Full Body Kettlebell Couplet Workout PLUS Bonus Complex | Home Workout Videos

by Marianne  - February 22, 2012

Hi everyone,

This workout was a killer! You all know how much I love/hate (term meaning GREAT workout) Couplets, and it’s been a while since I posted a workout like this, so today’s will jog the memory as to why we love/hate them πŸ™‚

The twist with this one is the “Bonus” Complex right at the very end. Β Just when you think the torture is over, then we have a little strength section.

The Workout

Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 6 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort and complete 3 rounds of each Couplet before having a longer recovery and moving on to the next Couplet etc etc. Oh and be prepare for all the burpees πŸ˜‰

Couplet 1

  1. Suitcase Deadlift Burpee (2x20kg) (13, 12, 10)
  2. Side to Side Step Ups (first round BW, then I added a 6kg KB) (47, 44, 43)

Couplet 2

  1. Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrust (17, 16, 17)
  2. Bent Over Alternating Row (20kg) (18, 16, 15)

Couplet 3 (Hell)

  1. Two-Handed KB Swing (24kg) (30, 30, 28 )
  2. Burpees (13, 12, 10)

Couplet 4

  1. Alternating High Deficit Reverse Lunge (16kg) (17, 14, 15)
  2. Vertical Swing/Pull Burpee (20kg) (12, 10.5, 12)

BONUS Complex

Complete 3 rounds of the following combination:

  1. Kettlebell Clean and Press (right) x 5 reps
  2. Kettlebell Clean and Press (left) x 5 reps
  3. Pull Ups x 5 reps

If you cannot complete 5 reps in a row, then break it down into smaller “sets” πŸ™‚

Have fun!




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  1. Marianne – I’ve watched some of your stuff and your form during the two-handed kettlebell swings has me worried big-time.

    Every single kettlebell authority that I can find (Steve Kotter, Ryan Shanahan, Pavel Tsatsouline) stress that kettlebell swings are to be done with the back STRAIGHT and the swing movement coming from the squat using the HIPS (NOT the arms and shoulders).

    I’m afraid you’re going to injure your back seriously, especially since you’re using heavier weights. PLEASE watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAYZ9gKZaI0&feature=related If I’m wrong, let me know. Pete

    1. Cancel that. After re-viewing the clip, it looks like you’re doing it right. The video was pretty “choppy” the first time around. My apologies. Pete

        1. No problem and sorry for the confusion. Watched a bunch of your other stuff afterwards and was quite impressed (think: the Spartacus w/o). It’s amazing – and something I try to stress to women considering kettlebell training – how strong you can become withOUT “bulking up” or becoming in any way “un-feminine”.

          Keep up the great work! Pete

  2. I just finished this workout with a few changes.

    Couplet 1

    Suitcase Deadlift Burpee (2Γ—16kg)
    mountain climbers
    Couplet 2

    Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrust
    Bent Over Alternating Row (16kg)

    Couplet 3 (Hell)

    one Handed KB Swing (16kg)

    Couplet 4

    Alternating High Deficit Reverse Lunge (16kg)
    Vertical Swing/Pull Burpee (12kg)

    The above I went through all exercises with no breaks twice. I skipped rope before and after 100 skips at top speed.
    BONUS Complex

    Complete 3 rounds of the following combination:

    Kettlebell Press with 2 12kg x 5 reps 2 times

    Pull Ups x 3 reps ( I suck at these)
    push ups on 2 kb x 10
    hanging sit ups x 10
    then I skipped rope again 100 reps

    Today I renew my membership at the ghetto gym and I’ll do some deadlifting. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I got behind on your workouts.

  3. I just did this workout. My RKC trainer and friends consider me an accomplished kettlebell user and extremely strong — and this workout kicked my ass!

    Thanks! πŸ˜‰

  4. I know its late, but I still want to post my numbers on this workout — I did it two days after Marianne posted it:
    1. Suitcase DL 20 +18 Kg Kbs (uneven, but switching sides alt rounds) 19, 21, 21
    side to side step ups with 15 kbs 35, 34, 33
    1 min rest
    2. alt single leg hip thrusts (shoulders elevated & feet on balance ball — pain) 23, 21, 22
    bent over alt row 16 kg 19, 19, 19
    1 min rest
    3. swing 20 Kg 28, 27, 27
    burpees 12, 12, 12
    1 min rest
    4. alt high deficit rev lunge 12 Kg 19, 17, 18
    vertical swing burpee 14 kg 11, 10 ,11
    2 min rest
    Bonus C&P R 12 Kg x 5, C&P L x 5, pullups x 5 x 3 sets.

    HR 2 sweat 1.5 face bright red.

    The memory of how hard this was is fading, I am writing this a week later, but I know it was tough! I just remember that as my heart was pounding, I was wondering how I was going to do those pullups! (I cheated a little and did neutral grip pullups rounds 1 & 3, and chinups round 2, instead of wide grip pullups.)

    Super super challenging.

    ~ Gillian

    1. Haha, “face bright red” πŸ˜‰

      And Jeez, you think neutral grip and underhand grip pullups are cheating? I can’t do 2 wide grip pull ups LOL. At least you can, when you’re fresh πŸ™‚

      I remember this one being a total killer!

  5. Marianne !!! Great workout ! I did it at the gym, where they have a few kettlebells, so I could actually use kettlebells and not something else.
    Wow ! I was sweating buckets. And…um… being the only girl in the free weights area ( and only dudes around me ) motivated me even more πŸ˜€ ( honestly I would have been embarrassed not to finish my burpees with all those macho men around, because they gave me the “what’s up with you in this area ” look ). And burpees are not my fave exercise at all.
    Thanks so much !:) Oh , by the way, are you loosing weight ? You look a bit thinner in this video…

      1. Marianne, I wish I had the time to read through all your posts and comments. Your website is truly a fitness gem with so much to learn from.
        You are doing a fantastic job, really. I was just reading the squat tutorial and wow ! have I ever thought there was so much science/biomechanics in such a basic exercise. It is really a joy to read a well informed article about exercise.
        Keep doing this ! I really appreciate your effort :).

  6. Hi Marianne,
    What do you think of doing each body part once a week and hitting it hard instead of doing less intense full body workouts most days?

    1. It depends on your goals Angela. I think for full body strength, conditioning and fat loss compound lifts and full body exercises are second to none. If you are looking to build size to particular muscles, then splitting your training by body part (bodybuilding style) would suit best. Isolating muscles can also be helpful for injury recovery, but generally the full body approach gives you far more bang for your buck πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Marrianne ! This is the article! I am taking now proein powder but i still have to take care of my diet because i have 3 kg to drop! ….Moderate-intensity exercise is good for metabolic health, but intense training can disrupt sensitive reproductive hormones. A Norwegian study noted significant fertility problems in women involved in heavy training. Women who trained every day to the point of exhaustion showed the greatest risk of infertilityβ€” about 300 percent greater risk than sedentary women. The risk was greatest in women under 30. Overly long or absent menstrual periods are warning signs of exercise-induced infertility. (ScienceDaily, November 23, 2009….)http://www.fitnessrxmag.com/lifestyle/health/927-intense-training-decreases-fertility.html

  8. My members will really appreciated this routine. It will challenge their abilities, and they do love a challege. Thank you for your insight and sharing the knowledge. I only gave them a 1 minute recovery between couplets, but no bonus complex. Thanx again Marianne. From an American admirer and Facebook friend.
    Donald Girard

  9. Marianne,

    Another wicked workout for the books – haven’t seen much of the snatch out of you lately – would love to see it in a future workout (although I know its your ‘nemesis’- haha)

    Hopefully see it soon !


      1. No snatches please! I like your workouts because of your lack of snatches! I can tolerate them maybe every few months πŸ˜›

    1. Eeeek ! I see it now – just hadn’t yet taken a peek at the 500 rep challenge ! oops !

      This week ! πŸ˜€

      p.s. You are an inspiration – as a fellow FUTURE nurse – despite shift work and school still making the workouts happen thanks to you ! πŸ˜€

    1. Sorry if that sounded sarcastic. That’s what I get for leaving your page open and vulnerable to my teenager after challenging him to your workout.
      And of course, he wouldn’t do it, but my husband and I pushed through it tonight and it was a challenge for sure! I would say the toughest couplet for me was the 4th one after the burpees and swings.
      I managed all the C&Ps and pullups. Altho my cleans could probably use more work. I feel like the kb bounces too much off my shoulder.
      Can’t thank you enough for your dedication to your cause and for ‘making’ me push myself every day!

  10. Thanks M, I was wondering what to do tomorrow and this is it. Your cleans are really good, no banging around into the shoulder and you get the bell back beautifully during the swing phase. How are you getting on with the finger-lock? I can’t get the hang of it and I fear it’s going to hold me back in snatch when I go heavier.

    A quick update from here – my KB/Zumba/Yoga workout combination appears to be paying off! I’ve been zapping fat and been developing small but well defined (good) muscle. I’ve struggled for years, as you know to find a winning combination. I’m being careful with food but nothing extreme in diet. All is going well. Thank you for your continued inspirational videos.


    1. That’s great Adam! Maybe I should start this combo πŸ™‚

      Not quite getting the finger-lock, but it’s much easier on the clean! I will have a go at the C+P with the 20kg to put it to a real test! Thanks for noticing my improved technique!

  11. Looks great! Unfortunately I’ve managed to catch a rubbish cold so have been out of action for a couple of days. Looking forward to this one though and also the Survival Deadlift Challenge. Are you going to do that?



    1. Poor you πŸ™ Hope you feel better soon!

      I want to do the deadlift challenge, but a) I am sore from training already LOL and b) I have been slacking in my DLs lately :/ So I worry that at 1.5 times my BW (85kg), I will SUCK! Haha! But now that I have started these challenges, I need to keep doing them …

      You gonna give it a whirl too?

      1. Thanks, just want to get rid of it and get back to training. More just irritating than anything else really. πŸ™‚

        As for the deadlifts, yes I’m raring to go. I’ve been doing fine at bodyweight and am reasonably comfortable but 1.5 x BW for me is 125kg. I’ve set up the weights for a couple of days now and feel like they’ve been taunting me – “come on, if you dare!” LOL I practised 1 rep the other day and can actually lift it so there’s a start, but I think I will tire verrrry quickly when I come to do the challenge properly. Just as well it’s been put back a week so I can be fully recovered.

        Also, being thrifty with my equipment is one thing, but it does mean I have had to put every last disc I own on the bar so I’ve got lots of discs from 10kg right down to tiny 1/5kg! Looks like something out of a cartoon! You’ll see what I mean LOL

        Cheers, Niko.

          1. Thanks Marianne, it felt a long way down LOL Also, given the concerns I had about my grip in the eccentric chin up challenge, I’ve started practising “farmer’s walks” – kind of appropriate for me…! They are evil but fun(!) at the same time. Have you tried them?

            Anyway, good luck with your deadlifts! πŸ™‚

          2. Just finished this one and, although I may have upped the weights a little my number were mostly way down on yours. You kicked my ass all over the park with this one! LOL πŸ™‚ I’ll try the new pyramid either Friday or over the weekend…

  12. Hey Marianne! I recently read an article on fitnessrx.com saying that a study was made and women who train hard for long periods of time become infertil! What do you thimk about this? When do we know whether we train to hard??? If you remember i lost my period about 2 yars ago! Meanwhile i got pregnant and a have a beautiful little girl! I recently start training again and i really don’ t know what intensity should i use in my workouts! I’m a bit afraid !

    1. Karmen, firstly congratulations on your bundle of joy! I am so happy for you πŸ™‚

      As for your question, I think what they might be referring to are the effects of low body fat and stress on the body at a very extreme level. Do you have a link to this article so I can read it? It angers me a little that this article has you so worried! You can safely train at a high intensity and make sure you get enough calories and enough recovery so you will be fine.

      What happened to you before was more likely due to extremely low calories with your training, but as long as you don’t drop your BF too low, you should be fine. Just remember about recovery too. It’s different if you are a professional Marathon runner or something, because then you might lose you fertility for a while as you are in extreme training. But for most people, it is not their training alone that can cause this.

      If you can find the link, I’d be very interested to read what they said in more detail πŸ™‚

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