I found this to be a very worthwhile purchase. I’m into my fifth year of kettlebell training, met the goals of Enter the Kettlebell!, pressed my bodyweight using Return of the Kettlebell!, and completed a few other programs along the way. Yet I find this book to be a welcome and fresh look at fundamental kettlebell training. I love the simplicity of the programming, which takes ALL guesswork out.
Distilled excellence. Stripped down, no nonsense, high-yield applications for the most recent and effective approach to kettlebell lifting for strength and power. The material presented here is as indispensable for the veteran lifter as it is usable by the complete novice. Reading this book and applying the concepts, one gets the feeling that this is more than another decent fitness book; it could well be the manifesto of a new, true strength revolution that will provide willing men and women with the joyful strength that has been lost as a result of modern easy living.
Anthony Trollope said “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules”
Simple and Sinister is a program to make that daily task both SMALL and STRONG.
I began kettlebell training 2+ years ago. Year 1 was transformative—and exhilarating. Year 2 has been a struggle with consistency.
Kettlebell Simple & Sinister distills kettlebell training to the essentials. It removes decision-points that result in opting out (or worse, flaking out).
Though the book speaks to people who need serious strength (soldiers, law enforcement, athletes), I come at it as an aging desk-jockey who needs to train for life and to strengthen against that bad back. I’d fallen off the wagon, and was hearing warning signs from my back: “Get back to training, stat.” I’d just begun again when the book came out.
I’ve trained using S&S for most of the 10 days since I got it. I’m feeling stronger. Bad back warning signs: gone.
I would not dare work with iron daily on the word of a lesser authority than Pavel. Doing something daily is easier than doing it a few times a week or every other day. I find it easier to train daily for 30 minutes than to train 3x/week for 45-60 minutes.
Simplicity removes options of when to train. (Today? Tomorrow?) Today. Every day.
Simplicity removes choices (This movement? That movement?) Swings. Get-ups. Both.
I find the practice as prescribed more contemplative, focusing on each movements. I’m less focused on time. The strong side/stronger-side approach to get-ups has been a revelation.
Simplicity and daily-ness is an epic win.
—Susan A. Kitchens
When I was a young infantryman over 25 years ago I remember asking my platoon seargent why we always did the same old stuff in the field. Where were all of the high speed drills? This guy was a Marine Corp Vietnam vet. He said, “Son, you got to master the fundamentals because the high speed stuff is based in the fundamentals. You get the fundamentals down and that stuff just comes naturally.” Years later I saw this echoed in Pavel’s writings. This new book is a return to the fundamentals with a vengeance. It is an awesome work.
If you’re familiar with the “Program Minimum” – either the original from The Russian Kettlebell Challenge (by Pavel) or the more streamlined and ever popular version in Enter the Kettlebell (also by Pavel), this is an even simpler and more streamlined (read: better) version of the Program Minimum.
For the uninitiated, the Program Minimum [from Kettlebell Simple & Sinister] is the ultimate starting place for intelligent kettlebell training. It could be an end place as well—doing the program with a 32kg (70lb) kettlebell is going to be a “Sinister” workout for the most hard core workout guys.
Pavel’s contribution to the strength world could be summed up as making it more simple and sinister, but inside of that also safer, smarter, and more effective.
I bought S&S. Read it in one sitting. Read it again a few days later. If anything, my opinion of it is rising with each successive reading. That’s quite the feat. Because I was truly blown away with the content on the first read. It is beautiful in its simplicity.
Anyone who has written—whether for fun, for personal satisfaction, for the cathartic effect, or for money—knows that paring essential information down to the barest amount necessary is very, very hard. Harder than “fluffing” so-called “content” up like a dirty old pillow and presenting it as the newest training method/fad.
There are certain strength practitioners who not only own their strength, but know how to pass it along. Pavel lives and breathes his art and in a clear, concise manual of strength he guides the reader through all they need to know to bulletproof their body (S&S) and mind (breathing through the straw). The Simple (two exercises which cover the body in whole) and the Sinister (pressing the reader towards handling The Beast), this program is truly all you will need to create the foundation of strength necessary to allow you to achieve your goals. Pavel smoothes the path before you, what you do with your stones is up to you.
Buy it and become StrongFirst.
This is the clearest exercise book I’ve every read, both in the purpose of each exercise and the technical detail. For an old guy (65) trying to regain strength and fitness from a few years of struggling with a heart problem (afib) this book and program are perfect. I feel much fitter and stronger than when I started a month ago (I’ve done the program about 25 times). I first thought this was mainly an upper body workout but I feel much stronger in my back and legs. I feel it when I go for walks, like I traded in a four cylinder for an eight. My back feels better than it has in a long time. I particularly like the hip extension in the warm up, I’ve never felt my butt and lower back so much, it feels really good. The stretches after fit perfectly. I struggled with them for the first few times, now they feel doable and better and better. I could not be more pleased with this book and I recommended it for anyone trying to be more fit for any purpose.
Thousands have benefited from Pavel’s training advice; I’m one of them. Anyone looking to get fit would do well to start here.
Strength in a bottle. A time efficient journey into world clsss strength and conditioning. Simple to understand, expertly distilled to the most key elements that will build the ability to handle any situation snd excel. The program scales to meet you where you are at mentally snd physically, while showing you your path to superhuman performsnce. Provides championship level foundation for the elite athlete to layer sport specific training.
After years of martial arts training, I had begun to verge towards some of the same conclusions so elegantly represented by this book’s content. It provided me with greater insight about the road to effective athletic training as well as much larger insights that spill into all domains. It confirmed me in much of what I had intuited but lacked the confidence to fully implement in my training. It is devoid of the BS that plagues so much that is written today. It is simple and effective I highly recommend it.
In a world of misguided superlatives, the use of which is all but ignored these days, I can only say that if you are looking for the perfect foundational strength and endurance workout, you will find it in this book.
I have read most, if not all of Pavel’s publishings… I recommend them all. However, Simple & Sinister takes all his wisdom and science gleaned over several decades of study, consolidates it and breaks exercise fundamentals down to the basics. The beauty of his genius is the simplicity. Raw effort with wisdom. Do not get me wrong, when I say basic I did not say easy… you are the driving force, the weight you choose and the pace you go…
S&S will always give you more than it takes from you. If you follow this program your strength and endurance will sky rocket. If you are reasonable with your diet, your body fat will disappear.
The mastermind behind this book is the fact that you can use this program as a foundation for anything else. ANY sport will benefit from following the S&S program. In fact, if this is all you do, your life will benefit from it.
—David B. Zaharik
This program is fantastic. It is simple, straightforward, and effective. If you follow the program as written, including the warm-up and stretches, you will feel wonderful. Plain and simple. This program is not one designed to hammer this, shred this, or whatever extreme buzzword other fitness books and programs claim. What this program does, is build a person up.
I’ve read this book three times and find something new every time. Trained the last four days in a row and two last week right after I got it. I move better, I feel better, and it takes 30 minutes a day, gets my heart up to moderately high and I have the juice to do it again next day.
—Vance Gatlin II
Pavel’s “Simple and Sinister” is the best yet. I have read all of Pavel’s books, followed his programs closely and had great success in the pursuit of strength. Pavel’s remake of the Program Minimum is the best intro program for kettlebell enthusiasts available. The concise to the point approach is exactly what is needed for active people, athletes and martial artists. Two hard style lifts with a laser focused approach; if you have the discipline to pursue pure functional strength, then this is your program. Meet the “sinister goal” in this book and you are in an elite group of strength. Power to you, have fun.
—Gary Music, SFG II
Biggest bang for your buck program ever. Simple & Sinister is a clear way to stay mobile and strong. Many people beat themselves up a few times a week and make little to no progress. This program will keep you loose and allow you to make smaller, but more functional whole body strength improvements for years. I have had more improvements in my strength and conditioning levels in the last year(after 40) than I ever did in my 30s. The program is based on two high-reward, low risk (when done correctly) exercises. The instruction in the book is as good as you can get without having a live person teach you, and if followed, will get you performing the exercises in a safe manner.
When you have so many exercise choices, it’s easy to get confused as to where to start. Start here. Stay here.
S&S is a plan laid out to get results. Have strong would you be if you put in the time and effort to reach the “Sinister” level? I have all of Pavel’s stuff and as always it is streamlined, to the point, and will leave you, as usual, a stronger more conditioned human being. Excellent material that needs to be read, then read again, to truly understand the many subtle nuances of this book.
An amazing book that provides a great amount of knowledge in a streamlined package. I have highlighted my copy and know without a doubt I will learn from this book for many years to come.
—Ric Garcia, SFG II, SFL
There are optical illusions where the image flips. Is it a duck or a rabbit? That’s the effect of reading this book. Is it beginner instruction, or is it a masterpiece by the world’s greatest coach? Yes. It. Is.
This is the first time ever I have bothered to review a product. I owe it to Pavel, and I owe it to you. The world would be a better place if everyone had a copy. It’s not just a kettlebell book, but a succinct physical progression that everybody should live.
—Matthew A. Hoskisson