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Hello, long time lurker here.

 

I could write an essay on everything I've done and not done for health and fitness up to this point but this will be the time when I get it right and stick to a plan - no more flip-flopping.

 

Goal wise in my head I may see myself becoming a Peak Human, but in reality I will settle for a functional strength that will allow me to handle any situation that comes along and keeps me healthy enough to keep up with my growing kids.

 

My weight isn't too bad now - I've got 5 stubborn inches around my waist that I haven't been able to shift in years, but I've managed to clean up my diet pretty well and I've been steadily losing 0.5-1lb a week over the last month; comfortable, sustainable baby steps.

 

It's my strength and conditioning that remain a problem.  I am very weak, have no stamina, and I've struggled to find a program that I can get on with and that fits with my (extremely) busy life.  I was recently working on Starting Strength - I have good form with the lifts and even though I'm on slightly restricted calories was hoping to exploit "noob gains".  That didn't work.  I stalled pretty easily at below-novice loads and found once again that the gym environment just doesn't work for me.

 

Then on this forum I saw a mention of Pavel's "Simple & Sinister".  A kettlebell program that can be done at home, is scalable and works around hectic schedules.  After a tonne of research and reading the book twice I feel positive about it and I've just bought some kettlebells (8KG for my wife who will be joining me, 12KG for my getups and 16KG for my swings).

 

Whilst this should improve my general conditioning, mobility and strength I'm aware it won't necessarily work miracles by itself, so onto my question for you, fellow rebels:

 

I have signed up for a 10KM Rough Runner (obstacle course) next April and I want to be in the best shape I can be by then.  Aside from running, do you think this routine will be enough to get me there or will I need to do more as I go?

 

If I had the time I would concentrate on achieving Program Minimum (32KG one-arm swings and getups) before introducing other exercises but that could easily take me the whole 8 months to the event.  I will focus on it exclusively for the first month or two but feel I need to add more before then; specifically some pushing and pulling strength (I'd love to be able to do a pull-up again).  Any suggestions here?

 

Running in itself will be a big hurdle.  The last time I did any serious running I did a number on my knee which even after surgery and a year of physio was never completely pain free until recently (squats ftw).  Based on last year's course the longest stretch between any two obstacles will be about 3.5KM, so while I may need some endurance I won't need to be in form for a continuous 10KM.  I will be starting some gentle training on a nearby field 2x a week for a few months to test my knee out, and I'll be getting a gait analysis done this week to see if I have any foot issues.

 

Do you think this plan will work?  Did anyone try S&S from a similar state of unfitness and get good results?

 

Thanks in advance!

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For an obstacle course, I'd really want some practice climbing, jumping, balancing, falling, and otherwise maneuvering. OCRs are part strength/conditioning and part skill. So I'd want to look at the types of obstacles they have, and seriously try out things that use similar physical skills. Then you know what the weak links are for you. Like if you've got no problem with landing precision jumps on unstable surfaces, but after five of them in a row you are panting, keep it focused on overall conditioning (S&S & running). But if you are missing your targets long before you are worn out, maybe you want some focus on that skill. And I know for myself, for instance, that upper body pulling strength is ten times more likely to limit me in overcoming any obstacles than leg strength or pushing strength, and I'd want to practice a variety of climbing and pulling. 

 

With a preexisting knee issue, I'd really want to test out some fast maneuvering, falling, and getting knocked over. Rough Runner looks like it has a whole lot of stuff to knock you over and a whole lot of unstable surfaces to land on. I found that daily short jogs on uneven rough trails did wonders for the instability in my ankle that had for years been giving me brutal stabbing pains whenever I landed even slightly sideways on it. 

 

I started S&S late last year, with very minimal experience with weights or serious cardio endurance, but some years of yoga and just being generally active. I did strain my lower back trying to learn swings with the "average gentleman" 24kg kettlebell, but I do fine with 16kg. I didn't even try to start getups with 16kg. (I can now do a few shaky getups with 16kg.) I've mostly taken a break from any strength/conditioning work, because of unrelated issues, but I plan on going right back to S&S when I am ready. 

 

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Came over here because I was hoping you were talking kettlebells.:) I haven't done an OCR, but I have  seen my fitness improve immensely using S&S. My background: before I stared NF I had never done any weight work at all. Started BW when I joined NF, 5 years ago, then did Enter The Kettlebell and just messed around with some other stuff. I started S& S a little over a year ago. I started with the 15lb for TGU's and am now working on 35 lb. For swings I am also working on the 35lb. I am small, only 5' , so to me those are pretty big weights. Decided to take a break from it, and do Ring work. I was able to start with a prescribed ring program that I feel is pretty tough, and keep up with it, doing pull ups, tucks, inverted hangs. I feel like the reason I was able to do the ring work was the strength and shoulder stability I gained from S &S.

 

I also feel like it is a great conditioning work. Doing the swings daily really helped my endurance and cardio. The thing to do with that is most of the times keep the swings at a pace where you are pushing it but not so hard, jogging pace, then every couple of weeks do it all out, so you get the cardio at a sprint level. 

 

 

I actually found that for me, it worked better to mainly just focus on S&S, and not add a whole lot of other stuff. Of course I wasn't prepping for an OCR. The balance is that if you put too much energy into other stuff,your S&S workouts won't be as powerful. I did do pull ups  GTG style, and also spent some time doing Farmer's walks after my S&S workout. 

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Program Minimum used to be the prerequisite for Rite Of Passage in Pavel's earlier book Enter The Kettlebell. It allows one to pattern the Swing, which is the foundation for the other ballistic movements, and to develop the overhead shoulder mobility for Presses and Snatches. (You can see the StrongFirst progression of programs by Dan John, which should take several years of training to complete; that's actually me in the background of the first picture.) Simple & Sinister took it a step further and aims to be really good at the very basics. I do believe that performed properly reaching the "Simple" goal of 32kg Swings and Getups is a good baseline of general fitness and movement. I believe in the forum, @Kishi has achieved this, and @Elastigirl has been working on the female standards for a while and is getting close. That being said, I don't think I have ever actually met anyone who followed the program as prescribed and just did Swings and Getups every day like they're brushing their teeth for a prolonged period of time. (I worked with a couple for three months, and we achieved the Getup goal. I am currently working with someone with straight-out Simple & Sinister starting from a state of unfitness. I'll keep you updated. There's also this guy.) I'll get off my soapbox and say even I did it, at most, maybe 5 days a week when I was shooting for the Simple Goal, and I was doing other things besides that. If you have the dedication and attention span to just chip away at this until you hit the goal, I applaud you. Don't get me wrong, it's a great program, I still do the workout occasionally; it just takes a special kind of single-mindedness to actually focus for such a long period of time.

 

Now regarding the obstacle course race, I personally wouldn't overthink it. Get some movement practice done like Original Strength, GMB, or MovNat, or even Yoga and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Crawl, hang, and carry heavy shit. Nothing too complicated. It's supposed to be fun, so have fun.

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I did achieve this. And the results that you've heard about are not exaggerations - I can apply my strength in the real world and I can move and move and move without quitting.

 

It doesn't replace coordination or general athleticism, though. And I wouldn't advocate for an aggressive approach. Take your time. Practice when you can, and treat it like a practice. You'll get what you're looking for soon enough.

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Thanks for the great responses guys :-)

 

@Darth Yoga, that's a good point about working on the knee stability beyond just running.  My local area is as flat as a pancake but when I'm ready I'm sure I can find something to gently challenge it.  On the skills side I'm over a decade out of practice but I used to be pretty agile and have always had good balance.  I'm not saying I'm any good at that now but I'm pretty confident fitness is my limiting factor at the moment.

 

@Elastigirl & @Kishi, it's great to know you've had good success with the program.  I fully intend to take my time over these first two months and focus almost exclusively on S&S but as ultimately I have a time limit for the Rough Runner I'd like to have a plan for not failing it horribly because I didn't do anything else in 8 months too!

 

@Machete, thanks for the info I'll look more into the movement links you provided.

 

I've been practicing elements of the routine for the last 5 days and tonight will be the first full run through.  I'll can handle 16KG two-handed swings but the get-up is proving challenging.  I've been doing it with a balanced shoe, got the movements down mostly just a bit slow at getting through it.  I tried with the 8KG KB and it was very tough, so I'll be continuing with the shoe plus 1-2 reps with the 8KG for the first week then build up.

 

Based on your comments I'll be doing just two other things along with S&S to start with:

 

3x a week I will do a short warm-up jog before S&S to gently test my knee and to help loosen up for the goblet squats (I can comfortably get all the way down but it is agitating my knee just slightly).

 

Post S&S I will hang from my pull up bar (grip permitting), before working up to a pull-up later.  Last time I went to the gym I managed a set of 4KG assisted pull-ups so I'm not too far off achieving an unaided one, I'm hoping my continued fat loss will help here :-)

 

I may start a battle log and take some pictures to chart my progress.

 

Cheers everyone!

 

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On 8/27/2016 at 11:38 AM, arangast said:

Hello, long time lurker here.

 

I could write an essay on everything I've done and not done for health and fitness up to this point but this will be the time when I get it right and stick to a plan - no more flip-flopping.

 

Goal wise in my head I may see myself becoming a Peak Human, but in reality I will settle for a functional strength that will allow me to handle any situation that comes along and keeps me healthy enough to keep up with my growing kids.

 

My weight isn't too bad now - I've got 5 stubborn inches around my waist that I haven't been able to shift in years, but I've managed to clean up my diet pretty well and I've been steadily losing 0.5-1lb a week over the last month; comfortable, sustainable baby steps.

 

It's my strength and conditioning that remain a problem.  I am very weak, have no stamina, and I've struggled to find a program that I can get on with and that fits with my (extremely) busy life.  I was recently working on Starting Strength - I have good form with the lifts and even though I'm on slightly restricted calories was hoping to exploit "noob gains".  That didn't work.  I stalled pretty easily at below-novice loads and found once again that the gym environment just doesn't work for me.

 

Then on this forum I saw a mention of Pavel's "Simple & Sinister".  A kettlebell program that can be done at home, is scalable and works around hectic schedules.  After a tonne of research and reading the book twice I feel positive about it and I've just bought some kettlebells (8KG for my wife who will be joining me, 12KG for my getups and 16KG for my swings).

 

Whilst this should improve my general conditioning, mobility and strength I'm aware it won't necessarily work miracles by itself, so onto my question for you, fellow rebels:

 

I have signed up for a 10KM Rough Runner (obstacle course) next April and I want to be in the best shape I can be by then.  Aside from running, do you think this routine will be enough to get me there or will I need to do more as I go?

 

If I had the time I would concentrate on achieving Program Minimum (32KG one-arm swings and getups) before introducing other exercises but that could easily take me the whole 8 months to the event.  I will focus on it exclusively for the first month or two but feel I need to add more before then; specifically some pushing and pulling strength (I'd love to be able to do a pull-up again).  Any suggestions here?

 

Running in itself will be a big hurdle.  The last time I did any serious running I did a number on my knee which even after surgery and a year of physio was never completely pain free until recently (squats ftw).  Based on last year's course the longest stretch between any two obstacles will be about 3.5KM, so while I may need some endurance I won't need to be in form for a continuous 10KM.  I will be starting some gentle training on a nearby field 2x a week for a few months to test my knee out, and I'll be getting a gait analysis done this week to see if I have any foot issues.

 

Do you think this plan will work?  Did anyone try S&S from a similar state of unfitness and get good results?

 

Thanks in advance!

I am really late to this party, but I hope you did get a chance to start S&S. I can say for weight loss, I've dropped about 20 lbs in two months of doing the program. Another big shock was that I went from barely being able to just do scapular retractions on the pullup bar to being able to do a pull up. I didn't do any work on the pullup bar until this past Friday. 

 

I was shocked when I tried! I broke the plane, bar to collarbone.

 

This shows the program does build strength all over. Granted, I dropped some weight, but I felt the right muscle activating more than ever before. Of course, you can add in some pullups, but don't go to failure, not even close. Just grease the groove. Do a few here and there throughout the day if you can. 

 

 

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