Once you’ve completed a beginner kettlebell circuit, you’ll probably want to move onto something a bit more challenging – like my upper body kettlebell circuit. I put together this upper body strength & stamina circuit in preparation for joining a jiu jitsu school when I eventually pass my driving test (the school is quite far away!).
I figured I’d be at an advantage if I already have relatively good strength and stamina in my arms, core & back before I start.
Firstly, stick with 3x a week for this circuit. It’s not going to help if you try to be a hero & burn yourself out after 6 consecutive days. You should choose a light weight to begin with, but also challenge yourself. Don’t just stick with 8kg forever, you need to progress & get stronger. Aim to increase the reps, circuits, or weight of at least one of the exercises every 2 or 3 times you train.
- Swings x 15 – My go-to kettlebell exercise. Will strengthen your core muscles.
- Military press x 4 – Use 2 bells if possible. Develops explosive shoulder strength.
- Alternating floor press x 8 (each arm) – Rotate your hips a little on the opposite side to the one you’re pressing. This increases your lateral pressing strength & simulates throwing punches when you’re on your back.
- Alternating bent over row x 8 (each arm) – In the spirit of being balanced, this exercise should always be the same as the Alternating floor press in terms of volume. Strengthens your back & simulates throwing punches down on your opponent.
I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve increased the total number of circuits, reps of sets and weights to :-
7 Circuits of…
- Swings 24kg x 15.
- Curls (I just threw these in straight after swings, you can leave them out if you like) 24kg x 6.
- Military press (16 kettlebells x 2 = 32kg) x 8.
- Alternating floor press (16kg x 2 = 32kg total) x 14
- Alternating bent over row (16kg x 2 = 32kg total) x 14
1 minute rest in between sets, and lots of water.
If you’re thinking of joining a fighting school, or you’re already a fighter, give this a shot & let me know how it works out. I promise you your upper body strength and stamina will increase week on week, and this will absolutely translate into your sparring sessions or fights.