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SIMPLE & SINISTER PROGRAM

Kettlebell Simple & Sinister is a book and program by Pavel Tsatsouline. Since it was first published in 2015, with the 2nd edition being released in late 2019, there has been a lot of discussion about it amongst kettlebell and strength training enthusiasts. 

This post is meant to introduce and summarize the program found in Kettlebell Simple & Sinister. The book contains tons of interesting and useful information, including kettlebell history, the program’s inspiration, specific warm-up drills, cool-down exercises, and more. If you have any interest in the finer details, give it a read, as it’s well worth it.

S&S is another simple workout you can do with one bell, like the Program Minimum.

THE BASICS

The program is intended to be a near-daily practice of kettlebell swings and Turkish get-ups. People have reported positive results for S&S by completing anywhere from 3 to 6 sessions per week, and this can be adjusted from week-to-week to accommodate anyone with an unpredictable schedule.

Each session’s goal is to work up to 100 single-arm kettlebell swings and 10 total get-up singles. This means alternating arms with sets of 10 swings and parking, a.k.a. resting, between each set. You’ll also switch arms and rest after each get-up.

As an example, you can work up to completing the swings within 5 minutes (30-second intervals) and the getups within 10 minutes (1-minute intervals) while taking a 1-minute break between the two movements (Pavel details specific weight and time goals in the book).  

WORK WITH WHAT YOU GOT

To be clear, you DO NOT have to start at this level.  Beginning with fewer repetitions of two-handed swings and practicing unloaded TGUs is common and even recommended as you ease into the program. A coach we knew used to say, “slow is pro.” We’re not sure if he got that from somewhere or made it up, but there’s truth to it.

The size of the kettlebell you have access to will largely affect where you start.  If you have a fairly light bell, you may be able to perform all the swings with one hand and knock out the get-up with no problem. Whereas, if you have a bell that’s a little more on the “heavy” side for you, you may have to start with two-handed swings while breaking down and executing your getups in multiple stages. 

And don’t worry if you lack the space for getups, as you’ll still greatly benefit from the swing portion of the program.

OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

The best part about this program is that it is both simple and quick.  With a brief warm-up and cool-down included, the typical S&S session ranges from 30-45 minutes. Whether you’re strapped for time, in love with efficiency, or just impatient, this workout can probably find its way into your schedule. 

And just because this program is “simple” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to do without proper guidance. A good strength coach can help you figure out where to start with S&S based on your current level of fitness, as well as the kettlebells and space available to you. 

If you’re an online coaching group member, schedule a support call to review options for this kettlebell home workout. 

– Coach Eric Addis, NASM CPT, Corrective Exercise Specialist, SFG 

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