Simple and Sinister

If you’ve ever read or listened to anything I’ve said in the past then you’ll know I’m a massive believer in doing the basics, doing only enough to push the needle in the right direction, and doing what’s appropriate for an individual. 

The training program “Simple and Sinister” is one of my favourite programs to follow for all of these reasons.

Simple and Sinister comes from Pavel Tsatsouline and his company “StrongFirst”. StrongFirst is pretty much the gold standard in Kettlebell training, which is important as kettlebell training often gets barstardised.

Simple and Sinister has just two moving parts – the one arm kettlebell swing, and the Turkish get-up.

The Program

For the swings you perform 10 reps every 30 seconds for five minutes. This adds up to 100 total swings in the five minute period.

For the get-ups you perform 10 single reps, five on each side, in 10 minutes.

Take 1 minute to rest after the swings then complete the get-ups.

The Standards

The standards for “Simple” are as follows:

Women – Swings = 24kg, get-ups = 16kg
Men – Swings + get-ups = 32kg

The standards for “Sinister” are as follows:

Women – Swings = 32kg, get-ups = 24kg
Men – Swings + get-ups = 48kg

The Application

Train everyday.
You should always feel fresh.
If you need a rest day, train at a lighter intensity.
Every rep should be for quality, a sloppy rep doesn’t count.

Once you can meet the set and rep requirements with a certain weight, increase a kettlebell size.

You may not be able to complete 100 swings in five minutes or 10×1 get-ups in 10 minutes initially, so rest as long as you need in between sets so your reps are always as close to perfect as you can make them.

The elegance of the program

There is very much a duality between the swings and get-ups. 

The swings develop explosive power and strength of the hip musculature, grip strength, shoulder girdle strength, and a massive amount of anti-rotational control of the spine. They require short, sharp forced exhalations further developing the abdominal muscles.

The get-ups move throughout almost every possible anatomical position that the hips and shoulders produce. They provide the perfect stimulus for the shoulders to develop unmatched stability, as the shoulder is forced to statically control the kettlebell through multiple plans of motion and multiple positions, specifically overhead, this being the exact role of the rotator cuff. The breathing pattern throughout the get-up is slow and relaxed.

While the swing provides short, explosive contractions, the get-up provides a long, slow continuous amount of time under tension.

If your goal is to be a highly functioning human being, searching for the bare minimum effective dose to create well above average fitness levels and an indestructible body, then this is the program. 

You can find the program here

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