Updated: December 11, 2020
I am a huge fan of kettlebell flows. Not only are they incredibly challenging, but they also provide your training program with conditioning work that doesn’t comprise of boring cardio equipment.
Many have played with kettlebells, but have you have gone through 3-5 minute bouts of exercises using them before you rest?
What is a Kettlebell Flow
Two or more exercises are string together and performed one rep of each movement back to back in a fluid sequence (differs from complexes because complex exercises are broken up individually & performed for more than one rep at a time & not as fluid in transitions between exercises).
Now, these flows can be GREAT for giving you a full-body workout, increased mind-muscle connection, increased caloric burn, coordination, strength gains, agility, mobility, and even creativity.
Why You Need Kettlebell Flow
1. Breaking out of plateaus
Every seasoned lifter will go through phases of their programs where things get stagnant, boring, and results stop coming. It’s inevitable, but mixing things up with kettlebell flows are a superb way to challenge yourself on the force-velocity curve by adding some elements of both strength-speed and speed-strength work. Adding creative exercises and using kettlebells works muscles differently from normal free weights or exercise machines, helping progress you further in your goals.
2. Building Strength
If you challenge yourself, you can build serious strength using them! I routinely use 40-60 pound kettlebells for cleans, presses, rows, and even squats. This allows me to use all sorts of muscle synergies to stabilize and lift the weights in all fashions will certainly deem progressive overload, especially if you manipulate variables such as volume and intensity. Although I wouldn’t recommend adding more and more sets when trying to build strength, I’d focus on dropping rest times with lighter weights or using heavier kettlebells with longer rests. The choice is ultimately up to you, but for anyone to say you can’t get strong with kettlebells certainly hasn’t used them effectively.
3. Burning Fat
This comes without saying, but flows and complexes fire up your energy expenditure! They will challenge your mind, body, and heart! For many who body build or straight-set, adding some conditioning can be tedious. Flows solve this and get you a better bang for your buck by challenging you to a greater degree than getting on the elliptical.
4. Challenging Proprioceptive Awareness and Neurological Demands
When making kettlebell flows and complexes, try adding the more challenging exercises to the beginning where your neural senses and strength/awareness are not as fatigued. You will notice I start both of my with snatch variations, which challenge most lifters the most.
Another great point would be the single-arm/leg work involved. Offset loading is a fantastic way to challenge your core and add some severe stability components to your workout. Many of us struggle to add any single arm or leg work so doing them in kettlebell complexes and flows can be a sure fire way to get it done and add a challenging aspect to it.
It is one thing to throw some weight on a bar and squat, but how about using 40-60% of that load and going from swings to rotational presses and pause squats? See what I mean?
5. Adding variety and “fun” to your training
Many of us struggle to stay consistent. I constantly preach how important it is to continue to win each day. Many of us go one of two routes with their training:
- They bunny hop from program to program and never give one enough time and effort to see progress.
- They do the same thing, ALL the time. They were never mixing things up.
Both these groups can do WONDERS by adding kettlebell flows and complexes to their routines! At the very least, adding a few rounds as metabolic finishers can help your fat loss efforts.
We all want to reach our goals, whether to look jacked, lose weight, or build serious muscle. Kettlebells can be an excellent tool for that, no matter what you may be after, so here are two below you can try to knock out!
4 Kettlebell Flow Routines
#1 Kettlebell Flow: The Deadlift-Snatch Flow
This one challenges you in all areas. You start by doing two sumo deadlifts and then go right into a single-arm snatch which will challenge your core with some anti-rotational severe work. You finish the flow off with more bilateral work using both kettlebells at the same time. This one will tax your nervous system to control, stabilize, and exploit power while having your heart rate soaring.
#2 Kettlebell Flow: The Increasing Ladder Flow/Complex
Talk about an excellent way to BOOST overall metabolic capacity and strength! During this complex, you begin with a flow of swings to snatches and ending with presses for a series of three cycles. Then you quickly fire up your heart rate with more increasing reps going to 5, 7 and to 15 for a combination of strength and conditioning based movements. All you need is 3-4 rounds of this guy to get a great workout in!
#3 Kettlebell Flow: The Double Arm Kettlebell Snatch Complex
This workout is a perfect demonstration of filling in the “power” or most taxing and challenging exercise first in the complex! The overhead snatch serves that purpose with its requirement to produce enough power to get them overhead and then using your core and shoulders to stabilize the weight overhead, eventually going into overhead presses! The added gorilla rows are a superb way to work both your core and back in one, forcing a quality hip hinge, which many of us desperately need more in our workouts. Again, 3-4 rounds of this is all you need!
#4 Kettlebell Flow: The Row-Clean Flow
The final flow here is unique in the way it challenges your body to clean the kettlebells coming right off a row. It is much more complicated than it looks because the position your body is in for a standard row is more hinged and perpendicular to the floor, while a clean needs your body in a hinged and upright torso position for peak power. This transition is tough, so make sure you start light and gradually work your way up in weights. The ending on a double swing adds a new element of exhaustion to this since it usually would be at the beginning, so focus on quality reps and you will quickly see one of the biggest reasons this one fires you up, which is the grip strength required! Give it a go for 4-6 rounds with a strict 60-90 seconds rest between each!
If you want coaching from me, make sure you reach out to me at [email protected] and let me know how I can help! FULLY coached online programs are available.