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

 

Free download banner for web

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 10 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 first degree World Champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt and over the last 2 years I’ve 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!

Easter Sale! Get the Combat Kettle-Jitsu and Kettlejitsu Revolution downloads for only $9!!! That is 20 different follow along workouts at under $10!!! Click here Combat Kettlebell Easter Package

Get the most cutting edge Kettlebell and body weight training downloads from the leader of Kettlebell movements here! Kettlejitsu downloadable programs


How to train around your injuries

How to train while injured

  If you train regularly, there is a pretty good chance you may come across an injury or two.  Regardless of what fitness system you practice or martial art you practice, injuries are a common occurrence.  There are disciplines where you will be more susceptible to injuries. For instance Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian jiu jitsu are both combat arts.  When you practice fighting, bumps, bruises, strains etc… are going to happen sooner or later. I even know women who have twisted their ankles doing Zumba! So does this mean that you should not exercise when injured? Absolutely not! There are ways to train around your injuries.

A perfect example of this is yours truly. I was training for my 16th Bjj tournament as a brown belt recently.  Then I started to feel some discomfort in my shoulder.  Day by day the pain got worse to the point where any pushing or pulling exercises became very difficult to do.  This was extremely frustrating because I could not do any pressing or rowing movements without feeling pain. Same goes for my Jiu Jitsu training.  Bjj involves constant pushing and pulling.  One of my students a Kinesiology major and therapist diagnosed it as tendonitis. She said basically it has to heal itself and that I should limit movement with my left arm. She also worked on it regularly which helped tremendously.

I could not stop training. So little by little I figured out how to work around it.  Push ups hurt. But doing them slowly from my knees were doable.  I could also do stagger push ups and hindu push ups. Kettlebell presses hurt as well. So, instead of doing over head presses, I substituted them for jerks.  Rowing movements were painful as well. But I realized by changes my rows using a kettlebell with my palm facing inward worked.  As far as my Jiu Jitsu goes, I had to adapt my game a bit and use my right arm more than my left. By keeping my elbow tight to my body while training helped tremendously.  Another important aspect of injuries is how to take care of it after your training. Ice packs are a regular thing for me. Its always good to keep a few in the freezer at all time. Massages and stretching are great as well.

So those are a few ideas on how you can train around your injuries! Being injured does not mean you have to stop working out. Just be mindful of your injuries and learn to find the exercises that you can do.  It worked for me and I ended up winning the gold medal in the IBBJF Las Vegas Open! 10431469_10204386064921242_3909085898004984494_n

Body Weight Flows: How and why?

body weight flows how and whyOne of the reasons why I named my fitness system Kettle-Jitsu is because I consider it an art form. Its more than just a bunch of exercises. It’s an expression of my personality. I am naturally a very creative person.  So I use different movements to create newly developed exercises. Body weight flow combos have become a huge part of system. I create them for different reasons. First of all, me and my students get bored if we are doing the same routines over and over. You can only do burpees so many times before they get monotonous.  So I am continuously pushing myself to create different flows to challenge myself and my students. It makes working out fun and challenging.

Before creating your own flow combos, I suggest you have a solid foundation in body weight fundamentals. I think you should be able to correctly perform exercises like squats, pushups, sit ups, mountain climbers, deck squats and burpees beforehand.  The burpee is the foundation of my flow combos.  In all of my flows, I try and combine multiple movements into one seamless compound exercise. I also try and hit as many major muscle groups in these combos.  Burpees do just that. They are a full body exercise.  So I consider my flow combos to be an extension of that.

I have a specific way of teaching these flows to my students at my gym SoCal mma and fitness in los Angeles.  First, I break down each movement that makes up the flow.  Then we drill those movements individually for 30 second intervals. After that, we will drill the flow as a whole for one minute rounds so that we can perfect it.  I attached a video tutorial of my latest flow, the triangle/spider flow, as an example.  This flow consists of a triangle squat, a low spider plank and a push up. So in our routine we do 30 second intervals with a 15 second rest in between each exercise.  For example: 30 secs alt triangle squats, 30 secs low spider plank, then 30 secs of push ups.  Then we do another 30 secs of triangle squats followed by 30 secs of spider pushups. I like to follow that up with 3, one minute rounds of the full triangle/spider flow with a 15 to 30 sec rest in between sets.

This is the same format I use on my latest dvd Kettle-Jitsu revolution.  The body weight combos on my dvd range from the most basic, into intermediate and advanced flows.  If you are tired of doing burpees, than body weight flows are the way to go! They help challenge your conditioning, focus and a whole lot more! You can use the flows found on my dvd. Or challenge your creativity and develop your own.  Keep training and never stop evolving!To purchase the Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd and to start learning these dynamic flow combos, click here!  http://kjrevolution.com/?page_id=19

12 Kettlebell Flows for BJJ/MMA and Fitness



12 kb flows

I am constantly preaching about the versatility of the kettlebell and bodyweight training. I really feel you can express your personality through these two training devices more so than any other single fitness device.  Kettlebell flows are a part of that versatility.  Flows are 2 or more exercises combined together into one, seamless and continuous pattern. Kettlebell flows challenge your hand eye coordination, timing, rhythm, focus and conditioning, all at the same time. All of these attributes are necessary for martial artists. In Brazilian jiu jitsu we combine and chain techniques together. Also when training BJJ, you are working multiple muscles at once. This is why kettlebell flows are simillar to training BJJ.

Kettlebell training is so deeply rooted in tradition, practicioners rarely think outside of the box. I believe this limits the potential of your kettlebell training. I believe the kettlebell is an extension of your body. The design of the bell allows endless options for all types of movements.  In order to achieve total kettlebell mastery, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only a few movements. I use kettlebells  and bodyweight as my sole source of strength and conditioning. In this video I have 12 different kettlebell flow variations that I use with my self and the clients at my gym.  Students love them because they are challenging and different. They engage you unlike any other exercises you have ever done.  Some of these movements are traditional exercises combined into a flow.

I encourage you to explore the endless options the kettlebell can give you.  Inject your own personality into them and develop your own movements.  Remember, the movements in this video are not for the beginners. These should only be practiced by seasoned kettlebell practitioners. Enjoy  12 kb flows

Click the image below to purchase the Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week program!

CDDVDCASE002-1 (1)

10 Kettlebell and bodyweight movements to help MMA striking

10 for striking10 Exercises to Help Striking For MMA

Almost four years ago I released my first dvd Combat Kettlebell Systems.  On the dvd I introduced a lot of sports specific movements for mma and bjj.  On the CKS dvd I used mostly kettlebells for this. I introduced newly developed movements to help improve your striking and ground work. My second dvd, shadow-jitsu, I continued with the mma/bjj theme but using only bodyweight.  Since then I have refined and developed more movements to help your striking for mma, boxing and kickboxing.  Here are 10 of these movements with a brief description of their purposes.  Enjoy.

1. The jab drill: This is a forgotten drill that was taught to me by my father, former number 6 ranked feather weight boxer. It emphasizes the importance of the jab and helps with rhythm and timing

2.The shoe shine: this boxing drill helps sharpen your uppercuts flow better and helps with hand speed.

3.Machine gun kicks: this exercise helps add speed, timing and torque to Thai style kicks

4.Thai knee combo: Helps with conditioning and simulates Muay Thai knee strikes.

5.High pulls: Ive adapted this kettlebell exercise to mimic an actual punch. Punches involve a pushing and pulling dynamic that this exercise helps harness. It also helps with hand speed

6.Bottoms up uppercuts: this one helps develop proper mechanics for your uppercuts.  It also helps develop torque, pivot and hand speed. It is also a great core and bicep exercise

7.The fighters figure 8: A favorite amongst my certified Kettle-Jitsu coaches.  Develops speed and power for hooking style punches. Also an amazing full body exercise.

8.Combat cleans: these are cleans performed from a fighting stance. This make this exercise pretty close to throwing an actual punch. Helps torque, pivot and its an excellent full body exercise. Make sure you have a solid kettlebell foundation before attempting this one

9.The pull and punch: My most recent development. Combines an upright row with a press and pivot. Works timing, power, pivot, focus and torque. This one will have your heart pumping in no time! Check out the Kettlsjitsu Revolution download that contains some of the movements from this article!

CDDVDCASE002-1 (1)

Can you build muscle with Kettlebells?

 kb strength banner for web and facebook pre salelearn the 15 secrets to rapid fat loss and muscle gains w Joey’s new KB strength and conditioning 2 month intensive program!  Click here for the pre sale ! Only $12.99! Kb strength presale                                                       Can you build muscle with Kettlebells?

Recently I watched a video post of a gentleman addressing the question, “Can you build muscle with kettlebells?” I don’t remember what his name was. But I believe he was a crossfit guy and he was in great shape.  His answer to the question was no. You cannot build muscle with kettlebells.  He demonstrated a few kettlebell movements. I believe he did some swings and snatches.  His form was good.  So I can see someone properly trained him. But his answer was based on those 2 movements.  Unfortunately, those are the only movement’s people associate with kettlebells.  Swings, snatches, cleans and the occasional Turkish get up are the most prominent movements taught in the kettlebell industry.  So I can’t blame him for coming up with his conclusion.  People just have not put in the work to explore the true potential of what kettlebells are capable of.

I disagree with his conclusion 100%.  All of my strength and conditioning comes from kettlebell and bodyweight only.  I don’t use machines, chin up bars, barbells or dumbbells.  If you know how to use a kettlebell properly, they can take place of all of the aforementioned exercise devices.  But if all you do are swings and snatches, you will not get those results.  I will dive further into this subject in the future.  I just want to give a brief example of how I structure routines in my Kettle-Jitsu system.  In the enclosed video, we work our chest, shoulders and triceps with crossover pushups. If anyone has ever used this exercise, you will know it awesome for building power and definition in your pecs.  We do 2 hand cleans that work your legs, glutes, biceps and shoulders.  Rows work your back, lats, core and arms.  In this video we are using what I call Thai knee swings. In this variation, as we swing upward, we drive one knee up. This is a fantastic overall body exercise that emphasizes core.  Thai knee combos are done prior to the kb workout. This dynamic bodyweight combo works almost every muscle in your body.

So keep in mind, you can build muscle and burn fat simultaneously with kettlebells.  It’s all about how you put it together. If all you are doing are the standard swings and snatches over and over. It will be difficult to get significant results.  To learn how to build muscle and burn fat w kettlebells take advantage of the new KB strength and conditioning presale!





Burpee Variations

Subscribe to receive updates!1014957_10201285248162761_475013135_oBurpee are probably one of the most universally used compound body weight exercise in existence. Fitness people all over the world practice burpees on a daily basis. it is standard at mma gyms, bjj gyms and ccrossfit gyms. It is for good reason! Burpees are a simple but extremely effective full body exercise. Burpees are what i call a compound bodyweight exercise. This means that it contains 2 or more exercises combined together into one movement. In the case of the burpee, you are using your chest, triceps, shoulders, core and legs.
I use burpees at my gym often. But i am all about variety. I feel variety is essential in keeping your clients interested. So even though burpees are an awesome exercise, me and my clients get bored of doing them all the time. This is why i have developed a lot of different variations of the burpee into what i call bodybuilder combinations. This video contains some of the variations that i use at my gym SoCal mm and on my upcoming dvd Kettle-jitsu Revolution. Try out them out for yourself and see if you like them! Burpee variations

Improve your punches with high pulls!

highpullcurvekbImprove your punches with high pulls!

One of the most common questions that I am asked is, “can you use kettlebells to improve your punches?” the answer is yes!  The high pull is the first kettlebell exercise that showed me that kb’s could be used to aid with striking.

One of the reasons I love the high pull is because you are pushing, pulling and hinging all in one exercise! So that means you are hitting your core, back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and forearms all in one movement.  I really feel that the high pull is one of the most neglected and underdeveloped exercises in kettlebell training.  When performing the high pull the way I do, you turn it into a more explosive, compound movement.

The kettlebell high pull contains almost identical mechanics as punches do. When throwing a punch, you are using your core, chest, back, shoulders and arms.  When doing the high pull you are hitting all of the same muscles.  The traditional high pull is used more or less as a precursor to the snatch. Ive adjusted the technique into what I call a combat high pull. I also have other kettlebell exercises that come even closer to throwing actual punches. You can find these movements on my combat kettlebell systems digital download.

With the combat high pull we address the punching and retracting motions found in a real punch.  So, when performing the combat high pull, you start the same way you would a swing. Once you pop your hips and propel the bell up to where it is parallel to the floor, you drive your elbow back as far as possible and then immediately punch it back out.  This add that explosive element you need when throwing punches.  You can see the exact mechanics in the enclosed video.

Since I am constantly teaching, I do not get to train my striking at all.  But, I always do my kettle-jitsu training.  Periodically I will spar with my students and they are surprised at how fast my hands are! Try out the combat high pulls for yourself and see the difference.

The benefits of compound bodyweight training

The benefits of compound body weight training

I’m sure most of you all are familiar with the burpee. This is what I like to refer to as a compound body weight exercise.  People worldwide use burpees every day and with good reason. It’s simple and extremely beneficial exercise. A compound exercises is made up of 2 or more movements together. The burpee combines a squat, sprawl and a push up. So you are working several major muscle groups at once making it a metabolic exercise. Compound exercises raise your heart rate more so than muscle isolation exercises.

Since the burpee is such an awesome exercise, it made sense to me to develop more compound body weight and kettlebell exercises.  In the new kettlejitsu revolution dvd, I use many different body-weight flows and combinations. Some of these flows even contain movements from jiu jitsu and mma. I specifically created these combos to challenge you both physically and mentally. A good example of what I am talking about is the karate kid flow.  This compound movement consists of a sit up, shin box, deck squat and push up. Using these exercises in unison has many benefits. It challenges your focus, timing, coordination and your conditioning.

This particular exercise was inspired by my trip to Lisbon, Portugal.  There I administered a kettle-jitsu workshop. One of the attendees was a karate kumite fighter named hugo. I was showing different sit up combos and he stopped and asked if was it OK if he added a kick to it. I said show me. I immediately loved it and added it to my arsenal! When I got back home I played with it and added the other movements.  It spawned the “karate kid flow!” We use it regularly at my gym socal mma and fitness to my students enjoyment. Check out the enclosed video for a demo of this amazing compound body-weight exercise. Enjoy!

D3D_2405 

Uconventional Joint mobility and bodyweight exercise: Scorpion Progressions

 

Scorpion Progressions: Full Body Agility & Conditioning

Joey Alvarado scopion progressions

When I first discovered kettlebells, I couldn’t believe how effective and versatile they were. I became obsessed and wanted to learn as much as possible about them. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning just to put myself through a different kettlebell workout everyday. I would try my best to emulate the masters like Steve Cotterand Steve Maxwell and discovered that the kettlebell is not just the ultimate training device, it’s the ultimate tool for creativity; the only limit is your imagination.

This realization let to the creation of dozens of new exercises that I included in my first workout DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems. The CKS DVD fired a spark of creativity in me and also included new bodyweight exercises. Over time, I continuously added new movements to what I callthe “Shadow-Jitsu” bodyweight system. Creating this new system made me realize that your body can be just as diverse a training tool as a kettlebell. I have now concluded that the two most effective training devices are your body and kettlebells.

I love to challenge myself and my students with creative new exercise combinations. One set of exercises that are quickly becoming class favorites are called Scorpion Progressions. Scorpion Progressions stem from two simple drills, the Scorpion Drill and the Scorpion Twist. I believe I originally learned the Scorpion Drill from a video created by Steve Maxwell. You’ve probably done it as a mobility/ stretching exercise to loosen up the legs and hips before or after workouts. This one movement is the foundation of the entire progression. The Scorpion Twist, a movement I learned from my Jiu Jitsu Coach Roger Machado, incorporates an upper body movement that loosens up the core. After a while, I figured out that these two drills flowed perfectly into one another. By adding the Scorpion Thrust and Get Up, I completed the Progression and now have an extremely fun, challenging, and dynamic series of exercises that challenges your focus, conditioning, and agility.

When performed in a class environment, you must make sure everyone is in sync. When the whole class works the progressions in unison, it looks pretty awesome! The following are pictures and instructions for how to perform each movement. Make sure to check out the linked video to see the entire series in action!

Scorpion Drill

Joey Alvarado scorpion drill exercise

Lie chest down on the floor. Extend your arms to either side of your body so that your body is forming a “T.” While keeping your right leg as straight as possible, move your left leg across and behind your body. Attempt to touch your right had with your left foot. Return your left leg to the starting position and transition the movement to the other side.

Scorpion Twist

Joey Alvarado scorpion twist

Lie chest down on your stomach with your arms positioned as if your are going to do a push up with the tops of your feet on the floor. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick one foot behind your body, and twist your body in the same direction as the kicking leg. Allow your arms to continnue the natural twisting motion. Done correctly, you should end up in the “S-Mount” position. Torque your body in the opposite direction and get back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Scorpion Thrust

Joey Alvarado scorpion thrust bodyweight exercise

Begin in the same starting position as the Scorpion Twist. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick your left foot behind your body, and roll your body over. As your hips roll over, plant both feet on the ground and allow your lower legs to become vertical. Keep your right hand firmly planted on the ground. Thrust your hips into the air and seek to make them parallel to the ground. Lower your hips as soon as they reach the apex and sit on the ground. Roll your entire body over into the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Scorpion Get Up

Joey Alvarado scorpion get up mma drill

Scorpion Get Up: Repeat steps in exercise 2, but as you hip thrust, push off your supporting had and stand up. Drop down into the “rock bottom” squat position, roll back to your stomach and repeat to the other side.

These exercises can be performed in many different formats. You can do each sequence for 30 second intervals, or repeat the whole progression for one minute. It will get your heart rate up big time! For more dynamic exercise combinations, check out my new Shadow-Jitsu Bodyweight Training DVD!

Check out the video of the Scorpion Progressions!