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The 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge [2015 Edition]

21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge 2015Hey! Welcome to the second week of 2015, my friend.

Last year (roughly around this time) I ran the very first 21 day kettlebell swing challenge right here on this very blog that you’re reading.

It was, I’m very happy to say, a wonderful success. We had hundreds of participants from all over the world join in on the fun!

So I figured why not do it again this year. Why not make it a bit of a tradition.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Only it won’t be all quite the same this time around. I’ve added a bit of a twist to this year’s challenge. Just a small tweak to the recipe. Nothing crazy. I promise.

Either way, I think you’re really going to enjoy it.

As always, this challenge is going to take some guts to join. I don’t blame you if you want to simply shut down your browser after reading the details of the challenge and call it a day. No hard feelings.

But if you’re looking to get a head start on your 2015 health and fitness goals and you think you’ve got the cajonas to step up and take action, then this is the challenge for you.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce…

The 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge [2015 Edition]

Let me show you how we’re going to kick off 2015.

Important Note: the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge [2015 Edition] is now under way and closed to new participants. You may still participate in the challenge on your own by following the details outlined in this post, but access to the private Facebook group and tracking system is unavailable until the next challenge. If you’d like to be notified of all our upcoming challenges, please sign up for our newsletter by clicking the yellow “Get Notified” button below. Thanks!

The challenge will begin on Thursday January 15, 2015  and will run all the way through February 04, 2015.

Your objective in those 21 days is to complete a total of 2,000 kettlebell swings and 4,000 jump rope single unders.

Yup. Swings and single unders. Kettlebells and jump ropes. I told you I would spice things up a little bit. 🙂

But it’s not as bad as you think. Let’s do the math here quickly..

When you break things down, we’re only talking about 95 kettlebell swings and 190 jump rope single unders every single day over the course of the 21 days.

And you don’t have to do them every single day. All that’s required is that you complete 2,000 swings and 4,000 single unders within those 21 days. You can split them up any way you want. Go hard one day. Take another day off. Spread them out evenly. The choice is yours. As long as all the reps get done, you are free to chunk them up any way you want.

The combination of kettlebell swings and jump rope single unders will give you a chance to really get creative with how you mix and match your repetitions. You can get really crafty with your daily workouts.

Here are some common approaches you can use for this challenge:

  • Use a grease-the-groove approach: set your kettlebell and jump rope in a place (room) that you walk through numerous times every day. Every time you pass through this sacred place, do 10 or 20 or 30 swings and maybe 50 single unders. So, for example, if you put it in the middle of your living room, you’re bound to walk through your living room a number of times throughout the day. Every time you do, perform your prescribed number of reps.
  • Use a daily rep approach: split your total repetitions into equal daily reps and find a few minutes throughout the day to do them. This can be in the morning when you wake up, right before dinner (great for getting your metabolic furnaces going), right before bed, right after a workout, or whenever you please. You can do them all at once or split them up into small chunks to do throughout the day.
  • Go four days on, three days off: break your week up into four days of training and three days of rest (you can play with other combinations like 5 days on, 2 days off or 2 on 2 off, etc.). At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what approach you use. Just make sure you get the repetitions done.
  • Use a ladder workout template: for every kettlebell swing that you do, crush two single unders. Start with one swing and two single unders and work your way up to 10 swings and 20 single unders. Killer workout. Rest as needed.

What if you are new to kettlebells and jump ropes?

No problem, my friend. I will provide you with all the necessary resources to help get you through this challenge successfully. Everything will be sent to you once you sign up.   

Here are some more important details:
  • For you kettlebell swings, you can use a two-handed or one-handed kettlebell swing, just make sure every repetition is done correctly (more details on technique will be provided when you join),
  • Use whichever kettlebell weight you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure, men should use 20kg or 24kg kettlebell; women should use a 12kg or 16kg kettlebell,
  • You are free to use any jump rope variation you wish for your single unders, but I recommend sticking to these four: basic single under, boxer step, scissor step, and sprint variation,
  • You are allowed to use any jump rope you wish, but I recommend the Crossrope; if you want to further increase the intensity of the challenge, use heavy ropes,
  • It is important that you are properly warmed up before you do your daily reps (check out the perfect warm-up series for ideas),
  • You’ll be required to keep track of your repetitions over the course of the challenge (I will show you how when you join),
  • Make sure you stretch often, particularly your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back (here are some static stretching examples).

Why the kettlebell swing ?

Because the kettlebell swing is one of the most powerful exercises on the planet.

As I said before, it is a pure combination of functional strength and metabolic conditioning. It will help you burn fat like a George Foreman grill, develop impeccably strong glutes and hamstrings, teach you how to produce force from your hips, strengthen your posterior chain (improved posture anyone?), and build incredible work capacity.

Simply put, it is probably the most effective and efficient exercise in the world.

So why add the jump rope single under?

Because I wanted to shake things up a little bit. The single under is a great conditioning exercise that offers incredible boosts in conditioning, coordination, balance, and overall speed and quickness. It will help you develop impeccable focus and stamina. These two exercises are going to be like peanut butter and jelly.

What’s up for Grabs

As always, I like to award people for taking action.

For this challenge, I’m going to be giving away some awesome prizes to a couple of hard-working (and lucky) participants. Here are the prizes that I’ll be giving away for this challenge:

  • 1st Place Prize: a choice of a brand new 35lb or 44lb kettlebell.
  • Second place prize: a free copy of my Kettlebell Ninja course.

21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge Prizes

When you join, I’ll show you what you need to do to be eligible for these prizes and I’ll explain how winners will be selected. Now here’s how you can join (it’s free)…

How to Join the Challenge

Here’s what you have to do to join the challenge…

Step 1: Leave a Comment

It’s important that you introduce yourself. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and leave a comment introducing yourself and letting everyone know that you’re taking part in the challenge. Do that first, then come back to step 2.

Step 2: Share the Challenge

Let’s use this positive energy and momentum to get others to join us in this challenge. Let’s try to get as many people involved as possible.

Help me spread the word about this challenge by doing the following:

If you’re on Twitter, click here to tweet about the challenge. If you’re on Facebook, click here to share the challenge. If you’re on Google+, click here to share the challenge.

Step 3: Add Yourself to the Challenge

The kettlebell swing challenge is now closed to new participants. If you would like to be notified of our future challenges, please join our insider’s area by clicking the yellow ‘Get Notified’ button below.  

That’s it! Simple. Please make sure you don’t skip any steps because you might end up missing some of the important challenge details that I’ll be sending out!

What you’ll find inside

Once you sign up, you’ll get an email with some important challenge details.

You’ll get access to a private Facebook group which you can use to keep yourself (and each other) accountable. It will also be a place to ask questions, share stories, offer motivation, and get feedback.

You’ll also get access to a tracker that you’ll be required to use to keep tabs on your kettlebell swing and jump rope repetitions over the course of the challenge. It will serve as a great accountability tool.

You will also get some very useful resources to help you with your swing and jump rope technique.

Again, all of this will become more clear once you sign up.

Final Notes

I’m really excited to this challenge started!

Remember the first day of the challenge is January 15, 2015 so make sure that you sign up before that date and take care of all the details that are sent your way.

In the meantime, use the next week to get yourself ready both mentally and physically. Plan out how you want to approach your reps over the course of the 21 days. Put it on paper. You will probably deviate from this plan to some degree, but it’s good to have an idea of how you’re going to attack this challenge before it starts.

I also recommend that you do a few low volume sets of kettlebell swings and jump rope single unders to get your body ready for the challenge.

Finally, do me a favor and help me spread the word about this challenge. Share this post with your friends and family. Let’s get as many people involved as we can.

See you on the inside!

-Srdjan

Elda - January 15, 2015

I’m in! Excited about the combo!

Monte Johnson - January 15, 2015

Look forward to the challenge. Thanks!

Ted - January 15, 2015

Ok, I,m back! Thanks Srdjan!

Jim Dickinson - January 15, 2015

Totally excited to take on this challenge! Thanks for presenting this opportunity Srdjan.
Gratitude!

Rhonda - January 15, 2015

I’m in.

Sean Mortimer - January 15, 2015

Day 1 was a success!
250 DU
100 KB

RonHollis - January 15, 2015

Man, am I glad that I just checked my gmail

TJ Walczak - January 15, 2015

I started the 21 day challenge today. 100 swings and 200 jump ropes down

Vicente Bataller - January 16, 2015

Day one for me really good:

200 swing KB
400 single d.u. JR

Lets go!!

Stuart Goldsmitgh - January 16, 2015

Hi,

Another great challenge! Just moved house so only got the Internet connected today. I’m about to sign up officially, but I already completed 300 KB swings and 660 jumps.

Thanks for the blogs.

Stu

Stuart Goldsmith - January 16, 2015

Hi,

Another great challenge! Just moved house so only got the Internet connected today. I’m about to sign up officially, but I already completed 300 KB swings and 660 jumps.

Thanks for the blogs.

Stu

Stuart Goldsmith - January 16, 2015

Hi,

I can’t see the link to sign up? I guess I’ve missed the deadline? No worries, I’ll create my own tracker and keep you posted with my progress. I have ‘roped’ in two guys from work too. They’re not happy with my choice of KB weight, but they’ll thank me for it at the end.

Stu

    Srdjan Popovic - January 16, 2015

    Hey Stu! If you and your buddies still want to join, send me all the emails and I’ll get you guys in last minute. Otherwise, keep me posted with how you guys do. Good luck!

Raza - January 23, 2015

Hey Srdjan,

Love your blog man. At least once a week I’ll do 15 pushups, followed by 15 kettlebell swings, followed by 8 pullups. I’ll do this 3-4 times.

Definitely trying to incorporate more kettlebells swings into my routine.

Raza

    Srdjan Popovic - February 8, 2015

    Hey Raza, great to hear from you again buddy. KB swings are where it’s at.
    Hit me up on email when you get a chance and let me know what you’ve been up to. Cheers!

Lee Taylor - February 1, 2015

Finished the 21 day kettlebell swing challenge today.
Yea for me.

Bryner - February 6, 2015

Hi Srdjan,

Pardon me for posting an irrelevant comment here. I don’t seem to get any responses through the contact page form. Whenever I post comments, however, you reply very promptly (A thousand thanks!). I just have two very urgent questions to ask:

1. I seem to be feeling excruciating pain in my forearm during and immediately after doing bicep curls with my Olympic barbell. The pain runs from my ring finger down through the inner side of my wrist. Could you help me know what’s wrong? I have just started Phase II of Visual Impact and I’m getting really nervous about the pain, which get worse when I increase weight.

2. Could you advise me on how to complete the cardio sections of Visual Impact? Rusty Moore seems to to favour the treadmill, but his interval times for the HIIT section can’t really be used for jump rope. For example, he recommends 60 sec walk/30 sec sprint for Phase II. Not really sure how to do that for jump rope or kettle bells. Also, for Phase III, he includes a steady state cardio section, which I am also not sure how to complete. Would appreciate any advice you can give.

3. In Rusty Moore’s Visual Impact Cardio program, he says that the Tabata protocol doesn’t really help if your only doing it for 4 minutes, i.e., 8 rounds. I am quite confused now, since I really like your Tabata based workouts.

Thank you for your attention. It was through your website that I gained incredible insights into building a healthier, better body.

Have a great day!
Bryner

    Srdjan Popovic - February 8, 2015

    Hey Bryner, sorry if I didn’t catch you on the contact page. Best way to get in touch is directly via email.
    Here are some answers:

    1 – This pain that you’re referring to is quite common when using barbells for bicep curls. I experienced the same pain and had to switch to Ez bars. It probably has to do with the fact that gripping the barbell forces your wrists to turn in more than they are used to. If the pain is still there, stop with the curls completely and let the forearms heal. Ease back into it and only use dumbbells for a period of time.

    2 – To simulate that with the jump rope, you would have to jump rope for 30 seconds at about 80-90% of max intensity (sprint variation works well for this) and then for 60 seconds at very light (40-50%) intensity (boxer step works great here). For steady state cardio, use the sprint variation and jump again at roughly 40-50% intensity for an extended period of time.

    3 – I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that because a Tabata session is 4 minutes long. But what you can do if you like is to perform the Tabata workouts in rounds.

    I hope those answers help. If you have any follow up questions just send me a quick email and we’ll chat!
    Cheers!

      Bryner - February 12, 2015

      Hi Srdjan,

      Thank you so much for your advice. If you could let me know your email address, that would be great.

      So for the barbell, can I ever get back to it? I mean, is it a strength issue or a anatomical construction issue? I really would to gain a lot of strength there.

      For the Tabata protocol, Rusty Moore says this: (quite a long quote)

      “So let’s begin by pointing out something minor about this study. The Tabata Study did NOT track fat loss!

      I’ll say it again—> The Tabata Study did NOT track fat loss.
      This is a minor detail that is probably good to know about a study referred to so often (especially when used to argue that brief workouts burn more body fat).
      The Tabata Study Tracked VO2 Max Performance.
      Think of VO2 max as “aerobic capacity”. I like this definition:
      
      Visual Impact Cardio     9 by Rusty Moore
      VO2 Max is the highest rate of oxygen consumption attainable during maximal or exhaustive exercise.
      As you increase intensity of an exercise you use more and more oxygen. There is a point where you can increase the intensity of an exercise without increasing the amount of oxygen you use.
      The graph is showing a point where the rate of oxygen consumption does not increase, even when the exercise intensity is increased. This point is considered to be 100% of VO2 max.
      As you become more aerobically fit, your VO2 max increases.
      Someone who is out of shape typically has a low VO2 max. They can get “out of breath” walking up a flight of stairs. In fact, I’ve seen people who reach their VO2 max pushing a cart in a grocery store.
      The Tabata Study Was Done at 170% of VO2 Max.
      It is possible to train at over 100% of VO2 Max. If you look at the graph above…I marked off along the Exercise Intensity line, where 100% of VO2 Max was reached. Any Exercise Intensity past that point, is over 100% of VO2 Max. Make sense?


      170% of VO2 Max is Extremely Tough to Duplicate.
      Training at 100% of VO2 max gets your heart rate up to roughly 90%-100% of your max heart rate. Lets say you are 30 years old and your max heart rate is roughly 190 beats per minute (using the MHR = 220 – Age equation).
      …to get to 100% VO2 Max, you must train at an intensity that gets your heart rate up to 170 beats per minute. This isn’t an exact science…just a rough estimate.
      Let’s say you can reach 100% of VO2 Max cycling at level 13.
      To reach 170% VO2 max, you have to train with 70% more intensity than what it took to get to 100% VO2 Max. That is the equivalent of cycling at level 22. I don’t even think most exercise bikes can be adjusted to that level. The main point is that many people who believe they are doing Tabata intervals…are probably doing something much less intense.
      Tabata intervals increase VO2 Max, but what about burning fat?
      This type of workout is so brutal, it would be good to know if it actually was effective at burning body fat. USA Today posted an article in June 2010, which found that fit people produce more glycerol after a workout, compared to someone with a low VO2 max.
      Glycerol levels are an indicator of fat breakdown. So those with a higher VO2 max, burned more body fat even when performing low level activities (the study had subjects walk for 10 minutes on a treadmill).
      Having a high VO2 max is an advantage when trying to get lean.
      Tabata’s are one way to increase VO2 Max, but they may not even be the best way to do it. Even in the Tabata study…the “regular aerobic group” wound up with a higher VO2 max than the Tabata Protocol group.


      Note: The intense interval group did experience a bigger improvement in VO2 max…I just wanted to show the graph from the study to show that many types of training improve VO2 max.
      …but what about the “Afterburn Effect” of intense intervals?
      I’m glad you asked 🙂
      This will lead us to the much quoted Tremblay Study. This is the one people are referring to when they say… “interval training is 9 time more effective than regular cardio”.


      The Tremblay Study
      The most quoted study supporting High Intensity Interval Training? Yep…but check this out —-> The HIIT group lost an average of 0.2 pounds in 15 weeks!

      Yes, 1/5th of a pound of weight loss in 15 weeks!
      Here’s something else you might find amusing. The steady state group lost more weight than the HIIT group.
      How can they claim HIIT is 9 times more effective?
      They are comparing skin fold measurements. The HIIT group had 3 times the drop in skin-fold measurements. They only trained 1/3 as long as the steady state group. Thus…it is 9 times more efficient. Or is it?
      A (possible) error in the calf skin-fold measurement.


      All the skin-fold measurements in both groups went down, except one. The skin-fold calf measurements of the steady state group went up. I have to believe there was a simple error in measurement going on. I’m not sure it is possible to drop body fat from your entire body, but gain fat in your calves!
      If you take away the skin-fold difference from the calf area, the results of the HIIT vs the steady state group are quite similar.
      So let’s talk more about the afterburn effect of intervals.
      The EPOC Study
      Afterburn (EPOC) is MUCH less than we have been led to believe.
      Here’s a “game changing” paper for you: Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption [3].
      This paper examined all the various studies on EPOC and came to this conclusion:
      “…the earlier research optimism regarding an important role for the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded…The role of exercise in the maintenance of body mass is therefore predominantly mediated via the cumulative effect of the energy expenditure during the actual exercise.”
      How many calories are burned after an exercise session?
      This paper came to these conclusions:
       EPOC = 6-15% of the calories burned during the actual exercise.  Steady state cardio averages close to 7% EPOC.
       Intense intervals can approach 14% EPOC.
      I’d like to thank both Christian Finn and Tom Venuto. They were the first, as far as I know, to point out the flaws in this study.


      What this means in calories burned?
      If you hop on an Elliptical for an hour and burn 700 calories, by training at a moderate pace you will also burn an additional 49 calories after the workout is over (7% of 700).
      What if you performed intense intervals on a treadmill for 30 minutes and burned 400 calories? You will also burn an additional 56 calories after the workout is over (14% of 400).
      I’m not saying that intervals are useless.
      They are just one component of a strategic fat loss plan. In my opinion, calories burned after you workout don’t amount to enough to be worth considering.
      So when you hear the common speech given by personal trainers to their clients about the afterburn effect, you can simply smile :)”

      Would appreciate your comments on that.

      Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to advise me on these issues.

      Cheers,
      Bryner

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