Rating: 6/10

First published: 2013

Author: Pavel Tsatsouline

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A highly recommended kettlebell programme for beginners. Taught by Pavel Tsatsouline, widely recognised as the “Father of Kettlebells”.

The ‘Simple’ Program

  • Train almost daily, taking an occasional day off when your body or your schedule insists.
  • Train at any time of the day.
  • Start with three circuits of mobility exercises:
    • Prying goblet squats
    • Hip bridges
    • Haloes
  • Do all your prescribed daily swings and then the get-ups
  • Wrap up your training session with the stretches:
    • 90/90
    • QL straddle
    • Hang on a pullup bar if you have one.
  • Swing training
    • Always 100 swings: 10 sets of 10 reps
  • Every second or third training day, replace one-arm swings with two-arm swings using the same bell or bells
  • Rest actively by walking around. Breathe deep and slow, always inhaling through your nose and exhaling completely, even exaggeratedly
  • Do the next set when you have recovered enough to pass the so-called ‘talk test’—you must be able to speak in short sentences.
  • Give yourself more rest than dictated by the talk test after the first couple of sets.
  • Use chalk
  • Swing progression
    • The only type of progression is in weight.
    • Gradually replace the weight you “own” with a heavier one.
    • “Owning a weight” means being able to do the given sets and reps with perfect technique, any day—without getting stressed out about it.
    • Replace “S” with “S+” 20 reps at a time.
    • On two-arm swing days, also upgrade two sets of 10 to S+
  • If you sense that your grip starts going before finishing 10 reps, park the bell. Rest for 10-30 seconds while loosening up your forearm by pretending to shake water off your fingertips. Then finish your set.
  • Do all sets of swings before moving on to get-ups
  • Keep repeating the progression until you are able to do 10×10 one arm swings and 5×1 get-ups per arm using Simple weights, with rests dictated by the talk test.

Simple goals

  • 100 one-arm swings in sets of 10 in five minutes (32 kg for men, 24kg for women)
  • One minute of rest
  • Five get-ups per arm in 10 minutes (32 kg for men, 16kg for women)


  • Sinister is not the goal. But if you want to achieve ‘Sinister’, three roads:
    • Continue training Simple
    • Train for SFG Kettlebell Instructor Certification
      • Master snatch, military press, double KB clean and front squat
    • Take a detour to barbell strength
      • Deadlift, military press, squat

Sinister goals

  • 100 one-arm swings in sets of 10 in five minutes (48kg for men, 32kg for women)
  • One minute of rest
  • Five get-ups per arm in 10 minutes (48kg for men, 24kg for women)