The history of the kettlebell dates back to the 1700’s, primarily used by Russian farmers to weigh crops. Those same farmers eventually evolved in to using them to show off their strength at local festivals. Today, kettlebells are the ultimate tool for any combat/martial athlete, if used efficiently.
I believe there are 8 key athletic attributes that every fighter has to some degree: agility, balance, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, stability and strength. Every individual has different capacities with each attribute. As fighters, our goal is to exploit as many weaknesses in as many of those attributes in our opposition as possible in hopes of dominating in a convincing fashion. At the same time, we want to enhance our own “CORE 8” to increase our physical abilities.
The kettlebell is one of the best ways to change the game in your training.
As I started my amateur Muay Thai journey in the mid 90’s I was only versed in minimal strength & conditioning methods that I picked up on my own as a kid. Pull ups, pushups, benching, and biceps curls were my staples. They were sufficient enough at the time I suppose, but as always “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
After years of dead end jobs after high school, at 27 years old, I ventured in to the world of personal training. This opened up a whole new world of training and well being for me. It wasn’t until 2006 when I turned PRO as a Muay Thai fighter that I understood the importance of having a complete team around to help prepare me for battle. I sought out a strength & conditioning coach who specialized in athletic performance and as it turns out, was responsible for my love of this ancient tool. I will never forget my “ah ha” moment when I realized that this was the way EVERY fighter should train. It was after a 5 round scrap with an ultra tough dude from Nebraska. I hit him with everything but the kitchen sink for 5 rounds. I dropped him a couple of times for a standing 8 count and carefully placed a shin to the side of his head, but he still kept coming! I stayed composed and won the fight, but after those 5 rounds I felt something I’d never felt in my previous 20+ fights…..swollen and aching fists for days.
I believe through working with the kettle bell in a dynamic and ballistic manner, it kept my arsenal of weapons a huge threat in that fight. I felt my opposition was off balance and kept at bay due to the quality of my attacks and counters. Alongside power development, I was in better shape to deliver a heavier assault.
A great kettle bell complex that you can add in to your training regimen is a combination of 4 basic movements:
• Dead Snatch
• Hang Snatch
• Front Squat
Check out this instructional video of 4 movements and follow along at the end to enhance your “CORE 8”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Gh6E_PnJ8