January Swing Challenge
New Year’s resolution time! I’ve written before how I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions in much more detail, but suffice it to say my primary issue is the fact that most people choose too many and too challenging goals. Often they end up petering out very quickly after starting as they haven’t developed the commitment to CONSISTENTLY perform what needs to be done in order to make these changes stick.
This challenge will do many things for you, but first and foremost it is designed to help you develop the habit of CONSISTENTLY doing what you say you are going to do. This new skill of practicing CONSISTENTLY doing something will then translate to many other aspects of your life.
Let me preface this by saying that this challenge is not for everyone. You need to have a solid grasp on how to properly perform the kettlebell swing and if you do not have this dialed in, you are at risk of injuring yourself which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish.
I actually want people to confer with me before beginning this program so as to ensure that:
- Your technique is on point
- The volume we select is appropriate for your current fitness level
- You understand what modifications may need to be made to your other activities so as to avoid overreaching/overtraining.
Brian and I have been playing with this protocol for a couple of weeks now and have been really enjoying it. Would I classify it as easy? Not necessarily. It is, however, incredibly simple and even at the top tier will only take an average of 13 minutes of work per day.
The goal of the challenge is to select an amount of swings that you plan to perform during the month of January and then to DO ALL OF THEM (with proper form)!
I have broken it down for 3 days per week and 5 days per week options for all of the following:
For example, the 10,000 swings 5 days per week would = 500 swings per weekday. By setting it up this way, you get a couple days over the weekend to recover. It also allows for some leeway if you have a rough day and miss your swings you can make up for it over the weekend without having to do 1,000 the next day.
Thinking about doing 500 swings may seem overwhelming, but I have been averaging 2:25 seconds for a set of 100. If we round to 2:30 and multiply by 5 sets you are looking at about 13 minutes per day.
This is not intended to be done with a heavy bell. To put it into perspective, I played with a 12kg for my H2H swings and a 16kg for my 2 handed swings for the first few days to get used to it. As the challenge starts I will transition to a 16 and 20kg respectively. For many of you a 10-16kg will be absolutely fine. Once again this is meant to get you in the habit of getting up and getting after it every day you say you will, and to ensure you remain (relatively) fresh, a more moderate weight is preferable to smashing yourself, feeling like poo and then missing a day. Once you start to miss, the odds of failing to complete the challenge becomes much, much greater.
Why are we doing this? First and foremost is the aforementioned building of consistent habits. This translates to everything else you want to accomplish and feeling successful is the best way to keep motivated (hence making this challenge very simple, choosing the proper volume and sticking to the concept that this is intended to be done with moderate weight) will ensure you stick with it and complete the challenge!
It may seem silly, but the physical benefits are almost secondary in my reasoning for putting this together. I have read multiple articles about the amazing transformations people have made utilizing similar protocols including dropping significant body fat, increasing strength, conditioning etc. The bottom line is that swings are one of the most effective exercises you can do and high rep swings help your body and mind get stronger!
Here’s what you need to do:
- Confer with one of your coaches as to what program will work best for you.
- Take and submit before pictures.
- Document every swing you do!!!
- Post your daily and cumulative total on Facebook and tag Fun Intelligent Training. This will help to let other people participating in the challenge know where you stand and help to hold each other accountable to the group.
- Complete the month successfully and enjoy the newfound physical and psychological strength that you gain while starting your New Year off right!
Here are some samples of ways to break up your sets and reps:
You can do it in any manner you’d like, but I’ve just been using sets of 50 and 100. I will likely start playing with sets of 150 but advise you to start lower and work your way up as you get more acclimated to the higher rep sets.
Things to keep in mind:
- Keep your abs tight and shoulders back AT ALL TIMES!
- Squeeze your glutes and quads at the top of the movement.
- Remember, you are pushing your hips back, NOT bending forward!
- Focus on efficiency over power. Exploding into every rep will get old very quickly, think smooth and tight over fast and powerful.
As always, participate at your own risk. As I mentioned previously, properly performing a KB swing is not something that everyone can do right off the bat and proper coaching is imperative to make sure you are doing them correctly.