Sunday, January 03, 2010

The New Year 28-Day Challenge

Every year, I try to come up with some challenge over a certain period of time. Sometimes I succeed in completing the challenge and other times I don't. I was not very successful in completing my various challenges last year. The challenge below isn't novel by any means. The 200 swing challenge is pretty popular among myself and other trainers in the kettlebell community. I wanted to sweeten the pie a bit by throwing in some snatches. That way you get 2 really great foundational moves, focusing on technique, a rep goal, and a time goal all in one package :-)

I've tried various derivatives of the challenge below over time, and I never seem to complete it successfully for the entire time period. My strategy this year is to round up a group of friends, and we can complete the challenge together. That being said,'s a 28-day challenge to try, ideally during the month of January:

Here's the scoop:
Always make sure to warm-up properly prior to starting the challenge. Conclude the workout with a cool-down and stretching.

THE WHEN: Mon, Jan 4 - Sun, Jan 31, 2010 (28 days)
THE TASK: Complete 200 mixed swings & 100 snatches (50/side) per day
THE CATCH: Complete the daily challenge in 30 minutes or less. Record your time and kettlebell weight each day. Try to complete one set of exercises before progressing to the other (i.e. if you start with swings, do all 200 before moving to your snatches and vice versa). You must complete 50 snatches per side. You can rest and/or switch sides as many times as you need to during the 30-minute time period. Please note: this is high rep training, so you will want to protect your hands. Please see the note at the bottom with suggestions on how to do this. I do not recommend using gloves for this challenge! We should be trying to ween ourselves off of gloves anyway during our KB training, but I know that I often use them to protect my hands.
THE PRIZE: Bragging rights!! Couple this challenge with clean eating, and in 28 days you should see an increase in overall cardiovascular capacity & strength, as well as noticeable changes in your overall body composition. This should translate to leaner legs, enhanced muscular definition, and a rounder tushie :-)
KEEPING US HONEST: Share daily or weekly progress on the blog or via email with your training buddies. Select some type of measureable goal to track and compare at the end. For example, your goal might be to complete the task using the 16kg kettlebell by the last week of the challenge (that's one of mine!!). Don't worry if you miss a day here or there. Just record it, share it, and see how you do over the 28 day challenge!

Personally, my challenge will definitely be with the "every day for 28 days" part. The best I've done so far is 20 days, non-consecutively over a 28 day period. I also have a hard time keeping track of my count after a while :-)

Important Note: Be forewarned that this challenge will test your grip & likely cause calluses or blisters at first. I always get a blister or two, and usually don't wear my gloves due to the excess friction that they cause. If you want to protect your hands, I suggest trying Tracy Reifkind's sock sleeve method. Chalk also works...I do not recommend the use of weight lifting gloves during high repetition snatch or swing training sessions. Your hands will eventually get used to high rep training, but there will be some "growing pains" along the way :-)

Good luck!!!

**Disclaimer: If you choose to participate in this challenge, you are doing so voluntarily at your own risk. I will not be held liable for any injury or mishap that may occur. Make sure that you know how to properly swing and snatch a kettlebell before attempting this challenge. Lastly, make sure that you have clearance from a physician prior to starting this or any exercise program. **

So, who's in??

1 comment:

Fitgirl-ATX said...

Jan 3, 2010 - Day 1 Results
Well, I started the challenge today, and I did pretty well. I did a light warm-up on the Airdyne (6 minutes). I forgot about the blisters/friction of high rep training. I started getting blisters during the snatch section.

Swings: I used the 16kg for swings, and primarily did 2H swings. I knocked out my 200 swings in about 8:30, which included periods of rest. I stopped after 50, 40, 60, 30, 20 reps to write down my time & progress. This was my strategy to help me keep track of my count. I was very proud of my time. My goal will be to do my swings with the 24kg by week 4.

My strategy by week for swings is as follows:
Week 1: 16kg
Week 2: Alternate between 16kg & 20kg
Week 3: 20kg
Week 4: Alternate between 20kg & 24kg

Snatches: I did snatches with 12kg since it's been a while for me. The weight itself was easy. The friction on my hands was not. I basically could only do 5/side and then had to stop to rest my hands. After the first 2 rounds, my hands were shot. I kept going, but had to stop with 7 minutes left on the clock and 45 snatches short of my 100-rep goal. I have some nice red blisters on my hands now...and boy do they hurt! I am going to try the sock method tomorrow morning to see if that helps at all...

My strategy for snatches is as follows:
Week 1: 12kg every day
Week 2: Alternate between 12kg & 16kg
Week 3: 16 kg for 3 days, 12kg for 2 days, 16kg for 2 days
Week 4: 16kg

Bring on the new day!