Before I show you a great new 1 kettlebell workout, I wanted to give you a quick lesson on complexes and chains. Complexes and chains can be done with any exercises, and not just with kettlebells. But of course, I’m a little partial to doing them with kettlebells.

With complexes and chains, you string together a few different exercises and you don’t set the weight down between each exercise, so kettlebells work really well with this type of training. Complexes and chains are also very time-efficient ways to exercise as you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time.

The difference between a complex and a chain happens in the number of repetitions. Let’s say you’re going to string together 4 different exercises, as in my video below where I do a kettlebell swing, clean, high pull and snatch. For a complex, you’ll do multiple repetitions of each of the 4 exercises, with no rest between each. For a chain, you’ll do just 1 repetition of each exercise (again with no rest between) but you do that multiple times.

To do the exercises I mentioned as a complex, I’ll do 5 swings, 5 cleans, 5 high pulls and 5 snatches then switch sides and take a brief rest before performing the next set.

To do these exercises as a chain, I’ll do 1 swing, 1 clean, 1 high pull, 1 snatch. I do one of each, 5 times on one arm, switch sides and then take a brief rest before performing the next set. If I’m getting tired or just want to change things up a bit, I can do 1 of each exercise on the left, then one of each on the right and keep switching sides until I do 5 on each arm.

For me, complexes are more physically taxing but I feel a greater mental engagement with chains, because of the quick progression from one exercise to the next.

Here’s the video to show you what each example looks like. Have fun and please let us know in the comments if you come up with some good chains and complexes of your own!