The amount of time you should rest between sessions depends on your fitness level and how hard you're working, notes strength coach Marc Perry. For instance, if you constantly try to swing a heavier kettle bell for a low number of repetitions and work to fatigue, you'd definitely need those rest days.
Pavel Tsatsouline, who popularized Russian kettle bell training in the West, advocates doing swings every day based on a concept called “greasing the groove.” The idea is that by practicing something frequently and with good technique, your body adapts to it and becomes proficient at the movement.
The notion is simple -- perform 10,000 swings over the course of a calendar month. Typically, you can complete this in one of two ways, says Danny Away of Tucson Kettle bell.
While I was never exactly shredded, I was making good progress on the big lifts and felt comfortable taking off my shirt in public. I was still eating like a person with an active lifestyle, but the most movement I was getting was walking from my bed to the couch.
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 KettlebellSwing 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 KettlebellSwing 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 kettlebellswing 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 swingkettlebell 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.
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Pavel Tsatsouline, the “father of the kettle bell ”, focused his entire career on the Eastern strength approach. Here’s what I learned from trying one famous method of daily kettle bells training called “Greasing the Groove”.
Greasing the Groove (GTG) is a micro-workout approach to every day kettle bell training. Instead of long dedicated blocks of all-out workouts, Pavel prescribes light sessions every day.
Sessions with long rests between sets, and stopping well before failure. Best of all, light, every day kettle bell training doesn’t require recovery.
Greasing the groove can stand alone as a complete workout, or layered on top of an existing routine for faster results. Intense kettle bell training should be relegated to three to five days per week.
Like conventional barbell and dumbbell programs, intense kettle bell training tests your ability to recover. If this all seems too confusing, Pavel designed a great program for everyday Kettle bell Training called Simple & Sinister (Amazon).
He gives you daily kettle bell routines and lays out the common rookie (and veteran) mistakes. While exercising, the moment your form slips up just a tiny bit, STOP.
I can trace back most of my injuries to ignoring poor form cues. For the best results, perform 70-250 kettle bell swings daily before breakfast when hormones and enzymes are primed to burn stored body fat.
For an average strength man, he recommends 24 kg for KBS and 16 kg for TGU. For an average strength lady, Pavel recommends 16 kg for KBS and 8 kg for TGU.
I’ve found that I can complete a workout of KettlebellSwing and Turkish Get-Ups in just about 10 minutes. Most people begin noticing big results and improvements in 2-4 weeks.
Cardio and strength benefits begin earlier, while goals like weight loss can take a little longer to show. You’ll notice that your usual everyday activities become easier.
Every time you enter the room, hit a few kettle bell swings. The Eastern workout approach is the antithesis of the way I trained.
I started GTG and reclaimed 15 hours previously consumed by the gym. Paradoxically, swinging kettle bells kept me consistently near full strength while I continued to build muscle.
I no longer spent 90 percent of my weeks recovering from monstrous personal-record setting workouts. I hack my workouts with an incredible technology I wrote about called blood flow restriction training.