Kickass Kettlebell Series Day 2: Complexes

Kickass Kettlebell Series Day 2: Complexes is the second workout in Caroline Girvin‘s kettlebell workout series. This one is a total body strength workout. She uses complexes in this workout. I had never done complexes until I started doing Caroline’s EPIC workouts. Complexes are great metabolic moves. The complexes in this workout are primarily trisets (a set of 3 exercises) that are repeated continuously for 3 minutes. You get a break of 30 or 45 seconds before you do the next complex. There are a total of 8 complexes in this workout. The drawback to complexes is that it is hard to change weights. Because you are running through several exercises for 3 minutes without any break, most of the time you cannot change to a more appropriate kettlebell weight and you are forced to use the kettlebell for the exercise in the complex that uses the lightest kettlebell. In this workout it really didn’t end up being a big issue in most of the complexes. But almost every complex contained at least one exercise I could have used a heavier kettlebell for but I was forced to use a lighter one. Complex 4, however, is set up so that I was able to quickly change out my kettlebell, but the rest of the complexes there just isn’t time. In spite of this, I still got a great total body kettlebell workout.

There is a box on the upper left hand side of the screen that contains a timer that counts down your intervals and recoveries. Below the timer it lists the exercises you are working through. This is especially useful if you cannot keep pace with Caroline then you can still keep track of your complex. This workout is set to great music, no talking. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage. Caroline previews your next complex during the recovery.

Kickass Kettlebell Series Day 2: Complexes is 37:11 minutes; 2:20 minute intro, no warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. I did Caroline’s 5 minute full body warm up before starting this workout. Equipment: at least 2 kettlebells (one heavy and one lighter) and a fitness mat. Caroline is using 2 kettlebells, one 10kg/22 pounds and one 16kg/35 pounds. The kettlebell weights below are what I used.

Complex 1 (3 minutes): (15# KB)

  1. Curl to press, 5 reps (in kneeling lunge, bicep curl to overhead press)
  2. Supine row, 5 reps (in kneeling lunge, palm faces in front of you)
  3. Lunge pass unders, 10 reps (stationary/static lunges, pass KB hand to hand under front thigh)
  4. When you repeat, change sides/arms

45 seconds of rest

Complex 2 (3 minutes): (20# KB)

  1. Uneven squat, 10 reps (hold KB racked at one shoulder)
  2. Uneven reverse lunges, 10 reps (hold KB in same hand as front leg)
  3. Double hand kettlebell swings, 10 reps
  4. Swing KB/DB between legs then rack at other shoulder, repeat on other side of body

45 seconds of rest

Complex 3 (3 minutes): (25# KB)

  1. Bent over singe arm row, 10 reps
  2. Repeat #1 on other arm
  3. 10 walking double hand kettlebell swings, 5 steps in each direction (10 reps)

45 seconds of rest

Complex 4 (3 minutes) (I was able to quickly change kettlebells during this complex)

  1. Frontal raise, 10 reps (hold KB in both hands by the horn and do straight arm front raises) (15# KB)
  2. 1.5 rep sumo squats (in wide sumo squat, holding KB by horn between legs, lower into squat and pulse once at bottom of squat before rising) (35# KB)
  3. 1.5 deadlift (holding horn of kettlebell with both hands, pulse once at bottom of deadlift before straightening) (35# KB)

45 seconds of rest

Complex 5 (3 minutes): (20# KB)

  1. Uneven chest press, 10 reps (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, start holding KB horn in one hand, do single arm chest press)
  2. Repeat #1 on other arm
  3. Diamond press, 10 reps (same position on floor as #1 & 2, hold KB by bell in both hands and do a narrow chest press)

45 seconds of rest

Complex 6 (3:15 minutes) (15# KB)

  1. Clean to press (swing KB between legs then rack at shoulder and push into overhead press)
  2. Windmills, 5 reps (stand with legs wide, holding KB by horn in one hand, arm holding KB is extended overhead, hinging at hips, lower body toward side not holding KB, sliding arm down leg toward foot, head is tilted to look upward toward KB)
  3. Single arm kettlebell swing, 10 reps
  4. When you repeat, change arms/sides

30 seconds of rest

Complex 7 (3 minutes): (15# KB)

  1. Reverse lunges, 5 reps (hold KB in same side hand as front leg)
  2. Squat to press, 5 reps (squat with KB racked at one shoulder, when you stand, do an overhead press)
  3. 1/2 rep staggered RDL, 5 reps (single leg deadlift, don’t raise any higher than knee)
  4. When you repeat, change arms/sides

45 second rest

Complex 8 (3 minutes): (20# KB)

  1. Staggered squat (in split stance, do a single leg squat, most of the weight is in the front leg, KB is racked at shoulder of back leg)
  2. Staggered swing (legs are wide but one is in front of the other, do a single arm KB swing, KB is in same hand as back leg)
  3. When you repeat, change arms/sides

30 second rest

Finisher: Single arm swings, alternate hands each swing (60 seconds) (20# KB)

For more info on Caroline Girvan’s workouts and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.

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