150 Kettle Bell Swings

As I have been known to do on more than one occasion, I attended the 5pm session, led by Dave, prior to coaching the 6pm endurance WOD.

Last night’s text exchange with Dave:

Me: U coaching @ 5 2morrow?
Dave: Yes
Me: I shall likely be there.
Dave: Woot!
Me: U better do a good job.
Dave: We’ll see

Dave, you did a very good job. There, I said it.

I arrived early to allow time to warm up and roll. I am happy to report that the antibiotic is finally working, and I’m feeling much, much better. How do I know? I was able so successfully string together up to 50 double unders. I am sad to report that my lats are the sorest they have ever been, and no less sore than they were yesterday. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to press let alone do 150 kettle bell swings. I also weighed myself, and I’m a whopping 142 lb dressed. Damn you, sinus infection!

The warmup consisted of Russian kettle bell swings, 2-handed kettle bell swings, and kettle bell presses. Today’s skill was indeed the press.


I set up my own station, warmed up with 45, 65, and 75, and started my work. Uhm, I should always have my calculator handy. I lifted 2 reps of 95, 100, 105, 115 (I thought it was 110) and 120 (I thought it was 115). I lifted 125 once, but failed the second attempt. I tried it again, and failed again on the second lift.  When I thought I had 115 on the bar but actually had 125, I was very disappointed that I was unable to press it twice. I thought, It’s only 115 pounds. (I just looked through my records, and it appears that 125 is my 1RM for press, so I lifted 96% of my 1RM 2 times and matched my current 1RM.)

Dave was kind enough to observe more than one lift, and provided helpful feedback. I tend to compensate for my shoulder inflexibility by overextending and arching my back. I’ve gotten better, but it’s still a problem. Dave also demonstrated how we could “cheat”. This involved pressing the first lift, pausing at the top and taking another breath and holding it, and then “bouncing” for the bar off of the shoulders for the second lift. It worked for 120, but didn’t work for 125. And that’s okay.

Every other minute for 10 minutes (a total of 5 rounds):
30 Russian KB Swings (70/52)
Perform 30 swings in 1 minute, then rest 1 minute.
For every set you don’t complete 30 reps in 1 minute, count a penalty of 1, 800m run. 

Dave went over the requirements, and suggested that we attempt to lift a heavy kettle bell, but that we might want to also have a lighter kettle bell – just in case. Having known about this workout since Sunday, I had planned on swinging the 52 lb kettle bell, so that’s what I grabbed. I thought, I can probably at least use the 55 lb kettle bell. Start with it. So I grabbed a 55 lb kettle bell. I can’t recall whom I was talking to, but I think it was Nate, and he asked how heavy of a kettle bell I was going to use. I said, “Fifty-five pounds. No one should be swinging 70 pounds – unless they weigh 250 pounds.” And then it happened. I thought, Just try the 70 lb kettle bell for the first round, and even if you have to put it down you can still finish the round with the 55 lb kettle bell. Why the hell did I think I could swing a 70 lb kettle bell? That’s 49% of my bodyweight.

Dave then began to write our names on the whiteboard, and I noticed that he was including Rx by quite a few of the women’s names. I said, “Don’t put Rx beside my name just yet, Dave.” He said, “Oh, I’m not!” And that bitch smiled as he said it. Love you, Dave. Mean it.

While most everyone faced away from the pull-up bars, I faced the clock; thus I couldn’t see anyone completing the workout but most everyone could see – and eventually hear – me. I wanted to make sure I could complete all 30 swings in 60 seconds, as I was certain it was going to be a challenge as the rounds progressed.

I completed 30 unbroken, 70 lb kettle bell swings the first round, and it took me 44 seconds. It was difficult, but I decided to swing another round of 70 lb. I once again did so, and again unbroken and in a time of 45 seconds. I was sweating profusely. I could sense people watching me, Jack and Bea in particular. (Were you, Jack?) The third round was more challenging, as I tore the pad below my right, middle finger and the tear on the palm of my left hand had re-opened. In addition, the outsides of the tips of my pinkies were in pain, as there wasn’t quite enough room for both of my hands on the handle and I couldn’t effectively swing with my pinkies outside of the handle. Wah, wah. I know. I completed the round in reps of 20 and 10, and I completed in 50 seconds.

I briefly contemplated swinging the 55 lb kettle bell. I told myself, If you can’t complete at least 20 swings unbroken this fourth round, use a lighter weight.

While it was a struggle, I once again completed the fourth round in reps of 20 and 10. Dave was providing direction, but I couldn’t comprehend a word that he said. It wasn’t because he wasn’t speaking clearly; it was because I was in so much agony. I thought, Damn you Dave! If you hadn’t said, “Oh, I’m not” putting Rx beside my name I wouldn’t pick up that 70 lb kettle bell!

I completed 20 reps of the fifth round, and it took me 30 or so seconds. I looked at the clock and made myself pick up the kettle bell with 20 seconds left. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to complete the last 10 swings, let alone in 20 or less seconds. I was grunting loudly at the top of each and every swing. It appears that most (again, if not all) follow CrossFitters had completed their 30 reps before I did, and they cheered for me as I was completing my last 5 or so reps. It was awesome, and much appreciated – and most needed!

That’s a total of 150, 70 lb kettle bell swings.

While I was lying (not laying) prostrate (not prostate) on the floor, Jack approached and said, “You should’ve only done 29 reps the last round. That way you’d be rewarded with a 800 meter run.” I was honestly tempted to do so, but I knew that Dave would then not put Rx beside my name. What have become?

I then coached the endurance WOD, and the focus was on rowing and strokes per minute. I won’t go into details. I will, however, share this brief conversation I had with Britt, Michael Kelley’s girlfriend:

Britt: I struggled. I had a very difficult time keeping it up. (Britt was referring to strokes per minute.)

Me: You sound just like Michael Kelley.



2 thoughts on “150 Kettle Bell Swings

  1. Nick, did you attend the CrossFit KB cert? If so, I did as well! I do indeed sand my callouses. After Saturdays’s 177 pull-ups, however, there was little I could do to prevent tearing. Wait, that’s not true. I could’ve been smart enough to tape my hands, which I did NOT do. I will most definitely do so in the future.

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