DA MAN Fitness: Kettlebell Flow

Kettlebell workouts are a great way to level up your fitness game. And if you want to take it to an even higher level, take a look at Kettlebell Flow.

Text Joezer Mandagi Photography Zaky Akbar Styling Paul Dela Merced Styling Assistant Lintang Hutami Model Hans Weiser/TwentyOne Millimeters Management
Location Empire Fit Club Jakarta, Jl. Gerbang Pemuda, Jakarta 0818-0798-9104, empirefitclub.com/jakarta/

Visit a gym—any gym—or maybe a fitness-themed YouTube channel and you’re bound to see kettlebells. These distinctively-shaped weight training gear (we’ll return to the shape of kettlebells later) have become pretty much ubiquitous now—and with good reason. Kettlebell workouts offer a wide range of benefits and also a wide range of variety. And speaking of variety, a really cool exercise using these cannon-balls-with-handles-attached is the kettlebell flow. So, for this Fitness article, we’re inviting you to flow down a story covering the basics of kettlebell training all the way to kettlebell flows.

The Fundamentals

One of the main appeals of kettlebell training is that it offers a happy medium between weight training and high intensity cardio, thus allowing us to burn fat while building muscle tone at the same time. So, when you’re working out with a kettlebell, you are essentially performing ballistic exercises that combine strength, cardio and flexibility training.

Now, we’ve also mentioned the unique shape of kettlebells: It’s basically a ball made of cast iron or steel with two “horns” that are joined into the shape of a handle. Unlike, say, regular dumbbells, a kettlebell’s weight isn’t distributed evenly, with its center of gravity offset by about 15-20 centimeters from your grip. This means that a kettlebell is harder to control than most free weights. In practice, this means that you will constantly need to counterbalance the kettlebell’s weight and stabilize your body. And this, in turn, helps you improve balance and coordination while also providing a significant boost to your core strength.

The shape of a kettlebell’s handle also allows you to utilize different holds. For example, while doing squats, you can grip a kettlebell by the horns with two hands to shift its balance in a new way. This particular trait makes the kettlebell a great exercise tool for seniors or the physically challenged who would benefit from extra balance training.

Into the Flow

There are a lot of basic kettlebell exercises that anybody can try, from the classic Russian kettlebell swing, goblet squat and lunge presses with a kettlebell and so on. When you perform several repetitions of an exercise then transition into another—say, three snatches and then three racked squats and so on—it becomes what’s called a “kettlebell complex.” When you string together a single rep of two or more exercises in a fluid and unbroken sequence, that’s what you call a “kettlebell flow.”

Kettlebell flows have become increasingly popular especially because it’s a full body workout and it’s usually more time-efficient. And, if you have a good sequence and do it right, it looks incredibly cool.

In a kettlebell flow, you’re essentially moving a (relatively) heavy object with an offset center of gravity through different planes in a series of continuous movements. And you’ll be doing so while maintaining your balance and posture. So, you basically take the benefits of regular kettlebell exercise and multiply that.

“Kettlebell flows have become increasingly popular specially because it’s a full body workout, it’s usually more time-efficient … and it looks cool”

Of course, as the saying goes, you need to learn how to walk before you can run. While kettlebell flow looks and feels impressive, it’s not something that you should try right off the bat. It is highly recommended that you first get the hang of the fundamentals, the various grips you can use and the variations of basic exercises. Then you move on to kettlebell complexes. This is where you start to see how certain exercises can easily transition into one another. When you’re comfortable doing—and perhaps creating your own—complexes, you can start looking into kettlebell flows and find—or, again, create—ones that fit your exercise needs while looking cool.

As always, however, it’s definitely a good idea to go down to a gym and learn the basics of kettlebell exercises from an expert trainer. Remember, it’s not just about having somebody more experienced coach you, it’s about getting constant feedback about what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve. That, and you might find a trainer who can share a really kickass kettlebell flow workout for you to make your own.