10k Kettlebell Swing Challenge

Before you go any further reading this article, there’s one major thing you need to know. Challenging yourself to four weeks of intense kettlebell training isn’t for the faint of heart. You definitely shouldn’t do this challenge if you’re not ready to test your grit, your tenacity, and your endurance.

If you’re ready to embark on a transformative experience that will improve your body composition and strengthen your mind, take a look at this 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. We promise that by the end of the four weeks, you’ll have increased your lean muscle mass and improved your conditioning. If you’re looking for new ways to work out at home, this is the perfect workout for you.

man and woman swinging kettlebells

Progress or Bust

You already know that your body is so quick to adapt to new routines. That’s why you can’t push the same program for an entire year and continue to get results. Without challenges and new movement patterns, your muscles aren’t challenged, and in turn, your efforts don’t produce the best results. The reality is that the human mind and body thrive when we push our boundaries. Reaching goals, exceeding person records, and better performance is part of what happens when we progress with fitness goals. We also sharpen our minds, improve our persistence, and, well, feel alive, not to mention looking better too.

Moderation in training is a slippery slope because it’s way too easy to slip into being stagnant. So if you want to improve, you have to find a new challenge. And what’s better than an athlete tested challenge that will lean you out, drop a waist size, and make visual muscular improvements to your physique?

The 10k kettlebell swing challenge is not only going to help increase your grip strength and increase your work capacity. It will improve your athletic conditioning, so you can train harder and longer when you return to a “standard” training programme. In fact, every athlete who has ever completed this challenge sees an improvement on their core lifts, and PRs get smashed every single time.

Program overview

First, some maths:

Four weeks, 10,000 proper-form kettlebell swings. 20 workouts.

That comes out to 500 swings per workout.

Between sets of kettlebell swings, this program includes low-volume basic strength exercises. You’ll need four or five days a week available to train, with a 2:1 ratio. Men use a 24 kg (53 lb) bell, and women use a 16 kg (35 lb) bell.

Something important to keep in mind is that this is designed to be a standalone workout programme. If you complete a workout and feel like you could go lift again in the same day, then the kettlebell you’re using is too light, or you’re not training with max effort. While the bell may be too light, the reality is you’re probably just not pushing yourself hard enough to perform the movement correctly.

Swings are grouped into clusters, which are broken down into sets and reps.

  • Set 1: 10 reps
  • Set 2: 15 reps
  • Set 3: 25 reps
  • Set 4: 50 reps

That’s 100 total reps, which is one cluster. Repeat the cluster 4 times for a total of 500 swings.

Between sets, add in a strength movement with low volume, such as:

  • Pull-ups
  • Kettlebell goblet squats *
  • Dips **
  • One-arm kettlebell press *
  • Handstand pushups
  • Kettlebell front squats *
  • Pistol squats

* Weighted movements should be done with a 5RM weight, which might be lighter or heavier than your prescribed kettlebell weight.

**Dips require a different rep scheme: 2,3,5

Use a 1-2-3 rep scheme for these movements. Here’s an example using pull-ups:

  • 10 swings, 1 pull up
  • 15 swings, 2 pull-ups
  • 25 swings, 3 pull ups
  • 50 swings, rest 60 seconds

If you do this programme five days a week, one of the days will be swings only with no additional accessories. To keep things interesting, you might consider changing the strength movement for each workout. But remember that you should only do one strength movement per workout.

Rest Appropriately

The first cluster will be easy because you’re fresh, and your grip isn’t taxed. After each round, make sure to rest 30-60 seconds. Later clusters will likely require the full 60 seconds to recover grip strength. After each set of 50, rest up to 3 minutes.

It’s important to stay moving during this time, so you don’t lock up. Mobility movements are a good idea here.

Improving over time

Make sure to time your workouts. Each week, you should be getting better. Remember that this is a challenge, not just a basic programme. The harder you push, the better your results will be.

A note on technique

Kettlebell swings are hip hinge movements. It’s akin to the position you take in a standing long jump, so you should be aiming for a position that provides maximum hip bend and minimal knee bend.

There’s no start or finish to a proper kettlebell swing. Make sure your glutes are clenched, your lats are engaged, and your arms snap directly in front of your body. Your swings should be explosive and aggressive.

Sample Programme for Most Lifters

Day 1

  • 10 Swings, Press 1 rep
  • 15 Swings, Press 2 reps
  • 25 Swings, Press 3 reps
  • 50 Swings
  • Rest 30-60 seconds; repeat 4 more times

Day 2

  • 10 Swings, Dip 2 reps
  • 15 Swings, Dip 3 reps
  • 25 Swings, Dip 5 reps
  • 50 Swings
  • Rest 30-60 seconds; repeat 4 more times

Day 3: Off

Day 4

  • 10 Swings, Goblet Squat 1 rep
  • 15 Swings, Goblet Squat 2 reps
  • 25 Swings, Goblet Squat 3 reps
  • 50 Swings
  • Rest 30-60 seconds; repeat 4 more times

Day 5

  • 10 Swings, Pull Up 1 rep
  • 15 Swings, Pull Up 2 reps
  • 25 Swings, Pull Up 3 reps
  • 50 Swings
  • Rest 30-60 seconds; repeat 4 more times

Day 6: Off

Day 7: Off or begin the cycle again.

Conclusion

If you’re still standing after four weeks of this training, first: congratulate yourself! This is a hard challenge that takes down even the most dedicated athletes. You’re in so much better shape now than you were when you started the programme, which means now’s the time to take a look at your long-range fitness goals and begin dismantling them.

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