After completing my 16-week powerlifting program, I wanted a change. As much as I love lifting heavy weights, I felt it was time to focus less on strength, and more on conditioning.
I wanted a simple program, but one that would also be challenging, so I turned to Dan John’s writing for inspiration.
As always, Dan delivered: I came across The 10,000 Swing Kettlebell Workout.
Yes. If you can make it through this kettlebell workout program, you’ll have completed 10,000 kettlebell swings over five weeks.
The structure of each kettlebell workout:
Set 1: 10 swings and 1 rep of a strength movement. Rest 30-60 seconds.
Set 2: 15 swings and 2 reps of a strength movement. Rest 30-60 seconds.
Set 3: 25 swings and 3 reps of a strength movement. Rest 30-60 seconds.
Set 4: 50 swings. Rest 2-5 minutes.
Performing this cluster takes you to 100 swings and 6 reps of the strength movement. You should go through the entire cluster five times per workout. That’s 500 kettlebell swings per workout and 30 reps of the strength movement.
Do this four times a week for five weeks, and that’s 10,000 kettlebell swings.
I finished this kettlebell workout program last Friday. Here are a few thoughts for anyone who’s thinking about trying it:
– I used a 24kg kettlebell, as Dan recommends.
– I structured my week as follows:
Monday: Day 1
Tuesday: Day 2
Thursday: Day 3
Friday: Day 4
– I used the following strength movements:
Day 1: single arm overhead dumbbell press
Day 2: dumbbell bench press (although looking back, a barbell bench press would have been better, requiring less setup each time: I had to pick up the dumbbells, sit down, get in position etc. whereas with a barbell bench press you just need to lie down on the bench)
Day 3: goblet squat
Day 4: neutral grip chin ups (although here I used a 2, 3, 4 rep-scheme, for a total of 45 chin-ups per workout)
– Use chalk, unless you want the skin on your hands to tear apart. Actually, this will probably happen the first week even if you do use chalk. Buy some band-aids, and some sports tape to keep the band-aids in place.
– Use your 6-rep max weight for the strength movements.
– Make sure you actually know how to perform a kettlebell swing. Most people perform a weird kind of front squat combined with a shoulder raise when they think they’re swinging. If you’ve never been taught how to swing, find a coach/trainer who can show you.
– Your grip will get very strong.
– Your resting heart rate will drop: mine dropped by 8 beats per minute.
– You’ll drop body fat: I dropped 3.8 lb, which for me translated to 1.5 inches off the waist.
– You’ll build muscle: I built 1.1 lb. I actually looked a little bigger at the end, even though I weighed a little less.
– My overall body fat percentage dropped by 2%.
– This challenge becomes boring and painful. You’re unlikely to finish it unless you do at least a few of the workouts with a training buddy.
– You’ll have sore hamstrings for 5 weeks straight.
– You’ll have tremendous bragging rights once you’ve finished.
– You’ll get booty gains.
– You’ll be very visibly leaner.
The kettlebell workouts in this program will challenge how intensely you think you can train. 10,000 swings in 5 weeks will be a stress on the nervous system, and I don’t recommend doing any extra training sessions on rest days.
But if you’re bored with your current workout program and you want a change, try the 10,000 swing kettlebell workout.