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The 10,000 swing MACEBELL Challenge

The 10,000 swing Macebell Challenge

Ok here is what you need to know

Back in 2013 Dan John came up with the 10,000 Swing Kettlebell Challenge which you should definitely give a shot and you can check it out here.

His idea gave me the idea to do something similar but with a Mace or a Gada.

  1. This is a four week challenge of serious mace swinging that will really push your mind and body. You will work hard to achieve some great results, more muscle and less fat and bragging rights!

2. After four weeks, you will have done 10,000 mace 360s or 300s dispersed through 20 workouts. You’ll do 500 swings per workout.

3. Between sets of Macebell swings , do one of the following: A press (dips,overhead press,bench press,push ups, land mine press) A           Squat  (Goblet or front squat is preferred) A Pull (Chin ups are preferred to hit the biceps)

4.  Master your macebell swing form. 360s and 300s (10&2) have a good deal of technique and skill . When we start pushing heavier weight (approx.. 20 lb) for 500 swings in one session your form can break down and those little mistakes can start to drain you. So you want to work with a mace weight that is super challenging but allows you to learn masterful control.

As Coach Dan John would say about his kettlebell challenge “Make progress or you will regress.”

This is the kind of challenge that will test your mettle and give you the kind of challenge that will harden you and make you tougher. You will feel pride.

You want to do challenges from time to time to break up any chance of you just coasting along through your workouts. You need to drive forward , lock in and engage.



In Dan Johns article he points out that his 10,000 Swing Kettlebell Workout is BATTLE- TESTED. He says that “ I don’t write training programs by reading textbooks and studies. I create them in the field, deep in the trenches with real athletes and people whose lives literally depend on their physical abilities”

Right off the bat Dan John says “…..people whose lives literally depend on their physical abilities” That hits home with me because I work for the fire service. But think about who else depends on their physical abilities… police, military, …… and not to mention other peoples live are in the mix too.

This is the type of thought process and work ethic that I choose to emulate from Dan John. I have always said that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time. There are great people that are already lighting the way, such as Dan John, that we can learn how to be and how to act and how to think.

I have never been a big fan of studies and although I do read tons of textbooks and constantly try to build my knowledge base I know from being a firefighter for almost 20 years that REAL LIFE is another ball game. So when I write my programs I do so based on what I see in the real world. That being said this 10,000 Swing Macebell Challenge is being battle tested right now as you read this. You can see my progress and listen to me discuss this working experiment on my podcast or on my social media.

Follow me on Instagram @steelmacenation

On Facebook @steelmacenation

On Twitter @Fred Mohr’s Steel Mace Nation

use the #10000swingmacebellchallenge and tag me @steelmacenation for a repost and to connect.

You can go and read the entire Dan John article as he breaks down how he knows his is a legit program that works. Now, with the Macebell Challenge we get to see how it plays out in real time. I really am looking forward to tweaking it and finding out the perfect formulation. I hope that it can compliment Dan Johns program so that an athlete can move from one program to the next. It may require that there is a 1 week recovery before starting the next, we shall see.

One other point I would like to make is that Dan John does say that you will complete his program in 4 to 5 weeks. That’s great because yes life does happen and we can get side tracked from time to time. So the same thing applies with the Mace Challenge. I may be getting soft here but if you complete it in 6 weeks I think that’s fantastic!

Just like in Dan Johns Program the swings will run in; clusters, sets, and reps and run in an undulating rep scheme to reach 500 total reps per workout:

Set 1: 8 swings 4 left/4 right

Set 2: 16 swings 8 left/8 right

Set 3: 26 swings 13 left/13 right

Set 4: 50 swings 25 left/25 right

You have now completed 100 reps or one cluster. Repeat the cluster 4 more times for a total of 500 swings. Between sets, experienced lifters will add a low-volume strength movement.


Use a strength movement with low volume between sets of swings. The best exercises are:

  1. Press (barbell overhead press or one arm press) dips, landmine press
  2. Goblet squat or barbell front squat
  3. Chin ups or hammer grip chin ups to hit more biceps



Straight out of Dan Johns recommendations here are other acceptable choices: pistol squat, handstand push up, wide grip loaded pull up, and the muscle up.

I would like to add that I know everyone may be limited by not having a lot of equipment to train with or they may have physical limitations so use any exercise that you can make work for you. Movements like push ups, inverted rows, body weight squats will all do. If you have bands you can use a long band and girth hitch it to a pull up bar and stick your knee in the bottom loop to give you an assisted pull up. You can also use bands to row with or wrap it around your back and add more tension to your push ups. You can search around online for exercise movements that will work for you. You can also check out The Steel Mace Nation YouTube page for ideas as they develop.

Getting back to the programming and again, giving full credit to Dan John and using his words…

Use a 1-2-3 rep scheme for most movements. Here’s an example using the press:

8 swings

Press 1 rep

16 swings

Press 2 reps

26 swings

Press 3 reps

50 swings

Now that’s where it ends BUT for someone who is an advanced athlete or you just really want to punish yourself because you feel bad that you didn’t help that little old lady across the street that one time you can add 10 switch squats to the end of the cluster.

By adding 10 switch squats to each cluster you will finish off with a total of 50 switch squats plus whatever other work you did.

Note about the switch squats. I realized that this program may not deliver enough stimulation to legs over the course of 4 to 5 weeks. So I added in these squats. If you are using a 20lb Mace for your challenge then this will add 20 lbs to your bodyweight and with a strong focus on form and a slow 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up you can make a good impact on your legs through-out this program.

Further more on Squat day we are also adding more reps an extra 4th set after completion of the last round of 50 swings so on that day you will do; 2-3-5-7 reps

8 swings

Squat 2 reps

16 swings

Squat 3 reps

26 swings

Squat 5 reps

50 swings

Extra set Squat 7 reps

For someone more advance and looking to really zing their legs they can follow up after completing all 5 clusters with an undulating set of kettlebell swings

100 reps total





This is probably a good idea for people who love their kettle bells and plus keep your swing sharp.

On your pull day you follow the same format as your PUSH day.

If you do 4 sessions per week you wont be able to finish your 10,000 swings by the end of 4weeks.To reach 2500 swings per week you will need to hit 5 sessions per week. This will have you finished up at 10,000 swings by the end of 4 weeks.

You can add in a swings only day that is primarily just swings reaching 500 reps doing planks holds for 30 sec. to a minute in between sets. This is also a good day to do stretch and mobility. For some people they will need this day to recharge their batteries.

For the 1-2-3 lifts, use your five rep max weight

For anyone doing dips you’ll need more reps. Use a 2-3-5 rep

You may use a different strength movement every workout, rotating between the press,dip,goblet squat and chin up.

Rest Periods

Again I am taking right from Dan Johns words almost to the “T” when he is talking about grip strength here it definitely applies to the mace as well!

After each round of 8,16,26 reps, rest 30-60 seconds. The 1st cluster will be easy and you can get right through it, In the later clusters, you’ll need a full 60 seconds or more for grip strength recovery.

After each set of 50, rest will extend to 3 minutes or more. During this post-50 rest period , perform a “corrective” Stretch anything that needs it , like the hip flexors. Do a mobility movement of choice.


Time your workouts. Each week you should be getting faster


Day 1

8 swings

Press 1 rep

16 swings

Press 2 reps

26 swings

Press 3 reps

50 swings

Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat 4 more times

By the end of the workout , you’ll have completed 500 swings and 30 presses

Day 2

8 swings

Goblet squat 2 reps

16 swings

Goblet squat 3 reps

26 swings

Goblet squat 5 reps

50 swings

Goblet squat 7 reps

Rest 30-60 sec.

Repeat 4 more times and then advanced athletes can do 100 kettle bell swings (LEG DAY ONLY) to the rep scheme of


Day 3 off

Day 4

8 swings

Chin up 1 reps

16 swings

Chinup 2 reps

26 swings

Chin up 3 reps

50 swings

Rest 30 -60 seconds

By the end of the workout you’ll have completed 500 swings and 30 chin ups

Day 6 off

Day 7 off or begin the cycle again OR use the swings only day if your up to it.


The 360 0r 300 (10&2) mace swing

Chances are that if you are ready to kick off this mace challenge then you already know how to swing. If you are a beginner then you need to learn first and you need to learn on a 7lb or 10lb mace. This is non-negotiable! The swing is dependent on perfect form or you will hurt yourself if you keep doing swings over and over with any bad form. You cant hack your way through a swing!

You can find plenty of free workout videos and single exercises on the website

In there you can check out swing technique. You can also scour YouTube and check out how other people swing but make sure you are not following something a beginner posts! This is why its better to hire a coach that has a good reputation. One of the best and world renowned traditional mace and gada swingers is Rik Brown aka @mr.maceman. Rik is the best and offers online courses , He has been on the Steel Mace Nation Podcast 3 times to date and he will definitely keep coming back for more episodes in the future.

Again , if you are a beginner with mace swings then this work out should be done with nothing heavier than a 10lb mace and you should even consider doing a fraction of the swings, this is no joke.

I also recommend that you seek coaching on your swing, not because I don’t think you can’t figure it out but because with coaching you will learn it a lot faster and safely. You can reach me through email or DM me on my Instagram to set up a coaching call to go over your needs. You can also learn from other coaches.

Further more the same disclaimer goes for Dan John’s Kettlebell challenge. Doing 53 lb kettlebell swings is a rough ride and you better know how to do em right.

You have been warned!!

Now lets go!


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