Kettlebell Sprawl Series

Kettlebell Sprawl Series

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.

As 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!

Suggested Repetitions: 10 reps

Bonus: Superset with 30-60 second sprints on an Airdyne/Assault Bike or Concept II Rower

Rest Period: Up 60 seconds

Sets: 4-6

Variation #1: One kettlebell, two arms

Variation #2: One kettlebell, single arm (5 reps each arm, 10 total)

This variation focuses more on dynamic shoulder and core stability

Variation #3: One kettlebell, single arm adding in vertical jump (5 reps each arm, 10 total)

Tip: Fully extend the body into triple extension on the take off; land the jump softly and under control. This variation focuses on more on dynamic shoulder stability and lower body explosiveness

Learn more about Mike Salemi:

Learn more about Josh Thomson:

Videography by: Eli Helfman

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