Improve BJJ Skills With Extreme Kettlebell Cardio Workouts

Improve BJJ Skills With Extreme Kettlebell Cardio Workouts

Kettlebells (KB) are extremely versatile tools. They can be used to strengthen every major muscle group in your body, as well as build stamina and endurance. With proper extreme kettlebell cardio workouts, everyone who is eager to boost their strength can build a strong, powerful, and agile body. Doing these exercises will not only enhance your performance but will be beneficial to your overall health.

If you want some jiu-jitsu training, grab some kettlebells. Start doing some swings and snatches, and do it often – you’ll see amazing results! Below are some of the specific exercises you’ll love:

One Arm Kettlebell Thruster

The one-arm kettlebell thruster is an explosive jiu-jitsu training exercise that works the muscles of your torso, legs, and shoulders. Although the movement looks simple, you will feel challenged to maintain balance while lifting the weight.

Because you can use a variable load to meet specific goals, you can use it as a strength-training exercise or a conditioning exercise. The kettlebell thruster also improves trunk and pelvic control, which translates into lower-back protection in jiu-jitsu.

The steps:

  • Stand in front of a kettlebell, then descend into a deep squat. By this time you should be ready to grip the bell with one hand.
  • From that squat position, lift the bell to your chin level in a rack position. Keep your core tight and your elbow should be inside.
  • Make a deep squat and as you go through your legs, punch the bell over your head. Everytime you perform squats, bring back the KB to your chin level. Keep KB tight to the body when lowering.
  • Perform the same count on both hands. When done, slowly bring the bell back on your shoulder and then down the floor.

Grappler’s Row

Grappler’s row is a wrestling training technique. The exercise engages the upper back, core, and hip flexors – especially when done as one continuous set. It’s also known as a proper weight training exercise that builds great strength in the back and hips. Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab the kettle ball in one hand and extend your arm upwards.
  • Do a full squat. Make sure to keep your back straight and your hips lower than your knees. While you’re doing this, pull the kettle ball towards your chest.
  • Come back up and extend your arm upwards once more.
  • Repeat the motion for as many reps as you’d like and then swap arms.

Kettlebell Cossack Squats

The Cossack squat is an intermediate exercise for grapplers and fighters. It is especially useful for developing single-leg strength, mobility, and control. The move works the small muscles around your hip and upper leg that become very tiring while playing guard or passing on the feet.

The steps:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell held at the chest. Take a long step out to your left, bending both knees and leaning forward until thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Perform a deep left squat, turning your right toes upwards and flexing your right foot.
  • Engage the glutes and push through the center of the heel to return to standing.
  • Perform this on the opposite side.

One Arm Swings

When done properly, the one-armed kettlebell swing offers a dynamic full-body workout in one swift movement. It’s an ideal exercise for strengthening the shoulders, core, and legs, as well as improving balance and flexibility. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by standing in front of the bell. Put your toes on the bell and turn one foot until it points 90 degrees. Then, move your foot back to straight. Do this with the other foot.
  • Hold the bell with one hand and with the other hand forward.
  • Hike pass and then drive up, lifting your body off the ground. As you stand tall, bring your free arm to meet the working arm.
  • Complete the swing and pause at the top of the move. Bring the kettlebell back to your side, hike the kettlebell between your legs, and thrust into another swing. Your free arm should be following the movement.

Turkish Get-Ups

An incredibly effective total-body exercise, Turkish get-ups engage your hips and shoulders, strengthen your grip and abs, and challenge your balance and coordination. If you are looking to improve your strength and balance this is the perfect way to do it. Take note that this exercise has many steps, making it a great long workout to test your endurance.

Initial Steps

  • Lie on your back with the kettle ball on your right. Bend your right foot. Then, roll towards the kettlebell and grab it with both hands (like hugging it). Remember to treat the KB like a heavyweight (even if it’s not).
  • Roll back to your original position. The kettlebell should be on your chest like in a rack position.
  • Hold the kettlebell in one hand. Press it straight over your head while keeping your core tight and your shoulder in place.

Half-Turkish Get-up

  • Place your left forearm on the floor, arm extended straight and to the left side, so that the upper arm is parallel to the floor.
  • As you sit up, keep your arm with the kettle ball extended with the shoulder down and your opposite shoulder away from your ear.
  • Slowly come up with your left arm’s palm on the floor. Your knee and hip should be nice and open.

Hip Extension

  • From the top of the movement, push your hips up off the ground and drive your hips toward the ceiling to create a straight line between the kettlebell and the bottom hand.
  • Create distance between the bottom hand and shoulder, making sure that only the shoulders touch, not the chest.
  • Maintain a tight glute engagement, so that only the heel touches the ground. No sagging in the low back.

Half-kneeling and Standing

  • From a half-kneeling position, bring the leg back and through to the inside of your stationary leg in one fluid motion, keeping your eyes focused on the kettlebell at all times.
  • Standing with your legs slightly apart, rotate your left leg inward so that it is in line with the back of your right leg. Then rotate your body to the left.
  • Now, while keeping your back straight and your head looking forward, stand up by pushing off the ground with your legs.
  • Stand up straight, keeping your elbows in. Keep your shoulders back with a lot of tension through the kettlebell.

Double Kettlebell Clean and Press

Considered the ultimate exercise for leveraging your body weight and building explosive power, the double kettlebell clean and press works for almost every muscle group in your body. This exercise is a performance strengthening movement, in which lifters will use a combination of the clean and press, lowering the bells with control. It is frequently done with a barbell, but this kettlebell version is easier on the wrists and better for burning calories.

The steps:

  • Start the movement by cleaning both kettlebells so they are resting in the rack position on your shoulders.
  • Once you have the kettlebells in place, push them straight above your head into a lockout position for the press.
  • Stand with the weights at arm’s length in the rack position. Then, lower the weights until they are between your legs. After this, drive them upward by locking your elbows. Repeat this movement as many times as you’d like.

Double Kettlebell Floor Press

The double kettlebell floor press is a high-intensity exercise that will give your chest and triceps a thorough workout. This move focuses on the core area and will improve your posture and stability. It is a challenging exercise for most muscles, but it’s easy enough for any beginner to accomplish. Your chest, triceps, and overall upper body will grow stronger in no time at all.

Here are the steps:

  • Lie with your back flat against the floor. Keep your shoulders low and hold the kettlebells directly above your shoulders.
  • Press the kettlebells straight up, keeping your elbows close to your body and not letting the weights stray outward.
  • With straight arms, put the kettlebells directly above your chest while maintaining a 90-degree bend in your arms.
  • While doing the double kettlebell floor press, try to press the kettlebells up as much as you can and push yourself away from the bells and onto the floor.

Double Kettlebell Bent Rows

The double bent rows are a great exercise that can be used to develop the muscles of your back, shoulders, abdominals, and arms. This exercise helps improve your overall back strength which is important for grapplers. Jiu-Jitsu athletes can benefit greatly from this exercise as it will help them improve their pulling and gripping skills in competition.

The steps:

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and two kettlebells in front of you.
  • Keep your torso upright and lean your shoulders back, hinge at the waist, bend your elbows and pull the bell to your rib cage.
  • Next, return to the starting position with your arms extended at shoulder height and repeat the motion.


It is easier than ever to find time for our BJJ practices, especially with kettlebell workouts. It may require a bit of creativity to integrate these workouts into your schedule, but the results outweigh the work. Remember to pace yourself when you first try these workouts and do not be afraid to seek assistance or modify the exercises if you need to take things down a notch. Or, if they’re too easy for you, feel free to do as many reps as you’d like.

If you want to join a BJJ strength and conditioning program, Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu welcomes you to its creative ways to stay fit. Get the exercise you need while having fun in a health-minded environment!