The 10,000 Swing Kettlebell Challenge

The 10,000 Kettlebell Challenge is over. I did it. I completed it. The entire program. Actually, I did more. Wink But I'll talk more about that in a bit.

The Challenge is to complete 10,000 PROPER kettlebell swings in 4 weeks. You split it up among 20 workouts, 500 swings per workout. Between sets of swings, you'll perform low-volume, basic strength exercises.  The recommended weight for men is 53 pounds, and for women it's 35 pounds.

Watch this video to see the PROPER form for a Russian Kettlebell Swing.

You perform the sets like this:

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

And then your low-volume, basis strength exercises are 1, 2, 3.

So it works out to this:

Set 1: 10/1

Set 2: 15/2

Set 3: 25/3

Set 4: 50

Repeat 5 times, rest as needed, for a total of 500 swings, and 25 low-volume, basic strength exercises.

Why this challenge??

Honestly, I'm injured. My right foot from Plantar Fasciitis is BAD, and my left knee from super tight hip flexors, calf muscles, etc., is just a wreck. I'm still recovering from the CrossFit Open back in February which is where I hurt myself in the first place; WOD 14.5 did me in. I had never squated overhead more than 45 pounds, so 65 pounds was a huge deal for me, and then to break parallel on that weight...that was also a first. And the 2 footed burpee jump-overs? Also another first.

Rather than allowing myself to rest, I just kept going. Eventually I found myself modifying more and more WOD's, wearing a boot for the PF, and limping. So I decided I needed to let my lower body heal and rest.

And that's when my CrossFit En Fuego friends suggested the 10,000 Swing KB Challenge.

I'll admit it. I was hesitant at first.

Did I want to swing 500 swings for 20 days? Could I even do it?

I started the challenge with a 26# kettlebell. By day 4, I was up to a 30# bell.

My hands also started to show the wear of the challenge.

By the end of the first week I had broken some of the capillaries on my left fingers. It didn't hurt, but it sure did look ugly.

But by the end of that first week, I was up to 35#. That's a 9# increase in just a week!

Depending on my son, how my day was planned, etc., I worked out either at CrossFit En Fuego, or in my driveway. The days I worked out at home I only had the option of a 26# bell because that's all I had at the time. I found myself not being challenged the way I needed to be challenged because I gained strength so quickly. I also found myself ADDICTED to swinging kettlebells, probably because I was seeing such progress in such a short period of time.

I LOVED the way it made me feel. The combination of strength and cardio was just what I needed. My friend and most awesome massage therapist Debbie Marlow recommended that I check out the book The Swing.

So I ordered it from Amazon.

And then at night as I rested my foot and iced my knee, I read. And I became intrigued by what she had to say. She was explaining exactly what I was feeling. Kettlebells are an excellent form of cardio, and they build lean muscle at the same time.

I haven't had a cardio burn like this in a LONG time!!

And then we went away on vacation. And I was told to take it easy. Enjoy my vacation. Take time to chill and relax. So I did just that.

When I came back, I started again with the 26 pounds, and it felt like I was starting over. Actually, it felt much worse. Tongue Out

It was just SO HARD.

I thought about quitting. But then I remembered how hard I had worked. How far I had come and I just kept going. I finished round 1, round 2, in the middle of round 3 I knew I'd finish. And then suddenly I was done. And I had my groove back.

And then my strength just exploded.

By day 16 I was swinging a 45 pound bell. 45 POUNDS. That's a 19 pound increase in just over 2 weeks! Wozers!

I was also finding myself not hitting my target heart rate, so I decided it was time to change things up a bit and find my 50:50 ratio. The 50:50 ratio was something that I learned about in The Swing. That means working for 30 seconds, and working hard, and then recovering for 30 seconds. I also wanted to make sure that I completed the 10,000 swings, so on day 17 I went for it at the gym. A 37 minute (I was aiming for 35 minutes, but apparently I have fuzzy math) EMOM (every minute on the minute) consisting of 15 swings and alternating between a 40 pound and 45 pound bell.

I found my sweet spot. And it felt awesome!!

I also ordered my own set of Kettlebells! Happy (early) 43rd Birthday to ME!!!

But even better than me completing this challenge was my son getting inspired by his "old lady." Yes, he calls me his old lady.

Days 19 and 20 had me feeling both excited and sad. I wasn't ready for this challenge to be over.

I made sure to finish Day 20 where I had started it. In my box.

The 10,00 swing kettlebell challenge ended up being the 11,210 swing challenge.

My inner thighs got bruised, but my hands bore the brunt of the challenge.

Here are my hands on Day 20. They don't really hurt too badly, but they look just awful.

This challenge is designed as a STAND ALONE challenge meaning that you shouldn't need to do any other workout. And I didn't. I added weight and reps when I felt I needed it. I did my daily walks, I cycled and swam with the kids. But I did not, not at all, add in any additional cardio.

I did tricep dips, ring rows, bicep curls, overhead press, squats, and shoulder press as my strength movements.

I increased in weight by 19 pounds. WOW!! I feel stronger, I feel slimmer, and I did lose 5 pounds during the month of July. I honestly thought I would have lost more as my eating has been spot on. I went to the Dr. on Monday, so that will be coming in a later post.

What's Next??

First thing is a rest day!! I'll continue with the kettlebells as I am fully hooked!!! I just need to figure out which program to follow!! I am officially a #MomWhoSwings Wink


And a HUGE shoutout to Nancy for letting me borrow her 26# kettlebell. Without her, I would not have been able to start the challenge, or continue on at home during periods when I was struggling. Also a huge thanks to Debbie and Jim for their virtual encouragement. Your support means a lot.


Weekly Workouts and other musings July 20-26 #MomsWhoSwing

This week I saw HUGE gains in my overall strength. While I'm still quite injured on my left knee and right heel, my body is really starting to change. I'm noticing a lot of definition in my shoulders and pecs as well as my thighs and quads.

This week also saw us celebrating my son's 8th birthday. How is he 8 already? I have no idea where the time has gone.

Here's how my week went.

Sunday-Rest Day. Well, as much rest as one can have when hosting a birthday party for a pair of Irish Twins. We celebrated Ella's 9th birthday and Ronin's 8th birthday, with about 2 dozen of their friends. We had a water slide from GulfSide Slides (mention you know me for a 10% discount.) We were able to keep this slide for OVER 24 hours. The #TampaTrio had a blast!!

Steps: 19,176

Monday-KB Challenge Day 14. 

I swung at home because we were waiting for the slide dude to come and pick up his stuff. Afterwards the kids and I drove down to St. Pete to be fitted for our new Yuba Bike. At first we thought we would go with the Boda Boda, but after discussing with the shop what we'd be doing, the size of my kids, etc., we decided that the Mundo would actually be a better fit. I'll be able to hold at least 2 kids, groceries, library books, and more. It's our plan to ride our bikes to school next year, and I want to make sure I can assist the kids by holding their backpacks, and perhaps we'll alternate days on who gets to ride with mama.

While we were in St. Pete we decided to visit a local park and have a picnic.

It was a really nice day, though I was sad that I didn't get to come home with my bike.

Steps: 12,868

Calories: 365

Tuesday-KB Day 15. I made it to the gym and did my swinging there.

My son's first grade teacher just joined CrossFit En Fuego, so I spent some time during my last round chatting with her. It was nice to have a quick catch-up.

Later that afternoon the kids and I went to the pool. It was a nice day.

Steps: 12,333

Calories: 330

Wednesday-KB Challenge Day 16.

This was a great day. Not only did I swing, but my son learned how to swing a kettlebell, too. He was a natural. I think all the time he's spent watching me really paid off!!

He told me he felt very strong, and loved working out just like his mama!

My last set of swings I used a 45# bell! Bam!! 100 swings at 45 pounds!! I felt strong! See, I told you I was making progress!!

And then later that afternoon I was so bored, and the kids didn't want to play any games, or go to the pool, or do anything fun, so I swung again!! I was trying to find my "sweet spot" of a 50:50 work to rest ratio. I didn't find it that night, but it gave me a big push for the next workout!

Steps: 13,538

Calories: 915

Thursday-REST DAY. Well, as much as one can rest when taking 3 kids to Busch Gardens! Tongue Out My rest days really aren't full of much rest, are they??

But what's most exciting is that for the FIRST time, all 3 of my kids were tall enough for every single "big kid" roller coaster!! And boy oh boy did they ever do them all!

They rode Kumba, Montu, Cheetah Hunt, and Sherika MULTIPLE TIMES!! I joined them a few times, but riding over and over and over really isn't my thing anymore. It was when I was their age, but not at nearly 43.

It really was a great day, despite having all the rides close on us multiple times because of rain (thunder, lightning) and we left at just the perfect time to make it home for the husband to be able to take the truck for his bike ride. See, he rides a recumbent bike, so he needs the bed of our truck to transport his bike to the trailhead. If I'm not home, I mess up his exercise, and he doesn't mess up mine, so why would I want to mess up his. So the kids and I do everything in our power to make sure that we're home in time for him to get his sweat on.

Steps: 19,545

Friday-KB Challenge Day 17. This was a big day for me!! I went in planning a EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout. I wanted to find that perfect 50:50 ratio, and from playing around earlier in the week, I was confident I could find it with a 45# kettlebell. I also wanted to try something a little different so instead of breaking the sets up like I had been 10/1, 15/2, 25/3, and 50, I decided to do 35 minutes EMOM with 15 swings in 30ish seconds.

And guess what?

Though I messed up on the timing, so apparently 36 minutes actually means 37 minutes of work, so instead of 500 swings, I did 555 swings.

Such a perfect mix of strength and cardio! BAM!!

And then later that birthday present arrived!!

I ended up ordering the bells from Amazon because I could get more bang for my buck, and since I don't have a job, it makes sense to be frugal where I can.

I still plan to go to CrossFit En Fuego for the majority of my workouts, but for those days when I can't, it's nice to know that I have NO EXCUSES!!!

Steps: 14,283

Calories: 492

Saturday-REST DAY. Or as much as one can rest when taking the Tampa Trio to Rainbow Springs State Park.

We went up with Ronin's CubScout pack, and several families weren't able to get in because the park filled to capacity very quickly, so that was a big bummer.  But we tubed, we swam, and then we decided to head over to the Rainbow River trailhead. Again, it was filled to capacity, and they were turning away the cars in front of us, including 2 members of our CubScout pack that we were following!! As we pulled up, I rolled down my window to ask for directions to US19 because I was going to take the kids to Crystal River to go to the park that we went to on Father's Day. As I spoke, she said to me, "no reason to go there, we have spaces here" and she let us in! SAY WHAT?? I'll have a full review of the park later, but it was nice. There were some issues, so I want to make sure I let you all know about them so you won't have the same experience that we did!!

Steps: 13,101

Total Weekly Steps: 105,473

How was your week? Do your "rest days" end up not being restful??

Kettlebell Love #MomsWhoSwing

I've been doing kettlebells exclusively since June 29th.

I always enjoyed them when they were programmed into our daily WOD's but was unsure how I'd like to do them as my only form of exercise.

The verdict is in.

I LOVE TO SWING!! Kettlebells people. I'm talking about kettlebells here. Jeez. Wink

In 19 days I have lost 6 pounds. Since June 1st, I have lost 11 pounds.

I decided to swing as my only form of exercise (besides walking) because I'm injured on my right heel (Plantar Fasciitis) and on my left knee (I'm guessing over compensation from wearing a boot on my right foot at night.)

I've done 5,500 swings since June 29th, and today a friend gave me a nice compliment. She mentioned how lean I was looking through my shoulders and chest. Lean=muscular. Muscular=fit. And that's all good. I'm currently doing Russian Kettlebell Swings. And I'm following a particular program designed by one of my CEF coaches. It's 10,000 swings in 30 days. Today I just finished day 11.

My injuries are not healing as quickly as I thought they would have, so I'm likely going to continue on with strictly kettlebells for the near future. I've picked up a book: The Swing by Tracy Reifkind and one of my CrossFit En Fuego coaches is getting certified in some sort of official Kettlebell program, and once he has that certificate in hand he's planning on a bootcamp class Kettlebell style. YIPPIE!!

In addition to the 11 pound weight loss I've noticed that my shoulders, back have become more defined. And as I swing the bell I can feel my butt, core and arms all being actively engaged. It truly is a total body high intensity workout without any jumping, or running.

Right now I'm swinging a 35 pound bell for the first 50 swings, then a 30 pound bell for the last 50 swings. But it's 5 rounds, so that means 250 swings at 35 pounds, and 250 swings at 30 pounds. Bam. Like a Boss. Tongue Out

Have you ever swung kettlebells? If you swing kb's, or are interested in swinging, you can follow along on Twitter and Instagram with my hashtag #momswhoswing Wink