10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge

This is a report of my experience with Coach Dan John’s 10,000 kettlebell swing workout I did in 2013.

From September 30 to November 1 2013, I decided I wanted to shake things up in my training program. I had recovered from my hernia a bit and up until September 30 I was working on handstands and some basic gymnastic stuff like front levers, skin the cats and back levers. That was getting me some balance, and I was able to progress, but I wanted to get back to some weight training. This article was released at the perfect time for me:

http://www.t-nation.com/workouts/10000-swing-kettlebell-workout and https://www.t-nation.com/training/metabolic-swing are required reading.
DIY T-bar for swings: https://coachlevi.com/training/how-to-make-t-handle-kettlebell/

A needed jumpstart to my weight training, some conditioning, and a chance to strengthen my grip and posterior chain. Why not?

I started the program with my homemade 25 lb kettlebell to get the movement down, and grease the groove. I progressed through my 45 KB and eventually moved to my T-bar which I went from 52 to 65 lbs over the final 3 weeks of the program.

I did 4 days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. 500 swings each day. It took 5 weeks.

Here’s my particular plan (parts copied from the above article):

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

You’ve now completed 100 reps or one cluster. Repeat the cluster 4 more times for a total of 500 swings. Between sets, experienced lifters will add a low-volume strength movement.

The Strength Movements

1.  Handstands and Handstand pushups when I was fresh enough (1-2-3 rep scheme)
2.  Ring Dips (2-3-5 rep scheme)
3.  Front Squat 135# (1-2-3)
4.  Chin-ups with some tucked front lever stuff thrown in. (1-2-3)

So it looked like this.
10 Swings
Front Squat 1 rep
15 Swings
Front Squat 2 reps
25 Swings
Front Squat 3 reps
50 Swings
Rest 30 – 60 seconds

My times varied from about 38 minutes to about 44 minutes depending on how tired I was, and what movement I was doing. A few times I would stagger my reps so that I did the high rep sets up front, and the lower reps and movements near the end. This seemed to allow me to get the high reps out of the way early and finish more quickly. I expect it was all mental.
Starting weight was 203. Ending weight was 199.

My times improved as the weeks went on, and my weights went up. I noticed an increase in grip strength and a leaner waistline. My pants fit looser. I was also super ready to start the next phase in my training plan. It became somewhat of a grind near the end, but it was OK if I could zone out and listen to a podcast or something to pass the time. Another thing that motivated me was having a group of peers that I was accountable to. It’s so helpful for me to have public accountability.

Chalk your hands or wear some gloves. Your tender fingers will thank you after the first week.

I suggest this program to anyone who is bored with their current program, wants to try something new and challenging, or wants to ramp up for something else to follow after. The program is simple, but it’s not easy. I’m glad I saw it through.

Items you might find useful:

Amazon Basics KB

Sandbag KB:

Loadable KB bar:

Work Gloves


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