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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How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow

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How to do a Kettlebell Flow
Close to 10 years ago, I went to go purchase some kettlebells from an old company called My Mad Methods. MMM was located inside of a gym called MBody Strength owned by Marcus Martinez and Mark de Grasse. I met Mark while I was there and asked him if he would take a look at a specific kettlebell program that I had been developing with my students at my former gym SoCal MMA. Mark agreed to. So I proceeded to show some of the kettlebell movements and flows I had developed and his eyes lit up! He said, “would you mind if I filmed these.” I agreed. Within a few minutes Mark looked at me and said, “we need to do a DVD.” I was blown away! I just wanted to see what he thought of the exercises I had developed. I wasn’t expecting to land a DVD deal! This led to his company My Mad Methods producing my first 2 DVDs. Combat Kettlebell Systems was the first. The CKS DVD was the first of its kind to showcase newly developed kettlebell movements and principles taken directly from MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The DVD sold in 30 countries worldwide. I released another DVD dedicated to body weight training called Shadow Jitsu. Then, MMM produced other DVDs from John Wolf and Mark de Grasse. My Mad Methods created such a buzz that it gained the attention of a little nutritional supplement company called Onnit. They purchased MMM (along with my DVDs and articles) and brought in Mark de Grasse to create the Onnit Academy.12592561_883757901723048_1301335978893047852_n-1above left to right, Mark de Grasse, John wolf and myself
In the beginning nobody had seen movement added to kettlebell training. Nobody had seen kettlebell flows and it wasn’t 100% accepted in the kettlebell community. Now, Instagram and other social media have people taking stabs at kettlebell flows and what not. So called kettlebell experts are now crawling out of the wood work with kb workouts for BJJ and MMA. But, there is a huge difference between me and them. Most of these guys just create workouts so that they can upload it to YouTube and I.G. to get hits. These people have never been in the cage while somebody has you on the ground dropping elbows on your face. These people have never had their hand raised in victory in front of thousands of people.king-of-the-cagemedal-chaser Any workout that I post, have been used by me and my students for the last 10 years. I trained a team of MMA/BJJ athletes and regular everyday people at my old gym and now at Legacy BJJ Burbank for close to a decade. These aren’t just workouts I come up with in my living room and throw up on YouTube. Also keep in mind that my YouTube videos are not made to be actual instructional in nature. They are just mere examples of what I do. There are a lot of details that you may be missing if you do not understand the concepts. So I am proud to announce, that Kettle-Jitsu and kettlebell giants the Kettlebell Kings will be working together to educate people and give everyone a better understanding of Kettlebell training for combat athletes.
This is the first of a 3-part series dedicated to Kettlebell training for BJJ and MMA. Let’s discuss the Kettlebell flow. To understand Fighting, you must know that combat sports are anaerobic in nature. This means its closer to running sprints than to going for a long distance jog. Fighting involves multiple muscles at once. A typical BJJ/MMA match involves, pushing, pulling, core work and leg work. Anaerobic training involves short burst of energy, followed by a brief lull in movement. This is how I like to structure my kettlebell workouts.
I have kettlebell flows broken down in 4 different categories.
1. 2 handed single kettlebell flows
2. 1 handed alternating single kettlebell flows
3. Combo flows mixing 1 and 2 together
4. Double kettlebell flows
The enclosed video is an example of #1 and is my most basic Kettlebell flow. It involves a 2 handed clean. This covers our pulling and leg work, 2 handed overhead press (pushing movement), and a 2 handed swing (hinging, core movement). The protocol I use for this is what I call 2 minute Kettlebell circuit. Perform a 2 handed clean and press twice, 2 handed swing twice and a swing to catch once for one minute straight. Followed by ballistic rows for 30 seconds. Burpees make up the final 30 seconds of the 2-minute circuit. Please keep in mind that in my classes, we always start with body weight and mobility before we get into the kb work. This insures that everyone is thoroughly warmed up. Here is a typical Kettlejitsu class format I use
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
I hope this gives a better understanding of how and why I developed kettlebell flows. They are an amazing way to train kettlebells and give you a full body workout, help burn muscle, enhance coordination and focus all at once!
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What is a Kettlebell Flow? Free workout Sample!

tgu-flowtgu-15-dollar-discountkb-kings-banner-for-siteThe Ultimate TGU One month kettlebell and body weight digital download is on sale for only $15 for a limited time! 4 different workouts and 3 different Kettlebell flows! Click here to take advantage of this deal!  Ultimate TGU digital download

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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Thai Knee Kettlebell flow

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The Thai Knee Kettlebell Flow

This is a really basic kettlebell flow with a twist. To be able to perform this flow, you must first know how to do a T-Rex squat, 2 hand overhead press and 2 handed swings. If you are proficient at the 2 handed swings, you can add the Thai knees to it. Adding the knee really challenges your balances and hits your core more so than regular swings. I suggest trying this combo with a lighter weight first. Also, please make sure you are thoroughly warm before trying any kettlebell exercise. If you are not sure on how to warm up properly, purchase the Kettle-Jitsu revolution 8 week kettlebell and body weight course to get you on the right track. Enjoy!