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Kettlebells for BJJ
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Kettlebells for BJJ

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Kettlebells have never been as popular as they are now.

The growth and emphasis of functional fitness has only benefited the BJJ community with its diverse exercises, explosive movements and core strengthening workouts. 

A kettlebell is a type of free weight that originated from Russia approximately 350 years ago. The kettlebell is made for enhancing strength, burning fat, movement emphasized training that is a massive component to how people trained early on in the Amateur Weightlifting Society founded in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

The benefits of kettlebell training for BJJ include, but are not limited to: 

The Combination of Strength and Cardio Training: Kettlebells are no joke. They will blast your cardio and strength simultaneously which will help with constant full body workouts to increase your functional fitness seamlessly and rapidly.

Kettlebells are the perfect tool to use to improve your strength for Jiu Jitsu and all grappling arts.

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Improves Functional Fitness: Since kettlebells focus on a variety of movements and diverse exercises, this is important when it comes to BJJ from a movement standpoint. When you look at functional fitness, the definition is ``training to prepare the body for real-life movements and activities`` which is the perfect recipe for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu casuals or competition driven athletes. 

Different, New Movements: With the emphasis around movement and strength in precarious positions, not only are these movements great for overall fitness, but they are also different. This is important to spruce up your exercise routine so you don’t get bored just lifting weights while in a less functional setting. Not to mention, you are getting stronger and more explosive every session. It’s a win-win! 

Here are some of my go-to Kettlebell exercises explained with videos attached: 

Kettlebell Swing:  Standing tall with your feet just beyond hip width apart, pick up the Kettlebell with both hands, palms facing you. Slightly bend your knees, drive your hips back in a classic hinge motion while keeping your entire core tight. With an explosive motion, drive your hips forward (think of a sprawl or active hips while defending a takedown) while keeping your core tight. You will gain some momentum throughout this movement so keep swinging! 

Recommended Workload:  4 sets of 6-12 reps.


Kettlebell Goblet Squat: Hold both sides of the handle on the Kettlebell at chest height, keeping feet hip width apart, lower into a strong squatting position keeping your knees behind your toes with your core as tight as possible. Once you are at 90 degrees, explode up driving your hips forward. Think of being trapped in someone`s close guard and you attempt to explode to standing to try and break their grip.

Recommended Workload: 4 sets of 10-15 reps.  


Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up:  Start lying on a desired side, place the Kettlebell next to the shoulder you are lying on, roll to said side and grab the kettlebell with both hands, then roll the kettlebell to your stomach as you roll to your back. Press the kettlebell overhead, extending your arm to the ceiling. Lock your elbow out, and bend the knee on the same side as the arm that is extended. Roll up onto your elbow opposite the kettlebell, drive off of the bent leg as you push off the other arm to a seated position, all this time your gaze is fixed on the kettlebell. Once stable on the supporting elbow, move to the hand. Next, you raise your hips to the ceiling while keeping your core and glutes as tight as possible, into what is called a tripod position. From here, do what in grappling we know as a Technical Stand Up. Sweep your extended leg back as you would with no kettlebell, nice and controlled. Dependant on the weight of the Kettlebell, you may need to go to the knee of the straight leg first, regardless, use your core and stand up from the modified lunge. That would be one rep. Keep it tight! 

Recommended Workload: 3 sets of 6 reps each side. 


Kettlebell Floor Press: Start lying on the ground, kettlebells on your chest, knees bent. You can either push both or alternating kettlebells to the ceiling in an explosive manner, similar to a bench press, minus the bench of course. Keep your head on the mat and your core tight. Think of being trapped in side control, and you need to get your frames established, so you explode with your back to the mat while pushing on your opponent to get to a safer position. 

Recommended Workload: 5 sets of 5-8 reps. 

Take all of these exercises and do them consecutively to each other for a total of 4 rounds for an amazing full body workout!


In conclusion, I believe Kettlebells are a fantastic tool for all things combat sports training. Since many of these movements are difficult and advance, it is important you take the time and learn the basics from professionals. Fighters and athletes safety is always paramount, so use great precaution in enjoying this fantastic tool.

Kettlebells have been a staple of championship fighter workouts for hundreds of years. Learn from elite strength and conditioning coach Mike Perry as he helps you prepare your body in this comprehensive fitness guide. Check it out here!

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