So after 143 swings every day, 1,001 a week and 4,433 in total, Kettlebell Month is officially over. It has been a great challenge and I think we chose the best one to kick-start 2015.
To jog your memory Dane and I decided that instead of creating new year’s resolutions this year we would take on monthly challenges, starting with kettlebell swings.
On certain days, namely those when I had the previous days swings to do as well, it was tough but over the past 31 days I’ve seen changes in my body as well as a definite increase in strength and endurance.
Throughout the challenge I used a 20kg kettlebell whilst Dane used a 24, 32 or even a 48kg bell and we did Russian swings which you can see a video of later in this post.
Swings are such a simple exercise but when done correctly they provide fantastic benefits. Here’s a little bit of what I love about kettlebell swings.
- Simplicity – You don’t need a gym or a whole lot of space to do swings. All you need is this one piece of equipment and 10-15 minutes out of your day. Kettlebell workouts needn’t be 30-40 minutes long- they don’t even need to be 20 minutes long! Build them in to an EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout or a Tabata set which is eight rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for four minutes.
- Increased aerobic and anaerobic capacity – Because they’re such a good HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise, kettlebell swings will boost your anaerobic capacity whilst your lungs and heart will get a good workout with high reps.
- Combines cardio and strength training – What more could you want from a workout?!
- Strengthen your core muscles – With every swing you do you are engaging your core and a strong, stable core will transfer in to success in other sports/fitness areas as well as aesthetically.
- Tighter glutes – ‘nuff said.
- Increased power – Because the swing is a hinge movement, kettlebell swings will increase the power in your glutes and hammies as your thrust forward.
- No more back problems – Swings help to reduce neck, shoulder and lower back pain as they develop the hamstrings, glutes, core and back.
- Fat burner – Not only are kettlebell swings a great HIIT exercise, they also boost your metabolism post workout when done with a decent weight.
Now here’s what I noticed:
- My core was definitely stronger and this in turn has helped with my running as well as exercises such as toes to bar at CrossFit and keeping my core tight in other exercises and lifts.
- Tighter glutes which has also helped with my running.
- They got easier! When I first started CrossFit swinging a 16kg was mega tough but now I know that I can do 20 swings at 20kg EMOM for 10 minutes.
- Endurance – my endurance improved and it became easier to hit 12 swings per round in a Tabata set and basically just to keep swinging!!
- Time – I learnt that no matter how busy I might convince myself I am, the reality is that there’s always time to get something done. On days when I thought I didn’t have time I just did a Tabata set and within four minutes I’d got 96 done. Easy.
Here’s a video of the last day of swings 20 EMOM, my grip was GONE by the end!
We’re now moving on to yoga month which I am SO excited about. I don’t do anywhere near enough stretching as I should do so I’m excited to improve my flexibility and strength and hopefully I’ll find it relaxing as well.
I have downloaded the Pocket Yoga app on to my phone and iPad and here are some of the poses I’m going to try and master by the end of the month -apparently I’ve picked some of the hardest ones – go hard or go home, ey!