Kettlebell Kings is teaming with thirty year martial arts veteran, Joey Alvarado, to provide you with some great kettlebell movements and workouts which are designed to build muscles and endurance for jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts. Though Joey's experience lends itself toward building workouts which will improve aspects of BJJ/MMA, they are also great workouts and flows of movement to burn calories and build muscle for anyone. One of the keys to working our consistently is breaking up the monotony of doing the same things over and over. Joey's kettlebell movements definitely give you something new to master and challenge you with each workout. If this is your first time reading a post by Joey, we recommend you start with Part 1, which covers his most basic movement.
We will start with a quick refresher about the concept.
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 anaerobic 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 reflect 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.
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 2 we will focus on Hand to Hand Kettlebell Flows.
This particular flow is for intermediate level kettlebell practitioners for two reasons:
- It involves the overhead squat and high pull which require a bit of practice.
- Hand to Hand means we will be passing the kettlebell from our left hand to right hand for the duration of this flow. This requires focus, timing and coordination.
This kettlebell flow contains one of my favorite kettlebell exercises, the high pull. When I was first taught this exercise, I immediately thought to myself “this is like throwing a punch.” I immediately attributed it to a punch we call a overhand right in Mixed Martial Arts or Boxing. Most traditional kettlebell trainers teach the high pull as a precursor to the snatch. I think this is a really important movement because If you work the high pull the way I do, then your hinging, pushing and pulling all in one explosive movement. This means your working your core, chest, back, shoulders biceps, triceps and forearm at once.
Below is a demonstration of how I do a high pull. So check it out to see what I am talking about. High pulls are also help with hand speed and punching power. Its like throwing punches with a kettlebell! Try shadow boxing after a few sets of high pulls and see how fast your hands are!
The High Pull
In the previous article I talked about the many attributes needed in combat sports and how kettlebell flows help. One I did not touch on is focus. Your mind has to be razor sharp in the ring or cage and it is one of the hardest parts about staying in the moment during a workout. Even when you are in the later rounds and you are exhausted you have to have the ability to keep your composure and focus. One mental lapse and it can cost you the fight. Doing kettlebell flows address this issue because this will tire you out and it will increasingly get difficult to keep the flow consistent. It forces you to focus in order to perform it correctly.
Watch a demonstration of the movements below as well as an explanation about how to utilize it in your training.
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.
I suggest practicing each exercise that makes up the flow individually. In a classroom setting I would begin with kettlebell interval training and you can start your workout the same way by doing 30 seconds of work with a 10 second break between each movement. For example, do 30 seconds of overhead squats on the left, 10 second break, 30 seconds of overhead squats on the right, 10 second break, 30 seconds high pulls on the left followed by the right, finishing with 30 seconds of cleans on the left, then the right. Always with a small break in between switching sides. So you are performing the movements that will go into the flow to warm up. Then try the flow using a lighter bell until you get used to the sequence. Then,
Do a 2 minute round:
- 1 Minute Kettlebell Flow
- Clean the bell to one side
- Press the bell overhead and do an Overhead Squat on same side
- Do a high pull with the bell, let it back down and clean to the other side and repeat sequence on the other side before switching back (demonstrated above)
- 30 Seconds of 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. Try three or four sets to start.
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 3 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? - There Will Be Part 3!
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 3 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.
Let us know how we can help you!
Kettlebell Kings kettlebells have been compared favorably to some of the top fitness companies in the United States, our bells are used in the biggest kettlebell sporting events in the world and are the official kettlebell of some of the top kettlebell clubs. If you have any questions about our equipment we are glad to help you!
If you have enjoyed reading this, you can sign up for notifications about our next posts through the sign up form at the bottom of this page!
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