Kettlebell Complexes For Fat Loss

Ellen Grant
• Sunday, 25 October, 2020
• 16 min read

And I was tagged with the moniker, “Captain Complex” by Pavel Tsatsouline, back at an ROC kettle bell certification in Budapest, Hungary, in 2009, where we used complexes to reduce the kettle bell technique learning curve and mitigate the need for translators. Complex : A series of compound exercises performed sequentially with the same weight (kettle bell) and without rest.

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I first learned about complexes as a greenhorn college strength & conditioning coach in 1997 at Rutgers University. Someone had left a Muscle & Fitness magazine on my desk and I perused it during one of my breaks between teams.

In it, I found an article by Romanian Strength Coach Emeritus, Ivan “Steve” Favored on barbell complexes. This opened a whole new world to me and I immediately tried Favored Barbell Complex #1 with several of the guys on the wrestling team.

This was a game changing paradigm and the premise of my book, Kettle bell Muscle, published in January 2010. When structured properly, and especially when using a pair of kettle bells, complexes can help stimulate lean muscle tissue growth.

However, because the loads are relatively light they do so primarily through the factor of Metabolic Stress, which increases a number chemical and hormonal responses within the body to produce muscle. Metabolic stress manifests as a result of exercise that relies on anaerobic glycolysis for ATP production, which results in the subsequent buildup of metabolites such as lactate, hydrogen ion, inorganic phosphate, creatine, and others (169,178).

Muscle ischemia also has been shown to produce substantial metabolic stress, and potentially produces an additive hypertrophic effect when combined with glycolysis training (136,182). The stress-induced mechanisms theorized to mediate the hypertrophic response include alterations in hormonal milieu, cell swelling, free-radical production, and increased activity of growth-oriented transcription factors (50,51,171).

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This makes taking a full deep breath hard. These muscles strain to expand fully, and are therefore trained to get stronger in order for you to get as much air in your lungs a possible so you can keep working without passing out.

As a unique side benefit, this will also make your abs stronger. One of the ways to build grip strength is to hold an object for time.

If you’re doing several sets of ballistic exercises in a row in your complex, like Swings, then Cleans, then Snatches, then your grip is going to be taxed Big Time. There comes a time in every complex, where you’re huffing and puffing, muscles burning, when you question whether you quit or keep going.

This is very simple way to build mental toughness. The quickest workout in my book Kettle bell Muscle is a 3-exercise complex.

Now of course, each kettle bell complex workout will vary based upon the number of exercises included, the sets, and the reps, along with the rest periods, but I think you can see, there’s absolutely zero reason you couldn’t get in fantastic shape using nothing but kettlebellcomplexes 3 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. According to Coach Favored, and I’ve found this to be true over the last 20+ years, your complexes should be built off your weakest exercise.

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And where you choose to place that exercise, makes it more or less difficult to perform, due to fatigue. Running through these 3 kettlebellcomplexes at various times in your training, in that order, will make your pressing musculature, and therefore your kettle bell press, much stronger, without having to use heavier bells.

This sounds counterintuitive, in the face of the heavy fatigue created by your complex. However, this is something I learned from my first Olympic lifting coach, Mark Cohen, back in 1995.

I had a nasty habit of pulling with my arms instead of extending my hips. It was in Hungary back in 2009 at the ROC kettle bell certification that I put this to the test.

This is a more esoteric reason that’s very similar to the “mental toughness” aspect of training. This is a time to work on centering yourself by staying at the moment and focusing on your breath.

First, determine what your goal is: Build muscle, lose fat, improve conditioning, Lin (Look Good Necked)… yes… For most people, the upper body pressing muscles are the weakest link in the complex.

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As great as kettlebellcomplexes are, I don’t believe their “full power” is realized until you use a pair of kettle bells to perform them. You can use more total weight and create a greater stimulus for change.

… and sometimes I’ll even throw in the ever brutal, Double Kettle bell Jerk, which I do not recommend for beginners. Below are 10 video examples of double kettle bell complex workouts.

This is a great kettle bell complex that will demand your attention leaving no muscle unused when done for maximum rounds and minimal rest: Abs, legs, hips, upper back, shoulders, arms and hands. It’s a great kettle bell workout for stimulate fat loss because the front squat restricts the movement of your rib cage, preventing you from taking a full breath.

If you’d like a free double kettle bell complex workout program where the exercises, sets, reps, and rest periods are all spelled out for you, day-by-day, then download your free copy of “THE WOLF by clicking the image below. Action speaks louder than words but let’s take a step back and not rush into this.

Before you continue, I have to tell you that I absolutely love kettle bells and know that they are the best thing when it comes to working out, but… Rewind. And by ‘mastering’ I am not talking about ass-to-grass deep squats, I am referring to the knowledge and understanding of the movement, how to stay safe, how to progress, and how to adjust.

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Two perfectly executed slow quarter squats are going to do you a lot more good at this stage than twenty badly executed fast deep squats. Let’s not forget that you are already carrying a lot of extra weight/load, so there is no need to make that load any heavier without building a solid foundation first.

After you have invested time into the hip hinge then it’s time to add load and you can look at including the kettle bell dead lift or more likely the hang lift (due to flexibility/range). Explosive exercises should be looked at after you have mastered all the slow lifts.

Okay, let’s get back to the reason you came to the home of the best online kettle bell education. The reason why the top 5 kettle bell exercises are great for fat loss when it comes to obesity is as follows.

The 5 kettle bell exercises work on strength and are of low impact. They are not very technical which is great as kettle bell training has a higher learning curve (well worth investing in) and it’s better to focus your time on dropping that weight first.

Yes, burning more calories than you are eating is definitely a very huge part of this mission, but foundation first, build the strength, develop the technique, control the movement, avoid injury, and let us not forget that more muscle will burn more calories, so, let’s turn that fat into muscle! Farmer walks are great as they add load in a very safe way and you’re working your trapezium, core, grip, and many other muscle groups.

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You can go nice and heavy which will quickly raise the heart rate. Kettle bell chest presses are great because you are laying down and working out.

You just need to work on getting a good grip and perform the safety roll to get them to your chest. Download the FREE PDF Master Kettle bell Grips, guaranteed that you will thank me for it later.

As you get stronger and lift heavier weights you can look at removing the support and add the additional core work. Slow and controlled, work on strength, after that you perform the same body weight or kettle bell exercises but at a faster pace and higher reps.

To accurately determine what kettle bell weight you should start with we need to do some tests. Without the information from the test, the following weight is a good start.

Join our private online Caveman Inner Circle with over 75 awesome people for weekly workouts, coaching, commitment, consistency, and accountability. You can’t let the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness around other people keep you from who want to be.

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For those that need time to overcome this, we will provide an additional support group called Lose30. Once you’ve joined the inner circle you need to request access to this group by emailing us.

Once you have developed good core and overall strength, mastered the basics, and have lost some of your weight, then it’s time to progress to other exercises and become more dynamic with them. Things like clean and jerk, swings, half snatches, and so on.

Here are the links to the free PDFs that are important for grip and racking. You can unlock free access to the full-length video and online course with all the kettle bell exercises broken down and a lot more details with a simple share, like, or subscribe below.

Taco Fleur Russian Gregory Sport Institute Kettle bell Coach, Caveman training Certified, IFF Certified Kettle bell Teacher, Kettle bell Sport Rank 2, HardstyleFit Kettle bell Level 1 Instructor., CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Judges Certificate, CrossFit Lesson Planning Certificate, Kettle bells Level 2 Trainer, Kettle bell Science and Application, MMA Fitness Level 2, MMA Conditioning Level 1, BJJ Purple Belt and more. I, like most who are blessed with some form of attention disorder, suffer from a low adherence to challenging and uninteresting exercise programs.

What good is having fun in the weight room, if we have nothing to show for it aside from the short-lived euphoria of a mental lollipop and swampy undergarments? To forgo effectiveness for fun would surely flip us over the edge of reason.

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But to assert that fun and effective are mutually exclusive is an exhibition of broken logic. Sure, that sounds kind of tasty, but there’s no such metric for evaluation, nor will there ever, because not everybody’s idea of fun is the same.

It just seems like (because it seems like is honestly the best approximation I got on this subject) that most, not all, but most, find tough to be more fun than easy. I have shared my observations on what I believe to be true and will now show you how to add a little bourbon to the sauce of your training program.

These workouts (the bourbon), which you can plug into just about any conditioning slot in your training program (assuming you have one), will fortify your spirit, harden your muscle, and peel away body fat. Metabolic conditioning is now a term familiar to many, and since there is little good purpose to be served by trotting an old horse once more around the track, I will only touch on this point lightly to familiarize any new recruits, and then refer out to more extensive works.

Why were these strong and well-conditioned athletes experiencing rapid shutdown when rest was dramatically shortened or eliminated between exercises in a circuit? “If there is interest in totally unsupported theories, then I do have a theory… a theory that I have no great confidence in at this point; I think that the body may simply be unable to provide the required chemical changes that are necessary to work that hard for a prolonged period of time.

Such a team could return to scrimmage immediately without the necessity to huddle… thus giving their opponents no chance to rest.” For the entire collection of Arthur Jones notes on metabolic conditioning, I highly recommend that you head over to ArthurJonesExercise.com and read his full article on Flexibility and Metabolic Condition.

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The goal is to keep the system under stress, and working as a whole for some prolonged period of time. The simplest way to do this is to string together a series of compound exercises, and presently I will show you how to achieve this effect through kettle bell complex training.

For our purposes, complexes (specifically kettlebellcomplexes) are compound exercises to be performed successively and uninterruptedly. But to perform them successively and uninterruptedly means to string these exercises together and execute them without the luxury of rest.

My mentor, Brian Petty ROC, a lifelong fighter, once told me that kettle bell training is the closest thing you can get to fighting without throwing a punch. He explained to me that kettle bell complex training allows us to generate “high quality fatigue” and that the feeling of lactic acid flooding the system to the point of one feeling almost panicked, or poisoned even, is the reality of a physical confrontation.

To understand why this is important is to know that a fight is often won in the last round, and when there are two competitors of equal skill, the winner is the one with greater strength and staying power. I should also mention that when coupled with a workable diet, metabolic conditioning will melt fat like raw meat on a hot grill.

The great deal of stress and systemic fatigue generated from kettle bell complex training stokes the metabolic furnace, creates a large oxygen debt, and promises prolonged caloric after-burn. To understand this is to know why short and intense kettle bell complex training sessions are far more effective for melting fat than low-intensity aerobics ever were.

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I believe kettlebellcomplexes are such handy fat -chopping devices that every fitness enthusiast should have at least five pegged to memory. Once you run your first set of The Great Destroyer, I think this will strike you as a pretty good analogy.

The fatigue, like a night prowler, creeps up and slams you unexpectedly. Imagine what it’d feel like to have a thousand cold knives slipped into your quads, twisted, and withdrawn.

The sequence of this complex is based off the Fibonacci series in reverse, starting from eight, and combines double kettle bells cleans and front squats. Once you’ve completed the series on one side, switch arms and repeat.

The sandwich reference indicates that there are two pieces of “bread” from which to load ingredients (exercises). Begin by performing one rep of the double kettle bell snatch and the renegade row.

Even at the risk of being overly repetitious, I’ll reiterate that these workouts are brandy to the sauce of ordinary conditioning routines. When applied judiciously, however, kettlebellcomplexes are marvelous, but the last thing I want to happen to anyone is to collapse in the midst of The Great Destroyer, with two bells overhead, like an overcooked soufflé.

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Pat is the founder of ChroniclesOfStrength.com where he talks mostly on how to chop fat and multiply muscle through kettle bell complex training. After longer time of strength work I will sneak in a little fat loss/hypertrophy block of about 4-5 weeks.

I don't have any before/after measurable for fat loss, but as far as anecdotal evidence goes, my wife stopped me mid-sentence during dinner last week to tell me how ripped I look. My guess is all of Geoff Neupert's programs are going to get the advertised results.

Level 9 Valued Member Elite Certified Instructor I'm probably going to get hate on for saying this, but.... I find the easiest style of strength training recovering from while on a caloric deficit to be bodybuilding-leaning routines.

I don't mean I have to necessarily do bodybuilding moves×, but if I do one of my T1 strength lifts (e.g. front squat), I'll do it at 60% of RM for sets of 3×8, instead of my normal 80%1RM for 5×5. *for reasons I can't easily explain, I also find actual body building moves, like chest flies, to have near zero metabolic / systemic recovery when, instead of using free weights, I use resistance bands.

Level 7 Valued Member Elite Certified Instructor I'm probably going to get hate on for saying this, but.... I find the easiest style of strength training recovering from while on a caloric deficit to be bodybuilding-leaning routines.

kettlebell loss weight workout booster minute metabolism
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I don't mean I have to necessarily do bodybuilding moves×, but if I do one of my T1 strength lifts (e.g. front squat), I'll do it at 60% of RM for sets of 3×8, instead of my normal 80%1RM for 5×5. *for reasons I can't easily explain, I also find actual body building moves, like chest flies, to have near zero metabolic / systemic recovery when, instead of using free weights, I use resistance bands.

The intensity, volume, and recovery matters most when it comes to fat loss and exercising in a caloric deficit. The program that gave me best “visual result” would be Dry Fighting Weight. I'redone all the others (granted not all the complexes in MKM3) ...they are all great.

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