It’s Just a Kettlebell Workout: Adjusting a Brutally Effective Kettlebell Complex

Quick Tips

I added a few new elements to what I like to call a staple kettlebell complex that seemed to fit the bill just right.

The original kettlebell complex was structured like this:

Kettlebell Complex Training

First let me say that if you have the physical know-how and ability to train like this, you won’t regret it.  If you’re short on time, its pure gold.  If you’re looking to lose fat, its pure gold.  There is so much happening in a condensed total body work capacity-style training session like this, it’s definitely going to create a large training effect.

And that is what you should be after… A large training effect while keeping safety in the front of your mind.

So, as much as I love the above training session, it was time to re-organize some things.

Boredom in training sucks.  I aim to avoid this without straying too far toward the radical.

Using the above kettlebell complex, my rest periods had decreased to nearly 40 seconds in between complex rounds, and my total number of complex rounds had increased to 6.  I felt as though I was spinning my tires.  Would adding another round or decreasing the rest periods  the 40 second mark really provide any benefit?  I really had to ask myself what there was to gain from adding more, or resting less.

My options seemed to be: increase the loading or change the stimulus.

I chose to change the stimulus and see what happens.

My first experience with the modifications was promising.  Here is how it looked:

kettlebell complex training

Alternating the double kettlebell swing and the double kettlebell cleans added significant work time to the beginning of the complex.  I should clarify that “significant time” is really only 15-20 extra seconds, but when the entire complex round clocks out at 2min11sec total, 15-20 seconds of extra work begins to look a lot more challenging.

Other areas of the complex that seemed to increase the working time were the overhead presses.

Exploding out of the last rep of  squats, I immediately transitioned into a double overhead press.  Upon bringing the kettlebells back to the rack position, I then pressed the right hand bell up and back down, followed by the left hand bell up and back down.  Pressing a single kettlebell while holding the other in the rack position is draining, but this is what I was aiming for.

Lastly, the implementation of the alternating reverse lunges added working time to the entire work set.  In the original kettlebell complex, sumo-style deadlifts were used.  The cadence of a sumo-style deadlift is commonly much quicker than alternating between reverse lunges.  The training stimulus is also altered by changing the movement pattern.  I quickly found out how much I had deprived myself of lunge work.

As far as rest periods go, I suspect that 45-60sec of incomplete rest will remain adequate to receive the training effect that I am after (lean, conditioning, maintenance of strength qualities).

I refer to the rest periods as incomplete anytime my heart rate doesn’t recover to 130 beats per minute.

In the later rounds of the workout, my work periods begin higher and higher heart rates.

My goal is to be a perfectly golden marshmallow.

If you’re proficient with kettlebell training, give this workout a shot.  You may have to adjust some things to suit your abilities, scale up or scale down, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results you’ll get from training like this.

At the very least, it’s a different angle on working out.




Cheers to shifting the complex to create a new training effect!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s