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My World Record Kettlebell Swings


Posted by James Saward-Anderson of EnduroJames under Weight Training (Strength Training) on 4 April 2014 at 11:00 PM

James Saward-Anderson has been a Tribesports blog partner for over a year, his goal is to achieve Total Fitness - strong, with the endurance to run marathons and the power to sprint a sub 12 second 100m. In his latest personal challenge, he set himself the goal to break the World Record for the most weight lifted with a double arm kettle bell swing in an hour.

James Record Holder Kettlebell SwingsSo another challenge is in the books! On the 27th of March I broke (although everything still has to be verified by Guinness themselves) the record for double arm swings in a one hour period.  I got 12,480KG in one hour. Which meant that I had to double arm swing a 16KG Kettlebell 780 times!  

I found this challenge really difficult as it tested me in lots of different ways than I am usually used to. For a start I have never really used a Kettlebell before January, my only experience with them was sporadic sessions here and there at the gym. I am also not by default “a strong man” so for this challenge I had to adapt to my strengths.  I was not going to be able to lift a 24KG weight consistently for the hour period, my tactic then was to swing for volume rather than weight.

The day itself was an intense battle against my mind and body.  It was brutal, at some points I really did question whether I would be able to complete it but in these times I always reminded myself that this was what I had trained for months, the pain of attempting to overcome something difficult, a stage where my mind and body would once again be pushed to the limits.  

For those of you who do not know, Kettlebells are cannonball like weights with a handle on the top. The cheap ones are made of rubber and suck.  The good are made of iron and are well worth the extra few pounds. They can be as simple or complex as you want them to be, for a beginner there really are only three exercises you would need to learn to be able to have a good workout. They are the single arm swing, the goblet squat and the snatch; with these three movements you can build yourself a decent workout which burns fat and builds lean muscle.  The risk of injury with Kettlebells is also very low as you are using your whole body,the chances of you twinging something is very unlikely as most injuries occur when your body is making an unnatural movement which contradicts its bio-mechanics.  I would personally recommend consulting advice before starting Kettlebells, even better I would advise investing in a good programme which can guide you on your fitness journey, my recommendation is RAID 21 which is an online system catered to all levels of fitness, this was the system I used and it helped me so I am sure it will aid you also!

James Saward Anderson Tribesports WearMy training for this event differed dramatically from my training programmes I had completed in the past. During my last events I had the luxury of being able to train twice a day for this event I did not have this gift. I instead had to pack in my sessions to 6 one hour slots. This event was also much much shorter than anything I had done before. I am used to training for long slogs of exercise of up to 24 hours  but this challenge was a lot more explosive and required a greater degree of effort in a much shorter space of time.

I alternated between heavy Kettlebell training (exclusively with a 24kg Kettlebell) and lighter more cardio based training with the 12 and 16kg. I would concentrate mainly on leg exercises such as goblet squats with the 24kg to build a solid base from which I could spring upwards during my  swings as the record stipulated that I had to dip to where my upper legs were parallel to the ground. With the 16kg I would build in one "long cycle" of swings consisting of up to 30 minutes of 15 swings per minutes employing the technique I would be following for the challenge itself. 

For this event one of my aims was to get stronger so for this I had to eat a lot more protein! My natural walking weight before this challenge was 75KG’s but on the day I weighed more like 82KG’S. This weight gain was achieved by drinking Hemp protein shakes twice a day as well as eating 6-8 eggs to add to my normal diet.   One of the things I noticed when doing a lot more strength and conditioning training is that my run time did not decrease that dramatically then I thought it would.  For example My personal best 10k time is a shade under 35 minutes, when I ran a few weeks ago during my training it had only dipped a few minutes slower to 37 minutes which I was pretty happy about. This goes to show that for the runners who are reading this there is not harm in getting into some strength training to add to your arsenal, the loss of a few minutes of your PB is more than worth significant gains in other areas of fitness, but then again this does depend on what your overall goals are when it comes to training, for me it is to achieve “total fitness”

Total Fitness is what I aspire to achieve from undertaking these challenges.  I am a big fan of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) which utilizes the philosophy of using many different fighting styles to blend into one “super style” of fighting. I aim to accomplish this in fitness. I want to have the endurance to run 26 miles, the strength to bench comfortably my own body weight and the explosiveness to be able to run 100 meters under 12 seconds. I also want to experience the human body in all of its totality because it truly is a beautiful machine capable of doing so much, for me doing the varied challenges I have completed gives me the opportunity to meet some fascinating people across the spectrum of the fitness industry and hopefully move closer to achieving this ideal.

James Clap Push-Ups

During this challenge I was fortunate enough to of worn a white Performance Tech Tee and 5" shorts produced by Tribesports themselves! The shorts were fantastic in allowing full movement for my record attempt; I really did test them to the max during my training and the event.  One of my biggest complaints usually about sports shorts usually  is that they are often too constrictive or too tight, up until I received my pair of Performance Tech Shorts - I was searching for a pair which complimented both qualities and it is safe to say after putting them to the test I have found them! The performance Tech layer regulated my body heat extremely well throughout my training and the event which took place in very hot conditions in a busy bar.

All in all then I would highly recommend adding Kettlebells to your training arsenal (if you haven’t already).  My next steps for the future are unclear, I want to break a lot more records and I want to win a few races so watch this space for more info or follow me on Twitter!