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The Road to the “SIMPLE” Goal

I’d never consider myself to be a particularly high level athlete or have ever boasted about my incredible feats of strength. Can I press some heavy bells? Sure. Do I know my way around a bell? Absolutely! However, before all the heavy pressing, long cycle snatching and deep squatting were months of corrective exercises, long periods of injury and complacency and yes, blood, sweat and tears.

Now, you’re probably thinking that this is about to sound like every start to any professional athletes autobiography but instead of going in the every detail of my life and all the pivotal points in my career (yawn), I’m going to share everything that I did to ensure success with my strength and fitness goals. Specifically, how I achieved the “Simple” goal from the “Simple & Sinister” program by Pavel Tsatsouline.

What is the Simple & Sinister

Bit of context, “Simple & Sinister” is what many call a “General Preparation Program”. It is designed to be as effective as possible without being overly complex, hence the name.

It essentially focuses on two lifts:

  • The Kettlebell Swing and
  • The Get-Up

That’s it. Really. These two exercises are known to deliver the widest range of benefits whilst being simple to learn and safe to perform (when properly executed). It is foolproof.

The idea is that this program will prepare you for almost anything whilst being quite general in nature. “Simple & Sinister” will increase your strength, stamina and also build a perfect foundation for more sport-specific training too.

One thing to note about Pavel (THE Russian kettlebell guy for the uninitiated) is that he is known to be a very straight forward, direct man.

Unlike many other programs every exercise, rep and set in his programming is incredibly well thought out and can be explained in every detail. Variety for varieties sake does not exist in Pavels world.

The Program in a Nutshell

Back to the program, the “Simple & Sinister” workout goes like this:

  • 100 x 1-HS (1-Handed Swings) 10 reps every 30 seconds for 5 minutes
  • REST 1 minute
  • 10 x GU (Get-Up) 1 rep on the minute

Easy right? Sure, no problem. Let’s spice things up then. There are specific weight goals to strive to achieve with the “Simple & Sinister” program that are designed to test your will power and the strength of your spirit.
(see table below)

The SIMPLE GoalGet-up WeightSwing Weight
The SINISTER GoalGet-up WeightSwing Weight

The Goal

To achieve The “Simple” goal one must be disciplined with his or her training. S&S (Simple & Sinister workout) is somewhat of a sub maximal program. Meaning as you improve your skills and build your strength, you’ll only be working a fraction of your maximal effort. This ensures that you’re never burning the candle too low and allows the smoothest progression towards your fitness goals.

I achieved my “Simple” goal with the 32kg earlier this year after months of hard work and commitment to my programming.

To achieve The “Sinister” goal, one must be truly obsessed. This goal takes time. A lot of time. Swinging a 48kg bell 100 times takes incredible strength and stamina. Like I mentioned before, you’ll rarely be in the “redline” so it’s all about chipping away, making small gains at a time.

However, if you’re committed enough to pursue this challenge know that it is possible. To this date, a total of 50 or so humans beings have achieved The “Sinister” goal (majority being female).

Strength is a Skill

You’re probably thinking “that’s all well and good, but how the hell do i go about doing that?!” Don’t worry, here are 3 tips that I followed that will help you find success with these goals (and many others).

1) Find a SFG (StrongFirst Instructor) to teach you

Everyone thinks they can teach a Swing or a Get-up but a SFG Instructor is the most qualified person to help you learn these two movements (and many more). They are a special type of trainer with a special skill set and expert coaching skills. All SFGs possess an extremely high level of competency with kettlebells as every SFG has passed the very high standard set in their testing and must maintain their skills to recertify. They will be able to pass on their knowledge and experience to help you along your strength journey.

Valkyrie is the only gym in the Hunter region with StrongFirst Certified instructors who can help you to use kettlebells properly and get the most out of your training.

2) Join a community of people that share common goals

This journey does not have to be an individual pursuit. Make the grind easier by finding some like minded people who share your fitness and strength goals. Having strong support network is essential for motivation and to stay on track. Good intentions are easily derailed so take a proactive approach and set yourself up to succeed.

3) Stick to your programming

Progress comes from hard work AND smart programming. It also requires commitment and a bit of faith. Trust the process of your program and stick it out. You will see underwhelming results if your programming is too varied or if you jump from program to program. Often we need to check our ego and leave it at the door, this is something that i always struggled with. The moment I decided that i was in for the long haul was the moment I noticed that everything started to come together.

I hope that this has helpful to anyone who is in pursuit of a stronger future.

For any questions about this program or anything else to do with kettlebell workouts and training, please feel free to contact us.

Till next time! POWER TO YOU!

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