Kettlebell Challenge Week 1

Lessons Learned

Brock D. Vickers

As with any challenge, the athlete must make changes. For me, the 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge has already presented me with challenges. 

The first obstacle faced is that the recommended 53 lbs kettlebell was not doable. For one, the max kettlebell we have at Level 1 is 20 kg. That said, a 20 kgs kettlebell was enough. I struggled to get through all 500 reps.

Additionally, the swings are going to crush your hands. If you are not accustomed to working with kettlebells or doing high reps of explosive exercises, they are a grind. Blisters will happen; they did for me. But the hands will adapt. After all, grip strength is essential to physical and mental health, so that’s a plus. 

Second, the secret to this workout is what is known as chunking. While readers of the previous article remember the recommended rep counts were 10, 15, 25, and 50 to get through the first 100 reps, this isn’t the best method. The grip fails quickly, the arms burn out, and the core tires. Therefore, start with as many reps early on, be it 25 or 50, and then chunk down. Additionally, figure out how to break it up into manageable chunks.

This challenge is as much mental as it is physical. Tackling a massive number like 500 reps, is a mental task. It’s the principle of, “How do you swallow an elephant? One bite at a time.” Set mini-goals within the workout; challenge yourself. Say, “I will accomplish 25 reps no matter what,” or, “I’ll knock out 50 first to give myself a break later.” Find what works.

Also, the secondary strength workout is just that, “Secondary.” These fundamental movements of presses, chin up, squats, dips, or other basic exercises are not the focus. They are active breaks; however, they will drastically increase the difficulty of the challenge. The chin-ups alone will absolutely destroy your core combined with the swings; therefore, don’t sweat these reps as much. The goal is to knock out no more than five reps in between. The swings are the point. Focus on the swings.

Likewise, the body needs challenges. You will be amazed at how quickly your body adapts to this workout. While the first week will turn your grip into mayonnaise and your core into ash, it will learn how to get through the workout.

Day 1 was miserable. Day 2 was doable. Day 3 torched my core. Day 4 was awful. Then, the body figured it out. The swings became more manageable, and I realize I will need to alter the workout going into the last weeks. 

As we set goals, achieve them, and blast through old achievements, we learn how to perform better. This challenge is an excellent break from the routine and is super simple to follow. 

The more you adapt to the challenge, the greater the secondary workout’s difficulty level. Five hundred reps are a lot, but amazingly by Day 5, you learn how to get the challenge. 


Level 1 Team Member Brock Vickers is an actor, writer, and athlete who loves to play on stage, in front of the camera, with words, and in the gym. He has made his way from the muggy bogs of Southeast Georgia to the City of Brotherly Love, making notable stops all over the United States from American Stage in St. Petersburg, Florida to Capital Stage in Sacramento, California.

Photos by Rebecca Cureton