by Tom Furman
I just received my softcover copy of Pavel’s new book, The Quick and the Dead. I decided to review it since the title, concept and material is not very mainstream.
I should preface this with the fact that I have known Pavel for a while. As early as 1999 on Scott Sonnon’s forum and also through Powerlifting USA magazine. I attended the only winter RKC, [Russian Kettlebell Certification] in February of 2002 and was the 28th RKC. As well, Pavel gave a great endorsement of my first dvd, Concrete Conflict and Conditioning in 2006.
The Quick and the Dead follows a theme of minimalism. It is not a Ferrari, but a sand rail or better yet, a HumVee. It is, in Bruce Lee’s words, “..trying to get the utmost out of the minimum,…”. There are limitations to this type of training, however, nowhere can I find the statement, “this is the only way to train.”
The book begins by telling the story of two leopards. A younger one, with an efficient kill and an older one that is not having much luck. I like metaphor and analogy. It helps paint mental images for the reader. If this story, neatly shoehorned into the manuscript, was to get you excited and think, I’d love it. However I think within the book, Leopards and Fast Twitch Fibers, Caimans and Jaguars fighting are all kind of misleading. Jungle cats have different and more fiber [fast twitch] than humans. This is a good thing. More slow twitch means a bigger brain for humans. We can write operas and create GMO insulin for juvenile diabetics. As well, felines have demonstrated hyperplasia of muscles. Humans only seem to demonstrate this when using anabolic steroids. 
The basic premise of the book is to teach you to efficiently use the body’s energy system. If focuses on short term bursts of explosive work, followed by adequate rest to recover, then rinse and repeat. This study of energy systems is best done by buying this book or checking PubMed. Here is an overview to get you started before purchasing. http://resource.download.wjec.co.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/vtc/2015-16/15-16_30/eng/02-during-the-game/Unit2-energy-systems-and-their-application%20.html
Like most all of Pavel’s books it focuses on two exercises. The power push up and kettlebell swing. This is on purpose. Less moving parts, less to go wrong. Of course there are limitations to minimal program as there are problems with complex ones. After all, there are no sure things.
What I liked:
Layout was superb. Better than Kettlebell Simple & Sinister
Much more, “sciencey”. There is substance and study here. References in the back too.
It doesn’t claim it’s the only way, just one way. In fact specific aerobic exercise for your sport is mentioned as necessary.
The application of both Russian and Western studies along with application and the mention of making mistakes along the way. It’s more real than some magical epiphany to create an unbeatable system.
The, ‘roll the dice’, system, which is old as the hills, being used to apply variability to the workouts.
What I didn’t like:
As I mentioned, trying to relate felines and humans.
The explanation of the workouts and structure needs work. You will figure it out, but something is lacking and I can’t figure out what. Pavel’s ability to relate complex studies and ideas is profound. Laree Draper is the best of the best in editing. Perhaps after reading through it a few times, I’ll figure out what it is.
To sum it up. This book is very good as a stand alone program for those who are already athletic and looking for advantages in fitness. Perhaps the most powerful effect is on the aging population. Just using some exercise machines and walking on the treadmill are not going to reduce the lack of movement and reaction that comes with getting old. The ability to adjust and deal with falls and accidents can be mitigated with this type of training. [Zatsiorsky and Kraemer]
 https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/how-chimps-outmuscle-humans Another benefit of slow-twitch fibers is they consume less metabolic energy, he adds, potentially freeing the body to devote more resources to other adaptations, like bigger brains.