BJJ KETTLEBELL WORKOUT
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a complex grappling system that involves a fast paced, and a high intensity series of intricate movements. The evolution of the sport has seen the art come from a self defense background, and develop its way into a formidable combat sport. Throughout the development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many high level athletes have added their own innovations to the game, making the sport extremely watchable. With the rise of international stars like Roger Gracie, Gordon Ryan, Marcus Almeida, and Andre Galvao, they have given fans of the Martial Art plenty of action to stream.
What This Article Covers:
- Why Is Strength and Conditioning Important for Bjj
- Kettlebell Workouts
- BJJ Kettlebell Program
- How Often Should You Workout with Kettlebells
- Kettlebell Routine for BJJ
As a large number of athletes began excelling in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many stalemates in competition began to occur. This breeded a new innovation in the sport, as it forced competitors to look for any other means to get the edge over their opponents. This gave birth to a more heavy focus on strength and conditioning, as practitioners began balancing bjj and weight training. As practitioners evolved, so did the workouts that they used to improve their strength and conditioning. Nowadays there are many different programs that athletes can use to bolster their strength and conditioning, like traditional weightlifting, kettlebell exercises, isometric training, and resistance band training, just to name a few.
WHY IS STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING IMPORTANT FOR BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a high intensity grappling art that involves athletes to be expertly conditioned. Although BJJ was designed for the smaller and weaker person to defeat the larger and stronger opponent, in this day and age, BJJ athletes need to combine technical proficiency with strength and conditioning. The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is seeing an influx of athletes hit the gym, in order to stay ahead of the game. When you have a whole division stacked full of competitors that are experts in Jiu Jitsu, they begin to search for any edge they can to win the competition. Naturally getting stronger is the right course of action, as athletes are combining intelligence, tactical gameplay, and raw strength, to get the job done. With the evolution of BJJ, and how far the sport has come in terms of development, some of the movements in the sport require a considerable amount of strength, as well as flexibility for jiu jitsu. Adding strength and conditioning to a student's workout routine is extremely important, as many of the core principles in BJJ require the athlete to have strength from all angles of their bodies. Strength and conditioning isn't just lifting heavy weights, or doing bicep curls, it involves an intricate series of different styles of workouts. This includes grip strength workouts, cardio based workouts, and bjj core exercises. If a student can add these elements to their routine, then they will become a better version of themself, and will excel in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
IF A STUDENT GETS TOO STRONG CAN IT AFFECT THEIR BJJ
Students that become considerably strong can often have advantages, and disadvantages within their BJJ. Students that have a defining strength advantage in a fight, will always have the ability to out muscle their opponents. Even if a student has exceptional technique, and has a combined considerable strength advantage, then they will become an extremely deadly adversary. Quite often in BJJ, students will get to a point where their grips might wear out, or they just don't have enough strength to finish a choke. Having a sizable advantage in strength will always give the student an opportunity to defeat any opponents that come their way.
There are some disadvantages to having a lot of strength, as usually students of this calibre are considerably bigger than the average person. Students may find it difficult to control or submit the smaller and more agile opponents, as they will be able to escape out of tighter gaps, and are also able to survive in chokes due to their smaller size. Having a big frame, or big muscles, sometimes can hinder the movement of a practitioner, making them less agile than most of their opponents. Even though they should be able to out muscle their opponents, the art of Jiu Jitsu is more about finesse, technique, and tenacity during a fight.
There are a multitude of different kettlebell workouts that athletes can utilise, as many of them can work specifically for improvement in BJJ. The kettlebell swing is one of the most effective kettlebell exercises for BJJ, as it will help athletes develop a strong core stability, and significant mobility. There are many benefits for a BJJ athlete in doing kettlebell swings, as this workout will work muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, and the lats. Kettlebell swings have proven to be a BJJ favourite, as it improves cardiovascular fitness, core explosiveness, as well as flexibility and balance.
The kettlebell deadlift has proven to be the most sustainable workout for developing a strong core for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The benefits of training kettlebell deadlift exercises are substantial, as they will strengthen the upper, and the lower body muscles, including other core muscle groups like the quadriceps, and the glutes. Deadlifts are among one of the best strength and conditioning exercises there is, as the health benefits are extremely high. Deadlifts will also give significant strengthening to a practitioner's hip, which will strengthen the core, and lower the chance of back injuries.
Kettlebell squats are another really effective workout that BJJ athletes will practise. The benefits of using kettlebell squats will help a practitioner gain strength and power, as squats are among some of the most foundational movements used in traditional BJJ warm ups. Kettlebell squats specifically target the quadricep muscles and the glutes, which is where a lot of practitioners get their explosive drive from. Using these squats is a good way to increase an athlete's metabolism, as well as burning calories, all while gaining considerable strength, core stability, and mobility.
The kettlebell Turkish get up is an old school movement, and definitely a favourite amongst the BJJ community. Lifting a kettlebell from a sitting position to a standing position can be tricky, as this dynamic activity has helped many BJJ athletes develop their overall strength and fitness. Kettlebell Turkish get ups are one of the best exercises that an athlete can utilise, as it works out nearly every muscle in the body. Athletes will use their deltoids, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, and calves, as well as other core muscles. This exercise strengthens an athlete's upper body, helping them with a stronger posture, better core stability, a broader range of mobility, and a considerable flexibility, making this extremely advantageous for a BJJ athlete.
Kettlebell rows are an extremely dependable, and efficient movement for developing core strength in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Developing strength by practising bjj conditioning workouts, is extremely important for athletes, as this exercise has a credible reputation. The benefits of using kettlebell rows is that it targets the upper and lower body muscles, including the glutes, the back, the hamstrings, and the shoulder. This full body exercise will help tremendously in developing a BJJ athlete's core muscle groups.
The kettlebell press is one of the more popular forms of kettlebell workout movements, as this key component provides relevant strengthening to the upper body muscles like the deltoids, the pectoral muscles, and the triceps. The benefits of strengthening an athlete's triceps, shoulders, and chest muscles, means they will become incredibly strong, and able to push most opponents off of them. There are many advantages to using the kettlebell press, as this exercise will bolster an athlete's core stability, overall conditioning, and their power for explosiveness.
The kettlebell snatch is more of an explosive exercise aimed for strength and power development. This kind of exercise is for the more advanced athlete, because of its high intensity repetition. Using a kettlebell snatch will help athletes generate an extreme amount of explosiveness, and core stability within their movements. This exercise improves many of the body's muscle groups, including the hips, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings, as most practitioners that use the kettlebell snatch recommend this exercise to all athletes training for bjj competition.
The kettlebell clean is another popular workout movement, which incorporates lifting the kettlebell from the floor into the air in one motion. This type of movement is excellent for strength and conditioning, as it can generate significant core strength. There are a wide range of benefits in using the kettlebell clean, as this exercise works many of the body's core muscle groups. One of the most influential benefits of this exercise is the development of an athlete's grip strength, as this is extremely important to use in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The kettlebell clean will also enhance an athletes explosiveness, power rating, core stability, as well as develop the athletes hip hinge movement.
Another good exercise that BJJ athletes should use is the kettlebell cossack squat, as this movement is excellent for strength, flexibility, and mobility. Performing the cossack squat will help athletes develop a fuller range of motion in all of their leg muscles. It is extremely important to do cossack squats without a kettlebell at first, so the athlete can get used to the strain of the movement. Once an athlete has an understanding of the cossack squat, adding a kettlebell will only help with their further development. This kind of exercise will develop many of the smaller muscles around the athlete's hips, and upper leg, as these are the muscles that can get extremely tired from using various types of open guards on their opponents.
BJJ Kettlebell Program
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes recognize the importance of strength and conditioning in complementing their mat skills, and an effective kettlebell program can play a pivotal role. When customized for BJJ, kettlebell workouts can exponentially enhance strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular endurance—each of which is a cornerstone of effective grappling. The functional nature of kettlebell exercises mirrors many BJJ movements, allowing practitioners to achieve sport-specific conditioning. A well-rounded kettlebell program should incorporate both foundational strength-building exercises, along with dynamic movements to improve mobility and reaction times. Athletes who embrace this dual approach often find they can maintain better control over their opponents and respond more adeptly to fast-paced scrambles.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WORKOUT WITH KETTLEBELLS
Adding kettlebell workouts to the training regime of a BJJ athlete has become an extremely common aspect of strength and conditioning. Using kettlebells is an extremely easy, and compact way to keep up with an athlete's workout program. Kettlebells are an extremely diverse piece of gym equipment, as there are a multitude of different workouts that can be done. Determining how long, or how often someone should be training with kettlebells is different for every individual. Less experienced people using kettlebells will often struggle to do more than two workouts per week, as their muscles are still adapting to the rigorous training techniques of this equipment. It can be a good idea for beginners to ask for supervision at their jiu jitsu dojo when they are attempting to use kettlebells for the first time. More experienced athletes can use kettlebells 3 to 5 times per week, but this is dependent on how strenuous each workout is. The harder an athlete pushes their body, the more recovery they will need before starting their next workout. Smaller workouts can be done everyday, but more intense style of workouts can only be done every 2nd or 3rd day. Recovery is everything, as a student that can get the appropriate amount of rest, and can fuel their body correctly will be able to train more frequently with kettlebells.
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE
One problem that arises for students when they train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is they struggle to keep the perfect balance. It can be easy for students to focus too much on one aspect of the art rather than spreading their wings, and having a consistent balance. Too often students will either be exceptional in showcasing technique, but forget to complement their game style with strength and conditioning. At the other end of the scale, some students will focus more on powerlifting for bjj rather than the BJJ aspect itself.
It is important to spread your time, and work out a good balance that works for every individual, as this might be doing a light strength and conditioning circuit before BJJ training, or doing strength and conditioning on one day, and training BJJ on the next day. It's up to each individual student to find out what works best for them, and what their body can handle. Students will also need to understand what it means to be an athlete, as quite often students get too obsessed and spend too much time in the gym. Finding the perfect balance doesn't just mean splitting time between BJJ, and strength and conditioning, it also means finding time to enjoy their life. Most combat athletes have families, or follow other passions, and it is important to keep a good life balance so that the practitioner does not burnout from wanting to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This grappling art is all about long jeverdy, and if a student can find the right balance then they can enjoy training in this Martial Art for a long time.
Kettlebell Routine for BJJ
A BJJ-centric kettlebell routine should be more than just lifting weights; it's about integrating strength with fluidity, much like in a sparring match. Essential exercises like kettlebell swings offer explosive power development which is crucial for moves like takedowns. Goblet squats can improve leg strength, aiding guard retention and escapes. Turkish get-ups, while complex, are excellent for core strength and stability, reflecting the multi-step processes in many BJJ techniques. Adding rotational exercises can further enhance one's twisting and turning abilities on the mat, while stabilization exercises fortify the body's core, making it harder for opponents to unbalance or sweep a practitioner. Regularly interspersing high-intensity intervals with periods of active recovery in a kettlebell routine mirrors the ebb and flow of a BJJ match, ensuring that practitioners are conditioned for both explosive actions and sustained engagements.
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