Since it’s birth back in March 2009, the Kettlebell Fighter class has grown in to a popular class which is guaranteed to exceed all expectations!
Fighters from all disciplines and all around Sussex meet at 2pm every Thursday, at ZT Fight Skool in Hove.
Heavyweights such as Strongman champion Oli Thompson (see website), and soon to fight, Ryan “the great” White regularly attend, alongside ZT’s own Sol Gilbert and Kenny Moyston…a very powerful and effective MMA fighter who won his last fight by knock out.

Christian, from Brighton Kettlebells has formed strong links with The Strength Company to obtain some of the best Functional training equipment available.

In the video you’ll see us using sandbags, JC Santana’s “Predator, medicine balls, Battling Ropes and of course Kettlebells!

Drills last 30 seconds each, and we keep going from station to station for five minutes for top conditioning in and out of the ring.

If you’d like me to you the full circuit in detail just send me an e-mail!
Christian Vila:

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The best MMA specific training tool….

Thanks to Josh Henkins (sandbag fitness systems) for this weeks blog post….

Last post I spoke about the fact sandbags can definitely be a powerful training tool. So much so, it can be a great way to build extra muscle. No, you aren’t going to become a freakish bodybuilder, but maybe a guy like this.

That’s right! Most of the top UFC fighters are using sandbags in their training programs. In fact, speaking with top UFC strength coach, Kevin Kearns, he told me that sandbags are one of their favorite training tools to prepare their fighters. How about looking like Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, Randy Couture, Rashad Evans, Matt Hughes, and George St. Pierre? That wouldn’t be so bad and I don’t think most could deny how these guys are amazing athletes and have physiques that function as good as they look.

MMA expert strength coach, Matt Wiggins, talks about how to develop the same power as these great athletes. What exercise does he recommend as the best drill? Take it from him….

“If you were around a few years ago, during my first stint with MMA Weekly, you may remember that I wrote an article about training to slam your opponent. Well, with all the new readers, and with Rampage’s title win (and eventuality of seeing him slam somebody in the UFC), I figured it was time to revive and update the article.

There are a few ways to train if you want to be able to slam your opponent, but the first thing you’re going to need is some plain old brute strength and power. Slamming – at least the way Rampage, Hughes and many others do it – isn’t as much technique as it is just out-muscling your opponent. (I guess I could insert an argument about how good it is to be strong enough to dominate bodyweight, but I think I’ve made my point in the past, so I’ll let that one go.) It’s time to get you strong.

Weights are great for strength training, but in many (not all) instances, I prefer odd-objects, mainly the sandbag. I’ve touted the effectiveness of sandbag training for years now. I won’t get into all the arguments as to why it’s so good; just take my word for it. If you think you’re tough, strong or powerful, a heavy sandbag will humble you in a hurry. Sandbags are also perfect for slam training.

There are two main exercises you should focus for your slam training: the Sandbag Shoulder and the Hug Morning.

The Sandbag Shoulder is pretty simple (notice I didn’t say “easy”). Stand with the bag in front of you just between your feet. Squat down and grab the bag (depending on how your bag is shaped, you can set it up on one end if you like). Plant your heels into the ground. Your butt should be down, back flat, head up, and chest spread. In one movement stand up with the bag and muscle it to your left shoulder. When doing so, focus on driving with the hips.

Many think that the kind of strength you need is that of the lower back. While this is true to an extent, it is hip strength and hip drive that allow you to pick up that opponent and slam him. Drive forward with the hips, and your whole body will come up. DON’T LET YOUR BUTT COME UP! You will then be lifting solely with your lower back and are asking to get hurt. This is a no-no. Drive with the hips. You will use your upper body to continue the momentum (or lack thereof) of the bag to get it all the way to your shoulder. Once there, drop it to the ground, and repeat to the other side.

The Hug Morning is a variation of the Good Morning. This is another one that will build incredible lower back strength and hip strength/drive. The first thing you have to do is get your sandbag into a Bear Hug (i.e. holding the bag around the center, vertically against the front of your torso). You can do the beginning part of a Sandbag Shoulder to get it there. Once you’re there, dip your butt backwards and lean forward. Your butt should go pretty far back, as if you’re going to sit in a chair. The lean of your upper body will mostly be as a result of your butt going back. At the “end” of the movement, your upper body should be roughly parallel to the ground (don’t force it there – as far as it goes is as far as it goes – forcing it to parallel can put your lower back in a potentially dangerous position) and your knees bent anywhere from 45-60 degrees or so (more or less 1/4 to 1/3 squat position). From there, drive the hips forward as forcefully as you can, straightening the body. Once again, don’t let your legs stay straight and butt in the air. Make the butt go back so that you have to drive the hips forward to straighten your body.

Once you get good and strong at these two exercises, you can try a few variations. You can morph either into a variety of suplexes and you can see if you can Hug Morning with enough force to get the bag all the way up to your shoulder.

How effective are these exercises? So effective that I made them staples of Program #4 in my “Working Class Fitness – The Programs.”

Give them a shot. You may not be slamming like Rampage in a week or two, but you’ll be on your way. And when you do slam your opponent the next time you roll, he’s going to wonder where it came from!”

Brighton Kettlebells
proudly uses these Sandbags as part of the Kettlebell Fighter strength and conditioning classes. Come down any Thursday (2pm) to ZT Fight Skool and give it a go!

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Fitpro Spring Convention- Loughborough- some notes.

Still buzzing from the biggest Fitness industry event in the UK, the Fitpro Spring Convnention, I’m now planning how to implement all these crazy ideas I’ve picked up over the weekend.

Held at Loughborough University, the weekend allows you to attend various lectures and workshops on subjects of your choice. It’s a killer with 8am starts and 6pm finishes.

I was lucky enough to meet Paul Chek, the Holistic Health Practictioner who taught me some excellent postural exercises using the Swiss ball. Diet guru John Berardi showed us his blueprint for putting on size on the smallest of clients using the correct nutrition, supplement and training techniques.

Rather dissappointing was the legendary Charles Poliquin who seemed very detached from the audience. This guy know his stuff, and his (high paying) clients always get results. But his presentation skills are terrible.

The (soon to be) Boxing heavyweight champion of the world David Haye launched the new Boxing specific certification for trainers called Outbox.

I was keen to do this….till I attended their presentation. They where arrogant, frequently joked around in the presentation and took the piss out of other trainers. Shame, as I was keen on this one!

One re-occuring theme that came out at the lectures was the need to supplement with fish oils for fat loss, and the need to do resistance training for weight loss….not just cardio.

I now pity my clint, as I also picked up a tornado ball (see pic) and Heavy Indian club bell, so look out for those! 😉

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MMA specific Kettlebell exercise of the week…#2

ZT’s MMA Fighters who attend the Kettlebell Fighter classes defeated their opponants with a display of great skill, power and stamina.
Olli Thompson, fighting at 119kg won his fight on the ground with a Triangle choke.

Kenny Moyston ripped it up using great stamina and determination also winning on the ground.

This week’s MMA Specific Kettlebell Exercise goes to these guys: who both used the ground and pound with great effect. In fact it was this that won Kenny’s fight!

Kenny using the Ground and Pound:

The end result….

The Kettlebell Power Row will give you the rotational strength and endurance needed for ground and pound moves.
Using only the arms, which pull and push the kettlebells, the torso is kept fixed, to allow the core to rotate the torso.
Notice how head is neutral, with eyes fixed just ahead of the feet.

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MMA specific Kettlebell exercise of the week……

This week’s Kettlebell Fighter at ZT Fight Skool (Fight Skool) went down a storm!
Amongst the fighters in attendance where Olli Thompson and Kenshiro, both preparing for their bouts at ZT’s Fight Night 15, taking place this Friday.

After a dynamic warm up, we started the session with some swings, snatches and clean and presses to get the body flowing.

We then unleashed the mother of all kettlebell exercises: the Full Body Defense.

This is one Mike Mahler’s favourite MMA specific exercises (Aggressive Strength), which really delivers a punch!

Full Body Defense

An MMA fighter needs to be able to go from the feet to the ground rapidly to avoid takedowns. That is precisely what the “Full Body Defense” will assist you with. The “Full Body Defense” will get you in shape and build incredible muscular endurance when done for high reps. Start the exercise by cleaning two kettlebells to your shoulders. Push your pelvis at the top of the clean so that that you can press your elbows against your stomach and keep the kettlebells tucked in. Take the kettlebells to the floor in the clean position.

Now jump back while still holding onto the kettlebells and arch your back. When executed properly, you will look like you are doing a yoga stretch. Immediately jump back into the clean position, clean the kettlebells, and then proceed with another rep. Again, work on doing three sets of five, two to three times a week. After you have the technique down, work up to three sets of ten.

This exercise is not only for fighters. It will get you in shape and burn calories at an alarming rate! Not only will it make you strong, but will make you lean, flexible and powerful.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on!


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