The 10,000 Swing Challenge

Last weekend I was in New York for another Mental Meat Heads workshop. I came home inspired to start my own 10,000 Swing Challenge.

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I’m somewhat of an evangelical and I care deeply about what I do. I think my industry has a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the welfare of our entire society. I also think we squander that opportunity.

Mental Meat Heads is an attempt to change that. I host an on-line forum on Facebook for the exchange of ideas and bi-annual workshops across the country to showcase in practical ways how we can make the most of this opportunity.

Last weekend I got to hang with two of my favorite mentors, Chip Conrad and Dan John. We’ve done this show four times now, so I can’t say there was much new revealed. What I did get was a deeper understanding of truths I’d heard before. Sometimes you need to hear the same thing four or five times for it to really sink in. (Dan said that.)

This time Dan’s 10,000 Swing Challenge caught my attention. I’ve know about it for years and usually thought, “Hey that’s kinda cool.” But left it at that. This time I decided to do it.

At it’s barest essence it’s quite simple. Do 10,000 kettlebell swings over a prescribed period time. Dan’s original version is 30 days. That’s 500 swings five days a week for 4 weeks. He also throws in a few strength moves in during the breaks.

I’m too partial to my own programming to completely abandon it, but I do see the value of a challenge. I’m taking the months of October and November to complete the challenge and have set myself a goal of 250 swings a day using the 53# bell.

Why the 10,000 Swing Challenge?

Why not?

Actually, there are several good reasons for a challenge. We all fall into ruts and routines. We find ourselves settling into the path of least resistance even when it comes to exercise.

Challenges shake things up. They take us out of the familiar into territory that’s a little more, “Oh shit, can I do this?”

Dan talks about park bench and bus stop workouts. He says most of your training year needs to be made up of park bench workouts.

These are the maintenance routines. The ones that keep us in good working order, that keep all our parts in place and moving smoothly. They’re like a park bench because they’re familiar, not too hard, and restorative. Kinda like sitting there feeding the pigeons.

By contrast bus stop workouts are designed to get you somewhere. We wait for the bus with a sense of urgency because we have somewhere to be. Bus stop workouts are the ass kickers. This is the program that pushes you hard and makes you grow. This is getting ready for a competition or setting a milestone in a lift. These, Dan says, you should pursue only once or twice a year.

Bus stop workouts are hard. Because they're hard some of think that's where we need to spend all of our time. After all that's where we get results, right? Not so much. Bus stop workout on a constant repeat cycle only serve to grind you down, wear you out and set you up for over training and injury. Properly applied they're the special sauce that sets your park bench workouts on fire and ensure highly effective training for the long haul. 

My version of the 10,000 Swing Challenge will be an exercise in endurance for me - a quality I haven’t pursued for a while. My goal is between 1,250 and 1,500 swings per week until I reach 10,000.

I’ll let you know how I do.

To our perfect imperfection,


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