Trey Waters def. Benjamin Bennett (Phil Lambert/Combat Press)

Kettlebell Workouts for MMA Fighters

You don’t have to be a martial arts expert to know that MMA is one of the most demanding sports out there, and the athletes who participate in it are among some of the strongest and fittest people on the planet. However, in order to reach the pinnacle of the sport, you do have to go through months and years of rigorous training – not only on the rink but also in the gym. 

Typically, when we talk about fighter workouts, you will see a lot of the classic weight lifting program – bench, deadlift, squats, etc. While those exercises have their time and place, they’re not always the best choice for MMA fighters who have to be quick, agile, and explosive. 

That’s where kettlebell workouts enter the conversation – they can help athletes strike that perfect balance between enhancing explosive power, improving cardio capacity, and overall moving more freely and with more ease. Kettlebells are the perfect tool for MMA fighters as they provide a wide range of benefits, from increasing strength and power to improving endurance and preventing potential injuries. 


S, now that we’ve discussed why kettlebell workouts are vital for MMA fighters allow us to give you examples of exercises in the paragraphs below. 

3 Kettlebell Workouts Specifically for MMA Fighters

One of the best things about kettlebell workouts is their efficiency, along with the fact that they can be done anywhere (even your home gym) as long as you have a set of kettlebells available. Just a few rounds of any of these training sessions will get your heart racing and your body sweating, as they’re incredibly intense, even though they might seem easy at the start. 

Kettlebell MMA Workout 1

As a fighter, the ability to stabilize your body during movement is key. For example, when you kick, punch, or throw your opponent, you have to be able to balance your weight and transfer the weight from one leg to the other.  In order for you to be able to do that, you need to have great single-leg stability and a powerful core. Along with that, mobility is also vital here, as a full range of motion makes your movement easier and leads to fewer injuries over time. A simple kettlebell workout can help you train all of those aspects; let’s take a look at one. 

This is a circuit workout, meaning you have to do each exercise one after the other with minimal rest in between. The goal here is to try and perform each move with proper form and as quickly as you can. For beginners, you can start with only three circuits and a minute of rest in between them. 

  • Breakdancer Push-Ups – as many as you can do to warm up the body
  • Kettlebell Halos – 10 reps in each direction
  • Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlifts x 5 reps per leg
  • Kettlebell Reverse Lunges with Rotation x 16 repetitions, alternating sides

Kettlebell MMA Workout 2

You can’t be a good fighter without having the needed cardiovascular endurance to last multiple rounds. Most of the time, MMA movements involve your entire body, and they have your heart racing at all times, which is why unconditioned fighters tend to get tired very quickly. One way to train your endurance is by using kettlebells and bodyweight movements, which are a terrific way to improve your anaerobic threshold and your aerobic capacity.

This is a cardio circuit, and it works the same way as the previous one we discussed, with the only difference being the fact that these moves have to be done with lighter weights, as our goal here is speed. The idea behind this workout is to push your cardiovascular capacity and force you to work with an elevated heart rate. So don’t allow yourself huge breaks – just 30 seconds to one minute between each circuit, and our recommendation is to repeat each circuit four times.

  • Fast Mountain Climbers x 50 reps
  • Kettlebell Thrusters x 8 reps
  • Alternating Kettlebell Forward Lunges x 10 reps (alternating legs)

Kettlebell MMA Workout 3

Finally, the third workout you have to know about is a strength one. It will help you build a strong foundation so that you can generate more power and reduce the chances of sustaining injuries during a fight. Similarly to the previous two workouts, this one is also a circuit, but here, your goal is not to be quick or explosive. Instead, you should focus on performing each move with more control, proper form, and heavier weights so that you challenge the body. Our recommendation here is to go for 3-5 sets and to rest between 2-3 minutes before starting again. 

  • Kettlebell Clean and Press x 10 reps
  • Kettlebell Row x 8 reps
  • Double Kettlebell Squat x 12 reps

In Conclusion

Good MMA fighters are incredible athletes, and if you want to become a part of the elite, you have to get better at not only fighting but all of the qualities that make a person an outstanding athlete. Those include – speed, agility, mobility, strength, and explosiveness. One of the ways to work on all of those aspects with minimal equipment is by doing kettlebell workouts, and the ones we’ve shared with you in this article targeted all of your muscles in different aspects – some train mobility and stability, others focus on cardiovascular endurance, and of course, we have one dedicated to gaining strength and power. Hopefully, you find all of them useful, and they become a part of your weekly training sessions.