When I was first introduced to the kettlebell, it was in the winter of 2002/2003. Kettlebells hadn’t yet entered mainstream fitness and a guy at my gym had picked one up at an expo somewhere.
We pieced together the Turkish Get Up through experimentation.
Now, the TGU seems like a simple exercise… Just go from laying down to standing with your arm straight.
Easy? Definitely not.
At the time I was bench pressing 400 pounds and deadlifting over 700. The kettlebell only weighed 35.
Of course, I was shaking like a leaf and the ten or so ugly reps I managed left me so throughout my torso for an entire week.
Since then, kettlebells have really picked up steam as a fat loss tool. But they are a phenomenal way to train for mixed martial arts fighters in Carson City as well.
You see, kettlebells strengthen your core like crazy – and an MMA fighter with a weak core isn’t going to win any bouts.
Kettlebells also train you to use your body as a unit, the type of integrated training you won’t get from any machine training.
Grip strength is also built in almost every kettlebell exercise. This leads to not only greater grappling power, but stronger wrists, hands, and forearms to deliver devastating strikes to your opponent.
And don’t forget neck strength. Swinging, flipping, jerking, and snatching the kettlebell develops your neck at all angles, making you harder to control in grappling and tougher to knock out with a strike.
If you’re training to step into the ring and you want to WIN, add these Carson City kettlebell exercises into your program.
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 1: Fighter Swing
This kettlebell swing variation trains all the posterior muscles used in punching. When you do this, your nervous system will allow to to strike much harder.
In addition, the Fighter Swing teaches perfect shoulder stability for striking – no extended, loose shoulder punches like you would see in a bar fight. Just deadly surgical strikes with your full power behind them
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 2: Renegade Row
The renegade row is not only a good back and arm exercise, stabilizing your core as you move the heavy kettlebells up and down will give you unparalleled ab strength.
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 3: Get Up
The Get Up trains stability and tension through your whole body, essential for all MMA techniques.
You will also get more efficient at returning to your feet after a scramble or knock down.
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 4: Rocking Chair
The rocking chair build on the figure 4 position used in many different submissions. It also trains you ability to stand up without using your hands, leaving you free to shoot, strike, or guard your face.
Adding in a press gives you even more core training, with the bonus of shoulder and arm strength:
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 5: Snatch To Windmill
Snatching is a full body explosive move that trains power like no other. Adding in the windmill for core stability makes this one of my favorite kettlebell combinations.
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 6: Side Hop Swings
Lateral movement is under-trained by many aspiring MMA fighters. Side hop swings are a great supplemental exercise that help you build your ability to move sideways for dodges and attacks.
It is also a great conditioning circuit add-in.
Carson City Kettlebell MMA Exercise 7: Bootstrapper Squat
The bootstrapper squat trains full range of motion squatting that rally works your hamstrings, hips, and ankle mobility. Areas a fighter has to take care of.
For a bonus to your grip and arms, try it “gun grip” style:
There you have it! 7 excellent kettlebell exercises for Carson City MMA fighters.
Now remember: Use excellent technique, but keep in mind that you are a fighter who uses kettlebells to improve your strength, skills, and endurance in the ring. Don’t spend all of your time becoming a kettlebell expert. They are an invaluable tool, but JUST that. You still need to be spending 80% of your training time working on fighting skills if you want to dominate your opponents.
Kettlebells are one of my favorite training tools. A weird looking hunk of iron you get to do cool tricks with? Count me in!
And kettlebells are taking off in popularity, most likely because so many celebrities are using them with their personal trainers.
Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Lopez, Katherine Heigl, Penelope Cruz, Robert Downey Jr, the Pussycat Dolls, Lance Armstrong, Mariska Hargitay, Sylvester Stallone, Clair Danes, Ethan Hawke, the cast of “300”, and Matthew McConaughey all work out with kettlebells. (I feel more famous just for typing all those names!)
The most basic kettlebell exercise is the swing:
If you want to blast off fat, strengthen your whole body, and build scary endurance… the kettlebell swing is your go-to exercise.
Now, don’t just rush out and get a kettlebell workout DVD and try to follow along. After a kettlebell workout with Jillian Michaels you won’t be burning fat, you’ll be looking at your spine lying on the floor and cursing her name. Even if you don’t know anything about exercise, you can see Jillian is putting the low back at risk with her kettlebell technique:
I don’t want to try to teach the swing over the internet, you really need an experienced trainer’s eye on you to get it mastered. BUT, if you’re kettlebelling it up already, here are a few tips to help you groove your swing:
NEVER round your back over at the bottom of the swing (see Jillian pic above). Keep your low back locked into neutral position.
Don’t try to pull with your arms, back, or shoulders. Drive with your butt and hamstrings instead.
Don’t just pick up the kettlebell. Set yourself up perfectly first, with the kettlebell in front of you, then “hike” it back to start the first rep.
Keep your chest up and your back flat.
Don’t just let the kettlebell come down on its own. “Snap” it back like you’re hiking a football.
Flex your lats (big muscles on your back) to keep your shoulders packed tight.
It’s easy to start getting complacent with your health and fitness plan.
You eat breakfast at 7am, lunch at noon, protein shake at 5, and dinner at 7.
You go to the gym and do 45 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week.
You take a multivitamin and 3 fish oil capsules every morning.
You see the same people every day.
You follow a set routine, doing your best to cover all the bases.
And while I think rigid routines are the best way to lose a lot of weight (quickly and safely), does a routine really match up with our genetic programming to lead to long term health?
So, for the sake of discussion, you’re not training for a specific goal (examples: lose 40 pounds by summer, deadlift 500 pounds, run a 2:30 marathon) and just want to improve fitness, health, energy, and vitality.
Can you start mixing it up a little?
The idea for this post came when I was trying to explain my supplement program to a friend. I take the basics most days: multivitamin, fish oil, krill oil, vitamin D, vitamin C, garlic, magnesium, zince, probiotics, etc.
But I’ve got one of those weekly pill boxes that let you set up 7 days ahead of time.
So I mix stuff up, with the thought that hunter/gatherers wouldn’t get the exact same nutrients every day.
Some days have lots of garlic, vitamin C, and cod liver oil. Other days there’s extra magnesium, no fish oils at all, and a small bump in zinc. A little more randomness to keep my body from getting complacent.
(If you do something like this, be smart about it – too much of a vitamin can be poisonous. I know my body very well and understand nutritional supplementation and diet. Work with a natural health care expert if you want to randomize your plan.)
That’s just an example. Think about all the other things that we were exposed to as hunter/gatherers. There were probably lots of vagarities every day.
What irregularities can you start playing with to spur your body on to fully expressing its healthy genetic heritage?
Food? Environment? Sleep? Companionship?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Energy Expenditure – In this Cheetara Diet post, the idea was to match energy intake (food) to exertion levels (exercise). Some days, weeks, or seasons would have called for more activity than others. And sometimes you’d have plenty of resources and would be able to kick back and relax for a while.
Mixing this one up is easy. Maybe for a month you lift weights every other day and hike every day, followed by a week where you lift heavy twice a day, and then for 11 days you just do some light bodyweight exercises and play.
Sleep – Sometimes people skip a workout because they didn’t get “enough” sleep. But really, there were probably all sorts of reasons our ancestors didn’t sleep the night through and they still had to get up and move if they wanted to eat.
Even if you go to bed at dark and get up at sunrise, your sleep time would change every single day. Now, I’m not suggesting that you force yourself into sleep deprivation in order to make your workouts more challenging, just to say that variations in sleeping patterns is another way to throw some stimulating randomness into your life.
Environments – Hot and cold. Dry and humid. Bright and dim. Loud and quiet. Windy and still. Your ancestors had to live with all sorts of fluctuations in their environment. No heated cars and air conditioned houses.
Someone asked an abbot at the Shaolin Temple (a martial arts school) how they dealt with training outside all year round. His answer was great: “In summer we sweat, in winter we shiver.”
This is an easy one to diversify. If you run in the winter, wear fewer layers. Go do your kettlebell swings down by the river and get some humidity. Turn off your air conditioner in the summer. Listen to loud music one workout and the next play no music and try to be as quiet as possible. The variations are endless.
Companionship – Sometimes you’re alone, sometimes you’re in a group. Sometimes you’re guided, sometime you’re self-directed.
Taking down a mastodon sounds like something you’d want backup for. Team sports are basically play battles with specific objectives. Hiking with family to gather plants. Connections and companionship are how we survived without fangs, claws, or wings.
But other times you want to climb a big rock for fun, go for a walk by yourself, maybe spend some time by yourself practicing with your bow so you can show off at home.
Workout alone. And with a partner. And with a team. And with your kids. Play and recreate alone. And with a partner. And with a team. And especially with your kids.
Food And Cooking – It’s totally understandable to have a few “go-to” meals. You like the foods you like, you know how to cook them, you get comfortable… so why change it up?
The problem is that only eating from a narrow range of foods isn’t how our predecessors ate. Produce is seasonal, and so are the types of game meat that are available.
Drill down into someone’s meal log now though, and you’ll see maybe 10 different foods represented. Chicken, tuna, eggs, spinach, broccoli, and bell peppers are delicious and healthy, but they aren’t enough for total health.
Expanding the number of foods you eat limits your exposure to any toxins in the food, helps protect you from damage by lectins, reduces your likelihood of developing food allergies, gives you access to a wider variety of micronutrients and phytochemicals, and keeps you from getting bored with your diet plan.
One way to introduce a little randomness into your diet is to eat local foods. Another is to really try new foods, new spices, and new cooking methods.
Meal Frequency And Amounts – This is a hot button topic in the health and fitness world. It’s gone from “3 square meals a day” to “eat every 2-3 hours” to “fast 16 hours and eat for 8.”
Which one works best? All of them. So mix it up a little.
Occasional fasting (not eating) has been shown to improve health and accelerate fat loss. Skipping breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a whole day of eating won’t kill you.
Eating a bigger meal right after a workout is natural too – you would’ve had to exert yourself to get those calories, so eat some more. Skipping breakfast before your workout is another option, your body will work harder in response to hunger.
Create A Little Chaos
The key to creating movement is to disrupt equilibrium. All of the ideas above are ways to kick your body and mind out of a rut to allow new changes to happen. This will promote health, energy, youthfulness, and – luckily – leanness.
Moreover, the stressors our hunter/gatherer ancestors ran into were varied – some once a day, some once a week, some once a year – and so our genes express themselves best when there are deviations from the accustomed.
The thing to remember is that your body is more like a computer than like an engine. Your activities (exercise), diet, eating habits, and lifestyle all give information to your body – it’s not a passive fuel burner. The information your body receives tells it what to do. Keeping your body computer out of a routine keeps the good stuff happening, you keep making changes and your genes express themselves at their best.
Cleansing your body does not require fancy pills or supplements nor does it take some extensive amount of time. By implementing simple dietary changes you can help your body release the chemicals, toxins and fat that has built up in your tissue over time. If you suffer from acne, fatigue, irritability or fogginess then your body may be telling you its time to be detoxified. There are simple changes you can make in your daily diet to cleanse and keep clean your body. Following a 14 day cleanse diet is a perfect way to jump start the cleansing process.
Many people tend to skip breakfast. Coffee is not breakfast. A doughnut is not breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat breakfast have been able to fight off hunger longer into the afternoon and also are more common to have success loosing weight. To detox your body, eat only fruits until noon each day.
Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries are packed with antioxidants which fight off free radicals that are in your body. Free radicals are wreaking havoc on your insides and corroding your arteries and other body tissues. Fruits also have natural sugars that curb your sweet cravings without subjecting your body to sugar highs and lows. The fiber in fruits will fight off hunger as well. Eating fruit also promote healthy energy. In order to get the best effect with the 14 day cleanse diet you also need to eliminate caffeine. Instead, reach for an all natural herbal coffee or tea that is caffeine free. Remember how energy was unlimited as a child? That was before we started bogging our bodies down with the junk we eat and drink. Herbal beverages will give you the natural energy boost you desire and help your body rebuild its natural energy source.
For lunch and dinner you need to start eating smarter. You can still enjoy all the foods you love, but changing what you eat will help detoxify your body. While eating steak and potatoes is a normal part of many families meal plan, it also leaves you feeling weighed down. The reason for this is that two separate enzymes are needed to break down carbohydrates and starches. During digestion the two enzymes partially neutralize each other making digestion less effective. It is far more ideal to eat salad with a steak.
Dark leafy greens release nutrients that help flush your system of waste that is built up. During this 14-day cleanse diet it is also vital to drink lots of water. Non-flavored, filtered, all natural tap water. Although it may not seem appealing, water is the purest substance to put in your body to help it detoxify. By following these two easy steps you can detoxify your body in as little as two weeks. Keeping these healthy dietary changes as part of your lifestyle will result in an increase in energy, weight loss, improvements in skin, hair and nails and increased mental clarity.
I know first-hand how much. I was rear-ended a few years ago and it messed me up big time.
When your back hurts, it’s hard to be happy or think of anything else. It wears on you constantly. My friends tell me that car accident aged me ten years.
So I want to share a few simple strategies that can help you with your back pain. These have helped me.
1. Loosen up your hips.
If your hips are tight, your back has to take on the work that you should be doing with your legs and butt. Here’s a post with videos of my top three favorite hip loosening and strengthening exercises: http://woldfitness.com/2010/08/fixing-knee-pain-with-hip-exercises/
2. Train with kettlebells.
I know, I know. The personal trainer at your gym has been telling you that machines are the safest way to exercise. But the truth is, when you exercise on a machine it can actually INJURE your back!
Machine-based training forces you to follow the path of the machine, even if you’re built too tall, too short, or too wide. And when you’re all braced into a machine, you’ll do whatever it takes to lift the handle or push the platform, which can wreak all sorts of havok on your joints. And…. your back is an incredibly complex series of joints and muscle levers, so machines will jack you up right quick!
“Real world” exercises like moving your own bodyweight, barbells, dumbells, and odd objects like kettlebells teach you to support and use your whole body, not just one isolated part.
My chiropractor told me that as long as people are doing crunches, he’ll have job security.
Yes, a strong core is essential for getting rid of back pain, but the old Jane Fonda-standard crunch is exactly the wrong exercise.
The way your back bends during crunches puts enormous stress on the disks in your low back. And studies have found that after doing crunches your back is actually able to handle LESS stress!
Reverse crunches, planks, and rotational core exercises are all going to strengthen your stomach muscles without damaging your back (provided you find a trainer who teaches you correctly and then watches your form). Check out tip number 11 below.
5. Learn the Cook Hip Lift.
This drill will help you fire up your butt muscles, so they can take on the load you’ve been putting on your back.
6. Fix your sleeping position.
Just think, if your sleeping posture is bad, you’re spending 6-9 hours tweaking your back!
If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees.
If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees.
If you sleep on your stomach, STOP!
7. Get in line.
If you’re trying to exercise and your back is jacked up, you’re likely to make it worse – even if you’re doing the exercises correctly!
See, sitting, postural problems, and bad exercise habits have mis-aligned your spine, and until it’s in place, you’re just training it to stay misaligned. The pain won’t get worse, but it won’t feel much better, either.
I get regular chiropractic adjustments to make sure my spine stays in line. Here in Carson City is the best chiropractor I’ve ever been treated by: Dr. Brian Russell.
The big mistake people make with chiropractic is only going in when their back hurts. That’s like exercising only when you get fat, it doesn’t work!
You need to see your chiro regularly, to stop back pain before it starts! We get constant small misalignments in daily life, they add up over time. Regular chiropractic treatments keep your back healthy and happy.
8. Learn the Shin Box Switch.
The guy who taught this to me said to use it with clients who are becoming “chair shaped.”
It’s a great drill that I do at regular intervals whenever I’ve been sitting for a long time (like when I’m writing awesome health and fitness posts and bootcamp workouts!)
9. Get a ten dollar massage!
Go to amazon.com and order a full-round foam roller. There are lots to choose from. Then do this series of self-massaging exercises every day:
Every day you build up little bundles of scar tissue in your muscles. This scar tissue binds up and pulls you out of alignment. The best way to break up this scar tissue and prevent it from re-forming is a daily massage over the most common trouble spots.
A foam roller lets you massage yourself effectively without having to visit a spa every day. (And they are fun to hit people with!)
But a lot of people experience back pain because they are dehydrated. Sometimes people will come into my bootcamp gym and point to where their back hurts.
It’s actually their kidneys! Kidney pain can radiate through the back, and a lot of kidney pain is caused by not drinking enough water.
I recommend working up to drinking an ounce of water per pound of bodyweight every day. Since this seems SUPER HIGH to most people, set a bare minimum of half an ounce per pound of bodyweight. (If you weigh 200 pounds drink a MINIMUM of 100 ounces of water a day)
Or you can follow the “pee rule” I learned as an athlete: Look at your urine, if it’s brown stop what you’re doing and drink a lot of water. If it’s yellow, drink more water. If it’s clear, drink more water anyway!
11. Strengthen your core!
Your stomach, side, and back muscles all make up what is called your “core.”
(Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and dazzle you by talking about muscles with names like multifidus, transverse abdominus, and quadratus lumborum ;))
Here are a few posts I’ve done with videos of REAL core exercises that will strengthen your middle and help get rid of back pain:
15. Double down on hip flexor and piriformis stretches.
Tight hip flexors and piriformis muscles cause your pelvis to tilt forward and pull your spine out of alignment. To help fix that, do a LOT of these two stretches (several times a day, not just before workouts):
Want to boost your metabolism with nutrition? Here are some keys:
Use of cruciferous veggies to help fight the xenoestrogens your body is exposed to (that can make stomach fat particularly stubborn)
Use of green/black/white/oolong teas to have very slight increases in fat burning effect
Use of capsaicin to have a slight thermogenic effect and increase in calorie burning
Use of cinnamon which is proven to control blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and thereby help to control appetite/cravings and burn more fat
and dozens more simple little “tricks” like this that can all add up.
I’ve made sure to stress that none of these are “miracles” that will magically transform your body…
I’ve always tried to stress that the main aspects of your lifestyle, training consistency and strategy, nutritional habits, and mindset are vitally more important than any of these minor “tricks and tips”.
But, I also honestly think that if you consistently combine many of these minor aspects like spices, teas, food types, etc, etc — that you can see a legitimate increase in your fat burning results.
Although I don’t believe in “Fat Burners” per se, I found a great new product that I think can help to maximize your metabolism…
This product contains some of the things I’ve talked about before… green tea, cinnamon, capsaicin, L-tyrosine, AKG, and a few other goodies.
I don’t think it’s a “miracle fat burner” or any nonsense like that… but I DO think it can help to give you the edge and increase your metabolism. Based on some of the ingredients, it could help to control blood sugar, control cravings, increase thermogenic caloric burning, etc… check it out: