealthy behaviors that hold us back. We are directed into approved outlets for our anger or lack of meaning in life (even alcohol is approved or it wouldn’t be sold), instead of confronting problems head on, as a group. Divide and conquer is a strategy as old as time and you don’t realize you’ve been had until you find yourself as a grown man caring how man times you can throw that synthetic leather through an arbitrarily-high hole. You can literally chop wood and carry water to get a better workout then any gym routine so, I ask, why are all the good, strong ladies and gentlemen still concerned about their pr’s and various bodypart sizes? Why do we still care about weightlifting meets and crossfit and...money...when the foundations of everything those things are built on continue to crumble?

S&S was a beautiful experiment in simplicity that helped me realize that the games I was playing were rigged from the start, and it gave me the space to realize that and the capacity to start playing better games. Base-building and foundations are always talked about here more than most other places. Strong foundations make strong people. Strong people make strong futures. Strong futures ensure strong children and continued strength (feed-forward ;]) enduring. The concept behind Simple and Sinister is anything but boring. It can be a gateway to new life and regeneration.
 

ron_boston

Level 5 Valued Member
Just wanted to note that I've been doing Iron Cardio for about two months and it is NOT boring even though it is basically the exact same exercises (Clean, Press, Squat, Snatch) in the exact same order, every session. The reasons I think it is NOT boring are:

- There are a lot of parameters to choose for any given day: 1kb or 2kb; weight; # of reps of each move (including complex schemes like "traveling 2s" and "moving target ladders"); fixed time or fixed sets; etc. Thus there are many different combinations that can add up to "easy," "medium," or "hard," and in different ways (some are harder from a strength perspective, others from a conditioning or endurance perspective).
- You get to choose those parameters (he suggests rolling a die). I've used a morning heart rate variability reading to help guide easy/med/hard choice.
- Progression is not hard. When you get to 2x the # of sets as minutes (i.e., averaging 2 sets per minute), you pick a more difficult variation. But that could be more difficult along any axis!
- He suggests "spices" to add in to mix things up
- Most importantly, it's not designed as necessarily the "only" program you do. You certainly can do just Iron Cardio, but he also provides advice for combining it with S&S, barbell work, bodyweight, etc. Personally, I have been doing mostly Iron Cardio but then, on occasion, based on various external or internal factors, sometimes I'll take a day to do more traditional strength work, or more traditional cardio work (e.g. rowing ergometer), or some kind of all-out conditioning madness to work the orange & red zones a little.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
Well, I would like to chip in with my limited experience in fitness journey.

I have recognized that, the more my body needs sth, the more I lack in an area, the less I want to exercise that attribute and the more boring to work on that attribute. It might be a chicken an egg type of problem.

A more understandable example is cardio. My cardio capacity is far below ideal, I need LiSS and LiSS is very boring for me.

Sometimes, the thing that is boring for us, is exactly the thing we need.

Trying to change the state of mind as @HarryBergers suggests might be the right approach for some of us.

And as a fun fact, biceps curl is the most popular exercise in the world we live in. :)) The benefit and the fun of curls is really debatable :)
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
I've given up being entertained by my workouts years ago.

I've learned to find the exercises I'm able to do, along with a sprinkling of physical therapy, and just do what I can because it helps me feel better. And being in shape is better than not being in shape. Oddly enough, this approach has worked better for me than chasing shiny things or beating my head against exercises that my body doesn't seem to like.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I've given up being entertained by my workouts years ago.

I've learned to find the exercises I'm able to do, along with a sprinkling of physical therapy, and just do what I can because it helps me feel better. And being in shape is better than not being in shape. Oddly enough, this approach has worked better for me than chasing shiny things or beating my head against exercises that my body doesn't seem to like.

Aww, that makes me kind of sad.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
I have recognized that, the more my body needs sth, the more I lack in an area, the less I want to exercise that attribute and the more boring to work on that attribute. It might be a chicken an egg type of problem.
This is me with higher volume kettlebell ballistics and squatting. I hate doing them because I'm not particularly good at them. One of the big reasons I respect s&s is because it gives you 100 swings and 15 squats everyday. There's a reason for that number, Pavel didn't just make it up.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
This is me with higher volume kettlebell ballistics and squatting. I hate doing them because I'm not particularly good at them. One of the big reasons I respect s&s is because it gives you 100 swings and 15 squats everyday. There's a reason for that number, Pavel didn't just make it up.
It might be in Q&D. Some old school Russian study on the magic of 100 rep volumes.
 

TedM

Level 5 Valued Member
For those who don’t care where we go but need to go somewhere, S&S is a blessing.
Powerful post and an eloquent comment.

As a total newb to strength training (I never heard of it at all before March of this year... just swimming, biking, and hiking for me) - I feel like @ILweare although perhaps for different reasons.

I started with a 16kg; haven't been able to really do Get ups yet, and I had to cut down on swings from 6 days a week to 3 (I was getting just too worn out).

But I'm so proud of the fact that yesterday I took possession of a 32 KG bell and immediately gave it a few crisp swings. I cannot believe that *I* was really able to do that.

This year, at the young age of 62, I've gotten to know - and to change - my body in ways that are remarkable to me.

So, S&S has been a blessing for me as well. And I love the routine.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
It might be in Q&D. Some old school Russian study on the magic of 100 rep volumes.

I remember something about this from the Strong Endurance Manual - I'd have to double check it later - but the way I recall it was that this limitation was derived from experience, and was at the very least a useful guideline in their methods of programming.

1669907479284.png

I believe it was a matter of them finding out that for their goals, more is not better, it's just more.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I remember something about this from the Strong Endurance Manual - I'd have to double check it later - but the way I recall it was that this limitation was derived from experience, and was at the very least a useful guideline in their methods of programming.

View attachment 19894

I believe it was a matter of them finding out that for their goals, more is not better, it's just more.


As a weightlifter, I'm always dubious when people try to apply methodologies from weightlifting to things that aren't weightlifting.

Context matters.

There is a massive difference between pro athletes training 2 times a day, with weights multiples over their own bodyweight being lifted over and over again, and how this taxes the system vs modest KB weights done by some mostly sedentary office worker with far less physical demands training for 30 min, once a day.
 
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