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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.
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!
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!
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!
Today I received an amazing compliment about one of my classes. It is the one depicted in the picture to this article. Keep in mind that this was the woman’s first class and I had about 20 people of all levels in the class. When teaching a large group of individuals of numerous different fitness levels it is quite challenging. There is a ton of multitasking involved. In succeeding at such a challenge, you have to really know what you are doing. I see a lot of trainers running around with a piece of paper in their hands as they teach the class. I feel if you have to read it off a paper then you must not know your fitness system that well. If you aren’t even comfortable with what you are teaching, than teaching classes can become more difficult.
This is why I think it is important to master your system. If you are using your own fitness system, you should have a formula. Once you have a complete understanding of that formula, teaching becomes a lot easier. It’s one less thing you have to worry about. This makes it easier to pay more attention to your students. One of the reasons for the aforementioned client is that as I teach, I walk around observing each and every client. I give them tips, correct technique and adapt movements for everyone in the class. If you have to constantly be looking at a piece of paper to teach, then it becomes a lot more difficult to pay that much attention to details like that.
A lot of the established fitness systems are popular because they have been tested and proven. They have successful formulas. My Kettle-Jitsu system was forged on training large group classes day in and day out. My new Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd is a result of me mastering my formula. The same workouts used in the dvd are the ones that yield the positive feedback I receive. So when becoming a trainer, I do feel it is important to master an established system or take the time to develop your own formula by putting in the time and work through training clients. Feedback from your students will let you know if you are going in the right direction!
The Art of the flow
The word flow, has a very particular meaning in the way teach Kettle-Jitsu. I have developed many flow patterns as a means to get people in shape. In Kettle-Jitsu, a flow is a combination of two or more movements, into one seamless pattern. By doing this, you are hitting multiple muscles simultaneously, challenging your focus and your timing.
Although you may think flows may be difficult to teach, there is a way to simplify it. I can teach anyone to do a bodyweight flow and kettlebell flow in one session. The way to do it is to break down each movement and drill them. For instance in the first video, SoCal Fighter Michael Perez is working our T-Rex fighter flow. This flow is a combination of a goblet squat, seated curl, two hand press and figure 8 to hold. Separately, these movements are relative simple. Except maybe the figure 8. So, in order to teach this to a class full of people you would break down each movement for 30 second intervals. I usually allow a 15 second break to rest between exercises. For instance to break down the T-Rex triple attach, we do 2, 30 second rounds of goblet squats, 2, 30 second rounds of seated curls and 2, 30 second rounds of 2 hand presses. You can always opt to do more sets of each exercise if you like. Then, ill combine them together into a one minute flow.
Video #2 is a clip of that same flow in action in a Saturday Kettle-Jitsu bootcamp at my gym SoCal mma and fitness in los Angeles. Most of the people in that class had never performed this flow or even tried a fig 8. Another important tip in teaching kettlebells is to make sure your clients are thoroughly warmed up. Not warming up properly in my opinion the number one way people injure themselves. Not because of improper technique.
I had one client tell me that my workouts were unlike any other workout she had done. “Incredible” is how she described it. I really think that creating flows engage your clients unlike traditional style workouts do. Check these videos out for yourself and try them out for youselves!
learn 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!
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.