So, if you’ve seen my twitter posts over the last few days you know two things:

1) I started my 30 days, 30 workouts challenge. I hope you started it, too!

2) To kick it off I started the T-Nation 10,000 Kettle Bell Swings in 10 Days challenge.

Yea. It doesn’t sound great, I know. It sounds tedious. It sounds pointless. This is why we experiment. I read through what they did and it seemed like something interesting, new, and clearly challenging to do. An added bonus is that it would FORCE me to workout 10 days in a row and really get a streak.


Today marked the halfway point. Day 5. If this is something you think you may want to give a go, here’s a break down of swings 1,000-5,000.

Day 1 – Just get through it.

I’m generally not a huge fan of high-rep workouts. I get bored. !,000 is certainly high rep. I liked the idea offered in the article about rep ladders. I decided to do different ladder amounts until it was done with the rest time being equal to swings. SO:
Set of 1 – 1 second rest
Set of 2 – 2 seconds rest
Set of 3 – 3 seconds rest
…..Up to a set of 25.
This gives you 325 reps.

I mixed the ladders up, and sprinkled in some random sets of 25 or 50 until it was done. I didn’t pay much attention to time, I just wanted to finish the 1,000.

*Helpful hint: Keep your KB (24/16kg) on a box tall enough that you don’t have to pick it up from the ground every time you start a new set. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.

Day 2 – Figure out a strategy

I did the ladder again today, but with a bit more structure. I started with a set of 50 to warm up, then did the 1-25 ladder twice, but starting at 25 and working my way up. It took roughly an hour and since I was focused to much on doing the math for my rest seconds, I was distracted enough that it wasn’t tedious. I had some lingering lower back soreness from my Pre-Turkey day WOD that made this a bit challenging, but I noticed that as long as I concentrated on good form and keeping my core tight, once I got into the swings my back actually felt a lot better.

Day 3 – TV Commercials = Swings

I didn’t make it into the gym this day, and the only KB I have at home is the 24 kg. I decided I can’t quit three days in because I don’t have the equipment I want, so I sucked it up and did them anyway. This time I used TV as a distraction. Sets of 25-50 during every commercial break. Yea, I watched too much TV this particular day. This tactic is really time consuming. I thought I wouldn’t get a very good metabolic/fat burning workout due to the long rest periods, but due to the heavier weight I was proved very wrong.

Day 4 – Bigger, badder ladder.

I figured out that if you do a ladder up to 31, you get 496 reps. I wrote the numbers 1-31 out on a piece of paper with a sharpie handy. I had to do each number set twice, with an extra 8 at the end. This wasn’t too bad, and it was also a bit of a head game. Do I want to do all the high reps first and knock them out? Or break them up with some smaller ones? I ended up doing a bit of a mix, and finished in about 54 minutes.

Day 5 – New Numbers

OK. I got a little bored of the ladder and 60 sets is a lot of sets. Today I found my favorite approach by far and I felt like I got the best workout yet. 10 sets each of; 10, 15, 20, 25, 30. Again, I wrote these numbers on a piece of paper and hashed them off as I went. It went much faster than previous days (under 50 min) and I think it’s because I didn’t even realize how many higher rep sets I was doing. Basically, I started out with a few sets of 30/25 to knock out the heavy hitters. Then, I started aiming for 20, but if I felt good I kept going. If I aimed for 30 and felt good, I’d go for at least 10 more so I could at least check off another 10 set. If I started to get bored, I would see how many I could do in a minute, which usually was 40 or 45. I will use this again tomorrow and keep accurate time to report back.

That’s it so far. 5 days and 5,000 swings in. I’m really enjoying it so far (but I wont be mad when it’s over!) Read the T-Nation article above and think about if this is a challenge you’d like to take! At the end of it, I’m going to do a few max out days with lifts that involve lots of ass, hips, and hams (deads, squats, cleans, etc) and see if they’ve improved with this mass activation of those glutes! We’ll see in five days!