Trial session
Trial session

Stefan’s world record – an interview with the two-time Guinness world record holder

Stefan – first of all: Congratulations! You did it and we are proud of you. What did you feel at the end of the 24 hours or 1,440 minutes? So, so to speak, in the 1’441. Minute?

It was pure relief. Knowing that I didn’t have to do anything and there was nothing left to accomplish was a heavenly feeling. I was on a very tight 24-hour schedule and one eye was always on the clock. There was permanent pressure and from one second to the next it fell off me completely.

All things considered, is this how you envisioned those 24 hours?

We all want the perfect day and for everything to go the way we imagine. I am a person who firmly believes in optimal preparation and also knows that it is crucial when full performance has to be called upon at time X. I am a person who believes in preparation. This was also the case with my 24-hour world record attempt.


That means your preparation was optimal?

I would argue that I took into account everything there was to consider.

9 months of strict preparation for the one goal. I sat down with experts from various industries, clarified my plan, analyzed it and adapted strategies.

In the end, my strategy was down to the last detail.


Weren’t you worried at all that something might go wrong?

Of course, I had great respect from these 24 hours. During this long period of time, you have to permanently keep your body and mind in harmony, with a set pace and a weight that is not exactly “easy” to manage. Was it strength, was it endurance, or both? The most important thing, I realized, was the inner attitude.


How did you spend the hours before the world record attempt?

I wanted to spend a day alone in a nearby hotel before the record, so I could fully recover while I slept. That was my strategy, but I had not counted on external influences: At 4 o’clock in the night the church bell rang, then from 6 o’clock in quarter-hourly intervals. So my alarm clock, which was set for 7 o’clock, didn’t have to wake me up.

What were you thinking at that moment?
In such moments, you have several options. Either I get totally annoyed about it or I just accept these external circumstances that I can’t change and don’t put up any mental resistance against them. Because I know how much energy “being annoyed” costs, I chose the second option.

Then how did it continue the next morning?

With a slight pressure in my head, I was punctually at 8 o’clock in the building where the world record took place for the briefing of all people involved. These were the technical directors of the livestream and evidence video for Guinness and their strict guidelines, judge, physiotherapist and photographer.

At 8:45 a.m., I retired and tuned my body and mind for the unknown ahead.


And then it started – tell us about the “tension phases”. What did it take to make it happen?

I had planned 12 rounds over 3 phases. It is an absolute requirement to have a strong and well-trained body. And this in turn also gives you the confidence you need to deal well with these resistances. Another requirement is that the spirit or our “mental apparatus” remains strong.


Kettlebell Swing is not comparable to Zenmove. What is special about this discipline?

In Kettlebell Swing, the hands – along with the muscles – make up an essential factor. If you get blisters on your hands too quickly, you will have difficulty holding and swinging a 32kg, 28kg or 24kg ball. This is the only factor that cannot be trained. Here it is only “luck or misfortune”.


And what was it like for you then? Did your hands “hold”?

In all my training before the record (in the 9 months it was over 200 swing sessions) my hands held up very well. On the record day, and right in the 1st round, the little finger of my right hand formed the first blister. While you might think that this wouldn’t have much of an impact on the rest of the hand, that’s unfortunately not the case. If I had been predicted that this would happen, the record would have been in tatters. But now that I have a larger team involved, where everyone has worked a lot on this event, I knew that I had to radically accept this circumstance.


How did you do it – radically accepted?

When the body goes more and more into resistance, the head has to take over. In my case, this had to happen very early on. Nevertheless, it was up and down and a laborious “dragging through” from round to round. After each round, without saying a word and full of pain, I went to the break. The shower, but without getting my hands wet, was my life-giver and the cold water kept my mind in the here and now. From 18 o’clock to 00.30 o’clock my sport physiotherapist was on site and loosened my tense muscles in the upper and lower back, taped my already very damaged hands and activated the whole body via my feet.

If you want to imagine how great the pain was: my girlfriend had to help me up from the massage table every time from round 7 (of 12).


At what point did you know you could break the record?

At 04:00 in the night – 5 hours before the end – the big calculation began. The various strategy changes I had to make because of my hands messed up the whole plan. So we had to act quickly, i.e. the pauses became shorter and the cadence (swings per minute) had to be increased again. You can think of it like running an ultra marathon through the desert. In the last 10%, the pace had to be steadily increased again. Then came the bad news: when daylight returned and morning finally came, I was informed that I would NEVER have to do an increase. I was given 2 options to choose from within 5 minutes because I was running out of time. I opted for 5 minutes of high performance and 5 minutes of rest for the last 45 minutes. The calculation worked out.


How many kg were there in the end?

I broke the old record according to our calculation 8 minutes before the end and finally went 3800kg over it: 258’134kg in 24 hours.


In one sentence, what do you take away from this experience?
Acceptance in its purest form: I now know what it means to radically accept the present moment.