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500 swings a day

5 days a week

4 weeks

10,000 swings.

Seemed like a good idea at the time....but was it?


So, here's the set up - I had just completed my HKC and was looking to take all my new found knowledge and enthusiasm and channel it...somewhere. Andrew Read from Dragon Door (and RPT) had mentioned T-Nations 10,000 swing program in passing and for some sadistic reason the concept stuck. Thanks Andrew....thanks a lot.

You can grab all the details here but here's the short version.

5 sessions per week completing 500 Russians Swings per session using the following pattern;

Set 1:  10 reps
Set 2:  15 reps
Set 3:  25 reps
Set 4:  50 reps

You've now completed 100 reps. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 500 swings. Between sets, add a low-volume strength movement eg press. Basically you're trying to couple a ballistic movement (KBS) with a slower strength movement

10 Swings
Press 1 rep
15 Swings
Press 2 reps
25 Swings
Press 3 reps
50 Swings

In my enthusiasm on the first day I assumed there was a 4 rep movement after the fifty swing set and I stuck with that concept all the way through...'cause you know 500 swings a session wasn't enough (and neither is reading all the instructions first)

.So each day for me accumulated 500 swings with a 24kg KB and 50 reps of an ancillary movement. On one day of the 5 sessions per week I would just do the swings without the strength movement.

What strength movements did I use?

Goblet squats @ 32kg (favourite)

Fat Bar push press @ 70% BW (2nd choice)

Front Squats @ BW (hideous)

HSPU 15kg plate deficit (double rep scheme so 2,4,6,8 - was better than I thought)

One day I did the swings with a fellow HKC with heavy prowler (20 metres = 1 rep) as the strength movement. Worst. Decision. Ever.

image via T-nation

image via T-nation

What happened?

You do 2500 swings a week and you very quickly realise three things - 1. You have a lot of time to think while you're swinging, 2. If you don't have and maintain solid technique you are going to fall apart real fast, 3. Recovery is king.

So the internal monologue went pretty much like this....

gee my back is starting to tighten my core still on....nope....dumbass

man I'm puffing like a steam I'm breathing in time with the swing...nope...dumbass

shit 300 more...dumbass

In all seriousness I didn't feel like I had the swing really dialled and locked until about 6000 in. Really. All those swings gave me the chance to focus on minute detail, and tweak and tweak and tweak until it felt solid as a rock. 

I had to be a bit more religious about recovery (not a bad thing as my typical warm down was the walk to the car and a shower at home) so the foam roller got a fair beating as did the lacrosse ball peanut - it was worth the time.

Lastly - this generally was my only training for the day - because I was stuffed by the end and I didn't want to screw with the process too much. I would still do our in-box WOD 2-3 days a week but that was it. As an indicator it would generally take me around 40 mins to complete the session from first swing to last.

Weapon of Choice.

I used a 24kg hammertone KB from Primal Equipment. I preferred this one as it has a slightly wider grip so I could comfortably get a solid two hand grip and the coating retained grip but didn't act like a cheese greater. I used chalk the first day and then never did again. I didn't have a single tear but lost a few layers hear and there, otherwise the hands were fine.


Was it Worth it?

Bottom line - and I know this is all you care about - so I did 10,000 swings and a shedload of strength movements, was it worth it or did I just waste my time?

Was it worth it?


Hell yes.


From an aesthetic point of view I definitely trimmed down, I didn't weigh or measure anything before or after (I don't as a matter of training and coaching philosophy). What I can say is that by the end of the month my work shirts no longer fitted across the shoulders, I was definitely smaller across the midline and I split two pairs of boxers squatting the following week.

I didn't set out to test every single time and 1RM I could think off afterwards but for those that have come up in my training thus far here's the results;

Snatch - +9% PR

Split Jerk - +6% PR

Deadlift - +4% PR

Diane - took 1min (11%) off my previous PR time

Would I do it again - no need. But I do integrate KB work nearly everyday - either as a warm up or as the WOD itself. 

Would I recommend it for someone else - hell yes. But be prepared. Accept that this will dominate your training program for the four weeks and be prepared to put the time into warming up and recovery. Don't do the swings then go do a shitload of other work every day and wonder why you can't maintain the form and intensity, or wonder why you're falling apart.


Bottom line, although some days I questioned my own sanity, it was well worth the time and effort.

Pavel, you evil genius,

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