Master this kettlebell flow created by trainer Alex Silver-Fagan to feel like a kettlebell pro, even if you're just starting to play around with these fun weights.

By Lauren Del Turco
February 19, 2020

Not sure what to do with those kettlebells you see everyone swinging around the gym, but dying to give them a try? This beginner kettlebell complex will get you comfortable working with kettlebells—while recruiting every major muscle group for a total-body strength training workout.

"With kettlebells, you can work on strength, endurance, and conditioning, all with one really simple piece of equipment, says Nike Master Trainer Alex Silver-Fagan, SFG1, CFSC, RYT, who created this workout. "The possibilities are endless."

If you're new to the kettlebell scene, this workout will help you perfect your hip hinge, a movement pattern anyone who works out with kettlebells needs to master, says Silver-Fagan. When done correctly, a hip hinge allows you to deadlift the kettlebell up off of the floor safely (without straining your lower back) by activating your glutes and hamstrings and keeping your shoulders and lats packed down, she explains.

Mastering the deadlift then allows you to progress to the kettlebell clean, a movement in which you lift the kettlebell up to chest-height in the front rack position, says Silver-Fagan. Though the clean is a great full-body kettlebell exercise in and of itself, getting the weight to this position opens up a world of other exercise possibilities. Think: single-leg exercises—like front-rack lunges—and upper-body exercises—like overhead presses. (Related: This Kettlebell Workout Sculpts *Series* Muscles)

This workout designed by Silver-Fagan will help you fine-tune your hip-hinge technique and build the explosive strength and power you need to deadlift and then clean a kettlebell, she says.

Before jumping in, you'll prep your body to lift a kettlebell and move in multiple directions with a warm-up that activates your core, glutes, and shoulders (all of which you'll recruit in the exercises to come). When you're ready for the workout, you'll learn a few fundamental kettlebell exercises on their own first, and then string them together into a kettlebell complex that flows from one exercise to the next. (Related: 5 Crazy-Effective Beginner Kettlebell Exercises Even Newbies Can Master)

This continuous flow of moves will challenge the stamina of every major muscle group in your body, says Silver-Fagan. Consider it a glimpse at just a few of the many moves you can do when you know you're way around a kettlebell.

How it works: After completing the warm-up, perform the first circuit, followed by the second circuit. Rest as needed, for up to 60 seconds at a time.

What you'll need: One moderate-to-heavy kettlebell (16 kilograms or about 35 pounds) and one light kettlebell (10 kilograms or about 22 pounds)

Warm-Up

To prep your body for the kettlebell complex to come, perform two rounds of the following exercises. They'll get your body warmed up and ready to move in every direction, says Silver-Fagan.

Kneeling Halo

A. Start kneeling with your toes tucked, holding a light kettlebell at chest-level (bell facing up).

B. Keeping arms slightly bent, lift the kettlebell away from your chest and in a clockwise circular direction (like a halo) back and around your head until it reaches the starting position again.

C. Keeping the kettlebell still at chest level, sit back on your heels and then thrust your hips forward to come back into an upright kneel. That's one rep.

Do 10 reps.

Side Plank Warm Hug

A. Start in a side plank with your right foot stacked on top of your left foot and your left forearm on the ground, with your left elbow directly below your left shoulder. Extend your right arm straight up into the air.

B. As if to give yourself a hug, slowly lower your right hand down and thread it underneath your torso and back behind you, so that your core and hips rotate towards the ground.

C. Reverse the movement to return to your starting side plank position. That's one rep.

Do 5 reps per side.

Walk Out

A. Start standing and, keeping your legs as straight as possible, reach your hands down to touch the floor in front of your toes.

B. With your core tight, walk your hands forward until you reach a high plank position, with your wrists and elbows stacked directly beneath your shoulders.

C. Walk your hands back in until you return to standing. That's one rep.

Do 5 reps.

Circuit 1

This first circuit breaks down some of the most common kettlebell movements—deadlifts and cleans—and uses the heavier kettlebell to help you develop strength and power, says Silver-Fagan. Consider it a double-whammy for getting strong and working on your kettlebell technique.

Perform five rounds of the following three exercises, resting as needed (up to 60 seconds) between rounds.

KB Deadlift

A. Start standing with your feet about hip-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground between your feet.

B. Keeping your back straight and your neck neutral, push your hips back to lower down and grab the kettlebell with two hands.

C. Push through your heels and thrust your hips forward to lift your torso and pull the kettlebell up off the ground until you come to a standing position, with your arms extended down and the kettlebell hanging in front of you. That's one rep.

Do 5 to 8 reps.

KB Goblet Clean

A. Start standing with your feet about hip-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground between your feet.

B. Keeping your back straight and your neck neutral, push your hips back to lower down and grab the kettlebell with two hands.

C. Push through your heels and thrust your hips forward to lift your torso and pull the kettlebell up off the ground.

D. Instead of coming to stand with your arms extended down, as in a deadlift, bend your elbows as the kettlebell approaches your hips and allow it to keep traveling upwards until it reaches chest level, so that you come to stand holding the kettlebell at chest height in front of you. (This is called the front rack position.) That's one rep.

Do 5 reps.

KB March

A. Start standing, holding a kettlebell at chest-level in front of you with two hands.

B. With control and a tight core, lift one knee up towards your chest, and then lower it back down. That's one step.

C. Repeat with the other knee.

Do 20 reps.

Circuit 2

Now you're ready to move onto the kettlebell flow moves you through a complex of kettlebell movements (meaning multiple moves back-to-back-to-back). The combination of upper- and lower-body movements (and movements in different planes of motion) makes it a balanced challenge for your entire body, says Silver-Fagan. Since this circuit involves single-arm and single-leg movements, opt for the lighter kettlebell.

You'll perform one full rep (that's all four moves in the sequence), then two full reps, and then three full reps on one side, resting as needed. Then, you'll perform one, then two, and then three full reps on the other side.

Single-Arm Kettlebell Complex

This kettlebell complex takes everything you've learned thus far and puts it together. You'll do a tk, then move directly into a tk, then tk....etc. <<put the math together for me clean deadlift whatever...

A. Start standing with your feet about hips-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground between your feet.

B. Keeping your back straight and your neck neutral, push your hips back to lower down and grab the kettlebell with your left hand.

C. Push through your heels and thrust your hips forward to lift your torso and pull the kettlebell up off the ground.

D. Instead of coming to stand with your arms extended down, as in a deadlift, bend your elbows As the kettlebell approaches hip level, bend your left elbow and allow it to keep traveling upward until it reaches chest level, so that you come to stand with your elbow bent at your side and the kettlebell resting on the outside crease of your bent arm.

E. From this position, keep your chest up and bend at your knees and hips to sink back into a squat, until your upper legs are parallel with the ground.

F. Push through your feet to return to a standing position.

G. From standing, extend through your left arm to press the kettlebell straight up overhead, until your arm is completely straight.

H. With control, bend your elbow to lower the kettlebell back down to that chest-height position.

I. From there, step your right foot back into a reverse lunge, dropping your right knee so that it almost touches the ground directly beneath your hips and your front leg bends until your upper leg is just about parallel with the ground.

J. Keeping your core tight, push up through your feet and step your right leg back in to return to a standing position.

That's one rep.

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