Sunday, December 16, 2012

28kg Swings, 30 minutes, 626 reps....and all the details!

Warning!  This post has way too much training content!

The other night Mark mentioned that Dave Whitley (MSFG) had completed 608 swing reps with the 48kg.  Dave is highly respected in the SFG community for his strength and this was another amazing example of his talent!  Crazy strong!

Knowing that Dave completed 608 swing reps in 30 minutes, from my own experience, I knew 8 of those reps went over an "equal work to rest ratio" because 600 reps can be done in 30 minutes using that equation swinging at a 10 rep per 15 sec pace.  And if you use that equation the extra 8 reps took approx 10-13 seconds away from the rest.  So one could calculate 15 min, 12 sec work to 14 min 48 sec rest.

I was inspired.  But what size bell should I use taking into consideration my bodyweight, not necessarily that I am also female.  I don't know what Dave weighs, but safe to assume it's more than me.  Taking percentage of bodyweight to bell size is the best way to compare, but typically a female using the 24kg would be the equivalent of a male using the 32kg.  Stands to reason a 28kg for a female would be 36kg for a male.......but a 48kg?  Because I recently swing the 32 kg I already know that 30 minutes using that weight was not something I wanted to just walk into the gym and go for, and to be honest I'm not sure I could do it if I wanted to.  So, I'll get a baseline with the 28kg. (I already know I can swing the 24kg at a two to one work to rest for at least 10 minutes..30 sec work, 20 reps, 15 sec rest btw)

Let me also preface my results with the fact that I used a competition bell with a smaller handle.  I only used it because one of my other training partners, Meg, was also using the 28kg and we only have one DD 28kg at the Studio, leaving the competition bell as the other option.  It never occured to me that the comp bell would be easier, in fact I thought because of the lower weight distribution it would be more difficult...that's why I opted to let Meg use the DD bell.  It became obvious to me at about 1/2 way that the smaller handle on the comp bell really made it much easier to work my cardio strength because it did not challenge my grip or forearm strength AT ALL.  At no time did I ever feel as if my grip was going to go and that is an important detail of how I would change my strategy the next time, or if I ever try this with an even heavier bell.


I never asked how Dave broke down the sets or reps, and only found out after the fact that, I think, he did as many reps as he could, and then put the bell down until he could pick it up again, and repeat.  Personally, since I've trained the swing for years my brain automatically starts doing calculations right away, and I probably couldn't NOT go in with 1/2 dozen or so options for a strategy!  So I'll start with the most basic, 60 sets of 10 swings (15/15).  Knowing equal work to rest would give me the 600 reps all I had to do was replace 8 of those sets with 11 reps (swinging into my rest period an extra 2 sec) and I would complete Dave's 608.

Doesn't seem like too bad huh?  Eleven reps instead of 10 at least 8 sets.  My strategy started with deciding to complete as many 11 reps sets as I could, afterall that was just one extra rep.  BUT I know how hard just one extra rep can become!  And it's not really the work of an extra rep, it's the recovery you don't get in the form of rest when you work into a rest period.

I started with the plan of breaking the 60 sets into 6 blocks of ten. The plan was to complete 11 reps the first ten sets and gauge the next ten sets based on how I felt.  In my first ten sets I completed 8 eleven rep sets, before I felt I had to drop it back to 10 reps for the last 2 sets in the first ten....not exactly as planned!  There was no way I would be able to repeat that.  So I started the next ten sets with 11 and had to drop back down to 10 after only 3 sets....and it drops more and more as the 30 minutes continues!  Here is the breakdown:

11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 10, 10 (+ 8)
11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 3)
11, 10, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 3)
11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 1)
10 x 10 (+ 0)
10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 21 (+ 11)

About halfway through I realized that doing short sets with short rest was not the best strategy because two reasons.  The first is that you have to put the bell down and pick it back up twice as much if not more!  The other reason, and I should know this by now because I do a ton, a ton, of pace work and I always demonstrate swing pace in my workshops and classes, is that short rest periods are short!  Even with "equal work to rest ratio" working for 30 seconds is so worth resting for 30 seconds, and working for 1 minute (if you can) makes a 1 minute rest period seem like a vacation!  I'm not saying I could swing the 28kg for 1 minute (40 continuous reps), but I definitely could swing it for 30 seconds (20 reps) because I did in my very last set at the end of 30 minutes!  AND my grip had not been challenged with a bigger handle.

So there you go....

If you take on a challenge like this consider what it is that you are challenging!  Is it purely rep count with a particular weight?  Is it grip and forearm strength?  Is it cardio strength endurance?

In all fairness to Meg I will not move on to a "bigger" challenge until I do this again with a DD bell.  Meg did 600 reps, 60 sets of 10, and I am totally respectful of the fact that without a doubt I know Meg is capable of  matching me rep for rep with any workout.  So the fact that she never pushed past 10 reps at a time speaks volumes to me about that large handle...just sayin.  But it also makes me hopeful of doing a challenge like this with a 32kg comp bell!

Here was my complete Saturday training schedule:

7:00-8:30 Advanced class
short warm up (very short)

10 sets of 30 + sec overhead double 16kg holds

(short break)

30 minutes of 28kg swings.

light 12kg snatch ladder w/holds after a 4 min warm up

"I go, you go"  Basically I snatch 5 R, 5 L, I switch back to my R and hold while you do your first 5 snatches R, I switch when you switch, only I hold until you finish your 5 snatch L.

You switch and hold R and L while I do 6/6, I switch and hold while you do your 6/6, etc...up to 10/10 and back down to 5/5 (I'll video an example of this's fun!)

5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 10/10, 9/9, 8/8, 7/7, 6/6, 5/5

160 snatch reps/holds approx 16 minutes continuous.

8:30-9:15 Intermediate class
light Get-ups
more dbl overhead holds w/12kg's
swings and half snatches w/12kg 15 min

9:30-10:00 Beginning Swing class
600+ swings w/12kg

For the complete 30 minute video, if some crazy person is interested is on Youtube


Nadine said...

Awesome! Fridays are my heavy day and I swing the 28kg. Friday December 7th I did 5 swings at the top of :20 for 100 rounds - total of 500 swings (w/ the 28kg). I think I will try this next Friday :)....but the way Meg did it :). I also use the comp bell, since I have small hands and the handle works better for me. Grip was fine on the 7th.
Interestingly last friday I did 25 swings at the top of the minute w/ the 24kg broken down into 5 min work/1 min rest and after 350 swings my grip was getting taxed on my left hand. So I knocked out another 50 and stopped :p
I love working with the heavier bells - I just ordered the 32kg :) Happy Hannukah to me :) - and I am finally enjoying 2 hd swings
Anywhoo, got side tracked - thanks for the motivation and I will try this on Friday :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


So that calculates out to 500 swings in 33.33 minutes. So you are going to take on 2 challenges.

#1 completing an additional 100+ swings


#2 doing it in less time!

Ok, and then if I'm trying to understand your 24kg swings...

5 "on the minute" sets of 25 reps for 5 sets before you take an additional 1 minute break?

So 6 minutes you complete 125 reps?

So during your 3rd "round", 2nd to the last set (reps 325-350) your grip started getting challenged? I'm assuming it was NOT with a comp bell?

I love all of my training! Heavy, not heavy, it's all good! Teaching and leading workouts is what I love best anyway.

Nadine said...

Game on! :)
I will keep you posted :)

guy said...

I for one happen to love way too much training content. :) This is a great post, thanks Ma'am! I am time pressed, and really have to manage my practice times, so your posts help in that regard, play video, hush, swing/rest, repeat for set duration. Ready made T.S practices are a blessing, thanks again, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the 2 new dvd's.

KrisR said...

whoa. Amazing. :)

How many days a week do you teach and since you lead your classes - that means a couple hours a day of swinging on teaching days - in addition to your own training?

I guess I'm just curious how many hours per week of kettlebell work you do.

Thanks for your inspiration and support. I'm heading out now to do workout #13.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I love writing about actual training!

It's just that this blog was never supposed to be a hard core training blog...not that I'm all hardcore or anything!

Anyway, I've gotten positive feedback from many other people about my training posts, so I'll keep them coming, only with a warning!

Anyway, one more thing. I forgot another detail about this workout that involves technique. I hope to get to it first thing in the morning.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I only teach/train 3 days a week.

Tuesdays 5:30am - 8:00am

Thursdays 5:30- 8:00am and one 30 min swing class at 11:00am

Saturdays 7:00am-10:00am.

I do some privates Tues-Sat, but after I teach a new client the skill, which may require a fair amount of demonstrating, I just sit on a stability ball and tell them what to do and count reps!

The rest of my own workouts and training involves 3-4 Bikram yoga classes a week (Sun, M, W, Fri) and I try and get in 3-4 30-50 min walks a week. That's it.

Goodness, I used to be a junk mile junkie and train 7-10 classes of yoga a week, Spinning 3 x a week, in addition to walking and about 30% more kettlebell training (mostly more ballistics) So happy to be over that, although I do miss Spin sometimes.

Diana said...

I need bigger bells....

Toad said...

Tracy, you the shnizzle, Baby!


Tracy Reifkind said...


Yes you do! Maybe a Xmas present to yourself?

I'm going to write more about those competition bells by the way. Mark is getting me a 32kg. Really surprised my grip was never a concern. Great way to work the strength (total body) and cardio element of heavier weights without the limitations of grip.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Thanks! I think...