The 10,000 Kettlebell Challenge is over. I did it. I completed it. The entire program. Actually, I did more. 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.
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.
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
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.