How to Lead the 10,000 Swing Challenge with Small Group Classes

by Lori Crock on August 3, 2016

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Lori Crock MoveStrong Kettlebells

You may be familiar with the 10,000 Swing Challenge shared by Master RKC Dan John. In the challenge, you complete 500 kettlebell swings per day, five days a week, in a 30-day period.

In this post, I will share how I’ve adapted the 10,000 Swing Challenge for a small group class environment. My version of the plan lasts for a few months since my students are typically in the gym for class 2, 3 or 4 times each week. We do 100 to 300 kettlebell swings per class, so depending on how often they train per week, it will take 5-6 months for the average student to complete 10,000 swings.

In a 45-minute class, we prioritize swings but include many other lifts and movements such as the press, snatch, clean, squat, and Turkish get-ups. We also do carries and bodyweight movements such as planks, push-ups and pull-ups along with kettlebell and barbell deadlifts. Mobility is a high priority. We allot 10-15 minutes of class time for mobility drills relevant to the work we’re doing that day.

I like the 10,000 swing program for a small group class environment for three key reasons:

  1. The challenge builds excitement for kettlebell swings and helps people set goals in a competitive but good-natured environment. We can see everyone’s swing totals on a white board, so we encourage, cajole and challenge each other to keep going strong. People often start doing swings outside of the gym when they can’t make it to class.
  1. Everyone’s kettlebell swing technique improves dramatically, and that makes everything else we do in the gym better. Swings are fabulous for hip mobility, glute, back and abdominal strength, cardiovascular endurance, and overall strength and conditioning for life and sport.
  1. Our other lifts and movements naturally get stronger when we do more swings. When we do barbell deadlifts every two weeks, we see PRs nearly every time when we have increased swing training. Snatches are easier, cleans are stronger, grip improves, and torso strength goes through the roof.

In my experience, there is no downside to this program as long as students learn safe technique from an RKC instructor. Students must also be careful to keep up with mobilizing tight muscles, continuing to train other lifts and movements and not to overtrain.

Lori Crock Group Kettlebell swings

Programming Guidelines:

  • Use one and two arm kettlebell swings as the base of the program. Include hand-to-hand swings, too.
  • Use other types of swings, but less often—examples include low swings, pendulum, eccentric, walking, double kettlebell, dead-stop, and mixed double kettlebell swings.
  • Have students perform their swings individually, or with a partner (or in two groups) using a you-go-and-I-go format. Try a “swing wave”: when one person finishes their swing, the next person starts their kettlebell swing.
  • Use complexes, chains, ladders, pyramids, and AMRAP (as many reps as possible; we use 2-10 minute sets) workout formats to create challenging sessions.
  • Encourage your students to swing different weights. Do sets of 30-50 swings with light kettlebells, and sets of 20 with moderate weight kettlebells. Use heavier kettlebells for sets of 5, 10, or 15 swings with 30 to 60 seconds of rest. Try swinging heavy, medium and light kettlebells in succession. There are no rules or limits other than to simply be smart and don’t overdo it.
  • Use “duos” to practice other skills at the same time with these combinations: swing-snatch, swing-clean, swing-squat, and swing-high pull.
  • Pair mobility work with swings for practice and recovery; see the get-up and swing training example below.

Lori Crock Leading Group Mobility

Small Group 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge Training Examples

Deadlifts, Get-Up Mobility, and 120 Kettlebell Swings

Warm-up: T-spine mobility, RKC hip flexor stretch, and RKC arm bar

Sumo deadlifts: 5 sets of 5 reps, then 5 sets of 8 reps while progressively increasing the weight

  • Get-up to post 3L + 3R
  • 3 x 10 two-hand heavy kettlebell swings
  • Get-up leg sweep and crooked arm bar in half-kneeling 3L + 3R
  • 3 x 10 two-hand heavy kettlebell swings
  • Get-up high bridge 3L + 3R
  • 3 x 10 two-hand heavy kettlebell swings
  • Get-up step-back lunge and step up with kettlebell overhead 3L + 3R
  • 3 x 10 two-hand heavy kettlebell swings

Mobility cool down: 5-10 minutes (include a full get-up on each side)

 

Work-Rest Interval Kettlebell Lifts, Carries and 160 Swings

Warm-up: Squat mobility, hip openers, shoulder circles, lunging, skipping and crawling

  • Goblet squats: 30 seconds on, 20 seconds off x6
  • Carry: goblet lunges x10
  • Two-arm kettlebell swings: 20 seconds on, 15 seconds off x 6
  • Carry: single kettlebell suitcase walk or lunge 10L + 10R
  • Push-press: 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off x6
  • Carry: single kettlebell overhead walk or lunge 10L + 10R
  • Clean: 20 seconds on, 15 seconds off x6
  • Carry: single kettlebell racked walk up to 2 minutes on the left side then repeat on the right

Finisher: 100 hand-to-hand swings

Mobility cool down: 5-10 minutes

 

Swings, Squats, Push-ups, and 200 Kettlebell Swings

5 rounds:

  • Two-hand walking kettlebell swings: 10 reps, active rest with fast & loose, 10 more reps
  • Single kettlebell racked squat, 5L + 5R
  • Push-ups: knee or strict 1-20 reps (or Hardstyle plank or tall plank for 30 seconds)

5 rounds:

  • Single-arm kettlebell swings 10L + 10R

Mobility cool down: 5-10 minutes

 

Bottoms-Up and Swing Variations with 300+ Kettlebell Swings

Warm-up: choose a light kettlebell for halos, good mornings, French press, prying goblet squat, RKC hip bridge, planks, t-spine bridge. Include wrist and finger mobility, and shoulder rolls

3 rounds:

  • Bottoms-up cleans: 5L + 5R
  • Bottoms-up clean to squat: 3L + 3R
  • Bottoms-up clean to squat to press: 3L + 3R

5 rounds:

  • Two-arm pendulum swings: 20 reps

Complete the following sequence of two-arm kettlebell swings without putting the kettlebell down:

  • 5 reps low swings
  • 5 reps standard swings
  • 5 reps eccentric over-speed swings

6 rounds:

  • Windmills for recovery (choose a light kettlebell or no weight): 3L + 3R

AMRAP kettlebell swings: do as many single-arm swing variations as possible in 5 minutes. Choose standard, pendulum, hand-to-hand, low and dead-stop swings with various kettlebells.

Lori Crock Group Kettlebell deadlifts

If you’ve used the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge with your clients in a small group format, please comment below to share your experience.

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Lori Crock is an RKC Team Leader, PCC instructor, FMS-I & II, USAW-I and owner of MoveStrong Kettlebells in Dublin, Ohio. Lori teaches small group kettlebell, bodyweight and mobility classes to all ages and fitness levels. Lori can be reached at lori@movestrongkbs.com, www.movestrongkbs.com and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MoveStrongKBs/

 

 

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  • Paul Britt

    This is outstanding. Definitely a great way to help the client reach their goals.

    • Thanks Paul – I know you’ve done something like this with your gym members as well.

  • Daniel John

    I am such a big fan of intelligent adaptions. Sure, we had this parameter: 10,000 in 20 days because that was the request for the article. It took me four rounds of it to get it “right.” But, I am so glad you marched ahead with this and made it something that MOST of us can use…well, it seems all the time. Excellent work. I will need to make sure I keep this on the “hopper” in the future. Fine effort.

    • Thanks Dan! It’s been fun to challenge people to reach this goal with training only a few times a week. They still love swings and keep up the rest of their kettlebell skills.

  • What a great plan!! I especially like the community building aspect 🙂

  • Thanks Dan! It’s been fun to challenge people to reach this goal with training only a few times a week. They still love swings and keep up the rest of their kettlebell skills.

  • This is a fantastic article Lori! I love how you laid out specific examples of how to apply a challenge like this in a group setting, including outlining some sample training sessions. It’s inspiring me!

  • Pingback: Heart Pumping Ten Minute Workouts | RKC School of Strength()

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