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10,000 KB Swings

  • SETTING THE STAGE
  • MASTERY
  • CONSISTENCY
  • INTENSITY
  • Completion

THE CHALLENGE

As an indigenous wellness trainer, Thosh Collins combines cutting-edge wellness and scientific discoveries with ancestral teachings to develop the tools and training mechanisms that champion a holistic lifestyle. One of these key mechanisms is the mastery of the kettlebell. Thosh, who has been training with kettlebells for several years, knows how effective a properly-executed swing is in fostering positive change. That’s why, to push his body’s limits, he designed a program centered around completing 10,000 kettlebell swings in just twenty days. Understanding that our bodies evolve by breaking through our perceived limits, Thosh built this program to spur adaptations of both mind and body.

In twenty days, you’ll execute 10,000 proper kettlebell swings. Between kettlebell sets, Thosh has programmed basic low-volume strength exercises structured around five of the basic movement patterns: push, pull, squat, lunge and rotate. In particular, stress will be put on the strength, power, endurance, mobility and agility systems. The program is constantly evolving and progressing as it levels up to the most advanced flows in its final days.

CORE PRINCIPLES

To get the most out of the kettlebell swing and achieve success in this challenge, you’ll need to embody three core principles:

Mastery – The swing is the foundational kettlebell movement. Done wrong, it can yield minimal results and have a high risk of injury. If you’re planning to tackle 10,000 swings in twenty days, you need to be willing to make sure you do it right.

Consistency – Some of our largest obstacles revolve around our ability to commit. Whether in life or in this specific challenge, success will be determined by your level of commitment. Miss a single day, and you’ll be 500 swings behind your target.

Intensity – Growth cannot be achieved by operating with the same level of intensity every day. In this challenge, simply showing up and performing 500 swings each day will fail to break the mold. Instead, the key is to progressively raise your intensity as you go, allowing you to reap greater benefits day after day.

THOSH COLLINS

Thosh Collins wants to make sure we don’t forget the past. The indigenous wellness trainer, who grew up on a small Indian reservation bordering Phoenix, works with indigenous communities throughout the US and Canada to reclaim indigenous health through cultural practices. Thosh’s Well For Culture non-profit champions a holistic lifestyle by coupling ancestral teachings with the latest information and scientific discoveries.

“Strong Indigenous nations are built by strong individuals,” he says. “We acknowledge the strength and healing power of our ancestral teachings, and we aim to guide others toward applying these values and ideas to achieve optimal wellness today. We have been taught that life is all about balance – mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional. All of these elements are interconnected, and wellness should be approached holistically, just as our ancestors have taught us to approach the human experience.”

Thosh believes that practicing wellness allows us to keep balance in all aspects of life. That’s why his training goes far beyond the physical. While he spends a lot of time training for strength, power, endurance, and agility, he spends just as much time training his mental endurance.

“I train for mental toughness because I believe it transfers over to other aspects of our life,” he says. “It gives us the tools to be leaders. Emotionally, it helps me tolerate stress better. Spiritually, it’s a way to give thanks for the body I have. When we move, we’re simply carrying out our humanness because we evolved from moving our bodies.”

Thosh knows that completing 10,000 Kettlebell swings will be demanding. With the high reps this challenge calls for, the key to success lies in committing the time and effort needed to build the tools required to master this foundational movement. It’s not just about the physical element, though. Being in the right mindset – willing to commit to working harder every day to move closer toward mastery – is just as important.

Mastering the swing

The Swing consists of only two basic positions: the standing plank and the hip hinge. Mastering this ballistic movement – from a bend at the hip to an upright position, with your hands extended out the whole time – requires a commitment to taking the time to do the movement right and cut no corners. The movement sounds simple, yet it’s easy to do wrong. Treat it as a squat and rely on bending your knees to increase your power, and you’re immediately set up for failure. Instead, the key to mastering this must-know movement is building supplementary muscles. As you complete 500 swings per day this week, Thosh will also walk you through the movements that will build the strength, power endurance, agility, and mobility you’ll need to crush this challenge.

Continue reading on to see exactly how Thosh is tackling the first week of training.

EMBODYING MASTERY

Thosh commits to mastery as a practice to thrive as an individual and community member, day in and day out. Whether physical or mental, Thosh views every individual action and every decision as inextricably connected to the people around him. Realizing that the purpose of new movements and exercises goes far beyond his own vanity, Thosh is constantly putting in the effort to master them.

Thosh stays fit to handle the physical and mental strain of his daily life, whether it’s working in the field or hunting. Every day, Thosh carves out time to work on improving his mobility, flexibility, strength and power. By committing time and effort to mastering the essentials, Thosh shifts the mindset with which he approaches problems. No longer intimidated by what’s in front of him, Thosh’s relentless drive to perfect his craft ensures he meets all challenges – in and out of the gym – with readiness and vision. His commitment to mastery goes beyond movement, though. For example, to promote food sovereignty and self-sustainability, much of what Thosh – and his community – put into their bodies is self-harvested. When Thosh goes out for a hunt, he isn’t hunting for himself, but for his family. Knowing that the foods he forages and the game he captures are for his family who rely on him to put in the work, Thosh goes all in and commits to perfection. Half-baked efforts simply aren’t an option.

This is why he does not dive into any endeavor without knowing he’ll have the time, energy, and foresight to finish even stronger. For Thosh, his relentless dedication to perfection – in every single aspect of his life – is driven by an understanding that the work he puts in and the attitude he embodies as he masters new movements, skills, and tasks affect not just himself, but the community that surrounds him.

This week, follow Thosh’s lead. Commit to mastering the foundations and setting the stage for the grueling workouts to come in the weeks ahead. Get to work.

KEY MOVEMENTS

The key to success in performing 10,000 kettlebell swings in 20 days is commitment and consistency. In week one, your training days will be structured around the same general schematic: four rounds of 10, 15, 25, and 50 swings, interspersed with foundational movements to train strength, power endurance, agility and mobility.

KETTLEBELL SWING
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

While it resembles both, the kettlebell swing is neither a squat movement nor is it a lateral lift movement. Rather, the foundation of this challenge is a ballistic movement that targets the core and posterior strength and power. It’s also an endurance movement, training the cardiovascular energy system.

Kettlebell row
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

This week’s push movement is a bent over row. In relating to the kettlebell swing, the position of your torso reinforces spinal control and resistance to lumbar (lower back) flexion when under load. This provides a better understanding of the importance of not rounding your back when moving through the swing reps.

KETTLEBELL PRESS
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

This week’s push movement is an overhead press. More than just a bolster for your deltoids and lats, the overhead press activates the stabilizing muscles of our core, placing emphasis on an upright torso and proper posture.

Two weeks into his challenge, Thosh is settled into a routine and drilling down. As he approaches the halfway point, he is continuing to perform 500 swings a day, approaching each day with more intensity. Now, his work is becoming more challenging, more focused, and more driven.

NO DAYS OFF

10,000 Kettlebell swings is a major undertaking. A week into the challenge, you’ve spent time mastering the swing, the adrenaline is wearing off, and the intensity of the task at hand is settling in. Now, getting into a consistent routine is key. Thosh built regularity into the workout with intention. By doing the same number of swings each day – in the same rep pattern and with the same amount of rest, only changing the supplementary exercise every day – Thosh is directing your focus to what truly matters. However, while the workouts are intentionally consistent in their structure, that isn’t enough. Completing this challenge requires complete commitment and dedication. If you miss a single day, you’ll be 500 swings behind your target. Once you’ve fallen behind, it becomes that much harder to catch up. As you complete another 3,500 swings this week, you’re committing to building a routine, continuing to strengthen the supporting muscles that’ll help you charge through this challenge, and dedicating yourself fully to coming out the other side stronger. It’s too late to back down now.

Continue reading to learn how Thosh is tackling the second week of training and how he uses consistency to improve his performance in all aspects of his life.

EMBODYING CONSISTENCY

For Thosh, consistency is key. He wakes up at 5:30 a.m. five days of the week, meditates, eats the same foods at the same time for his two meals of the day, and is asleep by 10 p.m. every night. He knows exactly when he’ll tackle conditioning every morning and when he’ll complete his intense power sets every afternoon. By establishing a rigid schedule in a hectic life – one filled with work, training, farming, and family – Thosh ensures that he’s physically, spiritually, and emotionally ready to put his max effort into every single thing he does.

The focus that emerges from his commitment to consistency strengthens the wellness and family circles that make up the bulk of his life’s purpose. As Thosh strives to achieve lasting change in mind, body and beyond, he knows he can only achieve this by putting in the same consistent work day in and day out – no breaks, no excuses. “When we take small consistent actions daily and weekly, the end goal becomes inevitable,” he says. “ I make consistency my focus because it lets me embrace the daily practice required to achieve my goals.”

As he gets closer to the ultimate goal, he’s working harder, stronger, and better. Follow along as Thosh doubles down on his routine and takes us through another week of kettlebell swings.

KEY MOVEMENTS

3,500 swings in, you can take solace in the fact that you’ve already notched one third of your total swings for this challenge in just 7 days' time. Granted with a clean slate this week, the principle of consistency becomes paramount. Freshly-formed callouses will rip and bleed as you continue to explode through the motion of swinging your kettlebell. Your mental fortitude must be stronger than your tired muscles in order to continue at this breakneck pace.

down dog push-up
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EQUIPMENT: NONE

Graduating from the overhead press of last week, we’ll continue to put great emphasis on core, triceps and deltoids with the down dog pushup as this week’s push movement. As an added bonus, the move serves as a wonderful stretch for the shoulder girdle and lower legs, which you’ll be grateful for as you move through the routine.

PULL-up
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EQUIPMENT: PULL UP BAR

One of the granddaddy body weight movements, the pull-up requires multiple muscle groups to fire simultaneously. When completing this week’s pull movement, your body works like a fine-tuned orchestra with the right muscles activating at the right time. The pull-up challenges and engages your grip strength, forearms, biceps, lats, shoulders and core, all of which translate to success in the kettlebell swing.

RUSSIAN TWIST
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EQUIPMENT: NONE

Whether you choose to hammer these out with or without a kettlebell in hand, the Russian Twist is an effective core exercise that also builds strength in the hip flexors and deltoids. It’s a perfect complement to this week's program as it promotes movement through the transverse plane. This is a welcome change of pace from the kettlebell swing and other supplemental exercises that have you moving almost exclusively through the sagittal plane.

It’s the final week of the 10,000 Kettlebell Swing challenge, but Thosh isn’t slowing down. Even as he approaches the ultimate goal, he is bringing a newfound intensity to the workout every single day. Working even harder in the final few days, Thosh is forcing himself to fight through the resistance and move through the discomfort as he pushes forward to the next level of physical and mental strength.

WORK HARDER

7,000 swings into this challenge, you’re tired. Your muscles are sore, your body hurts, and you’re uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean you can back down and coast through the final few days of this challenge. Instead, it’s time to push harder. Thosh knows that the human body has become increasingly efficient at adapting to resistance and that it naturally tries to not push itself beyond its perceived limits. His goal is to directly combat this. That’s why, to help you increase your physical strength, endurance and mental fortitude alike, Thosh will be pushing you to work a little harder every single day this week. The goal isn’t to complete more kettlebell swings every day, but to complete your final 3,000 swings this week with renewed force, vigor, and energy. Now’s your chance to commit to fully putting your foot on the gas and making these last few days the most difficult and rewarding of the challenge.

 

Continue reading to learn how Thosh is tackling the final week of training and how he relies on intensity in his workouts and his daily life to boost his physical and mental performance.

EMBODYING INTENSITY

Thosh views our mental and physical success as inherently interrelated to intensity. From our wellness to our life purpose, he believes that intensity plays a critical role in setting us up for mastery and success in every aspect of our life. That’s why he makes it a core part of his daily life.

Thosh is keenly aware that the human body quickly adjusts to resistance. That’s why Thosh approaches his daily tasks and workouts with a visionary mindset, focusing on the long-term gains rather than the short-term discomfort of his challenges. Thosh knows that the intensity he brings to every situation helps him develop the grit and goal-crushing mentality that makes him a more successful athlete, father, and community member. Constantly committed to pushing past his body’s limits, Thosh makes some element of his intense strength training sessions more challenging every day. Whether it’s maxing out a weight or executing a new and more demanding variation of a familiar exercise, Thosh is consistently leveling up his routine. He knows that his focus on constantly challenging himself in the gym helps him improve every aspect of his life.

“By constantly and consistently pushing ourselves, we’ll know another level of grit than before, and our threshold for pain and discomfort will have increased tenfold,” he says. “All of these newly acquired skills will be transferred to other aspects of our life, and we’ll meet the toughest life has to offer with readiness and a future vision of execution and success.”

Thosh is on the verge of reaching 10,000 swings, and he’s using his last week of training to truly max out his effort and spur the adaptations of mind and body he desires. Follow along below as Thosh closes out his workout plan and takes us to the 10,000th Kettlebell Swing.

KEY MOVEMENTS

The end is in sight. With just 3000 swings in front of you, it’s easy to consider coasting to the finish line. But rather than rest on your laurels, you’ll embrace the challenge and dial up the intensity this week. Dust off the chalk and consider substituting one or more of the compound movements below for the standard kettlebell swing. These variations will challenge you both physically and mentally as you push your body to activate different muscle groups and flow through additional planes of motion.

SWING TO
HIGH PULL
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

Adding a horizontal high pull to the single arm swing not only engages your upper back muscles, such as the traps and rhomboids, but also requires you to integrate a pull and push motion at the top of your swing.

Figure 8 to
GOBLET SQUAT
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

The Kettlebell Figure 8 is as challenging mentally as it is physically. This complex movement ensures that you remain focused on how and where you’re gripping the bell. Additionally, it reinforces coordination and body awareness. Add in a goblet squat and get ready to feel it in your glutes and quads.

DOUBLE Kettlebell
swing to squat
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EQUIPMENT: KETTLEBELL

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the single kettlebell swing, try taking things to the next level by using two bells at once. This complex variation requires greater control and coordination throughout the entire body, and, as an added bonus, will allow you to identify and address any movement asymmetries. Throw in a squat and consider your workout fully upgraded.  

Completion

For the past 20 days, Thosh Collins has completed brutal workouts and grinded through grueling sessions. On his path to 10,000 Kettlebell Swings, he’s pushed through muscle failure, shattered his mental and physical limits, and become physically stronger and more mentally tough athlete. Now, you can see it for yourself. Check out the video below to see highlights from the challenge and get an inside look at his most intense sessions this month.