Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Learn how to use the extreme hand-held gym from the source the man who started the kettlebell revolution. Simple & Sinister will prepare you for almost anything life could throw at you, from carrying a piano upstairs to holding your own in a street fight. Simple & Sinister will forge a fighter’s physique because the form must follow the function.
Simple & Sinister will give you the strength, the stamina, and the suppleness to play any sport recreationally and play it well. If you are a serious athlete, Simple & Sinister will serve as a perfect foundation for your sport-specific training. If you are a serious lifter, Simple & Sinister will build your strength, rather than interfere with it.
Simple & Sinister will achieve all of the above while leaving you plenty of time and energy to do your duty, your job, practice your sport, and have a life. Russian kettlebell power to you!
About the Author
Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, currently a Subject Matter Expert to elite US military and law enforcement special operations units. Pavel introduced the Russian kettlebell to the West in 1998 and started the kettlebell revolution.
Dr. Randall Strossen, one of the most respected names in the strength world, stated, “Pavel Tsatsouline will always reign as the modern king of kettlebells since it was he who popularized them to the point where you could almost found a country filled with his converts”.
Pavel is the Chairman of StrongFirst, Inc. In addition to the gold-standard kettlebell instructor certification StrongFirst.com offers user courses internationally in kettlebell, barbell and bodyweight training.
Reviews of Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Review 1: A beginner’s opinion of the program
The reviews on Simple & Sinister seemed too good to be true, but I bought it on a whim. It ended up entirely changing my training routine. It may be too early to post a review, but I have been following this routine exactly as prescribed for about a week and I love it. I thought I’d share my experience from a novice’s perspective, and if I find in a few months that I am unsatisfied with the routine (or that I still love it) I will follow-up my review. Since most of the reviews are on the information and quality of the book (I’d still give it five stars– the writing is motivating and informative), I am going to focus on the routine’s prescribed itself.
I’m not your typical kettlebell/crossfit nut who asks for punishment– I’m an out of shape guy who wants (and needs) to lose fat and get stronger. Like every other dissatisfied-with-their-bodied American, I bought a kettlebell last year but didn’t really know what to do with it. I got Enter the Kettlebell like recommended, and was even more confused. So the $50 bell that was supposed to solve my fitness woes sat in the closet, and I kept paying my $25/month gym fee. I went in yesterday to cancel my membership– I now have a fitness plan to last me a long time.
The premise behind Simple and Sinister is, well, simple. While I don’t want to spoil what is in the book, it is so simple and easy to understand that it isn’t going to be a secret for long. Some books on fitness tell you to “do this– but you could also do this, this, or this”, but Simple and Sinister has just two options: Simple (what I’m on), and Sinister (for the experienced kettlebeller).
Here is the layout for the simple routine. I won’t share with you how many times a week to do the program or any of the other programming tips. You have to buy the book for that.
The simple routine starts with a warmup set that is repeated three times:
1×5 Goblet Squats
1×5 Supine Bridges
After that, the workout is:
10×10 KB swings
1×5 turkish get ups, each side
That is it. While similar to the Program Minimum of ETK, this program focuses more on strength rather than time. Each rep is controlled and powerful.
When I started on the routine, I was worried by 35lb KB would be insufficient (I am a 240lb guy, after all). Did I ever get a wakeup call. The first day I had to lay in a pile of sweat after the sets. I woke up and everything hurt. But I kept coming back, and it kept getting easier. A few things I noticed after only about a week:
1. My chronic shoulder pain has all but diminished. I had heard that turkish get ups were great for shoulder stability, but even after watching dozens of youtube videos I never got them right. Pavel’s tips and shoe trick got me to learn it within a day.
2. I’ve dropped five pounds (I’m also dieting, which helps)
3. My posture is better, and despite working out harder than I had been I feel pretty good sitting at my work desk all day.
4. My legs are tighter and stronger feeling than they were a week ago. I had been doing a 3×5 powerlifting program before this and my legs got huge. I like the idea of fitting in normal jeans again.
5. My grip is much stronger. The first few days I struggled to not drop the kettlebell on my face, and now I am finding I want more of a challenge.
The beauty of the simple program is that it can be scalable for a long time. Once my 16kg bell feels too easy, I am buying a 24kg bell. Then, a 32kg bell. If I can do the program with a 48kg beast, I’ll be the baddest dude on the block. So I have years of programming that I can do in my living room for about a total of 3 hours per week. No gym memberships, and the only cost will be a collection of kettlebells that will last forever.
I look forward to continuing the program. I hope my wordy review convinces another lost beginner to just go ahead and buy the book, grab a kettlebell, and start. It’s the solution to your New Years Resolution!
After nearly three months using the program, I purchased a 24kg kettlebell a week ago and have been continuing to progress. I started eating *clean* in January and have lost nearly 18lbs (from 247 to 229lbs) and 5 inches on my waist line (from 44 inches to 39, still got a gut). I’m down to doing the program 2-3 times a week, and I swim/go to a crossfit style workout class 3 other days a week.
Review 2: A very effective program that works in minimum time & with little money.
Review 3: Great path back to strength training for older folks
I enjoyed this book and have shared with several friends.
I’m in my mid forties and used to really enjoy strength training in college and throughout my 20s. This was before the internet so very few people in the gyms had any idea what they were doing, but I figured it out over time. But getting to the gym and dealing with spotters etc. wore me out and I gave it up. About 10 years ago I discovered power yoga – it is the ideal exercise for me but each session is 90 min so once per week is about all I can manage. I run 4 days per week, swim occasionally, and stand up paddleboard regularly.
I heard Pavel on Tim Ferriss’s pod and was intrigued. Bought the book and 2 kettlebells in early April. It is such a great addition to my exercise regimen. The routine takes about 20 min. It’s designed to be done every day but I cut it back to 3 days per week so I can maintain the yoga and running. The strength and endurance gains are immediate. 3 weeks after starting I improved a 7 mile mountain trail run by 4 minutes. Pavel calls this the “what the F” effect in the book – it’s real!
The main revelation for me is that because you can’t torque on a kettlebell like you can on a barbell, the exercises are easier to perform well, and seem less risky. You can do it on a patch of grass or a small mat. You are lifting heavy without using heavy weights because of the ballistics in the swing. The getup is sort of baffling as to why it’s so effective, but it works.
I’m a few workouts away from achieving the Simple standard after 3 months and 22 workouts. I feel a lot stronger, esp in the shoulders and grip and my body looks better. My yoga practice and running have noticeably improved.
The book itself is great (if a little overly macho., I have re-read it several times. YouTube has some helpful videos to help illustrate the proper techniques.
Thank you Pavel for delivering the kettlebell and the S&S routine!