Grapplers Graveyard

Kettlebell Workouts for MMA Fighters that Enhance Performance

kettlebell workouts for mma

Navigate This Post


Attention MMA fighters and Martial artists around the world, do not skip the gym just because you are training. Weightlifting is an important part of your routine. It is probably smart to be lifting at least 3 times per week with ample amounts of rest and proper nutrition in between. Now, it is important to not just train and push weight like your some bodybuilder, we need you to be strong and mobile! That’s what we look to help you accomplish in this article. In this article, you will find the best kettlebell workouts for MMA fighters and martial artists to incorporate into your routine today!

kettlebell workouts for mma

How to Use These MMA Kettlebell Workouts

Whatever exercise or equipment you use, maintaining solid form is critical to making the most out of your time and your effort. The same goes for kettlebells, as it is very easy to perform these high-velocity exercises with the wrong form. 

Fortunately for beginners, whether their goal is to be better at MMA or to just pack some muscle, the techniques for these movements are straightforward. As a result, you can effortlessly master them over time. There are a few key things you should look out for when trying kettlebells.

The first is choosing the right weight. This is vital to make sure you have an efficient workout. If the weight is too light, you won’t feel challenged and just go through the movements which is a waste of time. If the weight is too heavy you could compromise on form and ego lift which could cause an injury.

Another common mistake that many often make is letting your lower back bend during hinging movements. It was important that you hinge through your hips and not through your back. A good cue to avoid this is to brace your core before starting any movement. 

kettlebell workouts for mma, kettlebell exercises
10 Spots Left
Dominate The Mats | BJJ Strength Training - Sweet Science of Fighting

Technique is the most important aspect of BJJ/grappling performance. But want to increase your chances of landing submissions, finishing takedowns, and maintaining position? This program will have you man handling your opponents making them ready to tap.

Latest Pricing
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Why Are Kettlebells Good For MMA?

Kettlebells are arguably one of the best pieces of equipment to strengthen your MMA skills, making sure you bring your ‘A’ game during groundwork and sparring. Other than improving your skills, kettlebells bring many other great benefits that include:

  • Improved endurance

  • Better grip strength

  • Lower and upper body explosiveness

  • Full body mobility

  • Core strength training

  • Full body workout in a short time

With such a wide plethora of benefits and advantages to offer over other equipment, it is hard to pass on this absolute bargain of a deal. It should remind you that you can have a great full-body workout with minimal rest using just one kettlebell.

The Best Kettlebell Exercises For MMA Fights and Martial Artists

There are many different effective exercises with kettlebells that cater to your MMA fitness goals, below is a full-body workout with just kettlebells.

Squat Jumps (10-20 reps)

Kettlebell squat jumps are a quite a way to gain some serious explosive power in your lower body, especially your glutes and quads. Make sure you choose the right weight and practice this exercise with good form and you will surely be gassed out within minutes.

No MMA kettlebell workout would be complete without this movement as it provides both strength and cardiovascular benefits which is what combat athletes need most.

Kettlebell Swings (10-20 swings)

Another staple in kettlebell training is the kettlebell swing. The kettlebell swing is one of the best kettlebell training exercises because it trains your entire body, however, it lays its main emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings from the hinge and thrust part of the movement.

This exercise is an excellent choice for building explosive strength, muscle, mobility, and, a strong core if done with proper technique.

Kettlebell Halo (5-10 reps on each side)

The kettlebell halo is also a very popular exercise because it helps fighters prepare and warm up their upper body, mainly the shoulders and core. This kettlebell movement is great for strengthening your shoulder mobility and helps keep your core engaged because of the circling movement.

The kettlebell halo also trains your grip strength as you have to switch the kettlebell to your other hand while in movement, giving weighted resistance in movement can contribute to bettering your punching power in the long run.

Clean and Press

The clean and press is an exceptional exercise that is beneficial without regard to the type of equipment you use, be it dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells.

If done with proper form, i.e., keeping your lower back from bending, and keeping your core and glutes engaged, this exercise is one of the best for creating explosive power and overall strength throughout your body.

This is also a compound exercise as it works nearly the entire body from the clean which brings into play, the hamstrings, lower back, biceps, and also your glutes. The press trains your shoulders, upper chest, triceps, core, and also lower back which keep your torso stable during the entire movement.

kettlebell workouts for mma, kettlebell workout, kettlebell exercises

Double Kettlebell Swings

Double kettlebell swings are by far one of the most demanding exercises you can do with kettlebells. Aside from being slightly more advanced, they have a harder technique that is a bit difficult to master. However, difficulty aside, this movement gives much more than your ordinary single kettlebell swings.

The muscles activated with this movement are the same as normal swings but are targeted to a higher intensity because of the added weight and reduced grip. Usually, both hands would be used for one kettlebell, however, for this variation you use one hand for each kettlebell which makes it much harder.

This movement is great for balancing out imbalances in your muscles and increases grip strength and overall conditioning as it allows for more weight to be held. Higher weight with good form is always beneficial in the long run, especially for explosive power and increased punching power.

kettlebell workouts for mma, kettlebell workout, kettlebell exercises

Kettlebell Turkish Get-up

The Turkish get-up is another kettlebell movement that is on the slightly harder side. However, this is one best exercise to get your core engaged and be burning fat in no time. The lack of stability during the entire movement from the starting position when flat on the ground with the weight pressed only on one side, till the top of the movement when standing up straight with the weight overhead pressed.

The entire movement targets your whole body and will surely have you humbled within a short period of time, that too with low weight. Other than your core, this movement exercises your legs, back, chest, shoulders, and also your arms, making it an excellent choice if you are short on time and only have one kettlebell.

single leg deadlift

Single-leg kettlebell deadlift

Deadlifts are a great exercise for pulling some serious weight regardless of what equipment you use, and with the number of variations available, any goal you have can be catered to with this exercise.

The single-leg deadlift is an excellent variation to build power in your hamstrings and stability in your entire body. It also works other muscles in the posterior chain like the lower back and also the hamstrings. Moreover, this movement is also good for grip strength and flexibility.

Kettlebell floor press

When it comes to building strength and explosive power in the upper front body. Training your chest, arms, and shoulders is necessary to be able to throw a deadly punch when needed. This is where the floor press comes in.

Although this can be done with dumbbells and barbells, the kettlebell variation is safer and better for wrist strength. This simple movement creates muscle activation in the chest, front delts, and also triceps making it a compound exercise that helps save time by working out multiple muscles at a time.

If you want to increase the intensity, you can perform this exercise unilaterally with one arm, or you can add a fly range of motion in between each press.


Train Like a Fighter

To train like a fighter one should understand very soon in their fitness journey, that every goal has a different route to achieving that goal. Bodybuilding requires training with hypertrophy in mind,  and powerlifting requires strength training with low reps and heavy weights. 

Similarly for every sport where you have to throw or dodge a punch, you must also train to be enduring and explosive. For endurance, you must be able to efficiently move quickly for extended periods of time.

An average boxing match with 12 rounds lasts nearly an hour while MMA matchups can last up to 25 minutes. For this, it is recommended to train with lighter weights with higher reps and short rest periods between rounds and sets to push your endurance and cardiovascular strength.

For explosive power, you must be able to generate a significant amount of force through your body weight during fights. As for training, you should practice exercises with large ranges of motion and moderate to heavy weight. Exercises like the kettlebell swing and double kettlebell swing are great for strength and generating some dangerous explosive power.

Keep these in mind when deciding on a program and without a doubt, you’ll be a menace in no time.

mma fighter, jon jones


Best Kettlebell Brand
Kettlebell Kings | Kettlebells That Feel Great In Your Hands

Kettlebell training involves dynamic, whole-body movements that enhance strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. Its effectiveness for athlete-like conditioning stems from the combination of resistance training and functional movements. You need good equipment to get the most out of this style of training, that's why we choose Kettlebell Kings.

Latest Pricing
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Benefits of Using Kettlebell Workouts for MMA Fighters

Kettlebells are a versatile and endurable tool for simplifying major workout objectives in no time. Having a single piece of equipment to condition all your fitness needs is a big yes, especially in this fast-paced world, where achieving a single objective can become the most tedious of tasks.

The following are some of their advantages:

Build core strength

Kettlebells are very useful pieces of equipment that are also known for their significant impact on athletic development and fitness training. One of the most functional reasons to use kettlebells is in developing core strength and stability in the trunk region.

The core has an important role in keeping the body grounded especially during intense movements. Kettlebell movements are high-velocity movements with large ranges of motion that challenge the core muscles to stop the body from falling over. These movements push you to brace your inner core strength and condition your static muscles.

Some common exercises that target the core better than others are Russian twists, Turkish get-ups, and one-arm swings to achieve an effective result. Therefore, it is concluded that kettlebell exercises are the best tool for intense core workouts and strengthening spine and abdominal muscles.

kettlebell workouts for mma & bjj

Build muscle and power

Accommodating kettlebell exercises into workout routines, especially for MMA fighters, brings a wide range of benefits for combat fighters. Building muscles and amplifying power output are traits sought by every athlete including MMA fighters but also regular gym and fitness enthusiasts who look forward to an efficient way of fitness sustenance.

Kettlebells are known for their involvement in full-body workouts and multiple muscles working during an exercise. Muscle movement is covered in complete depth, resulting in an absolute range of motion for muscles. This instigates the release of muscle-developing hormones like Testosterone.

In addition to this, kettlebells develop more explosive strength and power, especially in the hips. This helps stabilizes the body and ensures sound mobility. In light of these kettlebell workout benefits, it was true to term the kettlebells as an all-in-one tool for body conditioning and muscle endurance.

Reduce muscle imbalances

Kettlebell workouts are an excellent option for fixing and reducing muscle imbalances because exercises can be done unilaterally, in other words with one hand.

Through kettlebells, each stabilizing muscle is an act of movement. Unlike workouts by machine, most kettlebell workout exercises require a strong manual grip and form on the movement path of muscles. Using a kettlebell for swings, for instance, requires controlled movements.

This helps stimulate and stabilize muscles. Using kettlebells will work these small muscles in rhythmic coordination, setting out stability and balance for entire movement. As a result, reducing the risk of injury and improving athletic performance, or even helping with everyday house chores.

Reduce the risk of injury

By regulating kettlebell exercises in our workout routines, we can expect to see major improvements in the fortification of muscles, improved coordination and balance, muscular endurance, and also stable mobility. All these factors, combined together, result in a low risk of injury and an overall improved quality of life.

Major muscle groups in the body, such as the core, back, and hips are targeted thoroughly by kettlebell training workouts to avoid injury and ensure proper strengthening. It is guaranteed upon their strengthening that stability and strength will flourish in body movements, reducing the risk of injury.

Kettlebell swings and high-rep swings particularly are reasoned to be an important contributing factor in holding the lower body strength in a controlled weighted environment. Expect no pain upon flexible bending, all thanks to kettlebell exercises!

work hard, kettlebell training

Improve Athletic Performance and Functional Mobility

Working power, agility in muscle groups, and exercising endurance are the major seeking aspects of fitness. Kettlebells are a very useful transit to bring all these abilities to life. Athletic performances are elevated off the radar when kettlebells come in hand.

Kettlebell swings promote fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment. If included in workout regimes, they improve the ability to generate explosive power aiding in rapid, agile muscular contractions. Talking about functional mobility, a large range of motions is used in kettlebell swing exercises.

Starting small by incorporating kettlebells will take your game to the next level as they engage the entire body in movement, bringing about a strong athletic performance. You can build a seamless movement and coordination with various kettlebell exercises and moves like Turkish Get Ups and Kettlebell Windmills.

Explosive Power and strength

Power and strength, both correspond to force. Kettlebells ensure the generation of force by swinging roughly 30% of our actual weight to produce concentric force, enabling power and strength training in muscles. Kettlebells are known for bringing about an intense and rapid flow of movements.

A rhythmic wave of power is transmitted from the upper half of the body to the lower in this consistent movement. This workout helps to move the whole upper body more easily under high strain and generates explosive power from the hips.

Kettlebells also produce high grip strength because kettlebells have an offset center of gravity. In attempts of controlling weight, wrists, forearms, and fingers work. Thus, they help build up grip strength at every angle you can think of.

By including this exercise in the routine, and performing it on the correct reps a visible improvement change can be seen. This is where the muscle mass, strength, and power are more defined. This is also where the hips are trained to produce force in both strength and speed.

kettlebell workouts for mma

Kettlebells vs Barbells for Building Strength in MMA

Kettlebells work in such a manner that every athlete perspires, gaining a number of benefits from them. This equipment is useful enough to prepare one for any sport or even regular fitness and the range of exercises is infinite.

The focus of an MMA fighter is to get stronger inside the ring. A kettlebell workout, for this purpose, goes hand in hand with MMA training. It brings about important measures for an athlete such as endurance, strengthening, conditioning, and mobility-all with a single tool!

However, MMA workouts fall in the aerobic capacity of the combat sport community which isn’t a very effective form for kettlebells. Barbells are a good replacement and provide better strength. That being said, both types of training have grave importance in themselves.

It is important to keep in mind the goal one is aiming for and then select a form of training in accordance. The barbells are better for overall strength, while kettlebells are great for building up athleticism and conditioning. But, in this case, barbells are said to be better than those who have gone for MMA fighting.

10 Spots Left
Dominate The Mats | BJJ Strength Training - Sweet Science of Fighting

Technique is the most important aspect of BJJ/grappling performance. But want to increase your chances of landing submissions, finishing takedowns, and maintaining position? This program will have you man handling your opponents making them ready to tap.

Latest Pricing
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


Do Boxers Use Kettlebells?

Yes, they do. Kettlebell exercises are great for becoming better at boxing. They are highly suitable for the ‘ballistic’ movement required in punching. Strength in this explosive movement exercise flows from the upper extremities to the lower body.

Furthermore, hip-hinge exercises in kettlebell swings have importance in punching. The gripping of the kettlebells is also an important feature, as the wrist alignment and sternness lend to the complete transmission of power to the aim.

There are many ways a kettlebell serves its superior over basic dumbbells and barbells, be it the kettlebell swings, high pulls, or double kettlebell clean and a kettlebell snatch. The variations, method, speed, and timing: everything is managed by a single kettlebell.

Full Your Body With Transparent Labs
High quality post workout supplements for all your training needs