10 Exercises to warm up your posterior chain for Kettlebell training and BJJ!

¬10 exercises for your Posterior Chain

Warming up in my professional opinion is without a doubt the most important thing you can do before exercising. I realized this about 10 years ago when I first embarked on my Kettlebell journey. We had a certified kettlebell coach teaching a boot camp once a week at my old gym SoCal MMA. The coach was insistent that I use a heavy weight because I wan an MMA fighter and a man. Even though I had zero kettlebell training, I listened to him. After every class, my lower back was killing me! I thought to myself, “I must be doing something wrong.” After a few classes I realized that it wasn’t me, it was the lack of a good, solid warm up!
Our warm up consisted of halos with 16kg bells and swings. Not the ideal warm up when you are about to engage in any type of kettlebell training. I eventually took over the KB boot camp at my gym and made warming up a priority. In the 10 years that I have been training with kettlebells, I have narrowed it down to the 2 areas of the bodies that endure the most injuries. These areas are the lower back, and the shoulders.
The kettlebell swing is an explosive exercise that emphasizes your posterior chain. Your lower back is a crucial part of this chain. If you injure your back, it is extremely painful and uncomfortable. When your lower back is injured, walking, bending over, getting out of bed and just about everything you do will be painful. It is my number one priority that all of my clients stay injury free. If any of my students leave my gym injured, then I failed them as a coach. I can not have that on my conscience.
I know the name Kettle-Jitsu may be misleading. People may assume its just about kettlebell training. But, in my programs, body weight is just as important as kettlebell. In fact, in my classes, it consists of 30 minutes of body weight and 30 minutes of kettlebell. This is the protocol I follow on all of my downloads. The first 30 minutes of body weight training are preparing you to work with the kettlebell in the last 30 minutes of the workout.
In the first 30 minutes of my classes, we focus on warming up our entire body with mobility, isometrics, core exercises, ab training and body weight training. There is a huge emphasis on warming up the posterior chain. That way, when we get to the body weight training, the chances of you getting any type of injury are miniscule.

The enclosed video contains 10 of the exercises we use in every class I teach. I even include these my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes! I urge you to implement these into your daily routine. Since these are body weight exercises, you can do them anywhere! You can even wake up in the morning and do these in your living room before work! Have a look at this video and try them out for yourself!

The kettlebel figure 8 for MMA Striking

¬The Kettlebell Figure 8 for MMA Striking
Close to 10 years ago when I started developing my Kettlejitsu system, I discovered you can mimic fighting movements with a Kettlebell. The rocking chair and snake move are the first exercises that I experimented with. I was astonished at how well they worked together! I became obsessed! So, I wondered, could I utilize striking movements with the kettlebell? The answer is yes! I saw someone do a figure 8 to a hold back then and I though, that looks similar to an uppercut! That’s when I started working on the fighter’s figure 8 and the KB uppercut. It later led to me developing swings and other striking movements from a fighting (staggered) stance.
But first things first. I believe it is easiest to start working on these movements with the basic figure 8 first. Why? Because it is from the same stance most KB exercises utilize. So, you will have a basic, shoulder width stance. I have seen many figure 8 variations. I use a hinging movement with this exercise. I have seen variations where people stay hunched over and just use arm momentum to feed the bell in a figure 8 fashion. I tried this method and really got nothing from it. By utilizing the hinge in the basic figure 8, and since the bell is being fed in between the legs and on the outside of the body, it hits your core in an entirely different manner than a swing.
Couple of tips! I grab the bell by the corner and feed it to my other hand so it can gram the opposite corner of the bell. If you grab the handle by center of the bell, when you feed the bell through your legs, you may accidentally grab your own hand and drop the bell. Also, I suggest using a light bell to practice.
Once you get the hang of the basic figure 8, you can progress to a figure 8 to a hold, bottoms up uppercuts, ballistic uppercuts and the fighters figure 8. Some of these can be found on my Kettle-Jitsu Revolution download.
I definitely recommend adding the Kettlebell figure 8 and its variations to your workouts. They are super fun and add a ton of variety to your training! You do not have to be a combat athlete to enjoy and benefit from them!!

How to make dairy free cheese! (vegan)

How to make dairy free cheese (vegan)
So, as you may already know, I have given up all animal products for the most part! I guess you can say that I am a vegetarian. I thought that meat would be the most difficult. But there are suitable replacements for meat. What I miss the most is cheese!!! I have tried a lot of dairy free variations but I was not totally satisfied. But thanks to some friends who are vegan, they turned me on to cashew based cheese. I mean, who would have thought you can make cheese out of nuts!??
A student of mine Sasha, brought me a bit of some cashew cheese that his girlfriend made and I loved it! It had a creamy, nacho cheese flavor that I really liked. I finished the container he brought me in like a day! I though to myself, “there is hope!”
So, I became a bit obsessed with making cheese. I researched it and found a ton of different recipes. I then came up with my own variation that combined several different methods. So here it is. Sensei’s dairy free cheese!
Ingredients:
1. Raw cashews
2. Nutritional yeast
3. Miso paste
4. Lime or lemon juice
5. Apple cider vinegar
6. Vegenaise (vegan mayo)
7. Siracha
8. Agar agar powder
9. Whatever seasoning you like
There you go. Only 8 ingredients. You actually do not need the siracha or miso. Those were my additions to this recipe.
Instructions:
1. Soak the cashews in water for a few hours or overnight.
2. Add cashews to a food processor and blend until you get almost a peanut butter like texture.
3. Add nutritional yeast to taste
4. Add other ingredients to taste as well
5. Add 2 table spoons of agar agar flakes to a cup or so of water and boil. Continuously stir the liquid for about five minutes. It will start to tighten up into a gel type consistency.
6. Add agar mixture to the cheese in the processor and blend. Do this quickly because the agar will start to tighten up quickly.
7. Pour cheese mixture into molds or a bowl and let sit in the fridge for a few hours.
Presto! You have vegan cheese! Great to spread on bread and crackers. I love adding it to my bean and chees burritos and as a dip for veggies. Enjoy!

Max Reps: Are they necessary to build strength?

Max reps: Are they necessary to build strength?
Strength is something that can be defined in many different ways. The goal of a powerlifter is to lift the heaviest weight possible. Bodybuilders lift heavier in the off season primarily to build mass in their muscles for competition. But what if you are not interested in being a powerlifter or a bodybuilder? What if you don’t feel comfortable using a lot of weight when you are training? Does this mean you cannot build strength?
Fear not. You too can build a more practical and functional strength without having to do max reps. Even in the kettlebell community some organizations program their pupils to do max reps with Turkish get ups, presses and other kb exercises. In my opinion there really is no need for that. What good does doing one rep of a Turkish Get up do? If you are not a powerlifter or bodybuilder, why are you doing max reps? When it boils down to it, its more about stroking your own ego. Not only that, you are putting yourself at risk!
At 46 years of age, my body doesn’t snap back like it used to. I have to train smarter. When people start trying to do too much weight, then it often leads to injury.
Let’s take the Turkish Get Up for example. I feel you are losing a ton of benefits of this movement when your goal is to do max reps. The TGU is one of the best full body exercises anyone can do. If you it the Kettlejitsu way, there is not a muscle missed in this exercise! In my classes, we drill each individual movement that makes up a TGU. Then, we drill the whole movement for rounds. Who do you think is stronger? The person who can do one Turkish get up with a 40kg kettlebell. Or someone who can do 3 x 3-minute rounds of an alternating get up with a 16kg bell? The latter person has a much more functional strength.
So, are max reps necessary? No, they are not. Don’t be fooled by organizations that force you to use a lot of weight. You can build functional and practical strength by doing compound, full body exercises with a lower, safer weight!

Alcohol and Exercise: Do they mix?

Alcohol and Exercise: Do they mix?
I think it is safe to say that we all have our guilty pleasures. I think for many, alcohol is one of them. I mean after a stressful day at work, some people like to unwind with a nice alcoholic beverage. But what kind of toll is it taking on your body? Is it healthy?
Most of us go through a “party phase” in our lives. I did a couple of years in college and I can honestly say that me and my roommates always had beer in the fridge. Subsequently, during that period of my life is when I was the heaviest!
But once I hit my 30’s, I noticed that it became increasingly difficult to recover from a night out of drinking. So, I lowered my alcohol consumption. Now at 46 years of age, I can count on one hand how many drinks I have per month. If I tie one on, it will take me a few days to full recover. I really can’t afford to feel like that in my profession. I can’t imagine having to teach and train with a hangover.
Studies have shown that a few glasses of wine per week can be really beneficial. But after a certain amount of alcohol it can have a negative effect. Excessive drinking as we all know can lead to a variety of health issues. It can lead to constant fatigue and hormonal issues as you get older. So, if you are constantly tired, you probably are not going to want to exercise.
I know people who drink several times a week. After work a few times a week, they hit the pub with a few friends and have 2 or 3 drinks. Then on the weekends a few more. So, do the math, let’s say, they had 3 drinks 3 times during the week and 3 more on the weekend.

That’s 12 drinks a week. By months end, you have consumed 48 alcoholic beverages!
That kind of alcoholic consumption will eventually take its toll on your body. I think it will interfere with any type of exercise program. Consuming alcohol tears down your immune system and can even lead to thyroid problems. Since It weakens your immune system your body recuperates slower. This makes you more susceptible to illness.
Bottom line is excessive drinking and exercise does not mix. Instead of heading to the pub with your friends after work, try heading to the gym instead. Reducing your alcohol consumption can lead to better moods, increased energy levels, and it will reduce your chances of alcohol related diseases. Don’t get me wrong! Nothing wrong with a nice cocktail every now and then. But remember, moderation is key!

Combining Kettlebell and Body weight

Combining Kettlebell and Body Weight workouts

Ive always professed how I believe Kettlebell and body weight to be the ultimate combo for fitness!  The options are endless.  Check out this kettlebell and body weight combo workout.  The body weight workout out consists of 8 count body builders.  These are taken from my Kettlejitsu Revolution 8 week program.  They are a super fun and simple body weight exercise as used by the Navy Seals.  Its fun to challenge your students by counting out the numbers step by step or out of order! You can hear me counting them out in the enclosed video.

The kettlebell workout is taken directly from my KB Strength and Conditioning 9 week program.  It is a basic kettlebell pyramid.  The pyramid is protocol that I use on the entire KB strength program.  This is the beauty of Kettlejitsu Program.  Once you have mastered each program, you can combine workouts from each program to add variety!  Check out this video!

Intermittent Fasting: what are the benefits?

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If you have been following my blog for the last couple of years than you may have purchased my KB Strength and conditioning program. On this program I was able to lose 20lbs in 2 months and subsequently win my first world championship at black belt! Intermittent fasting is a key factor in my KB strength program and helped reached my fat loss goals. Now I have talked about how great it is to shed unwanted fat. But, there are a lot of other benefits of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is very common practice in the fitness community and amongst people trying to lose weight. There has been a lot of research on the subject the last few years. So now, there is conclusive scientific evidence to support the numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. Some benefits include: 1. insulin levels drop which speeds up fast loss 2. growth hormone levels increase 3. reduces inflammation in the body which can reduce the risk of some diseases 4. It can help prevent cancer 5. May improve your lifespan.
Those are a few benefits of adding intermittent fasting to your everyday routine. There are a few different methods of intermittent fasting as well. Since everyone is different, I recommend finding the fasting method that works for you. To give you an example of a fasting protocol, we will use my daily routine.
Monday morning, I wake up at 4am and make a double shot of espresso and drink a bottle of water. Coffee is a diuretic and will help you get rid of any waste in your body from the previous day. Plus, coffee has natural occurring caffeine which is proven to help fat loss. I teach and train in my 5:30am KB class, teach 6:30am BJJ class then take a power nap. I wake up then it’s another shot of espresso and I teach another class. By that time, it’s about 11am and I have my first meal after that. I follow that routine every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, I wake up and hit the espresso again. On these days I typically go for a hike with my doggy, or just rest depending on how I feel. My first meal is about 1:30pm or 2pm.
Keep in mind that during my fasting period, I drink a lot of water. That, and the coffee keep me feeling full. If you do not like coffee, try tea. Particularly a tea that has some caffeine in it. Green tea is a great substitute.
So basically, I intermittent fast more or less until lunch. Remember, if you want to lose weight, fasting helps reduce your caloric intake. This is necessary for burning that stubborn belly fat.
I hope this gives you all a better understanding of intermittent fasting. It has numerous benefits such as losing weight, helps fight disease and increases your growth hormone levels. If you want to go more in depth of its benefits, there are tons of articles on it on the internet. I recommend experimenting with different protocols to see which works for you.

Fitness and Form: Is Form Everything?

Fitness and Form: Is Form Everything?
I started my Kettlebell journey close to ten years ago. I was instructed by a certified trainer. So naturally, form was something that was definitely emphasized. Afterwards, I started to develop my own kettlebell movements and released a DVD on My Mad Methods Productions (later bought out by Onnit). Once I started putting my new stuff out there I got mixed reviews. Some people loved it and felt it was a natural evolution for kettlebell training. But, the form police came out as well! A lot of traditionalist openly criticized my movements and told me my form was bad and that I would hurt somebody.
Your form when performing any fitness exercise is always important. But what everyone should know is that form varies from instructor to instructor. Even when it comes to something like the kettlebell swing. One organization teaches one way and another organization teaches another way. So, if 5 different kettlebell organizations teach the swing differently, whose form is correct??
Is form everything? In my opinion my student’s safety is everything. It is my priority to keep my student’s injury free. Form is something that is taught and refined over a long period of time. Nobody’s form is perfect 100 % of the time. Plus, I have new students trying out my classes all the time. Do I expect them to have perfect technique in their first class? Of course not. Does that mean I should not even let them workout because their technique is not there? Hell no! When people come to your class, they are there for a workout. If you don’t give it to them, then you may have lost money there.
Some organizations brainwash their pupils to believe their technique is above and beyond everyone else’s. I read an article from a man who was master instructor from a prominent kettlebell organization. He was talking about how he was invited to teach a boot camp at a local facility. He went on about how he didn’t like the boot camp because it wasn’t enough time to correct everyone’s form. He also said he could never do boot camps if it meant that form would have to be sacrificed. I thought to myself, man this guy obviously doesn’t have students. Lol So, I did a little digging. I checked out his Instagram account. Just as I thought, Mr. Master Kettlebell instructor had a few videos of himself in a garage doing the most basic and boring workouts ever. SMH! Just because someone is certified doesn’t automatically mean they are capable of teaching. To be an instructor, one must be flexible and be able to adapt.
Keep in mind these are the same guys that heckle me and tell me my form is imperfect. Yet, I make a living from teaching. How ironic! Lol I will also tell you, from my experience, the people that always critique and heckle are the ones training in their garage or living room. The arm chair experts.
If you ever want to make a living by being a trainer, you must be patient and give your client what they came there for. If they came for a workout, then that’s what you need to give them. If you spend an hour just correcting technique and they don’t break a sweat, don’t expect them to come back.
I believe one of the reasons people are so concerned with technique is that they believe it leads to injury. In all of the years I have been teaching, I have come to the conclusion that improper warm up is the number one reason people get injured. Once your body is thoroughly warm, it can sustain most strenuous workouts as well as different sporting activities. Take Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for instance. During the course of a BJJ fight, almost every position you’re in is a mechanical disadvantage. You are constantly lifting, pushing and pulling from awkward positions. Do you think we stop and say, “let me shoot that double leg again, my form was a little off?” lol In fact, I have trained a ton of BJJ fighters over the years. A large portion of them have back problems. After I warm them up, most of them are like, man, we don’t even really warm up, we just train hard.
So, is form everything? I believe warming up and my client’s needs are everything. Form should always be emphasized. But a trainer has to be patient and realize that form is something that comes with time.

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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?

For the very best in Kettlebell and body weight training, check out the downloads in our store!

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Testimonial!

Kikb strength banner for web and facebook jpegI just wanted to share with you all this amazing testimonial that I received from a Kettlejitsu follower.  I get emails and messages daily with people telling me how they enjoy my workouts.  I have to say, I never get tired of hearing it.  Kettlejitsu is how I stay in shape and is my creation. So it warms my heart that people enjoy my workouts and get the results they want.  Check out this testimonial and see how Regina and her husband have lost 30lbs!!!

Joey!

So we started your program on April 1st. We did the 8 weeks of body conditioning and kettle bell work outs (your most recent one). Then we did the 8 weeks of your KB revolution.

That took us through about mid to late July. Then we took a break because we do a lot of boating, kayaking and biking in the summer. On October first we are starting up again – this time w/ your Turkish get up work out.

So – I started out wanting to lose 30 lbs. To date, I’ve lost 26 pounds, went down 2 clothes sizes and feel amazing. My husband lost 30 pounds and looks gorgeous.

We are feeling a little soft right now since we haven’t been on the regimented kettle bell program recently, but we have still been eating healthy and have just been maintaining our weight. We are really excited though to start up again – this time w/ the Turkish get up work out so we can continue our path towards a healthier, fitter self.

As of mid-July I was out of the overweight category finally! And I have dropped a few more pounds since them. I’m looking to lean out a little more and maybe lose about another 10 pounds. Still working that out though – since I will be putting on more muscle, I’m not so concerned about the actual weight on the scale – I’m more concerned about lean muscle.

Anyway – your program was the only fitness program we’ve followed and its fantastic. We love it.

Attached are 3 photos; one from January 2017, one from July and one from August 2017. In the July photo – I’m in the center w/ the purple hazed glasses. You can tell the 26 pound weight loss though. In the January photo, I can’t even wear those shorts anymore because they are so loose they don’t stay up!

Anyway – just wanted to let you know about the progress. You have an awesome program and we totally believe in it and I wanted you to see the results yourself.

THANKS!

Regina

January 2017Rocking a bathing suit! 🙂August 2017July 2017