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Kettlebells for Increased Abilities in Fighting

August 3, 2011 08:30 PM

Tommy Blom Article
A lot of the time I see people try to mimic different moves in fighting when they want to make a fighting specific program. Trying to mimic certain moves and load them can a lot of the time be counter productive because it makes the move slow and heavy instead of fast and light that is should be, this will make the move worse than it could be if you trained the move by itself and focused the physical training on improving general abilities which will make the trainee an better athlete.
Lets take a look at what you can improve physically to make your fighting better:
-  anaerobic ability
-  strength
-  ability to generate explosive power
-  coordination between muscles around joints
-  mobility
-  ability to breathe under load
All of the points above will be improved through the basic techniques in the RKC regimen of lifts.
Why just the basics?
The reason for sticking to the basics is that they are movements that improves the points that we want to improve without attempting to mimic any attack in particular, they will improve general abilities by adding their own different treats to the mix.
The Ballistics – will give a person the best training for explosive power there is, it teaches coordination between contraction and relaxation to the trainee. Thanks to the kinetic linking that occurs through the static stomp, the explosive hip snap and the complete tension of the body at the top of the swing, the swing sends a wave of energy through the body in the same way as when a person punches a target, from the ground up to the part hitting the target.
The other ingredient in the hard style ballistics is that it is anaerobic training using explosive movements which is what a person in a fight needs - aerobic cardio has very little to do with a fight or a self defense situation - the anaerobic training that one gets from the swing or any of the ballistic exercises is exactly what one needs to improve the chances to finish as number one in any type of physical conflict. It isn’t uncommon that the heartbeat is raised to levels of 180-190 bpm by hormone induced stress, the hormones and the stress can not be changed, what we can do is to train at that heart rate and make sure that we function at that heart rate. The ballistics will get that job done in a safe and effective way.
The Grinds – teaches the body to tense up and stabilize itself under a load. They teach a person to breathe while under mechanical pressure from an external load. In fighting a person might end up under an opponent or find him/herself pinned to a wall, to be able to breathe while tensing up is something that will help immensely. At the same time the grinds also teaches one to manipulate an external load without momentum, which a lot of the time is needed in tight situations where one might need to press a person away before being able to use explosive power to bridge or attack. Raw strength is something needed a lot of the time in fighting and the grinds teaches just that.
Breathing – the power breathing in the RKC is used in the same way as in fighting sports which makes it a natural way to breathe while fighting both when punching/kicking and while under load. It is improving the ability to keep your rib-cage tight so that you can breathe and function even under load and helps you brace up absorb punches to the body (I even use this analogy when teaching the breathing – "think of bracing for a punch").
Mobility – the usage of loaded stretching and controlled ascents into the goblet and front squats will give movement patterns back that will increase the strength in full range of motion and will give the trainee improved mobility and. The usage of the Turkish get-up as a test for movement, strength, stability and strength will help the trainee find the holes in their movements and fix them. As the training progresses it will give a more well functioning athlete.
What I want to get to is that there is no need to mimic special moves in any style of fighting to improve that special move, what one need to focus on is the basic moves that’s found in the RKC regimen and mix them into the regular training. Of course this training requires the trainee to have a good technical level of their kettlebell lifting even when getting tired.
Here’s an example for training a fighter/Krav Maga Practitioner – one five minute round. The heavy bag work has to be a max effort to keep the body at that heart rate all through the round.
30 sec - 2 hand swings
30 sec - heavy bag work, punches
30 sec - one hand swings, alternating hands
30 sec - heavy bag work, kicks
30 sec - goblet squats
30 sec - heavy bag work, punches and kicks
30 sec - shadow boxing
30 sec - heavy bag work, punches and kicks
30 sec - 2 hand swings
30 sec - heavy bag work, punches and kicks
It will be hard, but that’s what it’s about, fighting is hard and the training has to put mental strain on the practitioner, you have to put some will power into the training.
Might I add… quitting is not an option!!!

Tommy Blom, RKC Team Leader, KMG – Global instructor, CK-FMS, Pro MMA Fighter (3-0-0)
Tommy has been training Krav Maga under Eyal Yanilov for 17 years, he has been active as an instructor for 15 years from which the last the last 9 years has been teaching it full time all over the world educating new instructors and professional elites. In 2005 he started training with kettlebells and in 2006 I got certified as a RKC. That gives him 7 years of training with kettlebells under the RKC school of strength. The last 2 years he has also been training and fighting as a professional MMA Fighter and have reached a record of 3-0-0. Except of training himself he has also coached (among others) Alexander Gustafsson who fights in the UFC with kettlebells and FMS.
Tommy runs Tenacity – Tactical Strength in Gothenburg, Sweden, you can find him on or on his personal blog