Double Kettlebell grip training for BJJ/MMA

Grip training is a subject I wanted to touch on for some time now. I definitely have some serious opinions on it.  As you already may know, I have been training in martial arts for over 30 years. I am also a competitive Brazilian Jiu JItsu fighter.  I have won and lost many BJJ matches. I have never thought to myself after one of my losses that my grip strength cost me the match.  I also have a lot of friends that train with kettlebells, but also do macebell and clubbell work. Which to me, doesnt make sense. I believe macebells and clubbells are not nearly as efficient as kettlebells. I have even asked my friends why the include those implements as well. They always say, “well its really good for grip strength.”  Which brings me to my next question. “Why does an average person need grip strength?” I honestly dont even think BJJ fighters need extra grip strength.  Isnt the whole point of jiu jitsu to not use strength. If you are dependent on grip strength in you bjj matches your technique must be off.  By training BJJ regularly, you will develop the conditioning needed in your forearms needed in training, If you do extra strength and conditioning, then you should be good to go.

The 2 types of strength and conditioning I do are body weight and kettlebell.  I dont really feel I need anything else.  Although I do not do any extra specific grip training. Every kettlebell workout challenges your grip to an extent. Some more than others. Which brings me to this basic double kettlebell workout that will have your forearms firing off like you just finished a BJJ match in a tournament!  First let me say this is an example and not meant to be an instructional.  Next, before any kettlebell workout I do a good 20 minute body weight and mobility workout. This insures that Im thoroughly warmed up and prevents injury.

The double kettlebell workout consists of 5 different exercises.  1.double dead cleans 2. double overhead presses 3. double swings 4. double rows 5. burpees

What challenges your grip is that fact that you do not put the bells down until the burpees. This workout is put into what I call a pyramid. You want to do 5 reps of each exercise. then move up to 10 reps. Last you go back down the pyramid to 5 reps.  By the time you are working up to 10 you should feel that burn in your forearms! So be careful! Enjoy!

To learn more workouts like this, check out the Kettlejitsu 8 week kettlebell and body weight dvd here!

Kettlebells vs Clubbells: Which tool is best for you?

kb vs cbKettlebells vs Clubbells: Which is best for you?

First and foremost, I would like to say, I am not a leading authority on clubbell training. After training with kettlebells for a  few years, I was curious about clubbells, so I experimented with them.

Also, I may be biased because I feel kettlebells are hands down the most efficient weight training device in existence. But this question comes up very often with me. People ask me if I use clubbells, and  what I think about them.

I was watching a video of kettlebell legend Mike Mahler. He addressed this same issue. To quote him roughly, he says, “clubbells are not a complete weight training system like kettlebells, dumbells or barbells. They are more specialized for grip and shoulder strength. “ I have to agree with him. When performing any clubbell exercise, the emphasis goes directly to your forearms. Ive seen beginners drop the clubbells because their grips get fried fast. You can do a lot of the same exercises you do with kettlebells with clubbells as well. Swings are an example.  But because of the shape of the clubbell, your forearms get the bulk of the work load. So when it comes to working major muscle groups, I don’t believe you can achieve the same workout with clubbells as you do with kettlebells.

On the plus side, clubbells add variety to workouts. Training with them can be quite fun. I do believe golfers and baseball players could possible benefit from their use. You can also do nice flows and some rotational stuff with clubbells. I mean you have fitness gurus like John Wolf who can attest to the use of clubbells. So they must be useful.

So to sum this up, If you are looking to build strength and muscle, stick with the 3 primary tools, Kettlebells, barbells and dumbells.  However, clubbells are great for specialized training. If you want to work on your grip, shoulder strength and add some fun to your training, then clubbells are great. But, they are not a complete weight training system like kettlebells.