Armor Building Complex – 2-1-3
Posted on September 9th, 2021
Popularized by Dan John, the armor building workout consists of using two kettlebells and completing two cleans, one overhead press, and three front squats. This style of workout is known as a complex and is traditionally done EMOM style (every minute on the minute). That being said, it can be altered to target many of the fitness indicators; strength, cardio, and endurance.
About three years ago I was introduced to armor building by Evan Marcantonio of Elevate Strength & Performance (video below). We set the timer for 8 minutes and completed each set (2-1-3) EMOM style. Since then, I usually aim to complete at least one session per week.
For most people, the overhead press is the limiting factor when moving up to heavier weights. To start, I would recommend a weight that you are comfortable pressing for 5 reps (remember this is two kettlebells).
What I love most about this complex, is varying the volume from week to week. One week I might do heavy load with little volume (5-10 rounds) and the next do lighter loads with higher volume (15-20 rounds). If I am really feeling juicy, I’ll add a pull-up at the end of each round.
If you are beginning in your kettlebell practice or the weight is too much, I would suggest starting with just one kettlebell and working your way up.