The Caveman Kettlebells 28 Day Swing Challenge
kettlebell double arm swing hip hinge style
This challenge will:
- teach you how to pace yourself
- help you find your weaknesses
- improve your kettlebell swing
- increase your cardiovascular endurance
- increase your lean muscle mass
- increase your mental toughness
- help you lose fat
- give you motivation
- and perhaps even teach you how to program more effectively for yourself
This challenge is not for people who have only been training with kettlebells for a short while, this challenge is for those people who know they have their technique down and can do heavy high volume swings without getting injured. This challenge is tough, there is no doubt about it.
I’m not going to be a smart ass and tell you how to perform a hip hinge, how not to use the shoulders etc. etc. if you need this information, then stop now, as you should not be doing this challenge, but rather seek out a local kettlebell coach, take an online kettlebell swing course, get this app, or read these two books and come back here in a couple of months.
If you’re not sure if your technique is up for the challenge, by all means, post a video performing the swing on the kettlebell.community forum and ask for feedback. Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page.
In this challenge you will be performing as many swings as possible in each set, but you’ll be stopping before complete fatigue (submax) or muscle failure sets in, in other words, if you can do 70 repetitions without stopping but then be completely worn out, don’t go there, perform only 55 or 60 repetitions at a time instead.
The weight should be heavy but submax and adjusted to your capabilities, if you can swing a 40kg kettlebell once or twice, then you probably want to go with a 28kg kettlebell, but only you will know what weight is best for you. Keep in mind that you’re doing high volume swings.
The next thing is, you need to think about the weight you can handle for the exercises after each set, since you’ll be using the same weight for those as you are using for the swings, you might not be able to press the weight you had in mind for swinging, but if you don’t care about just doing push-ups and front squats, then go heavier with the weight for your swing, in the end it’s a balanced choice you need to make. Maybe you want to improve with your presses, 2 slow sets of presses will certainly help you in that area.
You can regress to a lighter weight at anytime during the challenge, but the lightest weight you use is the one you should record for the challenge. Choose wisely, as going up while you started the challenge is not allowed, if you want to go up in weight then restart the challenge.
Between Each Set
Choose one of the following and perform one slow set each time you put the kettlebell down:
- 2 front squats; or
- 2 front presses; or
- 2 twisting pull-unders (AKA Screw Press/Bent Press); or
- 2 ‘any’ push-ups
You can choose a different exercise from above each time, but use the same weight as you’re swinging. Don’t switch arms with the two reps of kettlebell exercises, change arms on the next time you put the kettlebell down. The push-ups are of course bodyweight push-ups, but change it up between the chest, hybrid and tricep push-up.
Why throw these exercises in between each set? I don’t want you just working the posterior chain muscles for 28 days, and it’s an added challenge.
Kettlebell Front Press
Twist Under (AKA Screw Press or Bent Press)
Sign-in to watch a demo of the Twist Under.
Following is a demonstration of the chest push-up, hybrid push-up and tricep push-up. The chest-up push-up is with the elbows 90° out from the ribs, targeting the chest more, the tricep push-up is with the elbows 0° from the ribs, targeting the triceps more and the hybrid push-up is in between the two, 45° away from the ribs. I named the hybrid push-up a while ago, because people simply had no standard for ‘a push-up’, they’d be doing any of these three.
Also see my video below on the bodyweight squat, pretty much everything caries over.
Rest and Recover
Rest as much as required between sets, you can choose to workout for an hour a day, or you can split it up into 4 times 15 minutes, you can even choose to do 2 hours straight, the duration and rest is up to you, but be smart, this is a 28 day challenge.
Rest days are up to you, each body recovers differently and is in different condition, therefore you should decide what your training schedule is. The important thing is to give it appropriate rest and nutrition to recover.
If you wake up feeling sore, give it a day or two, or even more, be aware about the difference between muscle soreness and pain, if you’re experiencing pain, you should discontinue and discover where you need to improve. Note that rest days are counted towards your 28 days.
Don’t only stretch after your session, but use the time between your sets smart and perform some stretches. Stretch the shoulders, hamstrings, pecs, forearms, glutes, quads etc. Here are some ideas you can use for stretches in between sets and after each session.
If you’re in, you’re in! Commit now, and post on your social profile that you’ve taken on this slightly mad but exciting challenge. And then let the community know by posting “I’m taking on The 28 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge #28daykettlebellswingchallenge”.
28 days, record and post your results each day as below on https://www.facebook.com/the.kettlebell.swing/
Day: (#day1 of 28)
Add a photo or link to a video if available. If you swing multiple times during the day, keep your post up-to-date with reps by commenting on the post for that day. Example: if you start the challenge today, you post the above by filling in the blanks and change the day accordingly, use the comments to record your reps, unless you know you will only do one session of swings that day. Also use the comments to make note on the things you discovered you need to work on.
If you also want to record the additional exercises you do, you can use the abbreviations for them as follows:
- Front Squats Racked Right Side = FSR
- Front Squats Racked Left Side = FSL
- Front Press Right Side = FPR
- Front Press Left Side = FPL
- Twist Under Right Side = TUR
- Twist Under Left Side = TUL
- Push-ups = PU (or more detailed PU0°, PU45°, PU90°)
- when you want to grab a drink, change it and go for some swings, have a protein shake afterwards
- when you want to grab a KFC snack, change it and go for some swings, eat a banana afterwards
- when you want to sit in that comfy chair and binge watch a whole season of Game of Thrones, change it and go for some swings, take the family out for a walk afterwards
- why not drag your kids into this? every time they want to sit behind the xbox or playstation for hours, they need to watch you till you finish your sets of swings!
- post your own ideas below or in the group
How many repetitions should you be aiming for? This is your challenge, of course it’s great if you can get to 100,000 —since we already have the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge—, but no matter what you get out, if you have challenged your capabilities, then you have already won. Set your own record and beat it after a couple of weeks rest, then do the challenge again, beat your reps, beat your weight.
Why take on the challenge?
- Maybe you want to quit smoking, something to take your mind off smoking
- Maybe you want to stop drinking, something to keep your mind off drinking
- Maybe you want to get to the next level with your training
- Maybe you just need to be part of something big
- And maybe you’re just a nutter like me, and you don’t need a reason to train!
“Is it even possible to do this, aren’t you just mad?” Slightly mad, yes, but I also know that amazing things are possible, my latest feat which drove me to do something more challenging than performing 500 kettlebell swings, 500 snatches and 500 double unders in one (looooong) session with a 26kg kettlebell for the swings and 16kg for the snatches, I woke up the next day feeling slightly sore, but definitely no pain. I took the time during that workout, my goal was not to set a time, but to finish with good form (as always).
And no, I don’t put a challenge together and not participate myself, I’m starting this challenge myself in the next two or three days. Check me out here.
Learn something new! Try the Caveman Kettlebell way of swinging a kettlebell.
“But a 16kilo kettlebell is heavy for me when doing high volume reps”, well, don’t worry about it, there will always be people going “OMG! are you swinging 16kg? you should be swinging 40kg! I swing 40kg, and I’m 45 years old!”, don’t worry about those people, those are the people that need constant validation, no matter what you swing, they’ll have something to say. This is your challenge, if you swing that thing 100 times today, 200 times tomorrow, and only reach a total of 5,000 reps at the end, that’s still 5,000 reps more than you would have done, had you not joined the challenge.
Q: I read it several times, your explanation stinks! I don’t get it, can you provide more info?
A: Possible, below is a summary.
Q: When does it start?
A: You start when you’re ready, or when your friends are ready.
Q: How many reps do I need to do?
A: You do as many reps as you can do, I’m not saying you need to do X reps, but set the bar very high for yourself, I know I have a high amount in mind for myself, see if you can beat it! Or beat your own record the second time around. Or challenge your friends, set a number within your group.
Q: Yeah but how many are you doing?
A: Let’s put it this way, we already have a 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge.
Q: I can’t do some of the exercises, what do I do?
A: As long as there as there are one or two options available for you to choose from after a set of swings, that should be fine.
Q: I can’t do any of the other exercises, what do I do?
A: Stop, get a coach, don’t do challenges.
Q: Can I go up in weight?
A: If you made an incorrect choice of weight and want to go up, yes, but restart the 28 days.
Q: Can I go down in weight?
A: Yes, at any stage during the challenge you can go down in weight, but the lowest weight used is the end weight recorded for the challenge result, if you did 15,000 reps with 30kg and 5,000 with 24kg, then your record is recorded as 20,000 with 24kg.
Q: Can I use a different weight for the exercises after each set?
A: No, use the same weight as you’re using for your swings, if you can’t do that exercise with that weight, leave that exercise out of your list of options to pick from, or go down in weight with the kettlebell for the swings. Choose wisely.
Q: Why exactly those four additional exercises?
A: 1# to make the challenge harder; 2# to work the anterior chain muscles; 3# the twisting pull-under is such a golden oldie, it needs to be revived, I want to see this exercise make it’s return in the gym; 4# so you don’t get bored; 5# if you can’t do high volume sets you’ll be doing a whole lot of additional exercises.
Q: Can I do just push-ups after each set one day, and the next day just front squats etc.?
A: Yes, as long as you use what is prescribed it’s all good on how you program for yourself and complete the challenge.
Q: Can you show me an example of how it works?
A: Day 1, you start by posting on Facebook first (otherwise it did not happen), see example above. Begin warming up with bodyweight, do a few light swings to fire everything up, get started with your first set of submax reps at submax weight, you finish your set, you chose an exercise from those listed above and perform two reps, you decide whether you do more sets, which of course you are, because this is a challenge! You do your next set of submax reps, choose an exercise from those above, perform two reps and you continue with this pattern until you had enough. Day 2, you start by posting on Facebook first, repeat the pattern from the previous day. You decide when it’s a rest day, how many reps you do each set, how many sets you do each day, your target goal, you’re in charge, but you’re tough and you set the bar high! Hell, you might even be so motivated that you’re going to film every set you do and post it as a comment on your facebook status with #28daykettlebellswingchallenge – right!? I know I am.
Q: How much did you do?
A: I did 11,111 reps in total, my biggest unbroken set was 200 reps and moved more than 311,108 kilos with a 28 kg kettlebell.
Q: I got more questions, what do I do?
A: Post them below, on my fb profile or via email [email protected] – all the info you need is above, some might look like a riddle, but interpret it your way and make this challenge yours.
Q: I still need to learn —or learn more— about the kettlebell swing, I got no money, can you help?
A: Yes, I can help if you seriously don’t have money, no problem at all, contact me and lets chat. I especially like to help if you’re doing this challenge for a special reason.
Here I am with Anna on day 3, we took the Kettlebells out and combined this challenge with the Get out and show your balls! challenge.