In Search Of Strength.

Find out how I improved my strength and overall endurance by using Pavel's methods ...
Simon Forsyth Comrades, some of you know me and some of you don't, so I'll introduce myself. My name is Simon Forsyth. My main goal in life is to join the Australian Special Air Service (SAS). This being said I followed the 1997 Physical preparation guide, which consisted of bench press, squat assorted isolation exercises, running, swimming and pack marches.

I did get quite fit but my strength was lacking when compared to my endurance. My thought was that for optimal chances of success during 'selection', one must have equal amounts of endurance and strength (or as close as possible).

One & A Half Years Later...

I had succumbed to the three demons one must slay in order to stay in shape:

  1. Junk food
  2. Partys
  3. Video games (don't get me wrong video games are fun as are parties but if you are using them to unwind then I must stress one word MODERATION).

I started reading a book called 'The Killing Zone', which re-motivated me to get into top shape and join the SAS (even more motivation came when my friends and brother said that I couldn't do it), anyway I had just put the book down and turned the TV on to see some Russian troops getting kicked full forces in the stomach and for the rest of the night I could only think that I wanted to be able to take that kind of punishment. Two weeks later I found Dragon door, my home away from home (well when I'm on the internet anyway).

The first products I ordered were Rapid Response and Power to the People! (PTP). I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was now that I didn't have to do the Bench press in order to get strong (for what I needed anyway).

After about a month or two I asked Pavel about physical preparation in regard to joining the army, his reply was: GTG ('grease the groove') pull-ups and pistols, Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC), heavy abs, and stretches.

I asked Pavel if I could use the ladder technique I saw on Rapid Response for pull-ups and pistols, he said sure. I also asked about whether or not I should cycle my RKC and he said "freestyle cycle is great". So I started at it hammer and tongs as soon as my RKC video arrived, I ordered the book as soon as it came out.

The Search Was Over

I had finally found the ultimate conditioning method in the form of RKC, what made it ideal for me was the idea of strength drills done circuit style and the idea of being able to absorb ballistic shock better with the help of ballistic movements, what does all this equal?

Great endurance and even greater strength (at one stage I managed to maintain 200bpm for 60 minutes, I was dry reaching for a while after, but more about this in a later article). The best thing was my strength was going up and up and up like a Stinger missile. I actually made a jump of 20 pounds in less than 2 weeks on my weakest press (military press) and a 35 pounds jump by the end of the two weeks on my strongest press (side press).

How I Did It

After I got into trouble with the police I learned two things, number one: do not abuse or over use your strength, trust me I learned the hard way (more on this later), number two: I could have been a lot stronger if my training wasn't so disorganized. I realized that I was trying to do too hard to do too much too quickly.

Once I realized that I could be so much stronger I got all of Pavel's and other comrades' information. I found that I was not only lacking in the design of my training but I wasn't keeping tight like I should so the first thing I did was re-introduce myself to power breathing (including vacuums) and hyper irradiation.

The idea of 'ladders' (not rep ladders but weight ladders) kept creeping into my mind, as did GTG. I thought that there had to be a reason that they kept coming into my head so I went with the ideas (I am a student so GTG isn't a real problem for me).

Using the 3-5 rule I decided to do 3-5 sets per training session. I don't really find recovery to be a big problem for me because I listen to my body and it knows when I have to back off a bit (This is also a reason that I like to use the Ladder principle it adds a lot more freedom and strength gains for me anyway). Getting back to it, I would pick the first exercise of my circuit training to be done in a ladder style 3-5 times throughout a set.

When I preform ladders I like to do single reps, changing hands after each rep, this way I can handle much more weight while staying fresh. The only time the above rep scheme would change would be when preforming ballistic drills in which I will do up to five reps but I prefer 3 reps. as you know a ladder brings a power cycle down to smaller units and this means that a peak and decline are happening everyday which means I can maintain my strength even if I can only train 3 times a week.

As for pull-ups and pistols, I do pull-ups (weighted) PTP style first thing in the morning but pistols are still carried out GTG style. I find that weighted pull-ups done first thing in the morning wakes up my nervous system very nicely.

Sample Workout Program

A taste of things to come or a means to an end:

Just In case my insane ramblings don't make sense here is a sample Monday Tuesday training.

Weighted pull-ups (PTP) with tempering after that. (am)

Monday Tuesday
Military press - ladder 2 KB Jerk - ladder
Windmills - x3 (35lbs) Bent press - x1 (35lbs)
Military press - ladder 2 KB Jerk - ladder
Side press - x2 (35lbs) Windmill - x1 (35lbs)
Military press - ladder 2 KB Jerk - ladder
Snatches - x10-30 Side press - x1 (35lbs)
Repeat 3-5 times with 2 mins rest between sets 2 KB Jerk - ladder
FCT (PTP) + Dragon flags Repeat 3-5 times with 1 minutes rest between sets.
  FCT (PTP) + Dragon flags

Temper when it is all done.

Click here for a printable version of this page!

There you have it comrades, that is how I made a great gain in my strength. In case you are wondering how I'm going in terms of physical abilities well I have a friend who is in 4RAR (cdo), (4th battalion Royal Australian Regiment, Commandos).

I can out run him in sprints and leave him for dead on a 5 km run, I can do more pull-ups than him and I can put up more above my head with one hand than what he can on the bench press.

In Conclusion

I would like to say that you should try my training but if you don't then I hope you think about what I have said and then realize that the best strength method is knowledge and hard work. Another important thing for all comrades to think about is the misuse of strength, I didn't realize it at first but I now know that with added strength comes added responsibility.

Yes, I got into a fight and I hurt some guys (really bad) looking after myself. But now I have had to put the military on hold and I have to re-apply at the end of the year. The judge let me off because of lack of evidence and the fact that I took out two guys that were bigger than me, if the judge didn't let me go I was looking at 5-7 years and that isn't my brand of vodka (jail = finlandia).

Anyway good luck comrades, I wish you all the best in your training and I hope that this article has given you some ideas. I'm waiting to get KB's so I can do under later ballistic ladders.

About The Author

Simon Forsyth RKC is a freelance journalist who is available for group and private sessions; he has also started online coaching for all your needs. He was Australians first certified Kettlebell instructor. Simon actively peruses strength in all of its forms. To contact him please e-mail:

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