Dan Johns "the 10000 swing kettlebell workout" article from t-nation


Level 6 Valued Member
What if I can't  do 50 swings in one set?

May I do this program with 20kg kettlebell?

Swing wiht 20kg,

C&P - 20kg

TGU - 20kg (in third set : Left/Right/L/R/L/R or 3x left and 3x right ?)

Pull ups with weights

Goblet squat - 24kg

Will be OK?


Level 2 Valued Member
Dan you write:

"I far prefer doing 500 swings five days a week, or 250 forever, and using the swing as a once stop GPP."

Is the 250 forever something you have experimented with?  Am I reading this right as in... every day 250 swings?



Dan John

Level 3 Valued Member
Well, yes: 75-250 swings is that repeatable "area" that I have found. So, 500 a day for a month sets you up to be able to do 250 several times a week as normal training. I would argue at least 75 a day and maybe 15-25 Goblet Squats as the norm there. It doesn't have to be heavy or crazy...


Level 2 Valued Member
Day 1: 37:48 total time, rest was :30,:45,:60,:60, :60 between 25 and 50s, 3:00-3:30 max after the 50s
Handstand push-up were strength exercise, 2,4,5 rep scheme

That was intense. Thank you so much for this program! I look to do it other than today(Sunday), tues/wed/fri/sat!


Level 7 Valued Member
Wow. Really looking forward to doing this...after I take the SFG kettlebell course.


Dan John

Level 3 Valued Member
37 minutes is awfully fast. I would suggest doing it in about an hour. Let some of the rest periods slide up (esp after the 50).

For grip issues on the 50, yep...same issue here that we have. I'm not sure there is a magical answer save to keep it up. I really struggle with the grip on some days.

shawn smith

Level 1 Valued Member
dan,  if one is short on time, but has short periods of time they may use throughout the day, is it ok to do this in a gtg format - say, the first 200 or 300 in the morning, 100 more around lunch time, and 100-200 more in the evening?


Level 2 Valued Member
I should have let a few rest periods go longer. On the last round, every rep after the 15th I could barely hold onto the kettlebell. The last 15 or so reps I think it was just fingertips holding the bell allowing me to finish... Not my best form, but I wanted to finish that last 50.

Jason Paul

Level 3 Valued Member
I started a lower-volume version of this today and like it quite a bit.

I don't currently have the grip strength or conditioning to do the 50-rep sets with the 24kg, so I'm just doing 10, 15, 25 times 5 sets for a total of 250 swings in the workout. This is about twice what I've been doing lately, so I think it's a good way for me to start.

I did presses in between sets, per the program in the article.

If it helps anyone track this, I'm writing them like this:

swing/press - (10/1, 15/2, 25/3) then marking clusters of five (ie. IIII then slash across for five)

I'm thinking I may warm up with 1-2 TGUs per side, then do this program - maybe presses one day, then goblet squats the next - and finish with a loaded carry (farmer's, rack, or overhead), and planks.

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Dan, I'm a bit confused, between this thread, the article itself, the thread on your forum, and your blog; when you folks ran it, did you do 10/15/25/50 like in the article, or just 10/15?

I think this might be a pretty awesome program for SFG preparation; presses are already there, and squats; maybe alternate those, and do get ups for a warm-up. I think after doing this, learning cleans and snatches would be relatively easy, or I suppose you could practice the technique of them as part of the warmup. I know the most common thing I heard people say about RKC prep back in the day, and it was absolutely true for me, was "wish I'd done more swings in preparation".  Do 500 a day, and I don't think that will be an issue...

I find two-handed swings MUCH easier than one handed, but I get issues with my pinkys, to the point where it becomes a problem playing music and doing other things that are important to me, but if I did 10/15 it might be different, and I've had a minor insight into swing grip lately that might help...



Level 6 Valued Member
Jason Pauls version sound like a good idea to build up to the 500 a workout. Also it lends itself to Dan John's idea of 250 evey day.

I was surprised Dan didnt have loaded carries worked in there though.


Level 6 Valued Member
I was thinking about this workout last night in between the million commercials in the 4th quarter of the Patriots game.  50 swings with good form is a lot with a 24.  However, I've done a swing workout in the past with ladders of 10,20,30,40.  You're still doing 100 swings in 4 rungs.

In regard to rest periods, the first workout is a baseline.  How long did it take?  Let's say hypothetically, it took you 60 minutes to do the 5 ladders.  That's 12 minutes a ladder.  For the next workout, do the ladder in 11 minutes and 59 seconds or less.  So find a way to shave a second or two off of each ladder.  Kind of like Staley's Escalated Density Training.  Next workout, you finish in 59:55, etc.  As long as your doing more in less time you're getting better.

I also think that if you're doing kettlebell press ladders, it will take longer than goblet squats because, you have to do each side.  One way to alleviate that is to do the squats with a kettlebell in the rack position on each side, which is a great ab workout.  I do sets of 5 with an 88 and you really feel it in your obliques.

I also find 2 hand swings fry my grip much more than one hand swings.  For me, one hand swings are best with a heavier weight which will help with snatching.

Not trying to bastardize Dan's program, just trying to provide a solution if you can't do 50 swings with a 24.


Dan John

Level 3 Valued Member
The article was about the 10,000 reps. On my website, you will see our current month training and some other stuff. The 500 workout this month is with all heavy bells: so 10-15 in an endless loop. Actually, five heavy bells in a row, each time you do two loops of the 10-15, you have 125 reps. So, do that four times.

There is a million ways to do anything. Tweak it any way you want, but you might see the wisdom of doing it my simply because, well, we did 10,000 reps in 20 workouts. It worked.

Dan John

Level 3 Valued Member
Focusing on one aspect of technique

The swing, being ballistic, can’t be thought through as you go. It is a powerful, dynamic move and the harder you work, the better things will be, but you will go absolutely nowhere from all your hard work! That’s why I love it: it trains the most important human movement in sports performance (the hinge), roasts the metabolism and you don’t move an inch.


So, we focus on a technical idea each set.


On the tens, we focus on the aggressive “Hike Pass,” the part where you throw the bell at your zipper.


On the fifteens, we focus on the aggressively forward “throw” of the bell. If there is one overlooked corrective for swings, this is it. The idea is to think of launching the bell forward, but don’t. This is the tackle in football and the delivery in throwing sports. This will also straighten the arms, pack the shoulders down, and generate the right mental focus. It will also make it clear why doing swings correctly keeps the bell from floating up too much and protects the whole back.


On the twenty-fives, we focus on the plank. Drive the heels to ground, snap your glutes, drive the top of your head to the ceiling. The harder you throw the bell forward, the more float you get on the bell, but you are striving to NOT let it happen. When Steve Rowe did his historic 10,000 swings in a day, his heels hurt the most the next day.


The Fifties are hard on the grip, so we focus on the breathing. Count out loud every rep. Now, I find that sixteen is “sssss” and seventeen is “seeeeesssss,” but this is fine. Practice your matched breathing technique here.


This leads us to the great GAG of Swings: Glutes, abs and grip.


On the tens and fifteens, we are working hard on the glutes as the big engine driving the movement. On the 25s, we will experience the abs. I teach how the abs work with a simple drill. In my training language, a “heartbeat” is when you grab the kettlbebell by the horns and hold it on your chest, now explosively snap the weight out and back like a bench press from a gun.


Good. Now, drop into the deep position of the Goblet Squat and repeat the heartbeat. That quick cramping of your abs is how they are supposed be trained …like the fast twitch muscles they are and not by slow, high rep crunches!


The 25s teach the abs to be abs again.


The 50s show us what I learned when I first met kettlebellers: I asked them simply, if KBs were to disappear, what would you miss? The answer: the grip work. There are plenty of ways to train your grip, but this way also cuts fat and makes you a better athlete.


Equipment Needs


One Kettlebell that is the right load for you.

Bare feet or “minimal shoes.” No heels at all!



Heart Rate Monitor

Clock (to really just keep you on track)

A whiteboard or some method to check off the sets.



Determining the Right Bell


Although one could make a sweeping statement that men should use the 24K and women work with the 16K, many trainers are under or over belled. In a training group, one person is sprinting and one person is walking with a “one size fits all approach.” Because we are looking at 500 reps a day, Heart Rate is an interesting way to determine the right bell size.


Generally, though, the 24 and 16 recommendations are pretty good, but these two tests can really give some insights.


First, I have a complex way. You need three friends to help and one of them, at least, has to be a competent instructor.


Put on a chest strap heart rate monitor. Assistant number one will stand behind you the whole time and monitor your heart rate holding the watch. The HR monitors we use have a chest strap and a wrist watch that gives you the information. During swings, I don’t want you stopping and looking at your wrist.


Assistant Number One will be looking for two numbers:


When your HR hits 180-age, this person will give the command to stop swinging. Assistant number two will now note the time.


When your HR hits 160-age, assistant number one will give the command to begin swinging again. Assistant number two will note the time.


For those who don’t understand this, 180-age is to take your age (you should know this) and minus it from 180. If you are 30, this will be 150.


Assistant number three is the key (and it rhymes). This is the experienced person. You will do three swings and then assistant three will start hitting the bell down towards your zipper in what are called “Spike Swings.” Don’t “guess” what you think this is, by the way. Have someone who has been taught to do this and understands it. The additional ballistic hit is stunning to the movement and the HR goes up a lot.


Stop the test when the swinger doesn’t come back down to the 160-HR number for a minute and a half or two minutes. This is vague, but it depends on so many factors.


Too complex? The following is almost exactly what most people find to be the same as this:


Two hand swings for 15 reps. Be SURE to attack both the hinge and the plank.

You need to finish this set either exactly at 15 seconds or a shade under that time.

Rest 15 seconds

Two hand swings for 15 reps.

Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings for 15 reps.

Rest 45 seconds

Two hand swings for 15 reps.

Rest 60 seconds

Two hand swings for 15 reps.


Stop. Now: Check HR every 30 seconds. If it comes back to 160-HR

Under 30 seconds: Seriously? Grab a real bell. Just kidding, but most people are underbelled by a lot for swings.

60 seconds: You might need to go probably four kilos or so more on your bell. Test again soon.

90 seconds: For now, you are right “there.” This is the bell for you.

120 seconds plus: Don’t die. You went “over” on your weight choice.


Level 7 Valued Member
I wonder why our first instinct upon seeing a nice program like this is to want to tweak and add things to it. Not trying to be judgemental as I am guilty of the same thing.

I tried it today. Somewhere in the 3rd set of fifty my grip started to give out on me. Not really proud of my form on the fourth set but I did finish.

Silas R Taylor

Level 1 Valued Member
I did a personal swing challenge and had given myself on month to complete.

I did 250 swings mid day and 250 at the end with variation,h2h,single and dbl,all done with a 28kg for 6 days a week for a total of 12,000 swings. I did this along with other training and all it did for me was make my deadlift go up by 10lbs and made my back feel great.

Love the swing.


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