4 Benefits of Kettlebell Training for MMA and Combat Fighters

Kettlebells can be a wonderful tool for any combat fighter to use if they want to get strong, powerful, explosive and shredded.

Kettlebell Expert and Trainer Chris Lopez SFG2, RKC gives us his top 4 benefits of Kettlebell Training for all MMA, Martial Arts and Combat Fighters

1) The ability to absorb force.

If you fight, then a lot times your success in the ring isn’t so much determined through how hard you hit, but by how many hits you can take and still deliver.

As a fighter you have to be able to absorb force. Whether that be from an incoming punch or kick or from a guy barreling himself into you, you’ve got to be able to take the hit (or avoid it).

This holds true with team sports like hockey, lacrosse, rugby and especially (American) football as well.

So being able to build upper body armour that’s able to the withstand impact is important.

How do you do that?

Double kettlebell cleans – Multiple sets on the minute.

This is great for both conditioning and packing on some impressive muscle.

2) Being able to control & resist momentum.

Think about the first time you tried to swing heavy double kettlebells.

Do you remember those KBs “throwing” you forward because you were unaware of the force and momentum they created?

Sure they were probably only a percentage of your bodyweight, but when you take into account the speed at which you are moving them, well, the “physics” change and they become much heavier.

So to be able to accommodate for the added weight, you had to make sure that you were properly routed into the ground and understand how much you’d have to counterbalance that weight with your bodyweight so wouldn’t get thrown.

You’re resisting and overcoming the momentum created by the accelerated kettlebells.

This isn’t any different from an opponent trying to throw you or spin you while you’re in the clinch.

3) Mastering tension & relaxation.

What makes a punch hurt?


When someone delivers a hit, their entire body must tense on contact to be able to make the blow impactful. Otherwise you get a soft hit or worse, a broken hand.

Now think about swinging a single kettlebell with one arm. When you swing, you direct your force to the horizon through the kettlebell.

At the peak of your swing, your entire body is tense – feet rooted, quads, glutes & abs contracted and a strong fist gripping the kettlebell.

This is exactly the same reaction that your body has when you deliver a punch.

Immediately following the hit, your joints go soft and you go back into a state of relaxation the same way your glutes & quads have to relax when you hike-pass the kettlebell through your knees on the back swing.

Kettlebell ballistics are all about mastering & managing the relationship between tension & relaxation. If you’re always tense, then you’ll gas out pretty quickly.

Conversely, if you’re relaxed when you swing (or punch), then your ability to produce force is diminished and you leak energy.

4) The ability to manipulate your body under load.

Grappling and Jiu Jitsu are 2 awesome arts that fighters better have some knowledge in if they expect to be successful. Case in point, if you saw the Gustafsson vs Jones fight, Gustafsson continued to avoid Jon Jones trying to take the fight “to the mat”.

Gustafsson knew that Jones was a former collegiate wrestler so he possesses far greater skill on the mat than the former Swedish boxing champ.

So Gustafsson avoided Jones’ attempts at taking him down because he’d be at a complete disadvantage.

Had Jones taken him down, Gustafsson would have had to try to manage the skillful wrestling of Jones while on his back maneuvering his body with Jones over top of him to avoid getting into a submission hold.

This maneuvering can be likened to doing heavy get-ups or even a bent press where you must master body movement while maintaining load over top of you.

So with all that being said, try this double kettlebell complex today for your training and train like I would train a fighter…

1) Heavy Get-Up Singles using your pressing weight or one above. Do single reps, alternating sides, and try to get as many reps in as you can in 10 minutes.

Then, grab a pair of doubles (pressing size or heavier) and perform ballistics…

2a) Double Cleans x 3-5

2b) Double Swings x 3-5

Do the ballistics for 10 minutes doing the superset “on the minute”. So perform the exercises at the top of each minute and then rest for the remainder of the time.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think

Kettlebell Workout

Fitness Friday Workout Perform each exercise for 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds rest. Complete 2 rounds with no rest in between. Total Time = 10 Minutes
1. Alternating Suitcase to One Arm Swings
2. Snatches (Right)
3. Goblet Thrusters
4. Snatches (left)
5. Goblet Reverse Lunges

Kettlebell Workout For MMA

Kettlebell Workout For MMA
Perform kettlebell exercise for 60 seconds followed by 60 seconds of skipping with no rest in between = Total Time 20 minutes (For this workout I used 20kg Kettlebell)

1. KB Outside to Inside Swings
2. Regular Skipping
3. Clean and Squat Left
4. Side to Side Skipping
5. Clean and Squat Right
6. Fighter Stance Left Skipping
7. Snatch Right (Pull Snatch or Swing Snatch)
8. Fighter Stance Right Skipping
9. Snatch Left (Pull Snatch or Swing Snatch)
10. Boxer Swing Skipping
11. High Pulls Right
12. Jumping Jack Skipping
13. High Pulls Left
14. Right Knee Raise Skipping
15. KB Push Ups
16. Left Knee Raise Skipping
17. KB Push Ups
18. Ali Shuffle Skipping
19. High Swings
20. Regular Skipping

Kettlebell MMA Workout

Workout Details Perform as many reps as possible of each exercise for 60 seconds followed by 15 -second rest. Rest for 1 minute and repeat for 5 rounds.

Exercise List
1. Kettlebell Snatches 30 sec each side
2. Kettlebell Bottoms Up Swings – 30 sec each side
3. Kettlebell Clean-Squat and Press – 30 sec each side
4. Kettlebell Pass – Pass – Pass – 60 second