92kg kettlebell

Swinging two-handed with the 92kg kettlebell (known as “Colossal”) with a banged up shoulder after 62 days of swinging was totally unplanned. I also did one-arm swing with the 60kg (known as the “Monster”) on 53rd day. Especially after coming off a shoulder surgery in Feb 2018 that involves acromioplasty, excision of the AC joint and reattaching of the supraspinatus tendon which was 99% torn. Basically, I had bone spurs shaved off my left shoulder and a torn shoulder tendon reattached to where it should. I wasn’t sure what I should expect when I started the 100 Kettlebell Swings Everyday Challenge on 1st Nov 2018 except with an aim to swing everyday until Christmas. I was focused on the process. Having limited exercise options for 8 months, I thought I was ready for some kettlebell swings action and why not start a free 100 Swings Challenge for everyone on Facebook land. Is it too much to swing 100 swings and train everyday? Certainly not for most people provided you use the right weights for your fitness level and not go all-out every session. To learn more about the idea of this challenge, click 100 Kettlebell Swings Everyday Challenge.

And here’s what happened and how I did the 100 Kettlebell Swings Everyday Challenge

WHY AM I DOING THIS? 

My main aim of doing this challenge was to create a habit of doing some conditioning or cardiovascular work in a consistent manner which has been severely lacking after the surgery even though I have been swinging light Indian clubs and Mace for shoulder rehab. As a time-poor parent and working, time is not a luxury and having 2 young boys to look after, cook for, clean up and run after are not helping me gain more time and rest and recover. But you don’t want to be putting your health and well-being on hold because they will only get worse if you don’t keep an eye on it and do something about it. Maintaining certain level of fitness and health will surely help look after the family better. And kettlebell swings is being picked as my choice over other exercises because it not only improve general conditioning, it will strength the core, legs, low back and glutes muscles. Plus, you can do it in a small space anywhere and anytime. Yes kettlebell swings is a huge bang for your bucks exercise if you know how to do it with the right techniques and a very convenient exercise. To learn more about the right techniques, click 7 Simple Steps to Perfect Kettlebell Swings Video Guide.

MIND SET

In my mind, doing 100 swings is ideal for me as it does not take too much time, easy to stick to everyday and easy to recover from. Seriously, how can you not have 10 to 20 minutes a day to swing 100 reps or maybe just 50 reps or break up into 2 lots of 50 reps (done at separate occasion on the same day). To approach this challenge, I had to make sure that the training workload has to be sustainable by not going all-out with the swings everyday so I can maintain consistency. As the very well-know martial artist and actor Bruce Lee said “Long term CONSISTENCY trumps short-term INTENSITY“.

long term consistency trumps short term intensity

PLAN & EXECUTION

The plan was to start at a pace where my body can recover from and not cause issues to my left shoulder that is recovering from the surgery in Feb. Before I perform the 100 swings sessions, I would do a minimal of 5-min Original Strength RESETs to prep my body. I took off in the 1st week with 10 sets of 10 two-handed swings of the 24kg kettlebell (which is my base weight) rather than one-arm swings that would have my left shoulder pulling onto the load by itself. After one week, I moved on to a mix of two-handed swings, one-arm swings and double kettlebell swings as I felt there was no averse effects on my left shoulder. But majority of my swings were two-handed swings.

Performing the kettlebell swing with good techniques and maintaining high power hip drive (the hip extension phase) were the priorities. If one or both were not met, I would prolonged the rest time between sets or move the bell size down. As I am doing rehab to my left shoulder, I would swing Indian Clubs and the Mace/Gada in between sets of swings and as it turns out swinging those ancient implements helped me controlled my breathing and slowed it down after the swings. And that seems to help me recovered faster for the next set of swings.

one-arm kettlebell swings

I started performing more one-arm swing from week #3 onward and ended up sticking with mostly one-arm swings after week#4 because the shoulder felt good and I did not feel the one-arm swings was doing any harm to the left shoulder. There were days when I felt very fresh and energised and I would start moving up on the weights by 4 kilos after every set but stop moving the weight up if I felt that I am not pushing the bell with as much explosiveness as the last set.  For example, I would be doing the following:

24kg one-arm kettlebell swings 10+10 (10 +10 just means swing 10 reps on left and then 10 reps on right)

28kg one-arm kettlebell swiings 10 +10

32kg one-arm kettlebell swings 10+10 (Pushing it here and feel like the power in the hip drive is going to drop off if I move up)

32kg one-arm kettlebell swings 10+10

32kg one-arm kettlebell swings 10+10

Then on day#37, I was surprised I swung the 48kg two-handed for 5+5 for 3 sets. I have never felt easier on the 48kg one-arm swings before. The last time I did a few sets with the 48kg kettlebell with one-arm was probably 4 years ago or more. Then on day #47 I managed to hit 10 sets of 48kg one-arm swings as seen in the video below.

 

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Did I keep swinging heavy after a heavy sessions of swings day after day? No. This is the mistake most would make for not allowing the body a chance to recover. I would always back off on the next day or 2 by swinging one-arm with 24kg or 28kg kettlebell that I can handle easily. Otherwise, I would never recover. If you can’t recover, you won’t be getting stronger.

STRUGGLES

Like most things, there are always struggles. There is a slight struggle with finding the time to do the 100 swings even though I work in the gym but it really boils down to priorities. Is my health and fitness worth that 10 to 20 minutes of my day? To me, it’s a huge YES so I would do the swings first mostly in the mornings weekdays before I get distracted. On day#27, I actually strained my ring finger on my right hand when my fingers were sort of caught in the handle of the kettlebell while I was doing a hand switch. Gripping was painful when I swing one-arm on the right hand. It was easy then to throw in the towel but I persisted on by switching to two-handed swings and one-arm swings only on my left arm. And I was able to swing one-arm again strain-free on the right after 10 days. Then on day #53, I was able to one-arm swing 60kg kettlebell as seen in video below.

 

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Then did two-handed swings on the 92kg kettlebell on day #62 as shown below.

 

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KEY POINTS

Swinging those bell sizes (one-arm 60kg swings and two-handed 92kg swings) were my first times and totally unplanned. To swing 100 reps a day is ideal for me because of the convenience of the kettlebell exercise. I don’t have to commute to a gym and easy to set up. For the time you put in, you are getting a massive return on investment.  All you need is some kettlebells. And I believe the following guidelines have helped me achieved the progress in my swings.

  • Executing good techniques as precisely as possible
  • Ensure high hip power and swing heavier kettlebells only if hip power can be maintained
  • Ensure adequate rest period between sets to execute good techniques and maintain high hip power
  • Back off for a day, two or more after a heavy swing day
  • Maintain consistency of swinging 100 reps everyday following the above mentioned

If you are an athlete, busy person or just wanting to kickstart your fitness, starting off with the kettlebell swings without too many other lifts will cover a lot of bases for you. It will build both general strength and cardiovascular fitness. Your abdominals, grip strength, legs and buttocks will get stronger. But for you to get the most out of the kettlebell swings, it is best to practise good technique rather than do more reps. As there is a wise saying, “Quality Trumps Quantity“. If unsure about the kettlebell swinging techniques, best thing to do is learn it from a qualified or certified kettlebell instructor. Also, check your technique with this 7 Steps to Perfect Kettlebell Swings Guide Video. Or come to my Perfect Kettlebell Swing Workshop.

To join my 100 Kettlebell Swings Everyday Challenge, click HERE. Let me know if you have a question on the comment section below.

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