10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge Results
An unconventional way to build strength, conditioning and a better physique
A detailed description of this 10,000 KB Swing Challenge can be found at the link below:
- 4 Weeks
- 20 Workouts
- 500 Swings/ Workout
- 2 Days on/1 day off
- Men 24kg KB/ Women 16kg KB
This is a stand-alone program. If you feel you're able to do a second workout in the same day, then you are either not going heavy enough or not training with maximal effort.
Use an undulating rep scheme to reach 500 total reps per workout:
Set 1: 10 Swings then 1 Rep Strength Exercise
Set 2: 15 Swings then 2 Reps Strength Exercise
Set 3: 25 Swings then 3 Reps Strength Exercise
Set 4: 50 Swings
You've now completed 100 reps or one cluster. Repeat the cluster 4 more times for a total of 500 swings. The Strength Exercises we chose were:
1. BB Overhead Press
2. Dip (Weighted)
3. BB Back Box Squat
4. Narrow Grip Pull Ups (Weighted)
- For the 1-2-3 lifts, use your FIVE REP MAX weight.
- For the dip, you'll need more reps. Use a 2-3-5 rep scheme.
- Choose only one strength movement per workout.
- On the 5th Day Perform only the KB Swings
After each round of 10, 15, and 25 reps, rest 30-60 seconds. In the later clusters, you'll need the full 60 seconds or more for grip strength recovery. Time your workouts and try to minimize rest as you progress through the program. Each week you should be getting faster. Your time in workout #20 should clobber your time in workout #1. For the strength lifts, the goal is to use a weight that's challenging on the first workout and easy by the last workout. The program calls for 2 days on, 1 day off.
Goals of the Program
- Improved Grip Strength
- Improved Strength in Squat, Deadlift, Bench, Overhead Press and pull ups
- Improved Conditioning (get through the workouts faster with less rest)
- Positive changes in body composition
- Improved mental toughness
- Complete the 10,000 Kettlebell Swings in the 4 weeks set out for the program
- 1Rep Max Box Squat (90 degrees)
- Max Neutral Grip Pull Ups (full extension at the bottom)
- 1 Rep Max Bench Press
- 1 Rep Max Deadlift
- 1 Rep Max Standing BB Shoulder Press
As my fitness journey evolves I'm constantly seeking out ways to push the limits of both clients and myself mentally and physically. I've found that my motivation, results and mood around training is at it's best when a challenge is put in front of me. I've also observed that most of my clients really respond well to a simple challenge. I had just come off a 30 day yoga challenge and I was seeking the next challenge to take a run at. After doing some research I came across this 10,000 Kettlebell (KB) Challenge and I ran it by my training partner Devan Campbell. I was quasi-serious about doing it but his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and we had just enough time to complete it before the holidays. GAME ON!
This program had originally been tested by strength coach Dan John and his claims were that everyone that completed the program saw significant improvements in strength, conditioning and body composition. My focus with the program was to build strength and improving conditioning and I chose to try to maintain a diet to ensure those two things. If the body composition came as well then that would just be a nice bonus.
Strength Testing Results
Start Weight: 163 lbs
Finish Weight: 167 lbs
Program Duration: Nov 14, 2016 - Dec 16, 2016
|Exercise||Initial Testing||Final Testing||Improvement|
|Barbell Back Squat||352 lbs||396 lbs||44 lbs|
|Parallel Grip Pull Ups||17||22||5|
|Barbell Deadlifts||396 lbs||405 lbs||9 lbs|
|Barbell Bench Press||242 lbs||265 lbs||23 lbs|
|Barbell Shoulder Press||154 lbs||170 lbs||16 lbs|
When we first started the we didn't try to go as hard as possible and regulated our rest periods. Our first couple workouts took us 48 and 45 mins. It was a real shock to the system and extremely tough on the forearms. We steadily progressed and were focused on beating our previous time each workout. It wasn't until the 4th workout where I was able to complete 50 swing rounds unbroken (without having to put the KB down). Devan really pushed the pace after week 1 and our times dropped below 35 mins per workout in week 2. By week 3 we were under 30 mins and hitting all the 50 swing rounds unbroken. Week 4 we really found our groove, the workouts were under 25 mins and we even had our final workout well under 20 mins (18:13 for me). By the end my cardiovascular conditioning had improved dramatically and the real limiting factor to going faster was grip strength recovery.
Body Composition Results
I took before photos and had planned to take after photos but shit happened and I had to rush my dog to the vet before jumping on a plane for Christmas vacation. Low priority I guess. I can tell you that I started at 163lbs and finished the program at 167 lbs. There was a noticeable improvement in the way my jeans fit at the waist. Not very scientific, but I felt that I was bigger and leaner. Had I approached this with a more refined diet I think I could have easily lost 10lbs and a significant percentage of body fat. I upped my caloric intake substantially so that I didn't wither away and I had the energy to attack the workouts with intensity. I do feel that this program could definitely have a big impact on weight loss and body composition with a more tailored diet.
- Train with a partner or a coach. You will get way more out of yourself.
- My training partner and fellow trainer Devan Campbell also saw similar results in strength and conditioning.
- The core stability, glute recruitment, lat activation and grip strength associated with a kettlebell swing had a huge impact on overall strength.
- The intensity, commitment, tracking and determination to finish each workout faster had the biggest impact on our conditioning.
- I wish I would have had a grip strength tester because I feel like my most significant gains were in grip strength.
- I was able to put 23lbs on my max bench press without doing a bench press of any kind.
- Challenge programs and workouts like this are a great way to keep things simple and stay motivated.
- 1 month is plenty of time to see significant improvements in strength and conditioning.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact me directly or comment below.