A Tale of Four Kettlebells

A few days ago I finished my Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge. On January 1st 2016 I challenged myself to complete 10,000 kettlebell swings by the end of the year. The number of swings was less important than making me train regularly. Since the start of the year I have trained at least three times per week, not missing a single session. 


A couple of thank yous. Firstly, thanks to everyone who sponsored me, I have raised over £300 for the Duke of Edinburgh Award charity, which will help young people complete their own awards. Secondly, thanks to The Delightful Mr F who counted all those swings. He was my independent ajudicator!

The first month was slow progress, but I have learned that constancy and persistence pay off. For the most part I have been doing on the minute training, swinging the bell for a given number of reps, then resting for the remainder of the minute. Rinse and repeat. I started with the 16kg bell, six swings per set for 10 mins. By the end I was using the 24kg for some sets, 10 swings per set and training almost daily. 

For those who like stats, here are some numbers:

Training sessions: 94

No of kettlebells: 4 (16kg, 18kg, 20kg, 24kg)

Weight moved: 168.96 tonnes

Locations: Our garage, a gym in Warwick, a car park in Manchester

I’m an engineer, so we have to have a graph don’t we? So here we are a graph of cumulative swings against date. 

I have really rather enjoyed this, so the question is what next? Well, next I am working on my deadlift and pressing which have been sadly neglected, so this morning the trap bar was re-commissioned and my press technique checked by The Delightful Mr F. I’m ready for the next challenge.


Kettlebell Challenge – 2000 Swings Complete!

This morning, bright and early, and I mean early*, The Delightful Mr F and I were in the garage doing our kettlebell training. I have progressed a lot since I started on January 1st. I am now swinging a 16kg bell, for 10 reps per minute for 10 minutes. More importantly, today saw me reach 2000 swings, which means I am 20% of my way through my challenge. It is all rather pleasing. 

I have to admit that this morning’s session felt hard. After a very long, but lovely day out yesterday, my legs were not operating quite at their peak performance. The key with weight training is that as long as you can keep good form, you will be OK. So despite my tired muscles at minute 2, I pressed on whilst The Delightful Mr F kept watch to ensure I didn’t end up getting scrappy with my kettlebell swing technique.

I made it to the end dear readers, but I don’t mind admitting it was a struggle. It did however give me a good excuse to have a lazy day. Recovery you know, is just as important as training.  


*7am dear readers, 7am! On a Sunday morning!

10,000 Kettlbell Swing Challenge…

Remember  this? Well, I started on the 1st January 2016, and yesterday I completed my 1000th swing. The delightful Mr F counted my last set for me with a flourish… 998, 999, 1000! So, 1000 down, 9000 to go. Somehow I feel much better about this now I am in four figure territory. 

I am quite impressed with myself in that I have managed to train so consistently.  I haven’t missed a session since I started, training three times per week. And I have to say, I feel jolly good on it. I am feeling stronger and generally more chirpy. 

We train in our garage which the Delightful Mr F as set up as a dojo/gym. My only moan is that when it is cold the kettlebell handles, which are metal, are freezing, and they chill my little hands to the bone*. 

Under the guidance of The Delightful Mr F, I am doing on the minute training, the 16kg kettlebell being my weapon of choice.  At the start of the minute I complete one set, and then I get the balance of the minute to rest, before the start of the next minute rolls around and I do another set. I started at 6 reps per minute for 10 minutes, and am now at 9 reps per minute. I’ll work up to 10 reps per minute for 15 minutes, and then move up a kettlebell size, drop the reps back down and start working back up again. It is all terribly satisfying, and being me of course, I have a spreadsheet to collate the data. I am pleased to report that so far, my 1000 swings mean I have moved 16 tonnes worth of weight. 

So there we have it, not a bad start at all, and all being well I shall be able to keep this up until I hit 10,000 and then the habit of training three times per week will be well and truly ingrained*. 


* I’m such a wimp. The Delightful Mr F will often do his training first to warm the handles up for me. He’s such a gentleman. 

* And with any luck I will have a body like a warrior goddess. Or possibly not. We’ll see. I will at least have swapped some flab for muscle. 

Duke Of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge – 10,000 Kettlebell Swings

It is possible that I had rather too much egg nog yesterday, but I have decided to sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge. For one reason and another I didn’t do the Duke of Edinburgh Award when I was at school, and had rather regretted it. Seeing as how for the normal award scheme you have to be, ahem, somewhat younger than me to qualify, I thought I had missed my chance.  However, 2016 is the 60th anniversary of the DofE Award, and the lovely folks there have set up the Diamond Challenge which is open to anyone and everyone in order to raise funds to support the work of the charity into the future.

You can pick any challenge you like, and I thought long and hard about mine. My original thought was to undertake some sort of reading challenge, but reading isn’t really hard work for me, and I thought it lacked the necessary personal struggle to be in the spirit of the thing. Then it came to me at about 2am this morning, what I need to do is be more consistent with my Kettlebell training. It is good for my MS and my general health. So I am going to try and clock up 10,000 Kettlebell swings in 2016.

The Delightful Mr F is going to help with training programmes, as he is a dab hand at the old Kettlebell workout. In order to reach 10,000 I am going to have to train three times per week at least. The number of swings I do in each session will vary, especially as I get stronger (I hope), I will go up a bell size and will need to drop my reps and build them back up again, then drop once more as I head up another bell size. I will probably mix up the training between on the minute, on the thirty second, ladders and so on and will need to take into account the MS MonSter.  Nevertheless, the whole crux of the matter will be consistency of training, which is something I am not as good at as I am in other parts of my life*.

I have a Just Giving page, so if you can see your way to donating a pound or two, that would be lovely. Also, all general encouragement gratefully received too!

I’ll blog my way through it, so you can see my progress. I start on 1st Jan 2016, and need to be complete by 31st December 2016. Bring on the kettlebell!


*Reading, mainly, everything else is a random shambles.