Cruise Control Kettlebell Swing Workout Inspired by Dan John

Cruise Control Kettlebell Workout

Before we get into it, please be sure to check out my recent interview with original Battling Ropes System creator, John Brookfield! I was surprised at more than a few of his answers - and am that much more psyched to attend the upcoming Battling Ropes Instructor Certification workshop!

OK! So, once again I revisited a favorite Dan John article to read up on a particular pattern. While Dan had already made several variations of this workout pattern in his article and even more so in his book, The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge (recommended). The original version is 10 swings, 1 goblet squat, 15 swings, 2 goblet squats, 25 swings, 3 goblet squats, 50 swings, rest.

Don't get me wrong, I like the original version a whole lot. I use it and enjoy it.

And I wanted to use it with a particular client, except there was one problem... that last set of 50 swings. While I have no doubt that this particular person could absolutely do the 50 swings, we were at a different point in our training. Also, I wanted to get him to do a whole lot of swings in one session without a whole lot of physical (or mental) fatigue that can sometimes come with 50 heavy swings in a row. But, in our next session, I wanted to basically coast through doing 200+ swings while practicing a few other moves (squats, pushups, etc).

I like building psychological victories into sessions and this particular pattern--assuming you have enough time and have chosen an appropriate kettlebell for your feat--can be used to do a pretty enormous amount of swings. For example, I did the original version (using hand to hand swings--one arm swings, switching at the top of each Swing) with an RKC snatch test size kettlebell to knock out 500 swings in a short period of time.  With the "cruise control" version, it's best to aim for 200-300 swings depending on how much time you have, and what kettlebells you've chosen to work with that day.  Heck... sometimes I've been known to throw a single round with a heavy kettlebell into the middle of a workout at random! :)

So, below are a couple of examples of how I've used "Cruise Control" personally and with others. At the end of the article is a video where I've used the kettlebell Swing pattern around stacking rocks between the sets. While not the most efficient use of this pattern, it's a pretty fun way to stack rocks and still get some swings in while you play.

Cruise Control Mini Grind:
(Choose a heavy-ish kettlebell for this one, but all reps must be awesome, no t-rex arms at the top of swings. That looks silly and you're cheating yourself out of grip training!)

Warm up with joint mobility exercises and one slow but solid get-up on each side (go for more if you have time). The first round is almost identical to the original Dan John version, because it is awesome.

Repeat TWICE (or three times if you had a good breakfast...)

Cruise Control Variety Pack:
(I 2 hand kettlebell swings for the duration. Weights given are the ones I used, adjust accordingly.)

(I just got the infamous "Ab Pavelizer" and decided to use it for the last round! Feel free to do any other intense but low rep ab exercise here instead, though I can recommend the Pavelizer... holy moly!)

That was quite enough for one day. I finished the workout with joint mobility then ate a lot of tasty food.

Finally, here's one last version... which is somewhat more true to the idea of the original (as the goal total is 300 swings). This advanced client is working on strength endurance but also I wanted to check in and see how they were doing on various movements. I added the handstands in at the 2nd round almost as grip training relief - which is why you will also see crow stands and slow push-ups sometimes paired with heavy farmers carries in my other workouts. If you train with me, during those times I may say something on the order of "now, let's flatten our hands back out..."  I saved the high pulls for the last round, as these were a technique training moment and I knew we'd go light with these. The person I was training is not keen on them, but by the last round I knew she'd be very motivated to just knock them out. And she did. We used a variety of kettlebell sizes and swapped them around through each round, and as appropriate to maintain awesome form.

Strength Endurance and Form Practice Variety Pack

As promised, here's the video of one round using a 24kg kettlebell for the swings and stacking rocks between the rounds.  Needless to say, this is not a version to be done for too many rounds! :)