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Thread: Pavel's New Program: Simple and Sinister page

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    Dickson's Avatar
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    Pavel's New Program: Simple and Sinister

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    I noticed no one has mentioned this on the fitness section yet, but Pavel has a new e-book that is brilliant. It's a minimalist kettlebell book that is geared towards beginners with a strength focus. In my past year of experimentation with various programming (started with bodyweight/primal, then went to Starting Strength), it has been the best experience so far.

    The program is sort of like a hybrid between Enter the Kettlebell's Program Minimum and Dan John/Pavel's Easy Strength. They took the movements that were most critical, and cut out the fat to build a program that can be done every day for the next 50 years.

    I'll lay out the basics of the program, but I seriously suggest you buy the book. The Kindle version is $9.99, which is amazing since Pavel's books used to be ridiculously expensive when he was with Dragondoor. Even if you aren't interested in the program, the book includes some insights from guys like Dan John and others that makes it pretty interesting and easy to read.

    The Program:
    Perform the following 3-6 times a week, every day if you can. Take days off if life gets in the way.

    Warm-up (done 3x in a circuit):

    1x5 Goblet Squats
    1x5 Halos
    1x5 Supine Bridges
    (I've added a plank to the warmups)

    and then, simply:

    10x10 one-arm kettlebell swings
    1x5 turkish get ups, each arm (10 total).


    Insanely simple. The entire thing can be done in 15-40 minutes, depending on the relative difficulty. The idea behind the program is that after each session you got what you needed, but you have enough energy to do what you need to (very useful for soldiers or parents-- anyone who can't afford to lay around after working out). Once it becomes too easy (you can do the whole thing in about 15 minutes), move up a size in kettlebell. For guys, the target is 32kg bells for both movements. For women, 32kg for swings and 24kg for getups.

    I've been doing this for about 2 weeks with a 16kg bell and I can tell you it has been challenging. The biggest benefit has that it has exposed my weaknesses (my hips and shoulders) that I didn't realize with squatting/pressing a barbell. My posture is improving, I'm losing fat (along with dieting), and my shoulder pain has diminished. Some here may remember that I was struggling with shoulder pain on the bench press with a measly 140lbs. I was stuck at the plateau yet couldn't really do push-ups. Now, I can knock out a couple nice ones and my shoulder pain is diminishing.

    It's worth a look if you are currently lost on what to do, and don't want to commit yourself to a gym. Or if you just want a break from what you are currently doing, there are probably worse ways to spend a month than mastering the get up. I'm currently recommending the book to everyone I know because I think it is the perfect primer for any program or athletic endeavor you wish to pursue.

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    OldSchhool's Avatar
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    You lost my interest at kettle bells, they are okay for one arm rows and threading a towel through for curls......any ballistic movements though are definitely not ideal.

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    Hah fair enough, it definitely isn't for everyone. It's a program that focuses on general physical preparation (Q1)-- an old-school body builder is beyond that point and is focusing on sport-specific events and needs more specialization (Q3 and Q4).

    To the point that kettlebells are ballistic isn't entirely true though, like you mentioned they can be used for other movements too. The beauty of the Simple and Sinister is that it focuses on one ballistic movement (swings) and one grinding strength movement (the get up). A difficult get up takes 30-45 seconds to complete, the time under tension being similar to a tough set of squats. Not saying they are the same as the loads are clearly different, but the muscle recruitment and coordination makes the get up a great movement to master.

    Speaking of Old School, Pavel points out that old-time Russian Strongmen and circus performers would constantly be asked by young men and women to become apprentices. The strongmen would tell the apprentice to come back when they could do a get up of 100lbs with each arm, and then they would take them serious and begin training with them. Interesting stuff.

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    I may give this a try soon. I appreciate the information Dickson.
    My PB Journal
    Started June 2010

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    OldSchhool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickson View Post
    Hah fair enough, it definitely isn't for everyone. It's a program that focuses on general physical preparation (Q1)-- an old-school body builder is beyond that point and is focusing on sport-specific events and needs more specialization (Q3 and Q4).

    To the point that kettlebells are ballistic isn't entirely true though, like you mentioned they can be used for other movements too. The beauty of the Simple and Sinister is that it focuses on one ballistic movement (swings) and one grinding strength movement (the get up). A difficult get up takes 30-45 seconds to complete, the time under tension being similar to a tough set of squats. Not saying they are the same as the loads are clearly different, but the muscle recruitment and coordination makes the get up a great movement to master.

    Speaking of Old School, Pavel points out that old-time Russian Strongmen and circus performers would constantly be asked by young men and women to become apprentices. The strongmen would tell the apprentice to come back when they could do a get up of 100lbs with each arm, and then they would take them serious and begin training with them. Interesting stuff.
    I actually have a deep respect for what feats I've seen some do with KB's on You tube, I also think the odd HIIT session using KB swings can at times be useful. I just think for optimal gains achieved in the safest manner that regular steady resistance work is best.

    As mentioned, guys such as this are still unreal !


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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSchhool View Post
    You lost my interest at kettle bells, they are okay for one arm rows and threading a towel through for curls......any ballistic movements though are definitely not ideal.
    *Gasp* oh no you didn't!!!! Kettle bells are awesome and as a kettle bell instructor I take exception to your remarks!

    Actually no I don't but they definitely have a purpose for someone who's looking for a specific goal. For the OP kick some ass buddy! Have lots of fun!

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    Thanks for the book reference. I started adding a few KB exercises to my workout a few months ago, and was kinda looking for a good guidebook. Bought the Kindle version, looking forward to cracking it open this weekend.

    I know the hardcore lifters in this forum don't hold KB's in high regard, but I find i can do them without injury, which is not the case with deadlifts. They may not be optimal for getting strong, but OTOH nothing slows me down more than a back spasm, and KB swings strengthen and stretch my back (among other areas) without hurting it (so far).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
    Thanks for the book reference. I started adding a few KB exercises to my workout a few months ago, and was kinda looking for a good guidebook. Bought the Kindle version, looking forward to cracking it open this weekend.

    I know the hardcore lifters in this forum don't hold KB's in high regard, but I find i can do them without injury, which is not the case with deadlifts. They may not be optimal for getting strong, but OTOH nothing slows me down more than a back spasm, and KB swings strengthen and stretch my back (among other areas) without hurting it (so far).
    Great to hear, that was why I posted it. The book will eventually be the kettlebell standard, it's that well planned.

    Don't let the pursuit of perfection stop you from what you want to do-- getting stronger. There is definitely a culture of barbell dogma that exists, which is unfortunate because many goals become completely shot down because it is done with a different path. Look at the Sergey in the OldSchool posted-- he probably weighs 160lbs and doesn't squat 3x a week but he is still strong as hell and if I had to choose a partner to split wood with for the weekend-- he be a good bet.

    Let kettlebells be the avenue to improving your body. If you ever get to the point where the loads aren't challenging (probably won't ever happen) you reevaluate

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSchhool View Post
    You lost my interest at kettle bells, they are okay for one arm rows and threading a towel through for curls......any ballistic movements though are definitely not ideal.
    You are missing the boat if you aren't doing Turkish get ups in your routine. If you aren't using kettles then use dumb bells or bar bells

    I invite Iron Will to expand on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vick View Post
    You are missing the boat if you aren't doing Turkish get ups in your routine. If you aren't using kettles then use dumb bells or bar bells

    I invite Iron Will to expand on that.
    Yes! Definitely do them. But don't be sloppy be really tight with your movements. When I do them my clients have told me it like like some kind of interpretive dance but that's what it should look like.

    A good way to practice is to use a shoe on the outside of your closed fist. Don't hold the shoe just balance it on your knuckles then do the get up. You can make your shoe Simba if you want.

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