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3 Ways to Upgrade Your Simple & Sinister Program

There's something innately Russian about the Simple & Sinister program. Maybe it's the Eastern Bloc influence of Get-Ups and kettlebells. Or the appropriate, no-nonsense title given by founder Pavel Tsatsouline.

But whatever it is, Simple & Sinister (S&S) has had a profound effect on my own program and those I write for others. Containing only kettlebell swings and Turkish Get-Ups, it's basic yet complex. It can be humbling, yet still leave you with plenty of energy to live your life.

And even though I'm not currently following the Simple & Sinister (S&S) program, I still apply the same principles it preaches - mastering the basics, lifting heavy but not hard, not training to failure - in my own training sessions. And I credit those same principles for helping me finish 9th overall in the Men's Open during the Spring 2017 Tactical Strength Challenge.

OK, I had to brag a little.

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Podcasts and Knowledge Bombs

Instead of my normal ramblings this week, I wanted to share a few podcasts that I've been fortunate to be a part of.  My good friend and former coworker, Jon Carroll, has been hosting and producing The Pillars of Health podcast.  It focuses on the four pillars of health - sleep, stress management, nutrition, and exercise - and how you can maximize them to live your best life.

(And for my fellow "Bachelorette" fans, yes, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay can learn something too. Even though she's already claimed she's "living her best life." Insert the laughing, crying emoji.)

The first episode I'd like to highlight was released earlier today on iTunes.  Titled "Optimizing Your Strength and Exercise Goals," Jon and I expand on my previous blog post about novice and advanced lifters. We also discuss some of my favorite programs for the general population, as well as many of the mistakes I've made earlier in my career, so you can enjoy more gainz without the pains.


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Novice or Advanced? The Answer Might Surprise You

I've had a hard time considering myself a novice.

When I ordered my first Captains of Crush grippers, I ignored the recommended starting point. "I can almost deadlift three times my bodyweight," I remember thinking. "Why would I need a 'Trainer' set?"

Thirty minutes after the grippers arrived? I was on Amazon, choking down my inflated sense of self, ordering the "Trainer."

It was far from the first time I've made that mistake, and I've been as guilty as the next person thinking I'm "advanced." After all, novices are people who have never sniffed a weight, still use the term "kettleballs,” or think "arm day" involves hundreds of tricep kickbacks. Right?


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The Get-Up: It Hinges on the Hinge

You could have a blog solely dedicated to the Turkish Get-up.  Granted, not many people would read it - besides myself, obviously - but there are so many intricacies and variations that it's hard to learn them all.  If you've been around kettlebells and heavy get-ups for any significant period of time, you know what I'm talking about.

(Unless, of course, your idea of a get-up is to stand up "any way possible."  Because that's a terrible idea.)

While StrongFirst has plenty of content on the difficult steps of the get-up, I'd like to highlight one of the more underutilized steps: the hinge. And if you a) are shaking your head vigorously in agreement, or b) had no idea there's a hinge in the get-up, you're going to want to read below.

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