Double Kettlebell Complexes/Workouts for Muscle Gain

In a recent article we discussed the double kettlebell swing, a kettlebell movement that requires strength, coordination, and power. Often, kettlebells are integrated into complexes (a series of exercises done back to back after one another) to increase loading durations, enhance movement and fitness, and increase overall training volume.

In this article, we will discuss three (3) double kettlebell complexes/workouts that can be used to specifically increase muscle gain (with additional benefits of functional strength and fitness).

3 Double Kettlebell Complexes/Workouts for Muscle Gain

Below are three (3) kettlebell complexes/workouts coaches and athletes can use to increase muscle hypertrophy and maximize fitness using two kettlebells. The double kettlebell swing is a fundamental movement that when learned, can also lead to more advanced movements like double kettlebell cleans, thrusters, etc. Note, that the below complexes/workouts may include some of these more advanced movements, so be sure to take a look at the exercise links within each section for technique videos and benefits.

Armor Complex EMOM

The double kettlebell armor complex is a notoriously strength-based kettlebell complex that can build serious muscle. In an earlier article, we covered everything you ever needed to know about this complex including the the movements and reps and proper exercise technique. Below is the full 20-minute muscle building EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout.

This workout specifically targets the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and back) as well as the lower body. While there is some upper body pressing, the volume is low so the volume demands may not be high enough to induce muscle hypertrophy.

Perform the below workout in an EMOM fashion. In the odd minutes you will perform one round of the kettlebell armor complex. During the even minutes, you will perform double kettlebell swings. Repeat this format for 10 complete rounds (20 minutes).

  • Minute 1: 1 Armor Complex = 2 Double Kettlebell Cleans + 1 Double Kettlebell Strict Press + 3 Double Kettlebell Squats
  • Minute 2: 8 double kettlebell swings
  • Minute 3: 1 Armor Complex = 2 Double Kettlebell Cleans + 1 Double Kettlebell Strict Press + 3 Double Kettlebell Squats
  • Minute 4: 8 double kettlebell swings
  • Minute 5-20: Repeat exercises in an alternating fashion every minute, for 20 minutes.

When determining a weight for this workout, I suggest that you take into account the total volume of this workout (20 cleans, 10 strict presses, 30 squats, and 80 swings). The key to this workout is to choose a weight that is challenging for the overhead press portion of the lift, which is often the limiting factor in the complex. The double kettlebell swing will add high amounts of volume to the posterior chain as well, so be sure to use this if you are specifically trying to attack the hamstrings, glutes, and back (however you will also get a great lower body workout).

Double Kettlebell Swing + Bodyweight Ladder

This workout is a great way to incorporate a total body workout with both kettlebells and bodyweight movements. Simply perform the below workout in order for completion. The volume is pretty high to increase muscle damage and bring about serious muscle gain. Note, that the bodyweight movements are done with strict form rather than kipping. If you need to scale this workout for any reason, you can simply use less loading on the kettlebells and use band assistance for the pull-ups.

  • 50 Double Kettlebell Swings
  • 40 Sit Ups
  • 30 Double Kettlebell Squats
  • 20 Strict Pull Ups
  • 100 Hand Release Push Ups
  • 20 Strict Pull Ups
  • 30 Double Kettlebell Squats
  • 40 Sit Ups
  • 50 Double Kettlebell Swings

Squat + Pull + Press Kettlebell Workout

The below exercise is a straightforward way to add quality muscle mass to your frame. You will perform each movement in the total-body circuit, resting 45-60 seconds in between each. After each round of the circuit, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat for a total of five rounds.

  • Double Kettlebell Swing x 8
  • Rest 45-60 seconds
  • Double Kettlebell Push Press x 8
  • Rest 45-60 seconds
  • Double Kettlebell Squat x 8
  • Rest 1-2 minutes, and repeat

Total workout should take no longer than 30 minutes (if it is taking longer, you are either resting too long or using too heavy of loads) . Of you can compete in under 20 minutes, go heavier.

More Functional Fitness Exercises and Workout Ideas

Take a look at some of our best functional workout routines and movements below!

Featured Image: @rumblelfc on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.