By Joey Alvarado:
We should start by discussing the concept of the Kettlebell Flow. The Flow is a term I have given to utilizing a number of different kettlebell movements into one fluid sequence of movements designed for anerobic workout. To understand fighting, you must know that combat sports are anaerobic in nature, anaerobic literally means 'living in the absence of air'. This means combat sports are more like running sprints than going for a long distance jog. Anaerobic training and fighting involve short bursts of energy, followed by a brief lull in movement, so I have tried to create kettlebell movements that refelect this. Fighting also involves using multiple muscles at once, so our kettlebell movements in a flow of movement are chosen because they do the same. A BJJ/MMA match involves pushing and pulling muscles, core work and leg work so our kettlebell training movements must reflect the use of these muscles as well for practical application. To sum it up, these kettlebell movements are designed to be performed in short bursts of energy which I have called 'Flows' with brief rests in between and focus on muscles that are important for pushing, pulling, core and leg work, all of which are essential to combat sports.
In the beginning nobody had seen movements like the ones we will cover here added together in kettlebell training and it was not accepted by everyone in the kettlebell community. However, now there are quite of number of folks who create similar movements and styles of kettlebell workouts designed for MMA and BJJ training and throw them out into social media. The biggest difference between what I create and most others is that anything I post has been tested by my students and I over the last 10 years, these movements have stood the test of time and fight results. I have trained a team of MMA/BJJ athletes and regular, everyday people at my old gym and now at Legacy BJJ Burbank for close to a decade. These are not just workouts I come up with in my living room and throw up on YouTube. My YouTube posts are not made to be instructional in nature, breaking down the exact details and form of every movement. What I am trying to do is show you examples of how I train and the general movements involved, there are a lot of details that you may be missing if you do not understand the concepts behind the movements from an MMA/BJJ perspective. The goal of my posts with Kettlebell Kings is to educate people and give everyone a better understanding of what Kettlebell training for combat athletes is about.
I have Kettlebell Flows broken down in 4 different categories:
- Two Handed Single Kettlebell Flows
- One Handed Alternating Single Kettlebell Flows
- Combo Flows Mixing 1 and 2 Together
- Double Kettlebell Flows
We will cover all in this series, but for Part 1 we will focus on Two Handed Single Kettlebell Flows. The video below is an example of two handed single kettlebell flows and is my most basic movements. It involves a two handed clean (video below). This covers our pulling and leg work, two handed overhead press (pushing movement), and a two handed swing (hinging, core movement). The protocol I use for this is what I call 2 minute Kettlebell circuit.
Two Minutes Total of:
- Perform a two handed clean and press TWICE
- Two handed swing TWICE
- Swing to catch ONCE
- Perform that flow of movement in order as many times as possible for One Minute
- Then, 30 second of Ballistic Rows
- 30 Seconds of Burpees
So, that is two minutes of maximal effort followed up a period of rest. Rest for 3-5 minutes and then perform again, you can perform as many rounds as you need but you should be exerting maximal effort during the two minutes and it should be challenging.
Please keep in mind that in my classes, we always start with body weight and mobility before we get into the kettlebell work, see my contact information below if you have interest in learning about these as well. This insures that everyone is thoroughly warmed up. When teaching, here is a typical Kettlejitsu class format I use:
- Mobility and core warm up
- Ab pyramid (abdominal work)
- B.I.T. (Body weight interval training)
- C.I.T. (Compound body weight training)
- K.I.T. (Kettlebell interval training)
- Kettlebell circuit
I hope this gives a better understanding of how and why I developed kettlebell flows. They are an amazing way to train kettlebells and give you a full body workout, help burn muscle, enhance coordination and focus all at once! Stay tuned for Part 2 in which we will cover another variant of my workouts!
- Thanks, Joey Alvarado
In the posts, Joey trains with our Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebell Series.
Even if you are not training for combat sports, the above circuit is a GREAT workout. If you follow our kettlebell workouts this is something you should definitely try. For example, you could perform the two minutes of work mentioned above followed by a period of three minutes of rest, then another two minutes of work, try four rounds total. Make sure to give maximal effort during the time you are using the bells.
What Is Next?
If this is your first time reading one of our posts, we create kettlebell workouts in collaboration with people like Joey which are designed to give you maximal results and not take up much of your time. We send these to your in box automatically every week! We recommend you read more about receiving a quick, free, dynamic kettlebell workout every week you can click below.
Also, we recommend you subscribe to our posts so you can be notified when we publish Part 2 with Joey in which we cover another set of movements. Additionally, you can be notified when we publish new articles about specific kettlebell movements or techniques as well as niche pieces like this designed for specific training. You can do that through the sign up form at the bottom of this post.
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About Joey Alvarado:
We are going to be doing series around kettlebell movements and workouts designed for combat sports. Though these movements are designed to incorporate elements of combat sport training, we love the concepts the workouts involve and think they make a great workout for anyone! So make sure to read on no matter who you are. For this series we are partnering with Joey Alvarado, from Kettle Jitsu Revolution. Joey has been featured on a number of podcasts, DVD's and articles about the way he trains his students with kettlebells. Joey is a world renowned fitness/mixed martial arts (mma) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (bjj) coach. Joey is a 30 year veteran of martial arts training. He spent 7 years as a professional mma fighter and holds a Black belt in BJJ under Roger Machado as well as black belts in Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do under Grand Master S.R. Moreland. Joey also has a brown/black belt in Kuk Sool won under In Hyuk Suh. Joey is the father of hybrid kettlebell training. He fused traditional kettlebell exercises with movements from mma and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and came out with the ground breaking DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems. Joe has a really unique style of kettlebell training that people on our social media accounts were really interested to learn more about after our initial post so we asked him to write a piece for us and you can see his video below.
Close to 10 years ago, I went to purchase some kettlebells from an old company called My Mad Methods (MMM). MMM was located inside of a gym called MBody Strength owned by Marcus Martinez and Mark de Grasse. I met Mark while I was there and asked him if he would take a look at a specific kettlebell program that I had been developing with my students at my former gym SoCal MMA and he agreed, so I proceeded to show some of the kettlebell movements and flows I had developed and his eyes lit up! Mark asked if he could film some of the movements, I agreed and within a few minutes Mark looked at me and said, “We need to do a dvd.”
I was blown away! I just wanted to see what he thought of the exercises I had developed, I certainly was not expecting to land a DVD deal! This led to his company My Mad Methods producing my first 2 DVD's. The Comba Kettlebell Systems DVD we created was the first of its kind to showcase newly developed kettlebell movements and principles taken directly from MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and was sold all over the world, I released another DVD dedicated to body weight training called Shadow Jitsu. My Mad Methods created such a buzz that it gained the attention of a little nutritional supplement company called Onnit. They purchased MMM (along with my DVDs and articles) and brought in Mark de Grasse to create the Onnit Academy where some of my articles are still posted today.
Sensei Alvarado also owned and operated the premier mma gym in Northeast los Angeles, SoCal mma and fitness for ten years. Master Joey is now teaches BJJ/Kettlejitsu at BJJ/MMA legend Alberto Cranes gym, Legacy. BJJ Burbank. You can find more by Joey at http://kjrevolution.com/ and his YouTube Channel
Here is a list of Joey's accomplishments:
- Owner/Master trainer of SoCal mma and fitness
- Bjj black belt under Roger Machado
- Black belt Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do
- Brown/black belt Kuk Sool Won
- Former Cage of Fire lightweight pro mma champion
- Black Belt no gi world bronze medalist
- Black belt SJJF world Bronze medalist
- Black belt National silver medalist
- Ibjjf no gi Brown Belt world champion Senior 2, American national Gi champion, American national no gi champion
- California Open Champion
- Las vegas open champion
- Nevada State open Champion
- Long Beach Fall open Heavyweight Gold Medalist
- Houston Open middleweight Gold Medalist
- European open Silver Medalist
- Las Vegas open silver medalist
- Grapplers Quest Best Of the West Gold medalist
- U.S. National Silver medalist
- Son of Former #6th ranked Pro Boxer Joe Medrano
- Creator of the Combat Kettle-Jitsu and Shadow-Jistu dvds