That, coupled with the new existential threats of daily existence under the pandemic, meant I was eating a lot of takes out, and food became a distraction from the casual terror of everyday life. Dan John's 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Workout has earned a reputation as a simple, brutal fitness challenge.
The swings are supplemented with squats, presses, or dips for four of the weekly training sessions. John claims that people who have taken on the challenge dropped fat while adding muscle, saw noticeable improvements in posture and body composition, and made significant gains in overall strength.
I wanted a program that didn't require regular gym access while still offering big results to combat my pandemic pounds and general malaise. By the time the challenge was finished four weeks later, I had dropped nearly all the pandemic weight and a quarter of my body fat.
Week 1 of the 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Challenge There are thousands of trainers on the internet insisting their programs are the absolute best way for people to lose weight. You need to expel more energy than you're putting in (this is called a caloric deficit).
That can happen through careful focus on diet, exercise, or most effectively, some combination of the two. To keep me accountable and make sure I actually finished the 10,000 swings, I asked longtime friend and collaborator Diego Lopez, a comedian and model in Brooklyn, to complete the challenge with me.
During the pandemic that's meant coaching clients through Zoom and training sessions in the park. For people looking to improve their fitness with minimal equipment, Lopez has been a strong advocate for kettle bells.
“The kettle bell swing is a phenomenal pattern to strengthen the upright human being,” said Lopez. “ The first day of training Lopez completed his 500 swings with a 70-pound bell, but struggled with his grip.
The first day of swings (I used a 54-pound bell, as prescribed in John's workout design) and presses took me 38 minutes to complete. By the end of the last set I looked like I’d just stepped out of the shower and every part of my body felt sore.
One of the hardest things about hitting 500 reps in a workout was maintaining good form. Focusing on the hip hinge and being consistent with the swings can get exhausting, but that's kind of the point.
Logging the calories and doing more or less the same workout each day wasn’t sexy, but it did give me a sense of control. With the beauty of hindsight I can understand what a success dropping three pounds in a week is, but it didn't feel that way at the time.
These feelings had more to do with the fact that a big assignment was ramping up at my day job than anything to do with diet or kettle bell swings. I had a huge project due that required late nights and multiple meetings.
My face looked noticeably thinner and clothes that had been feeling tight fit again. Getting a decent workout in at under half an hour was incredibly satisfying, even if I continued to look like Swamp Thing after I was finished.
He cut his record for completing 500 swings to an impressive 17 minutes, and dropped 10 pounds without tweaking his diet. My buddy, Diego Lopez, showing off his results from the program. I dropped 16 pounds in four weeks, going from 210 to 194.
While the 10,000 swing kettle bell challenge didn't leave me with visible abs or a superhero body, it did leave me in a significantly better body composition than when I started, which serves as proof of concept for Dan John's program. I kept hoping to come up with some kind of life changing revelation when I discussed the challenge with friends, but nothing profound came to mind.
If you make a plan, put in hard work, and remain consistent, you'll get results. So really, I think the challenge shows that you don't need a gym or personal trainer to get noticeable results from your workouts.
I continued to support James by accompanying him at kettle bell events and trainings, but the turning point came when I went with him to an IFF certification course, where I was fortunate enough to be allowed to participate in and learn from Steve Cotter. As we drove home, I told James I had decided I wanted to become a certified kettle bell instructor.
James, of course, was extremely supportive, coaching and encouraging me until I felt ready to take the next step. Conveniently, US AKL was offering a certification course in my area, and I immediately signed up for it.
I prepared for the course, following course material instructions provided by Nico Either, and on January 12, 2013, I became a certified kettle bell instructor. I must admit, next to the birth of my two sons and my wedding day, this has to be one of the most significant accomplishments in my life.
As a way of background, let me explain that I never considered myself the “athletic type,” let alone dreaming of becoming someone that would actually train other people. In fact, as a child, I suffered from several ailments, including rheumatic fever and pleurisy.
When you discover a treasure, you can either be selfish and hide it, or share it with as many people as possible and get an unlimited supply of rewards in return (I have chosen to do the latter). My passion has become reaching out and motivating middle-aged women like myself, who have extremely busy lives, to make time for fitness.
What’s more, apart from the multiple benefits of kettle bell training, the euphoria I feel after my workouts is second to none. My work situation improved, and my addiction to kettle bell training intensified.
When I first learned the basic Kettle bell Two-Hand Swing, I was intrigued by how many muscle groups were involved in that simple, yet powerful movement. I could feel my entire core, glute, arms, and leg muscles contracting and becoming stronger with each swing.
Focus on the “mind-muscle connection.” Don’t just go through the motions; make sure you are consciously engaging the intended muscle groups as you perform each exercise. Synchronizing breaths with kettle bell movements is something that takes practice, but well worth the effort.
Have protein (preferably in liquid form) after your training for muscle recovery and growth. Before heading out to my “regular job” at the Homeland Security Section of the Anaheim Fire Department, I now train one-on-one early in the mornings, and also hold two group kettle bell classes per week.
Training others is extremely satisfying, especially seeing fellow middle-aged women discover that their bodies can do things they didn’t think they could. The positive energy I get every time I train, whether myself or others, is indescribable, and I see no reason to stop.
James eventually left the corporate gym world and founded Outbalance Fitness, which has proven to be the best decision (next to marrying me) he’s ever made. Outbalance Fitness is all about using unconventional training methods; first and foremost kettle bells, but also sandbags, clubs, Tax suspension gear, and such.
Last weekend, physical therapist Shawn Monacan and trainers Darius Stankiewicz and Taylor Huang became certified as Strongest Level I Kettle bell Instructors. Despite the course’s 30% fail rate, the Physio fitness team passed with flying colors, and we’re excited for you to reap the benefits.
Kettle bell exercises reveal and fix misalignment, compensations, asymmetries, and weaknesses in the body, relieving you of muscle stiffness and joint pain. By bridging the gap between cardio and strength training, your overall physical fitness levels will skyrocket, getting you to the best shape of your life.
Later this month, physical therapist Shawn Monacan and trainer Darius Stankiewicz will spend a weekend earning their SFG Kettle bell Instructor Level I Certification with Strongest master Jon En gum. Whether you are looking to get thinner, more muscular or just improve your core, leg and upper- body strength for athletics, the best kettle bell moves will take you from where you are now to a sleek, gymnast-style build.
This remarkable fat burner was studied by the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse at the behest of the American Council on Exercise. But prominent kettle bell trainer Anthony DiMaggio, of Art of Strength in Providence, Rhode Island, sees drawbacks to relying on the snatch as a starter exercise.
The snatch demands a fair amount of shoulder range of motion and flexibility, making it challenging for beginners. You've learned how to change planes with the Turkish getup and how to decelerate weight with the swing.
To build your hands and glutes to be resilient, and add in some overhead work, he suggests the dead clean and press. This move starts with the bell between your heels -- hence the term “dead” -- with a clean into the rack position.
To further change your body, add in the long cycle; this means performing a move with lots of volume, doing the clean and press continuously for up to 10 minutes. For additional work on the legs and abs, as well as improved flexibility, DiMaggio suggests a windmill and overhead squat combination.
Windmills and overheads squat can be your choice -- do them for time, for reps or ladders, DiMaggio suggests. You might be new to the world of fitness or maybe you’ve been going to the gym 5 times a week for years, either way, the kettle bells exercises will be beneficial for you.
All kettle bell work-outs make the muscles strong but not bulky and increase the heart rate to the same levels as cardio exercises. The experts say that it’s a combination of cardio and strength training that work your entire body.
The main thing you need to remember is that the power comes from the hips, not the arms. Moving the hips back and slightly bending the knees, lower the body.
Then explosively move the hips forward swinging the kettle bell at the same time with the momentum. Adjust the kettle bell according to your personal level, going too light is actually just as unsafe as going too heavy.
Start with getting into a very wide stance, the wider your feet are apart, the more effective this exercise is. The important part is that you should feel that the glute muscles are working the most, not your quads.
If you mainly feel the front of thighs working, spread your feet a little wider apart. Place your feet at a 45° angle, hold the kettle bell in front of both hands and lower your body and then return to the initial position.
When you squat, the knees follow the direction of your feet, and don’t move forward. Hold the kettle bell with both hands, raise it overhead making sure that the elbows are pointing forward.
If you want to add a little extra challenge, pause for a couple of seconds at the lowest position. Hold the kettle bell in front of your chest, keep the elbows close to your body, and stand up straight.
It’s very tempting to start just moving hands with the kettle bell, but remember that quality is always more important than quantity. The same trick from the 2-arm swing also applies to this one, the power should come from the hips, not the arms.
Grab the kettle bells in each hand and walk slowly with small steps. Do 10-12 steps, put the kettle bells down, then repeat the exercise walking back to the start point.
Then snap the hips forward giving yourself the momentum to lift the kettle bell up. Lunge forward with right leg and raise the left arm with the kettle bell at the same time.
Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, lower body to about a quarter of a squat position. Lie on the floor, bend one or both legs, hold the kettle bell with the right hand with the palm facing in.
With the Romanian dead lift the legs remain nearly straight with only a very slight bend to lower the kettle bell. Conventional dead lifts involve the back muscles more than the Romanian and also work on the quadriceps.
Remember, when going down, bend your knees so your thighs are just above the parallel line to the floor. Important tips to avoid injuries: never round the back, stick the butt out when lowering the kettle bell, and keep the knees soft when coming up.
This exercise is not for beginners, you need to have a good feeling of how to work out with kettle bells to perform it safely. Grab 2 kettle bells and hold them near the shoulders, keep the elbows close to the body with the palms facing each other, the knees soft, and the core engaged.
Press the kettle bells up, turning the hands at the same time so the palms face the front. Be smart when choosing the weight of the kettle bells and ask for professional advice if you are not quite sure how to do this exercise.
5 years ago this month, I picked up my first kettle bell. I had been running for over a year, and still hadn’t seen the physique results that I was looking for.
Sure, I was about back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but didn’t have much muscle definition, and had extra fat around my middle. I was breastfeeding my daughter and thought maybe that was part of why I couldn’t lose the fat.
I came across Lauren Brook’s article Breastfeeding and Low Body Fat. My initial education in kettle bell training was from Lauren’s videos.
“Okay, Kristi J., time to suck it up and acknowledge what you’ve denied for so long. You just can’t eat whatever you want and expect to lose fat just because you’re ‘fairly active.’ The yoga and running just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
With Christmas money, I bought my first cute little 15lb kettle bell from Target. I started researching everything I could get my hands on about kettle bells and physique transformation.
The following year, I started teaching group classes and coaching one on one. I started using double kettle bells and doing some barbell work.
Since I picked up that baby kettle bell, my confidence has soared and I’ve never been happier with my body. Strength training and quality movement have given me back my body, my connection with my Self, and with my sensuality.
And I’m working on another more extensive 6 month programs that will cover everything– movement, strength training, corrective work, manual therapy (massage), nutrition, and changing your negative mindset. Yeah, I’m naive enough to think that I might be able to make a difference.
(If you absolutely just can’t wait and are serious about changing your physique, contact me NOW, and I can get you started by the new year.) If you want to do this and get updates, GET ON MY LIST, BEAUTIFUL, so I can let you know what’s going on.