First off, what is a kettlebell flow?
A kettlebell flow is two or more exercises, strung together and performed with one rep of each movement back-to-back in a fluid sequence. Kettlebell flows differ from complexes because complex exercises are broken up individually and performed for more than one rep at a time and are not as fluid in transitions between exercises compared to flows.
I like using kettlebell flows to get a full body workout, to save time, and to get the most out of my kettlebell session. Kettlebell flows make for time-saving workouts and can be performed anywhere, anytime. Combinations are endless and when performed with control and focused intent can yield great gains in strength, conditioning, grip, mobility, and durability.
How to Build Your Own Kettlebell Flow
I will share with you some of my favorite kettlebell flows and combinations to help give you some ideas on how to effectively piece together individual kettlebell movements into a fluid sequence. Below, I included beginner, moderate, and advanced flows to show you how to progress your kettlebell flow training.
Keep in mind, just because a flow is classified as beginner that does not mean it’s easy!
If performed with the proper form, tension, and focused intent any one of these flows can make for a killer full body workout. Keep an open mind and try to create your own kettlebell flows to experience the freedom of kettlebell flow training.
After many years of training with kettlebells, flows and complexes are some of my favorite movements to incorporate when exercising because I’m able to combine full body movements into one exercise to optimize my results in a short amount of time.
1. Establish Your Workout Goals
When creating my own kettlebell flows my primary goal is usually to get quick a full-body pump that burns a lot of energy (calories). I like my flows to be multi-dimensional, challenging my power, strength, endurance, and mobility all at once. But remember, kettlebell flows can be sequenced to tailor any particular goal.
After a heavy lifting day and on active recovery days, I like to use kettlebell flows to help me increase the anabolic training effects of the previous workout by conditioning the same muscle groups with lighter loads while going through the same movements patterns. This is a good training technique when used with lower intensities to keep the muscles active, which can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
2. Master Each Kettlebell Move
Performing multiple reps and sets of each movement to master your form and technique will condition you for smoother transitions and can help with improved coordination within your kettlebell flow and other training. Taking the time to refine your ready positions and grips will take your kettlebell training to the next level. Mastering the kettlebell clean, deadlift, swing, and snatch are great for building a strong foundation to start kettlebell flows.
3. Get Creative
With kettlebell flows you can access positions that you normally wouldn’t be able to in traditional training. In more dynamic movements the kettlebell can at times be used as a counterweight to better help you get into positions you would normally find difficult, like a deep cossack squat where both hands are holding onto the bell.
[Build your kettlebell exercise library, check out this complete guide to beginner kettlebell exercises and workouts!]
Combination possibilities are virtually endless. It’s even possible to implement all three planes of motion into a single flow. Challenge yourself by trying to incorporate ground exercises, designing an entire flow around one type of movement, or targeting a specific muscle group.
Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Kettlebell Flows
Beginner Flow: Single Kettlebell Row to Clean, Squat & Press
- 5 Reps Each Side
- 5 Rounds
- 60 Seconds Rest In Between Sets (after you perform the flow 5 times through on both sides)
For this flow, perform all four movements back-to-back, the row to clean, squat, to press 5 times on one side, then switch sides performing each movement back-to-back 5 times through on the other side.
Moderate Flow: Single Kettlebell Deadlift, Dead High Pull, Dead Snatch
- 5 Reps Each Side
- 5 Rounds
- 60 Seconds Rest In Between Sets
For this flow use a single kettlebell and perform one single kettlebell clean from the floor followed by a single kettlebell high pull from the floor, and then a single kettlebell snatch from the floor.
Advanced Flow: Double Kettlebell Deadlift, Clean, Swing & Snatch
- 5 reps
- 5 Rounds
- Plenty of Rest Between Rounds
For this flow, use two kettlebells and perform a deadlift from the floor, to a double kettlebell clean, into a double kettlebell swing, and then a double kettlebell snatch straight from the swing.
How Long: 5 reps, 5 rounds, plenty of rest in-between rounds.
To learn how to master your kettlebell technique and flows, check out Eric’s Primal Kettlebell Course at EricLeija.com, which can be found in his website below!
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.