Pavel Tsatsouline’s Simple and Sinister

Pavel Simple and SinisterI’ve tried various workout routines to improve my jiu jitsu over the past couple of years. I was a big fan of the Strong Lifts 5×5’s, and was doing that routine for a while, and though I got stronger it didn’t seem to transfer to the mat that well for me. I was trying to get in a few days of weight training, and a few days of jiu jitsu every week, but the 5×5’s were leaving me too tired to train that hard in jiu jitsu. I also didn’t feel that the type of strength I was getting from 5×5’s was what I needed to improve my jiu jitsu game. It occurred to me that what I was really looking for was muscular endurance rather than adding more weight to my max reps. A friend at the jiu jitsu school I attend suggested I try Pavel’s Simple and Sinister program (among other Kettlebell exercises). I tried it and found that it was exactly what I needed. I’ve modified the routine somewhat, but doing this workout has dramatically improved my endurance during jiu jitsu rounds, and the best part is that it doesn’t leave me too spent the next day so that I can actually train jiu jitsu without dealing with DOMS. Here’s what I’m currently doing:

  1. 3 sets of body weight squats
  2. 3 sets of kettlebell halos
  3. 100 1-armed kettlebell swings
  4. 3 sets of push ups
  5. A variety of core work (crunches, bicycles, etc)
  6. Some solo jiu jitsu work, mostly centered around shrimping and being able to quickly switch hip position while on the ground.

To really improve muscular endurance I slowed down the body weight squats and push ups so I could focus on the muscles that are actually doing the work. I started the program with just 3 sets of 10 of each of those exercises, and I add 1 to each set at least once a week. It may not sound like much, but I found that by going real slow and making sure that I was activating the proper muscles throughout the duration of the work that I got a great burn, and this type of work has transferred well to the mats. My goal is to reach 1 set of 100 of each of these exercises, which I think will continue to vastly improve my muscular endurance while I’m rolling.

I would recommend watching this video of Steve Maxwell coaching Brian Rose from London Real on how to properly do a push up:

For the kettlebell swings I do 10 swings with one arm, switch to the other and do 10 more. I do this until I reach 100 reps. I’ve had to break the sets up into a set of 60 then a set of 40, but am working to get to 100 without rest. I try to thrust hard with my hips, hard enough that the kettlebell is propelled to head level. I can feel a good burn in my glutes, hamstrings and even down into my calves and feet in later sets. It almost feels as if my legs start driving into the ground (in a good way) as the sets go on.

If you’re interested in checking out Pavel’s program, you can get it here Kettlebell Simple & Sinister

Purchase a cool Onnit Gorilla kettelbell here: ONNIT Designer Sculpted Kettlebells

Power to you!

3 thoughts on “Pavel Tsatsouline’s Simple and Sinister”

  1. I currently doing the S&S and wanted to add little more. I like your modified program, only question I have is do you perform this everyday like the S&S or few times a week? Thanks in advance

    1. I was doing Simple and Sinister 2-3 times a week. I found that with doing jiu jitsu 3-4 days a week I just couldn’t do more than that. I’m now actually doing a 2 day a week version of the Strong Lifts Program (modified to 3×5 rather than 5×5) with some KB work to supplement. I plan on doing that for a few months, then switching to some more KB variations, maybe the 300 Kettlebell Workout.

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