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The Importance of Strength and Conditioning for the Combat Athlete

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Apr 25, 2018 3:02:00 PM

By Scott Shetler:

One of the biggest misconceptions I hear among Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes, as well as other combat athletes, is that strength training is not important for improvement in the grappling arts. The idea is that all the focus should be on improving the tactical aspects of the art or sport itself and that technique will always trump strength. I don’t understand this idea as it implies that it is recommended to train strength and exclude, or limit, technique practice. I don’t understand why people feel it must be one or the other. The myth that strength training will make an athlete muscle-bound and slow persists. Thankfully this is changing.

The idea that strength is not important for grapplers and combat athletes never made sense to me. If strength didn’t matter why bother having weight classes and gender divisions in the sport? If strength didn’t matter why are so many combative athletes getting popped for anabolics and other performance enhancing drugs? If there are two athletes in the same weight class with the same level of skill but one utilizes a strength and conditioning program and the other doesn’t, I will put my money on the stronger athlete any day of the week.

Strength is incredibly important for grapplers and combat athletes, but it is just one of many crucial physical qualities. I consider strength to be a sort of “governor” on all the other abilities. When strength levels are increased the athlete is capable of greater speed and power through increasing ground contact force, which interestingly improves speed for endurance athletes as well. In addition, building strength will strengthen bones, tendons, and ligaments making the athlete more resilient.

“I believe adding strength and conditioning into my BJJ training it is what helped me finally get over that hurdle to win worlds gold and then go on to take gold in pans and repeat that in nogi as well.” -Chris Jones, Creighton BJJ brown belt, owner of Nucleus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 2017 Pans, Worlds, Nogi Pans and Nogi Worlds gold medalist. (pictured above)

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Topics: Scott Shetler, Strength Training

 The Kettlebell Figure 8 For MMA Striking

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Mar 19, 2018 11:23:15 AM

Our friend Joey Alvarado is back to talk about his Kettlebell Figure 8 for MMA Striking. Joey was one of the first to incorporate kettlebell training into his jiu jitsu and called it Kettlejitsu. Joey discovered you can mimic fighting movements with kettlebells, thus building the muscle and breathing needed for fights. Joey was astonished at how well the two worked together and definitely ahead of his time as kettlebells are just now being accepted by some in jiu jitsu. 

When Joey first saw the Figure 8 to Hold movement (demonstrated below) his first thought was how much it reminded him of an uppercut and he got to work on The Fighter's Figure 8. This movement can serve as the basis for a lot of other kettlebell movements because it is from the same stance that most kettlebell exercises utilize. 

Start with your basic, shoulder width stance and you will perform the movement with a hinging motion demonstrated below. By using your hip hinge as opposed to just being hunched over and feeding the kettlebell between your legs, it works your core in an entirely different manner than the swing. Having a strong core is one of the most important aspects of combat sport training. 

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Topics: Grappling Central

Kettlebell Ground Series  Part 1 - Bridge to Combat Sit-Up

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Mar 16, 2018 2:21:54 PM

As a fundamental movement utilized across grappling sports, the bridge is an escape technique that proves beneficial when driving an opponent off the body from a mounted position. When combining this movement with a kettlebell and transitioning directly into other key positions such as the “combat position”, we are drilling a sport specific sequence helpful for the grappler of any style. 


    • Lay on your back with your knees flexed and kettlebell resting on your lower abdomen/pelvis. 
    • Drive your hips up to the ceiling in a controlled motion and rise the kettlebell up and over your head to one side touching the floor
    • Return back to the start position and repeat in the other two directions (straight overhead, and to the opposite side)
    • Once you’ve completed all three directions, drive the kettlebell forward as you simultaneously tuck one knee under your glutes and sit-up
    • Raise up into the Combat Position and pull the kettlebell into you hip
    • Lower back down under control and repeat

It is recommended the you use a light kettlebell, +/- 8kg, and work on the fluidity of movement above all. 

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Topics: Mike Salemi, Josh Thompson

Kettlebell Sprawl Series

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Feb 7, 2018 3:29:26 PM

It is awesome to have Josh Thompson and Mike Salemi contribute to our Grappling Blog. We are starting a four part series with these guys designed to take you through some of Josh's favorite training movements combined with Mike's expertise in kettlebells. Josh is a professional fighter and currently competes in Bellator MMA's lightweight division. 

IMG_1164.jpgAs a defensive movement frequently used in grappling situations, the sprawl can prevent being taken-down to the ground by an opponent.  In this video, both Josh and Mike draw on elements from the sprawl (namely the feet jumping back and a simultaneous dropping of the hips) while utilizing kettlebells for an added conditioning effect.

How to Perform the Base Movement (two kettlebells)

  • Start with the center of the kettlebells lined up directly with the ankles
  • Hinge back at the hips, then firmly grip the kettlebell(s) and exert straight downward pressure 
  • Jump back extending your legs and dropping your hips 
  • Quickly hop back to the start position
  • Extend tall quickly and powerfully

NOTE: The kettlebell sprawl presented here displays a key difference to the more technically correct sprawl that would be used in grappling/MMA, i.e. the toes are flexed when jumping back rather than “shoe laces down”.


Read more below video to see how to use this in your workouts!

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Topics: Grappling Central


Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Feb 5, 2018 8:18:19 PM

Nicholas Gregoriades is a 3rd degree black belt in bjj under Roger Gracie and the founder of the Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood.

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Topics: Grappling Central

Cerakote Kettlebells

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Nov 20, 2017 8:46:42 PM

We are really excited to introduce our new Cerakote Kettlebell options! We have always tried to innovate and create as many new awesome kettlebell options as possible, this has led to past releases like our Adjustable Competition Kettlebells and Steel Standard Kettlebells. Our new Cerakote Kettlebells meet all of our criteria for what we try to create with our kettlebells, they innovate and they are functional. These bells are innovative in that the designs available are completely original in functional fitness equipment and cerakote to date is unused on kettlebells and is more durable then any kettlebells available today. 

We have set designs and paints you can choose from or our new Cerakote Kettlebells allow for virtually unlimited creativity in how your kettlebell looks and is personalized for you, but are also painted with the most durable paint available on the market today and are actually functional to use.  We do not lose sight of the form and shape of our kettlebells that has helped us grow as a company and sponsor the biggest kettlebell competitions in the world as well as work with some of the top lifters in the world.  Additionally, Cerakote is more durable then Powder Coat, E-Coat and any Matte paint on kettlebells anywhere today. 

What is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a Polymer-Ceramic Composite coating that can be applied to metals, plastics, polymers and wood. The unique formulation used for Cerakote ceramic coating enhances a number of physical performance properties including abrasion/wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, impact strength, and hardness. Each of these properties is rigorously tested to guarantee that Cerakote products remain at the forefront of the ceramic coatings market. Cerakote ceramic coatings utilize state-of-the-art technology to out-perform any competitive coating in both laboratory settings and real world applications. - from

  • Original - There are no other bells like this available today, you can choose from one of our designs or create your own!
  • Durable - Cerakote is more durable than powder, e-coat and matte paint
  • Functional - Do not sacrifice form and comfort for the look of the bell, you can choose from any of our popular models and add the cerakote finish!
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Topics: Cerakote Kettlebells

Don't Bang Your Wrist & Forearm With Kettlebells

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Oct 26, 2017 12:57:37 PM

This has to be one of the most frequently asked questions we get when we publish or talk to people in casual conversation, "How do I not destroy my wrist and forearm when lifting kettlebells?" Luckily, Kettlebell Kings works with expert and world champions to bring you answers to questions like this.

Brittany Van Schravendijk goes over the answer to this frequently asked question for us in the video below. There are three factors:

  • grip
  • size of arch
  • timing

Kettlebell Grip

How you grip the kettlebell is important regardless of the style of kettlebell you use. In this demonstration, Brittany uses her competition kettlebell.  Do not give the bell at 'death grip', this has to be one of the most common errors people make by grasping their whole hand around the handle of the bell and thinking they need to hang on for dear life!  What you want to use is a 'hook grip'.  The kettebell should be between your first knuckle and your fingers (shown 1:11), with your thumb locked over which allows your wrist to be straight, but is loose enough to allow you to transition to different positions easily while still controlling the kettlebell. 

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Topics: Protecting Wrist & Forearm

Kettlebell Kings Gym Of the Week

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Oct 10, 2017 8:36:01 PM

Kettlebell Kings is excited to start a new initiave in which we will feature a new gym or homegym each week! We are taking ongoing submissions from everyone who wants to show off their gym and their Kettlebell Kings!

Sharing customer content has always been a huge part of our social sharing and we are so thankful to see happy customers sharing their kettlebell training. We are going to be doing an official Kettlebell Kings Gym of the Week post on our social channels which will feature images you submit of your gym or homegym as well as your very own text about anything you want to share about your gym or your training!

Tell us about how you like to train, how long you have been training, what your goals are or who you train, what types of clients you work with, how you help them and anything else you want to share in the post!

Enter Gym of the Week!

Share with us about your gym and how you use Kettlebell Kings in your gym!

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Topics: Gym Of The Week

Kettlebell Get Ups For Grapplers

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Sep 17, 2017 3:27:58 PM

We have published a number of articles with Joey Alvarado of Legacy BJJ and are excited to have him contribute this specifically for our Grappling blog. You can read Joey's previous posts starting with Part 1 here. Joey is one of the original people we collaborated with on kettlebell complexes and kettlebell flows. Joey was one of the first in the grappling community to discover the power of the kettlebell and how it can help with his matches.  He quickly adapted the kettlebell and applied it to some of the common movements he needed in his fights. 















By Joey Alvarado:

Years before I even trained with kettlebells I heard many people professing how good they were for martial arts, but never quite heard any one explaining exactly why they are good for combat sports. 

Flash forward to the first time I was taught the Turkish Get Up! First thing that came to my mind was, “Oh wow!” it’s almost identical to what’s called the Technical lift in BJJ! The only difference is, with the technical lift, on the get up part, instead of putting the knee on the ground, we bypass that and stand straight to our feet. 

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The Technical Lift (aka: standing up in base or the technical stand up) is a mandatory movement that any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioner or MMA fighter should master.  It is the proper way to stand up when someone knocks you down in a street fight or MMA fight.  Also, it has a ton of direct applications in BJJ sweeps and transitions. 

Watch the demonstration of this lift below and read more about the applications and beenfits of the kettlebell get up!

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Topics: Joey Alvarado, Get Ups

Kettlebell Flow Warm Up For BJJ & MMA

Posted by Kettlebell Kings on Sep 15, 2017 8:46:26 AM

Warming up before any workout is important in order to get the most out of your strength building. We are glad to have Mike Salemi backi (@kettlebelllifestyle) to bring you the his Warm Up Kettlebell Flow for grappling and MMA. Mike has an extensive background in all types of lifting and collaborated with top combat sports competitors to create these workouts. His interview with Ryan and Grappling Central will air for the first time on August 18, 2017.  We highly recommend you listen to the full interview as well as watch the demonstrations below. Mike can be reached for questions through the information below. 

Warm Up Kettlebell Flow 

This full body series prepares the shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles for any grappling training that follows. Perform one repetition in each movement, with the goal of achieving smooth, controlled transitions from the first to the last exercise.

Kettlebell HALO

Start very light and hold the kettlebell by the horns in the bottoms up position. Start the movement with your shoulders set down, away from your ears. When moving in the left direction, begin by aiming your left bicep towards your left ear; once the kettlebell is behind the head, both elbows should be pointed upward. Be sure to guide the kettlebell closely around the head at all times.


Ensuring your elbows are directed down, depress your shoulders away from your ears. Now, simultaneously breaking at the hips and knees, squat back while maintaining an upright torso. Push the earth away from you as you stand tall. 


Get More Workouts and Expert Advice For Grappling & MMA Here!



Initiate the side lunge by taking a large step out to your side. Sit your hips back while allowing the torso to angle forward slightly.

Begin the cossock squat be stepping out, however this time rather than keeping both feet firmly planted and pointing forward, allow foot of the straightened leg to direct upward towards the ceiling. The torso should remain more upright compared to the side lunge.



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Topics: Mike Salemi, Warm Up, Kettlebell Complex