The No Excuses Kettlebell Complex

No excuses kettlebell complex

No excuses kettlebell complex

The No Excuses Kettlebell Complex

I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of routines lately. I play tested my Batman Kettlebell Complex and it has done wonders to my body so I figured I should play test something new. Over the course of two weeks I’ve developed something I call the “No Excuses” Kettlebell Complex. Why is it called “No Excuses”? Simple: You get to finish it no matter what. Notice my use of “get” instead of “have”. The idea behind this kettlebell complex is that you’re not forced into a pattern your body’s not prepared for.

The No Excuses Kettlebell Complex is all about having a personal touch which means everyone who tries this kettlebell complex will all have different finish lines but they finish nonetheless. Don’t worry, it’s not hard. In fact, it’s one of the simplest complexes you’ll see. It’s the concept that would be different.

Okay so what concept am I talking about? The concept of not giving up on a complex until it’s done. You’re probably saying something like “Duh, Robert. Focus, motivation, I have it all! Of course I won’t stop!!!” We have all the reasons why we shouldn’t stop as well as how to make sure we wouldn’t stop. To see what I mean, imagine accepting a challenge and of course by default the challenge is difficult otherwise it’s not a challenge but a favor.

Let’s say you commit yourself to that challenge. You promise all your friends you’ll finish it no matter what and so you do it. At some point, you fail in the challenge and you contemplate whether to give up or to start all over again. For most people those two would be the only choices they have but for you there’s another option: You push through. Even if you fail at one point you still don’t stop. You find a way over failure and you finish. No promises were broken, you completed your tasks, and no one can say you didn’t do it.

That’s the overall concept of this No Excuses Kettlebell Complex. You do it, you don’t stop. You don’t finish even if you fail in the middle or near the end. Heck, you can fail at the start too. This complex doesn’t care. Failure or not, you finish it either way. No Excuses.

By now you’re thinking “Okay, okay I get it. So what’s the complex? I really hope you didn’t just lure me in here to tell me a moral lesson.” Don’t worry I’m not a scammer. This is the complex:

No excuses

The No Excuses Kettlebell Complex is reliant on upper body strength. Heavily reliant on upper body strength. I used this to improve the volume of my presses and it worked. It can give you a decent bulk since you get to decide what your “midweight” is. The 24 kg to 28 kg are just recommendations. I describe the midweight to be a pair of kettlebells you can press at least 3 times in succession without breaking form.

The point of the No Excuses Kettlebell Complex is really about not quitting. Front Squatting is leagues easier than Double Pressing, at least for me. So what I did was when I failed to press for the third time I rebounded by adding one more to the squat. Yes, I did not drop the bells nor did I have to force a jerk-press to get those bells up there. When I failed to press twice, I decided to add one more to my squat. When I couldn’t press, that’s when I stopped. I could’ve added more squats until my legs gave out but that’s not the point of this complex. Leg strength is included but not a priority.

Take note of the rules of this complex: The No Excuses kettlebell complex is a sequence wherein failure to press means you directly move on to doing squats. Each time you finish a squat set (whether once, twice, or three times) you rest for 2 minutes max and prepare for the next set. Once you’re done resting, you pick up where you left off i.e. if you couldn’t press more than twice and opted to add one to the squat, you start with MID. Same goes when you find yourself unable to press more than once which means you start with END.

You continue with the No Excuses kettlebell complex until you can’t press anymore or when time is up. I usually recommend 20 minutes as a time limit.

What did my Day One look like to me using a pair of 28 kg?


4 x MID

3 x END

Did I mean to have that pattern? Not really. Perhaps it was psychological or the subconscious part of my head wanted a sort of clear sequence instead of gunning for a random number of sets. I guess it’s because all the complexes I do revolve around a certain magic number of sets and reps and this one doesn’t. At least not intentionally. This is also to remind you that I rested in between sets so don’t plan on pushing yourself too much. The time limit is 20 minutes and you are allowed to rest as much as 2:00 in between so I suggest you pace yourself without cooling off.

If you’re familiar with the Armor Building Complex, I actually got inspired to do this because of that complex. The primary difference is the sequence of each set. While the ABC had a 213 approach, aimed at rewarding the athlete with a concrete idea of “success”, mine focused on the abstract version. It’s crazy but when you do this complex, you don’t feel bad about only getting 3 sets of START or if all you can do are multiple sets of END. You don’t feel bad because you gave it your all and when you failed, you pushed through and finished magnificently. You didn’t have to drop the bells first, rest, try again when your body’s just about cooled down. With this complex you proceed while there’s fire in you. Resting is allowed but when you can continue, why pause?

Challenge yourself even more

You want a challenge? Bump the number of presses. Start with 4 presses then add to the number of squats until you end. You will definitely progress so when you finally are able to press 4 times in succession without breaking form, move on to a weight where you’re back to 3 presses. Rinse and repeat. Before you know it, you’ll be pressing 36s for fun. Do not add to the cleans as cleans will take too much strength away from the arms and will definitely interfere with pressing.

Remember: the priority is the press, secondary is the squat. The cleans are just there to rack the kettlebells up.

Recommended frequency: Not more than 3 times a week. Why? Because this will burn you out. It looks like it won’t because of the lack of squats (because squats get us all the time, right?) but you won’t be lifting like that when your arms decide to take a vacation. Besides, there are plenty of other complexes/workouts out there that give love to explosive and leg strength. Do not forget your other body parts. This is heavily geared towards upper body strength so you need to take care of the other muscles too or eventually your whole body suffers.

Final words

When you have a go at it, you might get something as random as 5-5-2 or 3-4-5. It’s customizable not because you intended it to be customizable but because that’s what your body can do at the moment. You can take note of the number of reps and seek to improve them according to how you want to structure it but it will always be about how much your body can dish out at the time. You might have days where you go 6-3-3 or maybe extremely bad days where you have 3-3-3. But still, the point is you FINISH. No Excuses.

Robert James
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