Kettlebell Complex

Double KB Overhead
Man showing correct OH form with 2 Kettlebells. Andyn Kadir

Have you ever wanted to workout but were short on time so decided to shelf the workout until later? Next time you are short on time yet want to get in a great workout, try a kettlebell complex. 

A kettlebell complex is a group of several different but complementary kettlebell exercises that are seamlessly blended together into one longer, more comprehensive sequence. The benefit of doing a complex in your kettlebell workouts is that you can work multiple muscles groups and movement patterns, increase coordination demands and do it in less time.


The Double Kettlebell Clean-Squat-Press is one of my favorite Kettlebell complexes that work the whole body and many skills at once. It’s a good old-fashioned strength and conditioning builder and a full-body blast that’s hard to beat. Here’s how you do it:

Take two kettlebells from the floor and Clean them to the Rack Position at the chest. Immediately Squat down until your hips drop below your knees while keeping both feet flat on the floor. Inhale as you go down into the squat and pull the breath into your belly so that you have a stable mid-section. From the bottom squat position, exhale forcefully as you drive the entire body up from the heels of the feet, exploding upwards all the way into the Press as if being fired out from a cannon until both arms are fully extended with the kettlebells overhead. 

Your legs (knees, hips) and arms (elbows) are all fully extended, with no bend in the joints.

Establish control (lock-out) in the overhead position, take a quick sip of air to inhale, and exhale as you let the kettlebells fall back to the Rack position at the chest. Let the kettlebell drop from the chest into the backswing position, and reverse the motion again back into the Clean-Squat-Press.

Continue this pattern for the desired repetitions to complete the set. 

Some form guidelines to keep in mind:

Clean - watch your fingers as the kettlebells reach the chest into Rack Position. Keep fingers inside the handles and avoid getting pinched between them.

Squat - crease the hips to sit back as you lower your center of mass towards the ground. A good Squat places no discomfort in the knees and maintains an upright body position with chest up and eyes forward. Do not let your knees buckle inwards. Keep knees pressed out to be aligned vertically over the feet.

Press - have all the joints correctly aligned so that one is vertically over the next from top to bottom. Another way of looking at it is that the joints below should support the ones above it continuing up the line from the feet to the hands. Hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, feet are in vertical alignment and body weight is distributed evenly, such that the midline of your body is centered between your two feet, and under the kettlebells above the head.


Practice standards: 

Do each portion of the lift as if it is an individual lift and respect the perfection of form. My recommendation is to strive to make all your reps beautiful, so an onlooker would notice a natural grace about the movements. You have to own the movement. 

Training goals: 

Set a goal for yourself to be able to do 3 sets of 10 of continuous, non-broken reps. Without sacrificing form (shortening ranges of motion up or down), see if you can go faster as you get more comfortable. Then start reducing rest periods. 

When you can do the set of 30 unbroken, high-quality reps, you are ready to move up to the next heavier kettlebells and repeat the process.

The Double Kettlebell Clean-Squat Press is a high-intensity complex that will give you a high return on your investment of time. 

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