Beyond Mastery: Kettlebell Flow Workout

By Karen Smith

Kettlebells are popping up in more and more gyms and local stores, and of course, you really can't miss them all over the internet and on social media these days.

We see the good, the bad, and all too often, the absolutely ugly movements.

Mastery of the basics should be at the forefront of our minds before we begin to try and get creative. Most all of us can get easily sidetracked by the “advanced stuff” or the “fluff” that we see online. This is one of the main reasons why most of my writing is more in the form of tutorials or instructionals. It’s important for all of us to master the basics before we can move on to a more advanced practice.

Swings, squats, deadlifts and Turkish get-ups are the best place to start your kettlebell practice. And yes, I said practice, not workout. These are standalone skills that should be approached as a practice until you have mastered them — then, and only then, should you work on moving beyond. While this perspective may seem boring, and these skills may take time to master, approaching things this way will keep you safer and help you set a good foundation of movements, which you’ll need if you wish to work with heavier loads, or working on kettlebell flows, which take the form of chains, complexes and circuits.

Since many members of our Girls Gone Strong community have spent the required time practicing and mastering the basics, what I’m sharing here is a safe and beneficial way to progress by stringing the basics together into a kettlebell flow.

Like I mentioned above, these chains, complexes or circuits have many great benefits, which include building strength, increasing endurance, and developing a killer grip. They are also perfect for people who:

  1. Are traveling and can only take a single kettlebell with them
  2. Only own one kettlebell, which is beginning to feel too light for some skills

Here’s the good news: it’s not necessary for you to get rid of that one lighter bell, or to feel like you always need to have kettlebells of multiple sizes.

This flow will be for those who have mastered the following skills:

If you have only mastered a few of these skills, please skip the ones you don’t know, or replace them with another skill with which you’re familiar.


  1. Begin lying down with a kettlebell on the ground to your right side.
  2. Roll onto your right side in a fetal position and swoop your right hand through the handle of the kettlebell, gripping it firmly.
  3. Place your left hand on top, gripping your right hand with your left.
  4. Roll onto your back, bend your right knee, plant the right foot into the ground, and chest press the bell up into the locked out position.
  5. Lead with the chest and roll up onto your left forearm which is extended at about 45 degrees from your body, parallel to your straight left leg.
  6. Press up to your palm in a tall sit position, slowly pull the bell down to the rack position and press it up three times.
  7. Once the bell is back in the overhead locked out position, swoop the straight leg through and get your body into a half-kneeling windmill position.
  8. Straighten up your torso, windshield wipe the back leg into parallel, and transition from the half-kneeling position to standing.
  9. Once standing you can perform three snatches.
  10. Lower the kettlebell to the rack and then step back in a lunge position.
  11. Hold the lunge position and dead clean the kettlebell three times.
  12. Return to standing position and military press the kettlebell three times.
  13. Keep the bell in the overhead locked out position and perform three reverse lunges.
  14. On the final lunge, stay in the half-kneeling position and begin to reverse the get-up movements until you are safely lying back on the ground with the kettlebell by your side.
  15. Get up, turn around, and repeat the movement on the left side (rest as needed for your current fitness level.)

My motto is: Pattern, Practice, Perfect.

If you remember that mastery of the basics should come first, and then advance to flows or loading movements heavier, you will continue to move well and to move safely for years to come. I hope this motto helps you to remember to pattern the movement, practice the movement, and perfect the movement before loading the movement!

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About the author:  Karen Smith

Karen Smith is a highly-respected trainer and coach specializing in kettlebell and bodyweight strength training. She is a StrongFirst SFG Master Instructor and Chief Bodyweight Instructor. Karen travels the world instructing and certifying individuals through StrongFirst, and works with clients online and in person.

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