Pavel turned me on to kettlebells so hard.

Kettlebell Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline might not be where your kettlebell journey ends but it’s where your kettlebell journey should begin. I recommend Kettlebells Kings iron bells instead of the classic traditional OG cast iron RKC Dragon Door kettlebells. Much better value, just as good.

Reading Progress

  • May 16, 2016 – Started Reading
  • August 9, 2017 – Finished Reading

About 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 Pavel Tsatsouline

‘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 offers user courses internationally in kettlebell, barbell and bodyweight training.’

Book Description of

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!

Kettlebell Simple & Sinister Kindle Edition
by Pavel Tsatsouline

Via Chris Abraham blog

Quotes by Pavel Tsatsouline

“A typical mistake is setting the kettlebell down sloppily, with a rounded back and the weight on the toes, following a hard (and often perfect) set of swings or snatches. Don’t! Mentally stay with the set until the kettlebell is safely parked. Lower the kettlebell in a way you would if you were planning to do another rep. Then let go, and only then relax.”

“Academician Amosov’s ‘1000 Moves’ Morning ‘Recharge’ Complex 1. Squat –100 repetitions 2. Side bends –100 repetitions 3. Pushups on the floor –50 repetitions 4. Forward bends –100 repetitions 5. Straight arm lateral raises overhead –100 repetitions 6. Torso turns –50 repetitions 7. Roman chair situps –100 repetitions 8. One legged jumps in place –100 repetitions per leg 9. Bringing the elbows back –100 repetitions 10. ‘The birch tree’ –hold for the count of 100 11. Leg and hip raises. Lie on your back and bring your feet behind your head while keeping your legs reasonably straight. –100 repetitions 12. Sucking in the stomach –50 repetitions”

“An aside that will appeal to the well-rounded reader: A creative high that increases physical and mental work capacity is accompanied by noradrenaline secretion. Perhaps this explains why the samurai were equally proficient at war and poetry.”

“doing the perfect kettlebell swing alone is superior to 99 percent of the sophisticated strength and conditioning programs out there.”

“Everything in this program must be practiced barefoot or in flat shoes without cushy soles. Wrestling shoes, work boots, tactical boots, and Converse Chuck Taylors are authorized. Almost any shoes worn by a guy named Chuck will do. Chuck #1, RKC, wears size 15 chicken-yellow water shoes, and Chuck #2, RKC, digs skateboard Vans with a chess print. Unconventional, but good enough not to warrant a set of push-ups.”

“Everything in your body is interrelated and isolation is a myth.”

“HOW TO GRIND YOUR DEADLIFT Mentally prepare for a steady, relentless effort, as opposed to having a speed mindset. Pre-tense. Pressurize. Squeeze the bar off the floor, don’t jerk. “Lift the barbell powerfully-steady, applying a maximal effort along the whole lift.” (Smolov) Aim for a constant, low, acceleration towards the lockout. There is more than one way to pull big.”

“If you think you are only strong if you can lift a certain number, whatever that number is, you will feel pretty weak most of the time. Strength is not a data point; it’s not a number. It’s an attitude.”

“In elite athletic circles the word is spreading as in-the-know Americans are purchasing ancient Russian fitness equipment, resurrecting old exercise philosophies and obtaining significant gains in cardio conditioning, muscle tone and strength as a result. Call it the Slavic Retro Fitness Craze: kettlebells are rustic and raw and are lifted and swung and tossed in specified patterns to produce specific muscular and cardiovascular results. The apparatus has a system, a philosophy of usage, first formulated in Czarist Russia.”

“In Russia kettlebells are a matter of national pride and a symbol of strength. In the olden days, any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or “kettlebell man.” Steeled by their kettlebells, generation after generation of Russian boys has turned to men.”

“Kettlebells have been rediscovered by a new generation of modern athletes seeking ways to gain an edge over the competition. It’s at once both a puzzling and predictable reemergence. Kettlebells have pure Slavic origins

“Lift heavy and stay fresh. “Grease the groove,” to use The Naked Warrior terminology.”

“Push from your armpit, rather than your shoulder.”

“Right before the hunk of iron has reached its destination quickly dip your knees and get under it. This action has been compared to putting on a sweater. Finish in the position shown.”

“Russians are easy to spot, even if you dress them like Buckingham Palace guards. They are “the white people who look seriously ticked off,” as Army Ranger vet Ellis Jones, RKC, has put it on our forum.”

“Shrugging your shoulder and/or letting it move forward will destroy your shoulder and your power alike—whether you are punching, benching, or doing pushups.”

“Sustained strength doesn’t just happen, it is nurtured and developed. Through the use of multiple sets conducted with little rest and often high repetitions using exercises with exaggerated range-of-motion, sustained strength is gradually built up, and over time improved and extended. The transition takes time and patience and lots of practice.”

“Sustained strength is different from short-burst strength. Sustained strength is an athletic attribute particularly prized by wrestlers, boxers, mixed martial artists, football, basketball, hockey and lacrosse players. The common thread is participation in athletic events of long duration where last minute flurries make the difference between winning and losing, between 1st and 8th.”

“Take a close look at a squat, barbell, or bodyweight—it makes no difference. Both the quadriceps and the hamstrings are working toward the common goal of standing up. The quads are extending the knees, and the hammies are extending the hips.”

“Tensing your abs will amplify the intensity of the contraction of any muscle in your body.”

“The clean draws its name from the requirement to bring the weight to your shoulders in one ‘clean’ movement. Pick up the kettlebell off the floor, the same way you would for the one arm swing. Note that the starting position for all the pulls, swings, cleans, and snatches is identical. Swing the kettlebell back and then immediately toward your shoulder.”

“The fourth week keep the number of ladders at five, but now try to work up to 4 reps. In the beginning you might only do one (1, 2, 3, 4) ladder and four (1, 2, 3) ladders. It is fine. Don’t struggle with the top-end sets; improve without maxing out. Stay with it until you get 5 x (1, 2, 3, 4)—50 quality repetitions and almost no sweat! You may have guessed what you are supposed to do next when you are ready: 5 x (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), or an awesome 75 repetitions with a heavy kettlebell! As before, do five ladders and patiently work up to five rungs in every one of them. Take a couple of days off and test yourself with a heavier kettlebell. You will be impressed with your strength. Then”

“The one-arm snatch is the Tsar of kettlebell lifts, fluid and vicious. It will quickly humble even studly powerlifters. The forces generated by this drill are awesome. “How can it be if the weight is so light?” you might ask. –Through great acceleration and deceleration. F=ma, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. Would you rather roll a 500 pound barbell over your toes or drop a 72 pounder from seven feet? I rest my case.”

“The Red Army and the kettlebell are inseparable. Every Russian military unit has a gym called “the courage corner.” Every courage corner is equipped with kettlebells. While other countries waste time testing their troopers with push-ups, Russia tests repetition kettlebell snatches with a 53-pound kettlebell. “The rank and file of the Red Army was magnificent from a physical point of view,” marveled Lt. Gen. Giffard Martel, chief of the British military mission to the USSR during World War II. “Much of the equipment we carry on vehicles accompanying the infantry is carried on the man’s back in Russia. The Russians seem capable of carrying these great loads. They are exceptionally tough.”

“Understanding is a delaying tactic…,” as one novelist put it. “Do you want to understand how to swim, or do you want to jump in and start swimming? Only people who are afraid of water want to understand. Other people jump in and get wet.”

“Vodka at night. Pickle juice in the morning (the best thing for a hangover). Throwing some kettlebells around between this hangover and the next one. A Russian’s day well spent. The ‘kettlebell’ or girya is a cast iron weight which looks like a basketball with a suitcase handle. It is an old Russian toy. As the 1986 Soviet Weightlifting Yearbook put it, “It is hard to find a sport that has deeper roots in the”

“When the Russian kettlebell meets an American steak, it is a beautiful thing.”

“When We Say “Strength,” We Mean “Kettlebell.” When We Say “Kettlebell,” We Mean “Strength.”

“You can think of the snatch as a clean to the point above your head. Do not even think about taking it on until you have mastered one arm swings and cleans! Stand over a kettlebell, your feet about shoulder width apart, your weight on your heels. Inhale, arch your back, push your butt back, and bend your knees. Reach for the bell with one hand, the arm straight, while keeping the other arm away from your body (initially you may help yourself by pushing with the free hand against your thigh but it is considered ‘no class’ by most gireviks). Swing the bell back and whip it straight overhead in one clean movement. Note that the pulling arm will bend and your body will shift to the side opposite to the weight. But you do not need to worry about trying to do it that way; just pull straight up and your body will find an efficient path in a short while. Do not lift with your arm, but rather with your hips. Project the force straight up, rather than back—as in a jump. You may end up airborne or at least on your toes. It is OK as long as you roll back on your heels by the time the bell comes down. Dip under the K-bell as it is flipping over the wrist. Absorb the shock the same way you did for cleans. Fix the weight overhead, in the press behind the neck position for a second, then let it free fall between your legs as you are dropping into a half squat. Keep the girya near your body when it comes down. As an option, lower the bell to your shoulder before dropping it between the legs. Ease into the one arm power snatch because even a hardcore deadlifter’s hamstrings and palms are guaranteed to take a beating. Especially if your kettlebells are rusty like the ones I trained with at the ‘courage corner’. It was a long time after my discharge before my palms finally lost their rust speckled calluses. Unlike the deadlift, the kettlebell snatch does not impose prohibitively strict requirements on spinal alignment and hamstring flexibility. If you are deadlifting with a humped over back you are generally asking for trouble; KB snatches let you get away with a slightly flexed spine. It is probably due to the fact that your connective tissues absorb shock more effectively when loaded rapidly. Your ligaments have wavy structures. A ballistic shock—as long as it is of a reasonable magnitude—is absorbed by these ‘waves’, which straighten out like springs.”

“You shall gain but you shall pay with sweat, blood, and vomit, Comrade.”

Pavel Tsatsouline