Strength and conditioning exercises are a vital part of every mixed martial artists’ training regimen. Most MMA fighters base base their exercise routines around explosiveness and stamina, and there are dire consequences for fighters who don’t take their strength and conditioning seriously.
One of the most effective training systems that has been largely overlooked in the US is the kettlebell training system. Kettlebells were developed in Russia sometime during the 1700s, but they didn’t become popular in the US until very recently. Since the early 2000’s, many athletes and trainers have incorporated them into their training routines due to the numerous benefits they provide that can’t be matched by conventional weightlifting.
If you’ve been thinking about trying kettlebell workouts but haven’t been able to make up your mind, below are four reasons you should include them into your training regimen.
1) Fedor Emelianenko Did Kettlebell Workouts
Okay, this might not be the most logically justified reason to train using kettlebells, but it’s still worth including. Former PRIDE Heavyweight champ, four-time World Combat Sambo champ, and Russian national Judo championship medalist Fedor Emelianenko trained using kettlebells extensively throughout his entire athletic career. Anyone who’s seen Emelianenko fight can tell you he’s a heavyweight who has the explosiveness and hand speed of a lightweight. Due to their full body motion exercises, kettlebell workouts contribute greatly to a person’s overall explosiveness and flexibility. So it’s no wonder that Emelianenko was able to throw his fists the way he did.
2) Fully-Body Conditioning
Unlike isolation training, kettlebell exercises stimulate your entire body. These workouts don’t just target a specific group of muscles; they use a little bit of everything. After your first day of working out with kettlebells, you should expect to be very sore all over your body the next day. If you’re not, then you’re doing something wrong.
The benefits of full-body conditioning include increased stamina, decreased body fat percentage, and increased explosiveness.
3) Increased Strength Without Increase of Mass
Kettlebell training isn’t effective for bodybuilding; it’s meant for athletes. If you want to be bulky and slow, hit the weight room and do heavy weight with low reps. Kettlebells are for athletes who want to increase their strength and explosiveness without putting on the extra bulk that slows them down. This is very beneficial for fighters who need to make weight, because they can increase their strength without having to move up a weight class. Athletes that use kettlebells are lean, strong, and quick, because their exercises don’t build mass, they just increase performance.
4) Better Calorie Burning
Because kettlebell workouts require the use of your entire body, they burn more calories than isolation workouts. It’s not uncommon for people who train using kettlebells to report weight loss (fat, not muscle) and increased stamina. After doing a workout session using kettlebells, you’ll definitely feel a significant difference compared to a session doing isolation training.