9 Steps to Starting your own Fitness Program

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How to develop your own fitness program
I receive emails and messages daily in regards to kettlebell and body weight training. So, in my next few articles, I will try and cover the questions that I get the most.
“How do I create my own fitness system/program?” is one I was asked since the release of my first DVD Combat Kettlebell systems. Im actually surprised that I haven’t covered this topic already!
First of all, I never sought out to create my own kettlebell and body weight training system. This is the difference between me and all the other people trying to cash in on the fitness industry. I developed Kettle-Jitsu out of necessity.
In an effort to find a fitness program that fit with my gym at the time, one of my business partners suggested we get a kettlebell instructor. I heard great things about them and had no knowledge on how to use them. But I was smart enough to know that in needed some type of instruction to learn to use them properly. So, I agreed and was eager to learn!
My business partner Bill, found an instructor that was certified by the biggest kettlebell instructor at the time. So, we started a once a week kettlebell class with him at my gym SoCal MMA and fitness. We learned the basics. He covered the dead lift, swings, cleans, Turkish get ups and snatches. These were all new to me so, at first, I was really hooked! But, it didn’t really progress from there. It was the kettlebell basics over and over.
As a result, I got bored and so did my students. I really felt there was more kettlebell variety out there. So, I started researching it on the web. To my dismay, I saw very little variety.
Then one day, I was lying in my room, which was in the back of my gym, (yes, I lived in my gym in its early days!), I had an epiphany. I though, I bet you could combine some BJJ movements with the kettlebell. I jumped off my bed, and went into the main mat of my gym and grabbed a kettlebell. I was right! The kettlebell flowed so naturally with the BJJ movements.
So, every morning, I woke up extra early to put myself through a different kettlebell workout. I incorporated all of my innovations into each workout. Then I started integrating it into my boot camps with my students and fighters. They loved it! This is what separates my programs from others. Every single movement and workout I have developed has been a result of direct feedback from my students. Your pupils are your best critics! If your classes are growing and you are retaining students, then you’re doing something right!
Kettle-Jitsu has been 10 years in the making and is continuously evolving.
So, this is how I developed Kettle-jitsu. Not everyone has the convenience of owning their own gym and having students to test their workouts on. So, if you think that developing your own fitness program is something you want to do, then here are a few tips.
1. Master your basics. Online certs like NASM and what not in my opinion are scams. You cant learn fitness from a computer. You need an actual person to show you what and what not to do. So maybe you should do some sort of kettlebell and body weight certification. That way, you have something to build off. Its kind of the same process with martial arts. How do you think there are so many different styles of martial arts? One person becomes proficient in one style. Then he or she, starts to develop their own philosophies and adds their own twist or emphasis to it.
2. After you master your basics and start developing your own workouts, test them on yourself first! Every workout, every exercise I have ever developed, I tried myself before teaching it to my students.
3. Start a small boot camp. Think of it as a test group. Teach your new workouts on them and see how it goes. Ask opinions from your clients. If you have any intention of pursuing a career in fitness, you have to listen to your clients. They pay their hard-earned coin for you to train them. If they like you and the workouts, they will keep coming and are likely to bring friends.
4. Come up with a catchy name for your program. To be honest I’m not even sure how I came up with the name Kettle-Jitsu. But I do know that ever fitness program was fit, this and fit that. So, I didn’t want to jump on the band wagon and come up with an obvious name. Not my style😉
5. Next you should start a business page on Instagram and Facebook. We are in the age of social media and it helps tremendously. Social media is great for various different reasons. It gets your material out there and is a great way to promote your products. Facebook and Instagram now make it fairly easy to run ads all by yourself.
6. Start a website. People need a place where they can go and learn more about you and what you do.
7. If your small boot camp is doing well, you have the options of offering your services at some sort of fitness or martial arts gym. Or, your next option would be to open your own studio. Obviously, the latter is a bit more difficult because of the money factor. But, I know a lot of trainers that earn a living by teaching boot camps at various different gym.
8. Sell your programs online. This means, filming your workouts and putting them up on your website for sale. There are numerous ways to do it. You can do it digitally, or you can do a DVD. I could probably write a small book on this subject! Maybe in another article😉
9. If people are purchasing your programs online and your boot camps are doing well, people may ask you how to get certified in your methods. I never thought in a million years I would be doing a kettlebell DVD and certifying people. But after I released Combat Kettlebell Systems, I started receiving emails asking how to get certified in the CKS system. That’s how it

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!

Body weight flows and practicality

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body weight flows and practicality

Body Weight Flows:

Which type is right for you?

Body weight flow training is all the rave right now. There are so many fitness gurus developing their own styles nowadays. But before you jump on the bandwagon of some of these trends, ask yourself, “Is this practical for me?”  There are many different types of body weight flows. The two I’ll talk about here are class format flows and open space flows.

Since I teach boot camps on a regular basis, space is always an issue. This is why a spend more time developing class format flows. That way you can teach these movements in large group classes and require minimal space.  The first video below is an example of class format flows.  As you can see in the video, me and my student are performing various different types of flows side by side. These are movements I teach daily and work great in large class format.

Open space flows are when you have enough space to perform more intricate flows. Maybe you own a gym and you have a large mat space to yourself. You could be at a park or a beach. In the second video, me and long time student Oscar are doing some free style MMA flowing. As you can see with all of the Kicking, punching and random rolling around, these types of flows would not be ideal, in a large class. Even though I have access to a really big gym, I rarely have the time to do these types of flows. I work out with my classes, so on free time, the last thing I want to do is extracurricular training.

So if you are a trainer and you teach group classes on a regular basis, class format flows may be what you want to spend your time learning or developing. If space is not an option, you can partake in open space flows.



Best Kettlebell Exercise for BJJ!

jiu jitsu magazine articletgu sale $17Get the Ultimate TGU on sale now for only $17! as seen in the latest issue of Jiu JItsu magazine! Click the above banner or this link!Ultimate Turkish Get Up Program download Or, get Save $$$$ and purchase the Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week program and Ultimate TGU together for only $47!!! Click the below banner or this link to save! Kj revolution/Ultimate TGU combo!New web banner package dealTurkish Get Ups are one of the initial exercises that I knew had a direct connection to MMA and Bjj. The mechanics of the TGU are almost identical to a movement in BJJ called, Standing up in base or the Technical lift. The TGU is the best kettlebell exercise for BJJ for 3 reasons. 1. You work your pushing, pulling, squatting/lunging movements all in one exercise. 2. it has numerous applications in actual BJJ techniques. 3. It works motor skills we are not accustomed to doing in every day life. Therefor it enhances your coordination. Most traditional Bjj dojos practice this via body weight on a daily basis. Standing up in base has many applications in jiu jitsu. It has also evolved into a movement necessary for the “scrambling aspect” of Mixed Martial Arts. Scrambling is the art of regaining the standing position in an MMA fight. If you are not good at scrambling, then you will have a shot career in MMA. So, drilling the mechanics of Standing up in base is a must. In the enclosed video, I have several variations of the TGU and Brazilian get up and some applications with a partner. Implement these into your mma and kb training and you will experience tremendous gains! Be sure to check out Joey Alvarado’s article on the Turkish Get Up in the latest issue of Jiu Jitsu Magazine!

Combat Thruster Kettlebell Circuit

tgu banner combat thruster pic for article new years adCombat Thruster Kettlebell Circuit This is our Kettlejitsu, “workout of the week” at Legacy BJJ Burbank. All of the exercises in this workout are performed in a fighting or “stagger” stance.  This adds and entirely different aspect to the workout. Since we are working from a fighting stance, all of your muscles are working from a different angle. Pivot and torque are also addressed in these exercises. Combat thrusters, and combat high pulls add a pivoting aspect to the exercises.  These two exercises are very specific to striking since it is imperative to pivot into your punches for maximum power. Check out the enclosed video to see the Combat Thruster Circuit in action

The Kettle-Jitsu Difference: Why this Kettlebell and Body weight Program Stands out

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the kettlejitsu difference
The Kettle-Jitsu Difference: Why this Kettlebell and Body weight program stands out.
The fitness industry is more popular than ever. Combat sports like MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are now household names. Because of this we are having a lot of people coming out with different fitness programs. All of them claiming to be effect for combat sports. So naturally people will ask why my system is any different than the others.
The number one reason I feel my Kettlejitsu Program stands out from other kettlebell and body weight programs is that it was developed by me teaching group and private classes, 6 days a week, for the last 7 years at my previous gym SoCal mma and for the last year at Legacy BJJ Burbank. Since I have taught Kettlejitsu so much, I have developed an efficient formula for creating effective kettlebell and body weight routines. When teaching on a regular everyday basis, you have to keep your clients attention. Retention of your students is key to running a gym. Since Kettlejitsu is constantly in evolution, I have developed tons of routines so that my clients never get bored. On my Kettlejitsu71 youtube channel, I have a ton of videos of my bootcamps with me teaching packed classes. On my dvds, I use actual students who take my classes on a daily. I do not hire professional fitness models in my videos. Since I teach daily, I get direct feedback from my students. I can have 15 to 20 people show up to my 5:30am bootcamp. This tells me that im doing something right. When I see a new fitness program come out claiming to do this and that, I google it and the instructor. If there is little info of them on the internet and only videos of them training themselves in their basement, then there isn’t much merit to their claim. Who is actually doing their workouts? In my videos I post on my facebook, web site and youtube, you can see exactly the people I train in my Kettlejitsu bootcamps.
Another reason why Kettlejitsu stands out, is that it contains actual sports specific MMA and BJJ movements. I have fused combat specific movements with traditional kettlebell and body weight exercises. I have seen people claiming to do the same thing, but they are just rehashing the same traditional kettlebell movements that have been around forever.
So Kettle-Jitsu stands out because: 1. Its routines were developed by teaching it extensively for close to a decade. 2. The variety keeps your student’s attention and helps with retention. 3. Because it contains combat specific movements, it engages the practitioner like no other program. 4. I have videos and dvds containing actual students (and combat athletes) who train in my programs to back my claims. 5. I am the only BJJ black belt/BJJ/MMA champion to develop a Kettlebell and body weigh system. Check out this link for my credentials About Joey Alvarado. 6. I actually do the workouts myself. I train with my students 4 days a week. These workouts that Ive developed are like second nature to me. So, I can train and teach simultaneously with my students.
Check out the enclosed video. In this clip, you can see 2 BJJ world champions on the mat. Alberto Crane and Jessica Oliveira. There are also Muay Thai fighter and regular every day people in the video. Remember, you don’t have to be a combat athlete to train like one!

2 Minute Body weight workout for BJJ

Kettle-Jitsu body weight flows are an excellent source of conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, fat loss and other combat sports. In my Kettle-JItsu system, I have what I call a body weight long combo.  This means, 2 different compound body weight exercises combined together for an extended period of time.  In my classes we do rounds of 2 or 3 minutes for these long combos. In this workout we are combining what I call a 10 count body builder with a traditional burpee.  In my classes we always do a joint mobility warm up and drill each movement in the body weight flow.  For example. With the 10 count body builders, we drill sprawls for 30 seconds, hindu push ups for 30 seconds and peak outs for 30 seconds. Then we repeat for several sets. That can be left to your discretion. I usually play to the level of the class.  After that we drill each compound body weight exercise for one minute rounds each. This means one minute of burpees and one minute of 10 count bodybuilders. After that you should be thoroughly warm and ready for the long combo.

To perform the this long combo, do the 10 count body builder all the way through followed by to burpees. Then continuously repeat for 2 minutes straight. You will find that this long combo will challenge all of your muscles and your focus simultaneously.  So it is important to stay alert! The beauty of this workout is that you can do it anywhere you please. In your living room, the beach, the park or your dojo! For more workouts like this, check out my dvd Kettle-Jitsu revolution!

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Kettlebell S Get Up for BJJ/MMA

The Kettlebell S Get Up

I think anybody who trains with kettlebells knows what a Turkish get up is. It is an amazing full body exercise. I love it and have a very particular way of teaching it. But, at my gym, I teach large groups at once. Most of the time they are vary in fitness levels. Since the TGU contains so many movements, plus the fact that involves holding the bell in an overhead lock out position, it is not always ideal to teach in that type of environment. This is what inspired me to develop the S Get Up.  I wanted to do a get up, that was challenging enough for advanced people, yet easy enough for a novice to learn and enjoy.

Like the Turkish Get up, the S Get up is a compound movement. It contains several movements rolled into one.  Like a lot of my movements, its based off of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu position. In the SGU your legs are in an S shape that is used in many BJJ techniques.  Ive eliminated the overhead position in this get up to make it safer and easier to learn. Plus, even though it is challenging, I feel that holding a bell in the overhead position has little practicality in BJJ or life in general.

When I teach any routine in my classes, I like to break down each movement and drill each one for 30 second intervals. That way, my students get the feel for it. The same goes for the SGU.  First, I break down each step using body weigh only. Then I put it together in a flow. After drilling the body weight version for several rounds, we apply the kettlebell to it. Start by drilling the lying S press for 30 seconds on each side. Next, drill the S squats for 30 seconds on each side. Same thing with rows and cleans. You can repeat these exercises as much as you like. Then, I put it all together into a 3 minute round. 2 minutes of alternating SGU, 20 seconds of rows and Burpees for the last 30 seconds.

Please remember that you must always warm up thoroughly before rigorous training. My workouts always consist of joint mobility, core warm ups and body weight warm ups before even touching a kettlebell. For an easy to follow kettlebell warm ups and workouts, check out my Kettle-Jitsu 8 week kettlebell and bodyweight workout program! Have fun with the SGU! Oss!

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7 BJJ/MMA Specific Kettlebell Exercises For core/hip strength

 

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7 BJJ/MMA Specific Kettlebell Exercises for core/hip strength

I’ve seen quite a few articles out there on this topic. But I’m not seeing anything new. Swings, snatches and cleans are about the only exercises I see so called kettlebell experts doing. A lot of them are putting the tag “for MMA” behind it. Even though the majority of them haven’t had any experience in that area.  Kettlebells are my single most favorite exercise tool. I have dedicated the last 6 years of my life to kettlebells and body weight training specifically for BJJ/MMA conditioning.  Over this period of time, I have developed new kettlebell movements, released 3 dvds on the subject and administered certifications all over the world with my Kettle-Jitsu system.  I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt and over the last 2 years ive competed in 18 BJJ tournaments.  So, I have battle tested my system as well.

After reading numerous articles on core strength for MMA/BJJ, I decided to take a stab at it.  I guess you can call this 7 unconventional BJJ/MMA specific Kettlebell exercises for core strength.  I use the word unconventional, because these aren’t the typical KB exercises you see people doing.  These are exercises I have developed myself and teach to my students regularly.

I love kettlebells because they allow for more natural movements. You can do a lot of sports specific movements with them.  When I design workouts, I think in terms of practicality as well as effectiveness.  I have seen people recently lay 400 lb barbells over their hips to develop hip strength.  Im not saying it doesn’t work, but in terms of practicality, it doesn’t suit me.  I teach large classes, so using a kettlebell allows me to utilize minimal space and still deliver an amazing workout. Here are my top 7 exercises for hip power:

  1. Snake move: In MMA/BJJ you have to know how to fight off of your back period.  Snake move is an essential movement that you have to master if you want to fight off of your back effectively.  Adding a kettlebell to this movement mimics fighting off of your back to a t.
  2. Rocking chair: This is another BJJ bodyweight exercise adapted with a kettlebell.  This is one way to regain the standing position in combat sports. It is also used in numerous transitional techniques in Brazilian jiu jitsu.  It hits your core and hips directly.  I like to add a press to this exercise to hit more muscle groups simultaneously.
  3. Upa: Prounounced oo-pah. This the third BJJ body weight exercise adapted with a kettlebell. Upa is typically used for escaping the mount and as a way to offset your opponents balance. Bridging is a common movement found in the ground fighting.
  4. Turkish presses: Some people refer to this as a quarter get up. But this is a partial movement of an exercise commonly called “standing up in base” in BJJ.  It is another movement that is used almost every time you are fighting off of your back. It has a ton of applications.
  5. Double kettlebell swings: Double kettlebell training means double the power. This swing variations will take your hip and core power to another level.  Mastering swings and the hip hinge will take your sprawls to new heights.
  6. Hopping swings:  This is a swing variation that hits your core differently than traditional swings. It adds explosiveness to it.  Hopping back and forth builds momentum, so your core works harder to stabilize your body. Otherwise, this exercise can throw you off balance big time!
  7. Bridge and sprawl:  In this one, im combining 2 of common movements used in ground fighting.  This exercise also requires coordination, agility and focus into one flowing movement.

I was training a fighter for his UFC debut once. We were using these exercises combined into a circuit and afterwards he said, “Man, I felt like I was in a fight the whole time!” To make a routine like this you will typically need various different training devices. But, with a little creativity, a kettlebell can do it more efficiently. Enjoy!


3 Minute Total Body Weight Circuit

When developing workouts for my classes and dvd’s, one of the main concepts I use is what I call the “balance principle.” This basically means, I try to hit all of your major muscle groups evenly. So after a Kettle-Jitsu workout, you should never feel like you just got a leg workout, or just a core workout. By combining as many muscle groups into your workouts, you will get that metabolic effect. I use this principle with both body weight and kettlebell training.

For this particular body weight workout, I combine dynamic exercises that hit multiple muscles simultaneously to give the circuit an anaerobic effect. I call this the Lunge/Touch and kick circuit. This is a 3 minute nonstop circuit in which you change exercises every 30 seconds. There are 4 exercises.  1. The lunge/touch and kick 2. Walk out to a push up 3. Mountain climbers 4. Burpees.  In my classes, before any workout, we start off with joint mobility and some light body weight movements. I cant stress enough how important this is. This prepares your body for rigorous training and helps to prevent injuries. We do an ab pyramid, then break down each movement in the circuit for 30 seconds with a 15 second rest in between. To have a better understanding of this formula, check out my Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd.  It follows the same aforementioned format.  After this, you should be ready to start the Lung/Touch and kick circuit!

Instructions:  Set your timers to 3 minutes with 30 second intervals.  We rest for 30 seconds in between rounds. I use a ringside mma timer.  These are great because you can set it to ring every 30 seconds. This lets you know when to change exercises.  To perform the circuit, start with lunge/touch and kick(right leg back, kick w left) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, lunge/touch kick(left leg back, kick w right) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, mountain climbers for 30 seconds followed by burpees for the final 30 seconds.  Repeat as many times as you like. At my gym SoCal mma, we do 3 rounds and follow it up with our kettlebell workout.

You will feel this circuit everywhere! Enjoy!