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Keen to get back into shape after injuring his back, Gavin Peacock from the Flipped Society channel on YouTube decided to take on Dan John’s infamous kettlebell swing workout: an intensive four-week challenge consisting of 10,000 reps over 20 sessions. That’s 500 swings per workout, if you hadn’t done the math.

Strictly not for beginners, this workout could be too much for you to handle if you’re not well-versed in the exercise, both in terms of pure volume and if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here’s what to know about the 10,000 kettlebell swing workout, according to its creator:

– Challenge yourself with four weeks of intensive kettlebell swinging to test your grit and improve body composition.

– Every lifter who was tested after this challenge increased lean muscle mass and conditioning.

– After four weeks, you will have done 10,000 kettlebell swings dispersed throughout 20 workouts. You’ll do 500 swings per workout.

– Between sets of kettlebell swings, do one of the following: chinups, goblet squats, dips, or overhead presses.

– Master your kettlebell swing form. It’s not a squat. It’s a hip hinge. Your arms should not travel above your shoulders.

Peacock trained two days on and one day off, as recommended, using a 24 kg (53 pound) kettlebell. In between sets he did barbell back squats.

“You cannot be learning the swing while trying to do 10,000 swings, you must be very proficient and experienced using bells,” he says, reiterating the importance of the correct form in this exercise before launching into a timelapse account of his experience.

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“It was mind-breaking,” he says, upon completing all 20 workouts. “It certainly destroyed my grip, you can see how vascular my arms got from beginning to end… My back was jacked by the end, I was standing really upright, and now I have a nice strong posterior chain. I’m glad it’s over, and now I’m looking forward to getting back into regular lifting.”

It should be repeated that it is crucial you master the kettlebell swing before attempting this challenge, as Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. explains.

“Any workout based around the kettlebell swing will have serious benefits because the kettlebell swing is such an excellent posterior chain movement,” he says. “It is, however, key that you can execute a proper kettlebell swing before doing this workout. Done properly, the swing will be driven by your glutes and hamstrings two muscle groups that generally benefit from extra work. Done incorrectly, however, you’re headed for back pain. So learn the swing first.”

“This is a high-volume swing workout, which makes it incredibly challenging, but fight to hold your form, and you’ll see plenty of benefits,” Samuel continues. “The grip strength challenge comes from holding that bell through the full volume of swing reps, even if that isn’t easy. The great thing about the swing as a fundamental move is that while it zones in on hamstrings and glutes, it is a total-body move at its heart: Core, shoulders, and midback have to handle the momentum of that bell. Pairing it with classic strength moves, as John does in his 10k swing workout, creates a lot of stimulus for both overall intensity and sweat and general strength-building.”

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