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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Kettlebell Conditioning for Combat Sports – Volume 1

Kettlebell Conditioning for Combat Sports is a two-disk DVD set detailing the uses of kettlebells as a part of a well rounded training regime for combat sports. It breaks down various combat-based movements and shows how kettlebell drills are worked to develop the muscles and conditioning required to improve in your chosen area. This is an excellent DVD headed by Guy Noble, 3rd Dan karateka and Senior Faculty Instructor with the Register of Kettlebell Professionals. The DVD features Matt Price, 5th Dan karateka and highly successful competitor. It is the experience of both men that makes this DVD so successful.

As far as production value goes, you are getting more than two hours of good quality audio, and the visual quality of the DVD is excellent also, it is clear that no corners have been cut. Not only is the DVD well made, but the content is clear and well structured, so you are also getting over two hours of genuinely useful information and expert guidance in involving kettlebells in your training.

I have a little experience with kettlebells, and so I know that any movement with a kettlebell becomes a million times harder than it would be without one. Even a basic lunge becomes so much more exhausting and difficult that it’s clear to see why the use of kettlebells would be beneficial as a part of any effective training regime.

Included in this set are two disks.  Disk one includes the following sections:

 Introduction

 Functional Movement

Instructional Section

Disk two includes:

 General Conditioning Circuits

 6 Week Programme

Disk One

The Introduction section of this disk explores the importance of conditioning in the world of combat sports, with Guy calling on the competitive experience of Matt Price to put into perspective the effectiveness of the drills that he uses.  Truthfully, when I knew I was going to be reviewing this set, I was concerned that although it mentions combat in the title, the drills would include a brief nod to this area and focus mainly on the actual basic kettlebell movements and drills. I needn’t have worried. Even the introduction section is really well contextualised, with constant reference to its application to combat. It becomes clear very quickly that Guy Noble is very knowledgable, from his specific but clear use of terminology and the depth of his explanations.

He also explains that there is a need for a basic understanding of kettlebell technique, and so if you have never worked with kettlebells before, he recommends referring to the Kettlebell Basics DVD that is also available.

 

The second section on the first disk is titled ‘Functional Movement Patterns’. In this section Guy and Matt very clearly demonstrate a wide range of combat based movements and explain in no uncertain terms how each of these movements, amongst others, can be supported and developed using kettlebell drills that fall into one of the six functional movement categories: Lunge, Squat, Twist, Push, Pull and Bend. This section makes it unequivocally clear that this is definitively aimed at combat athletes, and each drill is explained in such clarity and depth that you are never left wondering if there is a tenous link somewhere between the weights you are playing with and the kicks you drill into pads in the dojo.

The section describes lunge and squat movements in an mma context using a range of mma drills. Each movement is really clearly broken down, and the muscles and body parts being employed are clearly described, and their function explained. It is clear how helpful these drills would be for conditioning in the exact manner required for this kind of training. The section then moves on to breaking down mawashi geri and hiza geri in much the same manner, focusing on the reliance on the base leg and the need for good levels of conditioning through the core, particularly for the rotation in mawashi geri. There is also a focus on straight and hook punches, again paying attention to the importance of the core. As an introduction to kettlebell training as a support for your martial arts training, this DVD is truly spot on. It makes every drill functional for what we need it to do, and you genuinely see how it is contextualised for combat.

The final section in the first DVD is entitled ‘Instructional Section’ and it is this section that brings together the combat movements and drills with the actual use of the kettlebells. This section if further broken down into five detailed sections entitled:

Squat and Lunge Movement Patterns

Bend Movement Patterns

Push Movement Patterns

Pull Movement Patterns

Twist and Core Movement Patterns

Throughout each section, the safe and healthy manner of holding the kettlebells and moving your body is clearly explained, and we are reminded of each drills’ role in our development as combat athletes. Each of the five sections includes a range of drills, beginning simply, and getting increasingly more complex and demanding as we continue.

­Disk Two

This is the disk that you will get repeated use from. It is broken down into two sections, General Conditioning Circuits and the 6 Week Programme.

The general Conditioning Circuits include four work outs, two which include general drills and two which include more combat-specific drills. All exercises are demonstrated by Matt and Guy from front and side angles, and every drill is talked through and explained by Guy. He clearly points out typical mistakes people tend to make when performing many of the drills and gives tips and tricks to making each one as effective as possible.

The 6 Week Programme is made up of the first two conditioning circuits, and involves gradually increasing the number of sets completed and reducing the rest time in between each exercise to build your level of ability and to improve your conditioning.

Guy also mentions his Youtube channel with monthly workouts as well as previews of other available titles, including DVDs on specific kettlebell exercises for women and for men, which can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/RKPSUK?feature=BF

All in all, I would say that this isn’t a DVD for the faint-hearted. If you have little to no experience of kettlebells, I would recommend the Kettlebell Basics DVD. If you are serious in your training however, and want to move your own personal development to the next level then you would be daft to ignore the opportunity for development that this DVD would provide you. I have been following the six week plan for just over a week now and already my core feels tighter (it’s also aching like a good ‘un, but more on that in the next article, let’s finish the six weeks first!). I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone looking for that extra something to develop transferrable skills and drills for their training.

Emma Robins