Martial artists around the world are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of using kettlebells in their training regime, the application of the kettlebell to a martial artist is, more explosiveness, more power, more strength, more strength endurance and superior conditioning. Its a fact that the majority of fights are won by the more conditioned opponent, of course skill, accuracy, power and speed are all necassary compenents any great fighter needs, but this will mean nothing if you find yourself in the last round with nothing left to give! So how can this deceptively simple device give so much? Consider this, Russian kettlebell training specifically the “hardstyle” method of kettlebell training is explosive in nature, the relationship between relaxation and tension is one every athlete should master, high level athletes know this and train accordingly. The hardstyle method refers to martial art systems like karate which concentrated on total body muscle tension into one extraordinary effort “one punch, one kill”. When Pavel (the creator of the hardstyle method) served in the Soviet Special Forces, his unit was among those who had adopted a karate-based style of hand to hand combat. The hard style of kettlebell training was born to support the hard style of fighting. In the hardstyle kettlebell swing, you explosively propel the bell forward using an aggressive hip snap, before hiking the bell back between the legs to again explosively drive it forward, at the top of the swing, glutes, abs, quads, lats and forearms are tense, at the bottom of the swing relaxed, this repeated effort is teaching you total body tension, to build up to a one all out effort, but repeatedly. Therefore the kettlebell swing is not only a superior conditioner but also builds strength endurance that will transfer to how you perform in the arena. Add in the Turkish get up for an all over strength exercise and you have all you need, but why stop there? Lets add in some snatches for more explosiveness, some windmills for flexibility and core, clean and press for a strong upper body, high pulls which mimic striking, both with elbows and fists, the ground attack, a great exercise for grapplers. These exercises are just a few of the many hundreds a fighter can use to increase speed, power, conditioning etc, if you are serious about improving in your sport, and why would you not be? The question becomes why are you not using kettlebells already?
Written by Pete Luffman, personal trainer, kettlebell coach and nutritional advisor.