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Partner workout: kettlebell flow

Eric Mischke and Colleen Conlon were both at Equinox Printing House in New York City when they caught each other’s attention. Mischke was practicing gymnastics ring work. Conlon was doing hardstyle kettlebell moves.

“I figured I had to meet her,” says Mischke, a Tier 3+ trainer at Printing House. “It’s fun to work out with anyone who really knows how to use a kettlebell.”

The two formed a bond immediately once they realized their shared love of kettlebells, Animal Flow, and ViPR training. They set up a time to train together in the yoga studio and since then, they’ve made partner workouts a priority.

“We’re naturally super in sync when we flow,” Mischke says. Adds Conlon, a group fitness instructor at locations in NYC: “It’s like dance; once you find your partner, you don’t want to let them go because they elevate your creativity.”

Each of them is stronger both in and out of the club because of their friendship. “I’m generally very reserved, and Colleen has taught me to take risks and share more of myself with the world,” says Mischke, who helped Conlon master the pistol squat after she’d been working toward the goal for years.

To create the aspirational flow in the video above, they took turns adding one exercise at a time. “We both have our own library of movements, so once we put them together, serious magic happens,” Conlon says.

The below version of the workout will test your power, strength, and control. One of the most important elements of kettlebell training is the hip hinge, Mischke notes. Perfect that pattern through wall taps before trying the routine. 

The workout:

Perform the sequence as a reverse ladder, first doing 9 reps of every move, then 7, then 5, then 3, then 1, which will simulate the flow in the video above. Stay in sync with your partner throughout. Do it weekly for the best results.

Snatch

Stand with feet wider than shoulders and a kettlebell a few inches in front of you. With a straight spine, hinge at the hips, bend the knees, and grab the kettlebell with the right hand. Swing the kettlebell between your legs. In one fluid motion, drive through the hips and knees to stand tall, bring the kettlebell to shoulder-height, rotate the palms forward (with the kettlebell resting on the top of the wrist), and press it overhead. That’s one rep. Continue, moving straight into the swing. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Clean

Stand with feet wider than shoulders and a kettlebell about a few inches in front of you. With a straight spine, hinge at the hips, bend the knees, and grab the kettlebell with the right hand. Swing the kettlebell between your legs. In one fluid motion, drive through the hips and knees to stand tall, rotate the palms forward (with the kettlebell resting on the top of the wrist), and bring the kettlebell to shoulder-height. That’s one rep. Continue, starting with the swing. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Bent-arm press

Perform a clean with the right hand, then press the kettlebell overhead with the palm facing outward. Bend your left arm at the elbow and rotate your left foot 45 degrees. Keeping your eyes locked on the kettlebell, hinge at the hips and lower your torso to the left, keeping your left elbow close to your leg throughout. Reverse the motion to return to the overhead position for one rep. Continue, starting with the swing. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Rotational snatch

Perform a snatch with the right hand, then pivot to the right with left heel raised. This is your start position. In one fluid motion, lower the kettlebell to the shoulder, pivot to face forward, hinge at the hips with a slight bend in the knees, and swing the kettlebell down and to the left (like a pendulum). Perform a snatch to bring the weight back to start, swinging it back across your body and straight overhead for one rep. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Half-kneeling halo

Perform a reverse lunge to assume a half-kneeling position with left knee down, right foot planted. Hold a kettlebell in front of your chest, with the left hand on the handle and the other on the bell. Moving counter-clockwise, circle the kettlebell around your head, keeping your core engaged. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat in the opposite direction. Perform a forward lunge to return to standing when all reps are completed. 

Pass-through clean

Perform a clean with the right hand to rack the bell at your shoulder. This is your start position. In one fluid motion, swing the kettlebell between your legs, transfer it to the left hand, bring it around to the front of the body, transfer it back to the right hand, and re-rack it by the shoulder for one rep. Keep your spine straight and core engaged throughout. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Bottoms-up snatch with overhead hold

Perform a snatch with the right hand, ending with the kettlebell in a bottoms-up position. Hold for 3 seconds for one rep. Continue, starting with the swing. Do all reps on this side, then switch sides and repeat.

Level up your kettlebell routine

Level up your kettlebell routine

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