3 Kettlebell Exercises to Increase Knockout Power For Boxing and MMA
Kettlebells are some of the best tools for training boxing and MMA.
They’re versatile. They can deliver a variety of benefits from increasing raw power to building endurance to increasing strength. And they’re easily accessible.
Plus, one single kettlebell is enough for a muscle-thrashing workout no matter WHAT your goal is.
They’re also a fantastic tool for developing one of the most important qualities for elite boxing and MMA performance – core stability.
Considering there are some athletes who don’t have time for the gym and others who have a limited budget, I wanted to write up a quick post sharing 3 kettlebell exercises to increase knockout power for boxing and MMA performance.
These 3 exercises increase knockout power by developing different parts of the body, increasing strength, improving muscle activation, increasing motor unit recruitment, facilitating fast twitch muscle fiber development, enhancing core stability, and much much more.
The best part is all you need is a single kettlebell to perform these exercises.
The weight doesn’t really matter.
And look… If you’re strapped for equipment, but what to develop your performance for boxing or MMA, I invite you to check out Body Armor. Body Armor contains sport-specific bodyweight training for boxing and MMA performance. The modalities inside have been used by some of my top fighters, including Dustin Poirier. And the only equipment you need is a pull-up bar. You can grab Body Armor for half-off here because you’re a blog reader.
Let’s get into the exercises:
#1 Kettlebell Exercise to Increase Knockout Power: Accommodating Resistance Kettlebell Swing
One of the most overlooked muscle groups in the body when it comes to training for boxing and MMA performance is the glutes, and more, the posterior chain.
The glutes are your power center. They play a huge role in your explosiveness, stability, and strength.
And the posterior includes all the muscles on the backside of your body including the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, upper back, and more.
And whether you know it or not, every time you throw a punch, your glutes are involved.
They aid in the rotation torque that plays a role in your power output… Or knockout power.
Developing the glutes, and more, the posterior chain, will work to increase your knockout power.
And in my opinion, there’s no better exercise to work the posterior chain, activate the glutes, and increase your overall knockout power than the kettlebell swing.
The kettlebell swing works on explosive hip extension, a missing movement quality for many fighters.
And in this specific exercise, we’re going to add accommodating resistance in the form of a band.
If you don’t know, most weighted exercises require the athlete to decelerate as they reach lockout. If you think in terms of a squat, the movement gets easier as you reach the top, so you have to decelerate.
Adding bands or chains allows you to accelerate through the entire movement, thereby contributing to improved knockout power.
Here’s How to Perform the Accommodating Resistance Kettlebell Swing:
- Wrap the band around the kettlebell
- Depending on how tight you want the band, place your feet wider if you want the band tighter, closer if you want it looser
- Grab the kettlebell and stand tall
- Relax the knees and push the hips back
- Be careful not to sink your butt down, push the hips back as if they were on a plateau
- Explosively extend the hips to pop the kettlebell up
- Repeat for desired reps.
#2 Kettlebell Exercise to Increase Knockout Power: Single Arm Bottoms-Up Rotational Kettlebell Press
The next movement on my list of kettlebell exercises to increase knockout power is the single arm bottoms-up rotational kettlebell press.
This movement will help you increase strength at the end range of your punches.
It will also increase the radiation throughout the arm which will help you build your grip. This will also translate into increased knockout power.
The single arm bottoms-up rotational kettlebell press also works the muscles of the anterior deltoids and the tricep in addition to building the grip.
In this movement, you’re not pressing straight out, you’re pressing up. However the mechanisms for this movement are the same and will help you increase your knockout power.
Here’s How to Perform the Single Arm Bottoms-Up Rotational Kettlebell Press:
- Grab the kettlebell in one hand
- Stand with the feet slightly outside of hip width
- Rotate the hips in the same direction as the hand the kettlebell is in
- Create torque, and using the momentum from the the downswing, rotate the body the opposite direction and press the ketttlebell up
- Repeat on both sides for the desired reps
#3 Kettlebell Exercise to Increase Knockout Power: Kettlebell Windmill
The kettlebell windmill is an often undervalued kettlebell exercise that won’t directly increase your power… But it will increase strength and stability in the shoulder joint, strengthen the muscles of the posterior chain, and develop your hip extension movement patterns.
All of this will work to nudge your explosive power levels.
This is a very technical movement.
It takes a lot of focus and body awareness. This makes it a great exercise to weed out the half-assers and reward the real focused fighters.
Here’s How to Perform the Kettlebell Windmill:
- Grab the kettlebell in one hand
- Swing it up to your shoulder then lift it over head
- Place your opposite hand on the side of your leg
- Place your feet slightly outside of hip width
- Push the hips back
- As you push the hips back, keep your eyes on your kettlebell as you slide your hand down your leg
- Once your hand reaches your shin, extend the hips to return to the top position
- Keep the core tight, lats locked in as you perform this movement
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Heavy Hitter is a culmination of the methods I use with world champion combat sports athletes. Inside, you’ll find full body workouts, mobility work, and cardio to prepare you for a fight, or just develop a physique like the world’s best fighters.