500 Rep Kettlebell Challenge

Guest post by Forest Vance

500 Rep Kettlebell Challenge
by Forest Vance, author, Kettlebell Challenge Workouts 2.0

I’m kind of a modest guy, and I don’t really like to talk up my accomplishments.

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But, since Shawna has invited me to do a guest blog post and video for you, one of her loyal readers, I thought I’d share with you a bit about my own personal training background, how I got into the kettlebell training “universe”, and ultimately how I can help YOU get into peak physical condition with KB’s.

Back in my football days, I was in top shape. But after a great college career and a ‘cup of coffee’ in the NFL, it was time to move on. The transition was pretty smooth – except from a personal fitness standpoint.

Long story short, I ended up at about 310 pounds.  I saw a picture of myself in the mirror one day and pretty much decided that enough was enough.  That’s what ultimately triggered my transformation.

I started on an intense workout and diet plan, and lost 64 pounds over the next 6 months.  And this experience “kick started” my personal training career.

Now, almost ten years later, I’ve helped thousands of people – both online and off – reach their ultimate fitness goals.  And a big way I’ve done that is using kettlebells … and more specifically, kettlebell challenge workouts.

Today, I’m going to break down one of my special kettlebell challenge workouts for you to try at home.  I think you’re really going to like this one, because you’ll get a KILLER workout, but you’ll also test your fitness level a bit, and have some fun in the process.


This is going to be a killer workout, 500 reps total, and you are going to try and do the whole workout as fast as possible.

We’re going to start off with kettlebell swings. For women, the prescribed weight is 16 kilo (35 pounds) and for men it is 24 kilo (53 pounds.) You don’t want to hop up and double your weight just for this workout if you’ve never done it before. That’s what we’re working towards eventually so we’re keeping it standardized.

kb'sYou can do two-hand swings, one-hand or hand-to-hand if you want. Any one of this three variations on your swings.

100 reps and you’ve got to do all of them before you move on to the next exercise. You can rest if you have to but you’ve got to complete all of the reps before going on to the next one.

The next one is going to be push ups. We’re going to do 100 push ups! Make sure you get down 90 degrees at the bottom and lock ’em out at the top. That’s our standardization on that one.

So for this one since we’re using it as a gauge where we do it today and then come back in two to three weeks and do it again to see how we’re progressing…just make sure you pick the same push up version.  If you do knee push ups the first time come back and do it that way the second time. If you’re doing toe push ups, repeat toe push ups.

Next, we’re going to do alternating reverse lunges. 100 steps. 90 degree bend on the front leg, 90 degree bend on the back leg and make sure that back knee comes about an inch off the ground.

Knee-to-elbow mountain climber is next. Your knee is going to come up and touch the same elbow. Slow and focused! Get your core focused on this one. So it’s not our traditional mountain climber where we are hopping back and forth. One foot is going to stay on the ground the whole time.

Then we’re going to finish off again with 100 kettlebell swings.

Enjoy that kettlebell challenge workout – it’s a tough one but I know you’re going to love it!

Thanks, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, MS, RKC

PS – If you would like to check out more workouts that I have for the kettlebell, you can check out the special deal I’ve set up for Shawna’s readers on my Kettlebell Challenge Workouts 2.0 program here.

About Forest Vanceforest vance 2

Forest Vance holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement and personal training certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is also a level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach.

Over the last decade, Forest has experience as a personal trainer, group fitness/boot camp instructor, fitness manager, and health club general manager. He currkb challenge 2.0ently works as the owner and head trainer at his Sacramento functional training gym.

He also maintains a network of fitness-related websites, makes regular guest appearances on many others, has been featured in national newspaper, radio, television, and other media, and is the creator/author of numerous books, DVD’s, and digitally delivered workout programs/systems. Check out Kettlebell Challenge Workouts 2.0 program and see if it’s a good fit for you.




9 responses to “500 Rep Kettlebell Challenge”

  1. Lisa Bullock says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! totally going to do this tomorrow! Will add it to my ‘smorgasbord’ of workouts for the fortnight! Only thing that would make this workout super crazy would be 100 burpees! But thank you God that Forest didn’t agree!

  2. Suzie Salmon says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

    Lisa, the burpees are a GREAT idea :)

  3. Anonymous Ortho Surgeon says:

    As an orthopedic surgeon, I would like to challenge you to provide your audience with a physiological, cardiopulmary, musculoskeletal explanation as to why you are promoting 200 kb unsupervised kb swings to your population? What is the science behind this 500 rep workout? Or is it merely ‘throw together a a few tough exercises together, tag on a nice round number like 100, and promote it with enthusiasm’…? These kind of workouts will keep me an my colleagues busy for years to come (just as the step aerobics fad of the 80’s has) as this seems to be the recent trend with CF and other unqualified ‘weekend certified trainers’ who found a specific style of workout that worked for them and then they irresponsibly promote it to the masses. If you can provide your audience with evidence-based info as to why you are promoting a workout such as the one described above, you would vastly strengthen your credibility and earn more confidence from your audience. When I read 200 kb swings I hear the tiny screams of future LBP pts.

  4. Forest says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback guys!

    Anonymous Ortho Surgeon –

    Thanks for your comment.

    The workout in this post is not intended to be a complete, be-all-end-all program. It is – as I mentioned at the beginning – to be done periodically to test your fitness level and for a fun challenge.

    The concept with these challenge workouts is that you can do them once, go back to following your regular progressive, periodized program for a period of weeks or months – and then come back to doing them again to see how you’ve progressed.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, loads of research from the last 5+ years points to the fact that interval training is superior to more traditional steady-state cardio … which another benefit of performing this workout, if you wanted to be more “scientific” about it.

    Here is one research article that supports this – a quick google search would find you dozens more:


    With all due respect, if you feel that the swing is an exercise that is bad for your back, I would challenge you and say that you are likely doing the exercise incorrectly.

    Here is an article recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that does a great job of explaining further:


    My credentials are listed at the end of the post above – but just FYI I am far from an “unqualified weekend trainer” :)

    Hope that helps!

    – Forest

  5. challeng says:

    Thanks for jumping in Forest. I completely agree. Any exercise can be a risk if it’s done incorrectly.

    I”m all about challenge workouts (it’s in the name!), but it’s not ‘challenge above all else’. I like to encourage intelligent training. I don’t even like AMRAP style training sometimes as I fear that some may sacrifice form for reps or time.

    I feel my readers are an intelligent bunch. When surveyed, it appears that we are a little older and I’d like to think wiser. I’ve never gotten a complaint that a client has gotten injured specifically from a challenge workout. (I do, however have many clients that are training around injury (aren’t we all at some point). We’ve found ways to modify their workouts to accommodate and work around their injury to strengthen and rehabilitate.)

    I encourage everyone to PUSH THEIR LIMITS with continued intelligent training. Thanks for this fantastic KB challenge Forest!

  6. challeng says:

    Lisa is full of good (bad) ideas like this Suzie 😉

  7. challeng says:

    This is def a good one, burpees or not.

  8. Rob Gordon says:

    I did the 500 rep kettlebell challenge workout yesterday and it was really tough!But I was determined to get through it.I completed the workout in 21:10sec,using 24kg KB. I’m a big fan of training with kettlebells. This was a really good challenge Forest Vance and thanks for sharing the workout Shawna!

  9. challeng says:

    So glad you enjoyed this Rob!

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