There it is. Yesterday, I completed my final 1,000 swings for the 10,000 Kettle Bell Swings in 10 Days challenge that I started on Dec. 1.

By the end, the 1,000 daily swings went quicker and quicker and I felt better about it each time. This is much more a mental challenge than a physical one. Forcing yourself to do them every day is tough! Part of what we love about CrossFit is the constant variation, so to get motivated in a challenge where you do the exact same movement over and over day after day is easier said than done. I found the trick to preventing monotony is to bring those aspects of CrossFit into the challenge by adding variation in the weight, speed, and set construction. For my recap of day 1-5, click here!

So here we go, days 6-10!

Day 6 – Here comes the wall!

Day 6 was for SURE the hardest. It was the one where the weight felt heavy, I felt tired, I actually wanted to quit. It was Hump Day. Once this day was over I was more than half way. I decided to break it up into sets of 30, 25, 20, 15, and 10…doing each set 10 times for an even thousand. I jumped around depending on how I felt, and if I WAS feeling good, strung them together (If I hit 30 and knew I could keep going, did an extra 10-25). It turned out to be a huge distraction and became a competition with myself…how many can I get THIS set? I finished in 48:22, which I was quite happy with as a best time so far.

Day 7 – All my single ladies!

Yea, that was lame…sorry. For today I decided to start throwing in some single arm swings. I used my rep breakdown from day 6, but threw in 10 single arm swings each set for some variety and core work. 500 in the morning, 500 later that night.

Day 8 – Make it a WOD

This turned out to be my absolute favorite approach for completing 1,000 swings. 25 swings, on the minute, every minute for 40 minutes. The 40 minutes flies and you get an awesome workout. Once again, it’s all mental. If you complete each set of 25 unbroken, you get 20-25 seconds rest before your next set. This requires you to FORCE yourself to pick it up on that minute mark and finish the set of 25 without stopping for that beautiful breather period. 1,025 swings in 40:00 flat (the extra 25 was from doing the first set at 3, 2, 1…go!). I rotated in a 20kg bell this time.

Day 9 – Not feeling it

I had a long night the evening before and through my hangover did NOT want to do this swinging bullshit. I started around 7:00 with the 24kg, and doing sets of 50, before I knew it I was done and feeling MUCH better.

Day 10 – It’s Over!!

I went with the 25 swings on the minute every minute again since it was by far my favorite method. Since it was the last day I wanted to finish using a variety of weights, so I grabbed the 16K, 20K, and 24K bells. I warmed up with 125 with the 16K and 125 with the 24K (to be followed by 30 rounds of swings). After a drink of water and a few deep breaths, I started my final 30 minutes of KB swings. I switched between the 20k and 24k, only using the 16K when I felt I needed a break or that my hamstrings were going to fall out of me. This was in order to keep up the pace and the intensity high as opposed to taking a breather. The clock hit 30:00, and I finished my last 25 swings with the 24K kettlebell.

So, what did I gain from this exercise?

1) My form felt better and better with each day. I saw myself focusing on doing swings properly in an effort to be more efficient. I made sure to stretch my hamstrings and utilize my hips with each swing.

2) I got stronger! I haven’t done my end of the ten days max out lifts yet, but I’ll tell you one thing: on day ten that 16K that I started with felt like NOTHING and the 24k didn’t feel half as heavy as it did when I picked it up on day 2. I can’t wait to do some squats and cleans now that my glutes and hams are actually ACTIVE!

3) I got over the head game. 1,000 swings is physically demanding, but more than anything it’s a mental challenge. In order to complete it honestly, you must do 1,000 swings, every day, for ten days in a row. Not 2000 and a day off, or 800 and figure it’s ‘close enough’. You have to MAKE yourself pick up that weight and do your swings for the day. When you start each day it seems daunting. Ugh…1,000 is going to take forever. You MUST push yourself through that. This is something I need help with in my daily WOD life. I tend to let my head discourage me during hard or lengthy workouts. Now that this is done, I know that it will be easier for me to shut that “Quit!” voice down sooner.

I could go on, but those are the three biggest things I got out of this challenge. If you decide to do it, heed my advice and use this as a source for ideas. Get creative! Make sure you find a way to make it fun for yourself. Come back and let me know how you broke it up, how you felt throughout, and what you got out of it.

Good Luck…Swing Away!

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