Is your Fitness Functional?

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Is Your Fitness Functional?
Functional fitness has got to be the biggest buzz word in the fitness industry today. If you google “functional fitness”, the definition according to Wikipedia is, “functional. training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. For me that definition sums it up clearly. Yet, those two words have taken on an entirely different meaning.
The fitness industry is just like any other industry. There is always a trend. Even in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competitions there are trends. One minute everyone was playing deep half guard, then it was berimbolo etc… So we are now in the era of functional training! The problem is, everyone is tagging functional to marketing campaigns and what not. It has taken on a different meaning.
I feel that people think that if you are doing a compound exercise that it is functional. I don’t agree entirely. I see some people doing the most outlandish stuff ever on Instagram. Then they say how functional it is. I’m thinking, functional for what exactly?? Maybe he thinks because he was working multiple simultaneously that its functional?
Functional for me is mimicking movements you do in everyday life. We walk, squat, lunge, reach, bend over, pic things up, get out of bed, pic up babies, carry babies around etc… But, if you are like me, I train and teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day. So, my functional training is a bit different than most people. That is why I developed Kettle-Jitsu.

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Functional for me is also teaching your muscles to work together harmoniously. We achieve that in my boot camps with certain exercises that are staples of my curriculum. In almost every class I teach, I include different variations of dead cleans, squats, lunges, presses, rows and dead lifts. I believe those exercises are amongst the most functional for regular everyday people and combat athletes. Functional exercises for combat athletes are, rocking chair, snake move, deck squats, combat cleans, swings, Turkish Get ups, and high pulls etc…
I believe functional also boils down to the piece of equipment you use. I feel that your body, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are the most functional tools you can use. With those tools you can comfortable, clean, squat, press, lunge, and hinge. If you cannot comfortably do that with something, then for me it’s not that functional. But just because it’s not functional doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Let’s use the Macebell for example. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a long metal pole with a ball attached to it. You can perform compound movements with it. But do they actually mimic anything you do in everyday life? We do not even hold things in our hands in everyday life in the same manner necessary to use a Macebell.
So, if you are truly looking for functional workouts, take a deeper look into the movements. Ask yourself, does this mimic anything that I do every day?

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Kettlebell Get Ups for BJJ and MMA! Part 1

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Kettlebell Get Ups for MMA and BJJ
Years before I even trained with kettlebells I heard many people professing how good they were for martial arts. But never quite heard any one explaining exactly why they are good for combat sports.
Flash forward to the first time I was taught the Turkish Get Up! First thing that came to my mind was, “Oh wow!” it’s almost identical to what’s called the Technical lift in BJJ! About the only difference is, with the technical lift, on the get up part, instead of putting the knee on the ground, we bypass that and stand straight to our feet.
The Technical lift (aka: standing up in base or the technical stand up) is a mandatory movement that any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioner or MMA fighter should master. It is the proper way to stand up when someone knocks you down in a street fight or MMA fight. Also, it has a ton of direct applications in BJJ sweeps and transitions.
Other than martial arts applications, the Turkish Get Up has numerous benefits. I honestly feel that it is one of the best full body exercises you can do. I personally prefer to add a press and drive thru my elbow which targets your chest and back. When you do this, it makes the TGU more challenging because you are utilizing more muscles.
Also, I do not favor doing max reps of a TGU with a ton of weight. In the course of a BJJ match, I personally utilize the TGU or Technical lift movement numerous times. So, I make my get up training closer to that. I prefer to train an alternating Turkish get up for 2-minute rounds to get a full body workout. This also makes it highly anaerobic the same as combat sports. You can get a deeper look into my Turkish Get Up training methods in my one-month Ultimate program.
Check out the attached video in which I demonstrate a Turkish get up and a Brazilian get up. The video also demonstrates a few direct applications to BJJ and MMA. Enjoy!

Kettlebell Workout for MMA/BJJ and Fitness using Nontraditional Exercises

kb kings article 3Kettlebell Workout using nontraditional exercises
The Kettlebell is the most diverse training tool in existence in my opinion. I always tell people the only limit is your imagination when it comes to kettlebell training. When I started my KB training close to 10 years ago, I was really excited about these new movements that I was learning. I had never done a kettlebell swing, snatch or Turkish Get Up before then. But to my dismay, after learning the KB basics, the exercises did not expand past that. I wanted more. I researched KB training and could not find anything other than the same exercises rehashed over and over. Then one day, when I was living in my gym. A light bulb popped up in my head. I thought to myself, I bet I could incorporate KB with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So, I jumped on the mat, grabbed a kettlebell and the first move I worked on is the rocking chair! That was the beginnings of Kettlejitsu. Since then, I have continuously developed a lot of other nontraditional exercises and workouts using Kettlebell.
In my previous 2 articles that I have written for the Kettlebell Kings Blog, I used kettlebell flows using more or less traditional exercises. In this one we will be using mostly sports specific MMA/BJJ inspired exercises. Keep in mind, that just because these exercises are influenced by Martial Arts, does not mean that they are inclusive to combat athletes. Anyone can enjoy these exercises. But they are a bit advanced so be sure to have your KB basics down. In this workout, we will be using what I call Anaerobic Pyramid Conditioning (APC). This means it’s a series of movements combined to create an anaerobic breathing effect which is what you will experience if you were in an MMA or BJJ fight. These exercises are combined in what I call a pyramid. So we will perform 5 reps of each exercise, 10 reps and then back down to 5 to complete the pyramid. This is the protocol that I focus on in my new KB Strength and Conditioning download. Let me break down the exercises for you.
1. The KB rocking chair to a press. Like I said this is the first exercise that I developed. This was taught to me by my BJJ Master Roger Machado. It is a movement found in a lot of different BJJ techniques and transitions. It can be performed using body weight only or with KB. Excellent movement for hip/ knee mobility and core strength. By adding a kettlebell and a press, you are incorporating multiple muscles at once. You will be working your upper chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and your core simultaneously. Plus, you will feel like a ninja afterwards!
2. Deck squats. These are like squats on steroids. By rolling from your back all the way to your feet, you incorporate a lot of different muscles. Particularly, your core. There is a lot of getting up off your back to your feet in MMA and BJJ so this one helps tremendously.
3. Corner to corner rows. In BJJ we do a lot of pulling from this position. So, I feel it’s important to incorporate a lot of different row variations in my workouts.
4. The fighters figure 8. This was also one of the first exercises I developed when embarking on my Kettlejitsu journey. I wanted to incorporate punching to the best of my ability. This one mimics the punching movement of a hooking type punch. It also addresses pivoting and torque. You will feel this exercise in your upper body and your core simultaneously.
So please keep in mind. Before getting to the main workout, you must warm up first! The way I teach, that means plenty of body weight first. Then, we practice each individual kettlebell exercise for 30 second intervals with a 10 second rest. Once you drill each exercise for several rounds, then you can wrap it up with the final kettlebell pyramid.
-rocking chair 5x
-deck squats 5x
-corner to corner rows 5x
-fighters figure 8 5x
-burpees 5x
Repeat each exercise for 10 repetitions then back down to 5 to complete the pyramid.
Check out the video include in this article to get a better idea of the movements in this workout. I also include some footage of me using this workout with my Kettlejitsu boot camp at Legacy Los Angeles. Have fun and train safe!

Variety: The importance of it for Trainers!

focusVariety: The Importance of it for Trainers and Instructors!
When first opened my gym, SoCal MMA 10 years ago, I had 2 black belts, boxing experienced and I was a veteran of professional MMA. Plus, as a kid, I religiously followed body building. So, I felt I had a pretty good fitness repertoire. At SoCal, I taught all of the classes in the beginning. I taught an MMA class, BJJ and a female boot camp class. In all of those classes I utilized workouts that included exercises and movements from all of the arts I trained in. Including animal style movements that have existed in BJJ forever. After a couple of months, my very first female student, Lety, turned to me and said, “Can we do something different? We did this the other day.” I was in shock! But this is what you deal with when you have clients that pay a monthly fee to train at your gym. You have to be attentive towards their needs. This is what caused me to start researching other fitness programs. In an attempt to add variety and attract clients, one of my business partners suggested hiring a kettlebell trainer. I was for it! I knew very little about kettlebells. But I knew enough to know that I needed instruction with them. My partner did the research and found a certified Russian kettlebell trainer to teach once a week at my gym. Since kettlebell training was new to everyone, we enjoyed it. He introduced to us the kettlebell standards, swings, snatches, goblet squats, dead lifts and the Turkish get up. Since these were new exercises, in the beginning, they were exciting and fun. But since the instructor had the traditional Russian kettlebell mindset that you only those few exercises, our clients and myself became bored and uninspired. I was frustrated because I really enjoyed the kettlebell stuff, but I yearned for more. So, I started researching other kettlebell organizations. To my dismay, there was little variety available. This forced me to start innovating my kettlebell and body weight program. I felt every kettlebell workout lacked full body movements. They were more like core and leg workouts. So, I started adding more exercises to hit more muscle groups. I realized how versatile kettlebells and body weight were! I incorporated movements from BJJ and other arts which gave birth to my Kettlejitsu program.
Kettlebell and body weight add more variety than any other 2 training tools in my opinion. I started teaching my new methods to my classes and they loved it! My clients became content and consistent and classes grew. Since then I have maintained my Kettlejitsu boot camps for close to 10 years now. It was also key in helping earn a living from doing what I love to do. Your clients will appreciate variety. If you teach the same thing over and over, I guarantee you it will be difficult to retain students. You have to remember when someone is paying you their hard-earned coin to train with you, you owe it to them to give the best possible training available. This is why I am constantly evolving and learning. I watch and study. I learn from everywhere. I even learn from my students! The key to innovation is to keep an open mind.
These concepts can be applied to martial arts as well. Can you imagine a Martial Arts instructor that only taught 10 moves? It would be pretty boring. One of the main keys to client retention is variety. Have you ever heard the saying, “variety is the spice of life?” I truly believe that! Stay on your toes, be attentive towards your students and add variety to your workouts on the daily. Use these concepts if you have intention on making a living as a trainer! Check out this video that displays some of the variety in my Kettlejitsu programs. Enjoy!

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H2H Intermediate Kettlebell Flow

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H2H Intermediate Kettlebell Flow
This is part 2 of my 3 articles on kettlebell training for combat sports exclusively for my sponsors the Kettlebell kings. In this article, we are covering what I call an H2H or hand to hand kettlebell flow. This particular flow is for intermediate level KB practitioners for 2 reasons. 1. It involves the overhead squat and high pull which require a bit of practice. 2. H2H means we will be passing the kettlebell from our left hand to right hand for the duration of this flow. This requires focus, timing and coordination.
This kettlebell flow contains one of my favorite kettlebell exercises, the high pull. When I was first taught this exercise, I immediately thought to myself “this is like throwing a punch.” I immediately attributed it to a punch we call a overhand right in MMA or Boxing. But to my dismay, we only worked it a few times. Most traditional kettlebell trainers teach the high pull as a precursor to the snatch. Which for a lot of people, is the be all and end all of kettlebell training. Although I do enjoy snatches, I feel the high pull is equally important. Maybe even more so. Reason being, if you work the high pull the way I do, then your hinging, pushing and pulling all in one explosive movement. That means your working your core, chest, back, shoulders biceps, triceps and forearm at once. I am including a video tutorial of how I do a high pull. So check it out to see what im talking about. High pulls are also help with hand speed and punching power. Its like throwing punches with a kettlebell! Try shadow boxing after a few sets of high pulls and see how fast your hands are!
In the previous article I talked about the many attributes needed in combat sports and how kettlebell flows help. One I didn’t touch on is focus. Your mind has to be razor sharp in the ring or cage. Even when you are in the later rounds and you are exhausted you have to have the ability to keep your composure and focus. One mental lapse and it can cause you the fight. Kettlebell flows address this issue. After a few rounds of this flow you will tire and it will increasingly get difficult to keep the flow consistent. It forces you to focus.
Here is the workout. We will keep the protocol the same as the workout in the previous article. In all of my workouts protocol is as follows:
1. mobility and core warm up
2. Ab pyramid (abdominal work)
3. B.I.T. Body weight interval training
4. C.I.T. Compound body weight training.
5. K.I.T. Kettlebell interval training
6. Kettlebell circuit
The kettlebell circuit is as follows: 2-minute round. 1 minute kettlebell flow, 30 seconds of rows and 30 seconds of burpees. I would suggest practicing each exercise that makes up the flow individually. This is what I call K.I.T. or kettlebell interval training. I usually do 30 seconds of work with a 10 second break between each set. Example: 30 seconds of overhead squats on the left 30 seconds of overhead squats on the right, 30 seconds high pulls on the left and so forth. Then try the flow using a lighter bell until you get used to the sequence. You can upgrade the weight of your bell for however you see fit.
There you have it! Intermediate H2H Kettlebell flow for combat sports and fitness! Stay tuned for part 3 of this series!

What is a Kettlebell Flow? Free workout Sample!

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What is a Kettlebell flow
Kettlebell and body weight are the only two training methods where you can fuse one’s personality into. This is why I love them. So naturally when I immersed myself into kettlebell training, I started to combine principles and movements from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA with kettlebell and body weight. The flow is an underlying concept that I’ve used throughout my entire 30 year martial arts career. In a fight you need to be able to seamlessly flow from technique to technique. So I implemented this concept with kettlebells. Over 10 years ago I started using kettlebell flow with my students. Back then, people were afraid to think out of the box when it came to kettlebell training. But thanks to Mark de Grasse of My Mad Methods (bought out by onnit) and my first DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems, I broke the mold of traditional kettlebell training and started the evolution.
Now countless people are taking a stab at what they think kettlebell flows are. But I see that they are missing some key elements. So I will break down the criteria that makes up a Kettlejitsu Kettlebell flow.
1. Kettlebell flows contain 3 or more movements into one seamless pattern.
2. Each flow should be balanced on both sides of your body.
3. I do not emphasize weight since flows are performed for time.
4. My kettlebell flows are developed so that they may be easily performed in a class format.
5. Continuous motion is a key factor in a kettlejitsu kettlebell flow
6. Only one to two hinging movements per flow.
7. Each flow should contain a pushing, pressing, hinging and sometimes pulling movement
8. In a kettlejitsu flow, there is no pause or stop
In my classes we will do a kettlebell flow for one to two minutes long. Since you do not put the bell down at all during that whole period, all of your muscles, including your forearms get taxed. If anyone has ever training in BJJ or MMA, they know that after a match, your whole body is tired. Your forearms are filled with lactic acid because of all of the grabbing. If your kettlebell flows are structured properly, this is how you should feel after a round. Enclosed are a few examples of kettlebell flows in action. Enjoy!

The below video is an example of a TGU Flow taken directly from the Ultimate TGU one month Turkish Get up Program. For more on this topic, please check out How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow and How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow

This is a very popular video shot almost 4 years ago. It contains many different kettlebell flows I use in my group bootcamp classes.

This video was shot 4 years ago at the My Methods Booth at the LA fitness festival. Me, Mark de Grasse and John Wolfe shared a booth.  Pre Onnit academy.

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The Truth about Mobility

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The Truth About Mobility
Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily. So throughout the day, if you have pain during some of your daily activities, it could be a mobility issue. Fortunately, a lot of those issues can be corrected through mobility exercises. Since I teach large group classes and have been for the last 10 years, I have narrowed down the most common areas that people lack the most mobility in. These are the neck, shoulders, back, hips and knees.
So, how much time daily do I need to spend on mobility? The first 10 minutes of any of my Kettlejitsu boot camps is all mobility. During that time, I cover all of the aforementioned areas where people lack the most mobility. This is the format I have been following and anyone who has consistently attended my classes has enhanced their mobility tenfold. If you teach large boot camps on a regular basis, spending any more time than that on mobility is a waste of time. From my experience, your average person has about 3 hours a week of free time to exercise. If you spend the majority of that time doing joint mobility, you are not giving your clients what they want. People sign up at a gym or boot camp to sweat and get results. You cannot lose weight or tone up from doing mobility for an hour. Quite frankly you don’t need an hour of mobility. I have trained in martial arts for over 30 years now. I even played football and baseball in high school. I had my first Tae Kwon Do match at the age of 9 two weeks after I joined. I literally had dozens of TKD fights, 15 pro mma fights and easily over 100 BJJ matches. At 45 years old, I am more mobile and flexible than the majority of these so called mobility experts.14115440_844597072239195_5298171782733036032_o
Another great thing about mobility is that you do not need any extra equipment to do it. You can address all of your mobility needs through body weight only exercises. There has been no scientific evidence that has proven that adding any implement to joint mobility exercises makes a difference. People who say otherwise are misinformed or they are just trying to sell you some B.S.
So to wrap things up, mobility is very important. Focus on some specific mobility exercises for about ten minutes before each workout and that should be sufficient. Enclosed are some links to videos that show some of the mobility I work with my students on a daily basis. These mobility warm ups can be found on all of my downloads as well. Enjoy! Click here to see proven joint mobility exercises in a live group class!  Kettlejitsu Mobility Instagram

 

What is the KB Strength and conditioning program?

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The KB Strength and conditioning program is something I have been working on for some time now. While training my group classes at Legacy Burbank, I have experimented with different protocols and the combination of specific kettlebell and body weight exercises that would optimize fat loss and muscle gains. Ask yourself, which exercises do elite athletes, crossfitters and MMA fighters use to gain strength, power and muscle? Cleans, dead lifts, overhead snatches, rows, presses, and burpees are staples of their routines. These exercises are usually performed with barbells though. But guess what? You can do all of these exercises just as effectively, but a lot safer and add more variety with kettlebells. Safer because barbells put you at an awkward mechanical disadvantage. Kettlebells allow for a lot more natural and fluid movement. One of the focal points of this program is emphasis on the dead snatch. This is always been my snatch variation of choice. More so than the traditional snatch using the hip hinge. Why, the dead snatch works a lot more muscles at once. It hits almost all major muscle groups in one explosive movement. In this program I cover 4 different snatch variations and combine them with other exercises to give you a full body workout. These type of metabolic workouts are key to rapid fat loss.
Double kettlebell training is the equivalent of barbell training. But as I said earlier, double kb feels a lot more natural. Therefor making it more safe. Double kb is essential for building muscle, power and strength.
Burpees are a staple of fitness classes every where for a reason. They are an awesome full body, fat burning exercises that can be done anywhere. Only problem is, people get bored doing the same burpee variation over and over. So I have included various different burpee variations in this program. This is called muscle confusion.
I admit, the nutrition aspect of this has been the most difficult. If any of you follow me on the various different social media, you would know I am a big foodie! Its so easy to get caught up into that routine of eating out all the time. Especially in L.A. But I was determined! In the KB strength program, I take an eclectic approach to the diet. I utilize various different dieting strategies and principles to burn fat at a rapid pace.
I put myself through this entire program myself! The results were amazing! I went from 170lbs, to 150lbs in 2 months! I went from a size 34 inch waist, to a 32.14037746_10210212512418788_480519358_o Ive also made noticeable gains in my upper body and arms. At 45 years old I have never been in better shape!14074524_10210287634656797_590989060_o16121410_10211785640065996_459477003_o I initially was going to film my body weight 4 BJJ program, but since ive been posting my progress with this program, im getting messaged like crazy asking what ive been doing! So, I started production on this program and it is now available to download in its entirety! . For a limited time the KB strength and conditioning program is only $27.00! Here is a check list of what you will receive when you purchase the program.
-Body weight warm up
-ab pyramid training
-body weight interval training(HIIT)
-Compound body weight training
-Kettlebell Interval training (KIT)
-Kettlebell circuits using my new patented Anaerobic Pyramid Conditioning (APC) method
-the 15 guidelines of rapid fat loss
-Beginner, intermediate, advanced and elite workout calendars
-PDF of all the workouts with complete graphics
-Professionally edited follow along video of all the workouts

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Double Kettlebell Workout for BJJ!

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Double Kettlebell workout for BJJ!

Double kettlebell training is the equivalent of doing barbell work. But, with kettlebells it allows for more natural movement and they offer a lot more variety than traditional barbell work. For instance this workout. I flow seamlessly from the ground to my feel with the exercises. Just cant be done with a barbell! Double kettlebells are great for building strength and power. In this circuit we work our pushing, pulling, squatting and core all with one simple circuit. Keep in mind that this is our pyramid finisher in this video. Before the workout in this video, we worked mobility, abs, body weight training and our kb interval training. We wrapped it up with this pyramid in this video! Remember 5 reps of each exercise, 10 and then back down to five. If your feeling your oats, go all the way up to 15 and back down. Just make sure you warm up first! If you follow the format in my downloads, you should be good to go! Enjoy!

Free Kettle-Jitsu Happy Hour workout!

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Free Kettlejitsu Happy Hour Kettlebell and Body Weight Workout!

The Happy hour circuit has been in the Kettle-Jitsu curriculum for years now!  Its a full body workout! Can you say intense?? Download your free Mp4 and PDF here! Happy Hour workout PDF