Kettlebell Complex FML – The Workout

Kettlebell Complex FML – The Workout

  • Front Squat
  • Military Press
  • Lunge

See what we did there?  And believe me when I tell you, the true meaning of FML will be on the tip of your tongue throughout most of this workout.  At least if was for me first time I tried it.  Well, sort of.  You can catch my meaning at the end.

Kettlebell Complex FML – Breaking Down The Workout

WEIGHT SELECTION:  I would advise using a Kettlebell that you can one arm military press with full confidence for 5 strict reps but where you’d have an issue if you went for 8 or 10.  For men, that’s going to be somewhere between a 16 and 24kg bell and for the ladies, probably between 8 and 12kg.  For the mutants out there, use whatever weight you feel like would make you say FML.

COMPLEX DESCRIPTION:  Grab your kettlebell in your right hand and clean it to the rack position.  From there, squat.  At the top of the squat, perform a strict military press.  Finish with a lunge.  (I would advise a reverse lunge where you step back with your right leg and lunge from there.)  Next, perform a swing switch and repeat this pattern on the left side.  That would be considered one repetition per side, two total reps.

WORKOUT PROTOCOL:  This is how we truly arrive at #FML.  This routine, literally, is designed to suck.  So, what I’m going to advise for this are ladders.  Remember, Rich Man’s Gym is about strength AND conditioning for body, mind and spirit.  All of that will happen here.  We’re also going to ladder this with pull ups.  If you can’t do a pull up on your own, use bands or some other type of assist but the pull up is very helpful here for making sure the whole body is hating on you. If you’re a mutant, do your pull ups weighted.

Perform one repetition on the right, one on the left, set the bell down and perform one pull up.  Repeat the sequence, two on the left, two on the right, two pull ups.  Then three.  Take a break and repeat the sequence over again.

Kettlebell Complex FML Levels

  1. Level ONE:  Start with 3 Ladders of 1, 2, 3 working up to 5 Ladders of 1, 2, 3.
  2. Level TWO:  Start with 3 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4 working up to 5 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4
  3. Level THREE:  Start with 3 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 working up to 5 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

FREQUENCY:  At a bare bones minimum, to finish this full sequence and end at 5 ladders of 5, you’re looking at at least 11 if not 12 to 15 sessions.  Each level will probably take 4-5 workouts to get through.  Especially towards the end.  Perhaps even longer depending on your conditioning.  Bottom line here, 2-3 sessions per week should be just about right to make sure you recover fully and progress efficiently.  Keep in mind, there’s no real rush here.  You’re on your schedule and your pace.

SUPPLEMENTAL WORK:  Feel free to add in some active recovery to this in your off days.  Yoga or low intensity running would not hurt at all.


If you start this workout, finish it and DO NOT lower this target.  Do not quit and do not do anything that will make you feel bad about yourself.  An unfinished task will reap havoc on your mental state.

And on a more serious note, FML is not a hashtag that should be used in real life or in your thought process at all, at any time.  Period.  What if every thought that you had was to some degree a form of prayer?  And here you are running around sending FML vibes into the universe.  The universe will probably assume you’re asking it to FUCK YOUR LIFE.

Aaaaaand, what you put your attention on is where you seed your reality.  Your reality will grow from that spot of FML seeds you just planted and then what?  More reasons to say it and the cycle repeats over and over until there’s a big ass FML snowball rolling right through your life!  No, it’s not some innocent little cute colloquialism.

Maybe instead of FML…

…when the fit hits the shan you can sub in BML.  Bless My Life.  My Grandma was famous for saying Praise the Lord, especially under stress.  So take a cue from my Nana and drop the negative in favor of the positive… and why not???

This isn’t about what’s happening in your life, it’s about how you see what’s happening in your life and the meaning you’re assigning to it.  Follow?

Use this routine as a way to move your thinking towards the positive creation of your reality.  Additionally, you’ll probably wind up looking pretty good naked too in the next 6-8 weeks  and if you’re eating right as well, then fuhgitaboutit!

Questions go in comments and would never have a problem if you decided to share this post out using #FML and #RichMansGym hashtags.

RichMansGym uses kettlebells from Onnit.

Posting Updates as I Progress Through the Levels:

  • Saturday 10/13:

LEVEL ONE – 3 rounds of 1,2,3.  The last round was awful.  Haven’t squatted with a kettlebell in a while.  Good news is I exposed some areas of opportunity and leaks in core tension so will be working on that leading up to the next session.  Can’t even begin to tell you haw perfect the pull ups plug into this.  Literally, full body workout going on here.  I added to the misery with 5 supersets of 10 Dips + 10 Barbarian Squats with a 10# mace.  Then finished with another 5 round complex of 10 Push-Ups + 10 Ring Rows + 10 Decline Sit-Ups + 10 Hanging Leg Raises.

  • Friday 10/19:

Did LEVEL ONE – 4 rounds of 1,2,3.  Round one was easy which is great news.  Round 4 was hard as I felt my nervous system was getting a shock.  When that happens, don’t quit, just slow it down and breath through it.  Right now the focus is on getting the volume.  No need to rush though or compress time.  Next I did the 5 rounds of 10 Dips + 10 Barbarian Squats again.  Finished with 5 rounds of 10 Atomic Push Ups + 10 Kettlebell Swings.  During the days leading up to the second session, I got in a 5 mile run on Monday.  On Tuesday I did an upper body workout that consisted of DB Bench, Pull Ups, Dips, Ring Rows, Atomic Push Ups and Battle Ropes.  Rested on Wednesday and Thursday did a 1.2 mile sprint.

  • Saturday 12/8: 

At this point I’ve worked up to 5 rounds up to 4 ladders.  And earlier this week I started with one round up to 5 ladders.  So I’m in the home stretch.  Next time I do this workout I will do 3 rounds with Pull Ups.  Also, at this point will start to minimize the supplemental work as this volume is getting high.  It’s important to walk the fine line of pushing yourself while maintaining proper form and making sure you finish stronger, not weaker.