10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge

9:10 PM

What?!!, no way..
My thoughts exactly when it was suggested to me a little over a month ago. Yes, 10,000 swings.

Sounds awful. It's like everyone tells you when something really does suck, but they don't want to say it like that, they say, "well it's hard at first, but it gets easier". This is somewhat true.  Here's my experience - with the last workout from earlier this afternoon is still fresh in my mind.

This challenge is broken down into bite-size chunks that will get you to 10,000 swings in 20 workouts, with 500 swings each day.

Find the creator's thoughts and take on it here. It's where we started.

Keep in mind these are Russian Swings.. some find that they are easier, but note that if you complete this and you feel like you can do another workout, you are under-kettlebelled. Go heavier and/or move faster. It's not supposed to be a cake walk.  

5 Rounds:
10 swings
3 reps accessory lift (more on this below)
15 swings
2 reps accessory lift
25 swings
1 rep accessory lift
50 swings
30 sec - 1 minute rest

100 reps down, repeat 4 more times

Complete the 5 rounds for time. 

Each day you choose a lift to add to the workout, we rotated shoulder press, front squats, bench press with barbell row, backsquats and sometimes push-ups and pull-ups. Mix it up however you like, see the original article for more ideas on low volume strength movements.

With the barbell movements use a moderate, but challenging weight. Don't let the barbell work overtake your kettlebell swings.

So it would actually look like:

5 Rounds:
10 swings
3 backsquats 95#
15 swings
2 backsquats
25 swings
1 backsquat
50 swings
30 sec - 1 minute rest

The goal is to train 4-5 days per week, 2 days on, 1 day off and repeat. It's recommended that men use a 24kg or 53# kettlebell and for women to use a 16kg or 35# kettlebell.

My kettlebell options were/are limited, we have a couple 20# kbs, a 44# kb and a 53# kb.  I started my very first workout with the 20# and decided that I didn't know what all the fuss was about, then realized I should probably go heavier. So I drug the 44# to my feet and started my 3rd round of swings with it. I used the 44# KB for each workout thereafter.

The list of benefits from this challenge intrigued me the most: 

"I don't write training programs by reading textbooks and studies. I create them in the field, deep in the trenches with real athletes and people whose lives literally depend on their physical abilities.
To create and refine this program, myself and 18 other coaches and athletes met several days every week to put it to the test. Here's what we experienced:

  • Everyone got leaner, dropping a waist size or two, in 20 workouts.
  • Every coach or athlete made visual muscular improvements in their physiques, adding lean body mass.
  • Every lifter increased his grip strength and greatly increased work capacity and athletic conditioning. They could all train longer and harder when they went back to their normal training programs.
  • After the program, every lifter saw a noted improvement in his core lifts. PR's fell like dominos. Full-body strength and power shot through the roof.
  • Abs were more visible. Glute strength was tremendously better. The abs and glutes "discovered" how to work again, leading to athletic improvements in sport and in the weight room."

I didn't do this for weight-loss or to lean out. I'm comfortable with where I am at currently, but I have noticed more muscle definition, especially regarding my arms and a return of my butt and hamstrings who were MIA after I had Aria.

My grip strength increased dramatically and I noticed I was less out of breath by the end of the challenge. I'm excited to see how my strength and work capacity improves in the coming weeks as we start our new cycle.

Other rambling thoughts on this: 

Each workout was a grinder, a mental challenge just as much as a physical one, 3rd & 4th rounds being the worst.

I developed calluses that I've never had before. One or two of these did tear. Tape is recommended.  I did manage to do most of my sets of 50 swings unbroken, when your grip becomes fatigued and weak, it's everything you've got to hold on to the bell.

We also reversed the accessory lift count. We worked down in a 3-2-1 fashion instead of 1-2-3 just for the mental aspect.

That's it.

Give it a go, you won't regret it. Let me know how it goes for you!

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! And congratulations to finishing! I completed the challenge just last week and am also very happy with it.

    If you're interested in my experience: https://www.athlegan.com/10000-kettlebell-swings/

    I'm thinking of doing it again later this year and then I might move up to a 32 kg bell and try the 35-15-35-15 or 15-10-15-10-15-10-15-10 scheme. Do you think you'll do this once more?

    1. Hi Tobias, Congrats to you as well! It's a tough program!

      We actually just launched a June Challenge, see this post: http://barbellinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2016/05/june-challenge-10000-kettlebell-swings.html, and I am 4 workouts into it. I like the idea of changing the rep scheme, I do have one person who's joined the challenge doing it at a more frequent rate due to their schedule. It would be interesting to see how varying certain factors affects the program. It's not too late to join us!

  2. Tomorrow is the start of my 10,000 swings workout... ill keep u posted!


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