December is one of my favorite months of the year, coming off the Thanksgiving high and sliding right into the Christmas spirit, it’s a magical month, yet it can be somewhat daunting and stressful.

Amidst all the gift shopping, holiday parties, and last minute loose ends to tie up before the year ends, this month always flies and sometimes my training is tempted to go with it…

To keep me focused and on track with my workouts over the next few weeks, I have vowed to take on the 10,000 Kettlebell swing challenge. Yup, by the end of the month I’ll have completed 10,000 swings, that’s roughly 500 swings per day, my glutes and hamstrings are already beaming. Who’s with me?!

This challenge is wonderful for a number of reasons…

1. It’s simple. Before you even make it to the gym you know what you have to do, the plan is already set, no stress in figuring it out.

2. It requires a small amount of space and one piece of equipment. No running around from machine to machine or tracking down various dumbbells and medicine balls. Heck, you could even do this all at home if you own a Kettlebell, no gym required.

3. It challenges aerobic conditioning with a power-based exercise, but strength sets can also be included within the workouts. You’ll have to break up the 500 swings into sets, a recommended break down is 10, 15, 25, and 50, that’s 100 swings! Rest & repeat 4 more times to reach 500. For strength work, consider working in a set of Kettlebell goblet squats, push-ups, pull-ups, overhead presses, or dips after each of your clusters of 10, 15, 25, and 50. Your workout may look like this:

-10 KB swings
-1 push-up
-15 KB swings
-2 push-ups
-25 KB swings
-3 push-ups
-50 KB swings
-Rest 1-2 minutes & repeat 4 more times.

4. Improves grip strength for all the favorites: deadlifts, pull-ups, barbell rows, clean & jerks, etc.

5. It eases the mind. Perhaps this is me, but there is something very soothing in focusing on one exercise, over and over again. The rhythm of the Kettlebell swing can be quite methodically meditative. I really enjoy popping on a podcast or a great playlist, and just swing away. Allowing my mind to quiet all its thoughts and focus on the work at hand.

If this challenge sounds like something you’d like to take on, wonderful! Leave a comment or shoot me an email regarding your challenge acceptance and how you plan to approach it. If you’d like to read more about what size bell you should use, what additional exercises you should incorporate with your sets, or the logistics of the Kettlebell swing, check out Dan John’s notes on his 10,000 swings. If you’re inspired to design a December challenge of your own, perhaps foam rolling everyday or 10,000 squats, I’d love to hear about it!

Good luck & happy swinging!