Accurate estimation of 3D human motion from monocular video requires modeling both kinematics (body motion without physical forces) and dynamics (motion with physical forces). To demonstrate this, we present SimPoE, a Simulation-based approach for 3D human Pose Estimation, which integrates image-based kinematic inference and physics-based dynamics modeling. SimPoE learns a policy that takes as input the current-frame pose estimate and the next image frame to control a physically-simulated character to output the next-frame pose estimate. The policy contains a learnable kinematic pose refinement unit that uses 2D key-points to iteratively refine its kinematic pose estimate of the next frame. Based on this refined kinematic pose, the policy learns to compute dynamics-based control (e.g., joint torques) of the character to advance the current-frame pose estimate to the pose estimate of the next frame. This design couples the kinematic pose refinement unit with the dynamics-based control generation unit, which are learned jointly with reinforcement learning to achieve accurate and physically-plausible pose estimation. Furthermore, we propose a meta-control mechanism which dynamically adjusts the character’s dynamics parameters based on the character state to attain more accurate pose estimates. Experiments on large-scale motion datasets demonstrate that our approach establishes new state of the art in pose accuracy while ensuring physical plausibility.