What is physically required of a fighter athlete?
Agility, Reactivity, Speed, Power, Endurance, basically all physical characteristics together. The fighter must be a complete athlete, and can not be limited to the specialization of a physical quality, such as a sprinter who expresses himself at maximum speed, or a marathon runner who seeks maximum endurance.
How to train all the physical qualities during the whole period of competitive competitions?
Although a proper training periodization is crucial for any athlete, including the fighters, once they reach good levels of general strength, you need to use training strategies that are able to increase a perfect mix of physical qualities without neglecting one to the advantage of the other. And so the use of kettlebells perfectly meets this need.
Why kettlebells are able to meet all the physical demands of a combat sports athlete.
The answer is within the same intrinsic characteristics of these training tools. Kettlebells are in fact made up of a decentralized mass with respect to the handle, which allows the execution of a wide range of dynamic exercises that are decisive in the training of physical characteristics that are the basis of physical preparation: joint mobility, stabilization and neuro-muscular coordination are characteristics that guarantee a solid structure on which to build all the other physical capacities, starting from the strength. In fact, although a fighter must express himself in the race with great speed and power, if he has not built a solid structural base, he will hardly be able to express himself at the maximum of his physical and technical potential.
Five basic features of the Kettlebells are perfect for combat sports.
Thanks to its extraordinary versatility, a kettlebell is a real gym in one hand, but what are the key points for the athletic preparation of a fighter?
1) The mass decentralized with respect to the handle of the kettlebell allows the execution of ballistic exercises that force it to constantly manage the body centre of gravity and to adapt it in real time to the movement of the kettlebell. This builds great stabilization capabilities of both the individual joints of the body and the entire center of gravity (Core Training).
2) Another physical characteristic that is strongly trained by the decentralized mass with respect to the handle of the kettlebell is the grip force, also this is crucial both in combat sports where the grip is very often involved (Grappling, Judo), which in all those that require the use of shots with the arms, as the alignment of the wrist with the forearm is enhanced by the use of kettlebells.
3) The ability to continuously vary exercise within a single sequence of the workout, allows a great stimulation of neuro-muscular coordination, a fundamental feature for an athlete of a situational sport as variable as a fighter.
4) Although with a kettlebell you can perform strength exercises derived from weightlifting (Squat, Press, Get Up, Windmill, Bent Press, etc.), the maximum expression of its characteristics is in the execution of ballistic exercises that allow the development of four fundamental characteristics for a fighter: reactivity, speed, speed and power (swing, Clean, Snatch, Jerk, Push Press, etc).
5) Another fundamental aspect for an athlete of every sport, is the ability to perform synergistic movements in the three planes of motion of the human body, Sagittal, Frontal and Transverse. Unlike other equipment, with kettlebells it is possible to build both strength, speed and power in all these three planes of movement and especially on the most neglected movement plane from the training of weights, the transverse plane, which is the most important in combat sports as it includes twists and rotations that are able to transmit maximum speed and power in the technical skills of the sport.
These are just some of the main benefits of using kettlebells in combat sports, and the most important thing is that it is possible to train all the physical characteristics that a fighter needs, in the same workouts simultaneously.
In the following video I show you an example of Workout for combat sports, in which with the use of one-handed exercises with a single kettlebell you can train all the features I explained above. To show you the extraordinary versatility of the kettlebell I have selected advanced exercises that can be performed only by people who already have a lot of experience in the use of kettlebells, but that are very effective in the physical preparation of all the basic skills for a fighter.
Enjoy and have a powerful kettlebell workout!
Emilio Troiano is the creator of the WTA Functional Training Academy, the first training school of Functional Training in Europe (since 2009). Over the years, he has trained over 15,000 sports instructors from all backgrounds, athletic training, fitness and physiotherapy.
You can contact him and view all his training courses and workouts on the website:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is a 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout Effective?
A 10 minute kettlebell workout is enough time to engage every muscle in your body while also getting some cardio exercise. If you are short on time but need to get a good workout, kettlebells are arguably the best tool you can use.
Are Kettlebells Good For Fighters?
Kettlebells are the perfect workout tool for fighters because they offer so many different functional benefits including increasing strength and power, increasing durability, and helping build real life endurance.
Why Do Boxers Use Kettlebells?
The kettlebell swing, the foundation of kettlebell training, is a dynamic hip-hinge movement. This exercise is excellent for developing posterior chain power and endurance, which can help fighters maintain strength and stamina in later rounds of a fight.