Killer Kettlebells for Conditioning
Jiu Jitsu training teaches one to explore and find the most efficient way to use one's body against another body to control and ultimately submit one's opponent. Strength is typically eschewed as not the most important element of one's arsenal when learning, but it's important to not completely forget strength altogether. For this reason, many jiu jitsu athletes turn to cross-training programs to improve their overall fitness, conditioning, and also strength. It's also important to be efficient in the design of our training programs. Most of our development happens on the mats and many people don't have endless amounts of time to be spending doing additional exercise programs for conditioning. Kettlebells offer a great solution and with a properly designed program, one can provide an all-over body workout with a relative small time investment.
Kettlebells are one of the more popular tools for strength and conditioning work. Their unique shape and the techniques one can perform make them much more dynamic than the standard weight lifting exercises one can be used to. This dynamic nature allows one to employ exercises that more closely mimic the movements that are crucial to the sport they practice, in our case BJJ. The video below offers some great examples of kettle bell techniques designed to develop ones hip movement and core strength. With only a twenty to thirty minute investment, you can destroy your hips and core and build a seemingly endless gas tank.
The Turkish Get Up
One of the most fundamental jiu jitsu techniques every beginner learns and every expert continues to practice if they're smart, is the technical lift. It is hands down the most effective and safe way to get up from a seated position, while protecting oneself in a self-defense situation. The Kettlebell Turkish Get Up is similarly one of the most effective, all-over body exercises for developing strength, conditioning and balance.
The video below from Master Phil Ross shows the proper way to complete the Turkish Get Up. If you only have time for one kettlebell exercise, this is definitely the one you should focus on. You will develop hip and leg strength, core stability as well as balance. Investing minutes at a time will pay countless dividends.
Kettlebells for Time
Gone are the days when performing three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise is the most beneficial way to work out. A typical BJJ sparring round or competitive match can range from 4-10 minutes. To be able to develop the kind of supplemental conditioning and strength, its important to start thinking about training for time instead of reps. By setting the clock or timer for a specific duration and performing an exercise or series of exercises for that prescribed time, one will be able to mimic the length of a BJJ match and build the kind of gas tank to help make those rounds easy to survive.
So you want to improve your conditioning for BJJ, but you don't want to spend endless hours on the treadmill or elliptical, two activities, which won't really pay sport-specific dividends for jiu jitsu. Instead, with only an investment of 20-30 minutes two to three times a week, by working kettlebell exercises, you will better mimic the movements of BJJ and improve your gas tank while working sport-specific muscle skills.