Kettlebell Training and Boxing | Is it Useful?

Kettlebell training and boxing

The Kettlebell has quickly become one of the most popular fitness tools in recent years. Avid gym users love to use this tool due to for a variety of exercises targeting different areas. However, is it useful for boxers to use this as part of their training routine? 

In this blog, I’ll try to look past the hype and take closer look at how the kettlebell can truly benefit boxers or mixed martial artists.

I’ll explain how kettlebells improve your overall strength and conditioning and if it will cause any problems using them too often.

I’ve also added some recommend Kettlebells options and workout programs to help you out further.  

Kettlebell history and design

First up here’s a little bit of background on the kettlebell and the original origin. The Kettlebell in fact dates back to 18th century Russia. Here it was called the ‘Russian girya’ and was used to weigh crops.

By the 19th century this quickly became a popular fitness tool throughout Europe and America, especially in strong man competitions. Fast forward to modern time it has truly established itself in most commercial gyms you will attend today.

The kettlebell design has a U shape handle with the weight of the kettlebell being extended beyond the hand grip. There are also many weight variations for kettlebells, being as light as 4kg to 32kg as you will find in most typical gyms.

Benefits for using kettlebell for boxers 

Now why should boxers consider using the kettlebell? As a matter of fact, there are good few reasons why you should start considering using kettlebells as part of your strength and conditioning.

1. Helps you burns calories efficiently

Firstly, it is a great way to burn calories quickly with them. This itself has been proven in research study by John Porcari, PhD of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program.

His study was published in ACE FitnessMatters, which involved 10 men and women between the ages of 29-46 all with experience of doing Kettlebell workouts. They all performed typical kettlebell exercises for around a 20 min period. 

Kettlebell and boxing

Throughout this he made sure to measure the participants fitness levels including heart rate etc. The results that on average per participant lost about 20 calories per minute during the kettlebell workout.

To put it differently that’s about 400 calories for a typical kettlebell workout – the equivalent to running a 6 mile pace.

2. Boxing specific muscle movements

A lot of the exercises involved with Kettlebells actually help with the movements you make when you throw punches. This includes ballistic movements which can be defined as: 

Muscle contractions that exhibit maximum velocities and accelerations over a very short period of time”. – Wikipedia

Basically it involves using other areas of your body such as your lower torso as you push or pull depending on the exercise. See example below:

kettlebell and boxing

This includes exercises such as Kettlebell swing, high pull or clean snatch. In effect, it simulates similar muscle transitions, similar to how you throw a power punch or even throwing a ball for example. 

Therefore, using kettlebell exercises could in fact help add to your overall strength and power when you start practising your boxing skills. 

3. Overall Strength

Finally, the last beneficial point I want to make about kettlebells is that they are primarily used to build strength. Not to build muscle like a bodybuilder.

This is essential for boxers if you are trying to cut weight. You don’t necessarily want to put on too much muscle at any one time while boxing.

With this intention, using a kettlebell will give you the muscular strength throughout your whole body. Additionally also helping to maintain your endurance and power too.

In my opinion, using a kettlebell as part of your conditioning won’t ruin your boxing development, it will in fact help make you stronger. 

How Kettlebells don’t live up to the hype

Now like with anything in life, there is always the other side of the coin. kettlebells are no different and do have some flaws. 

Firstly, almost all the exercises you can do with a kettlebell can be done with dumbbells. However, the mass of the weight is different and requires different movements in some exercises.

Additionally, most kettlebells don’t have rotating handles and the ones that do are very expensive. Because of the rigid design to most, it causes a lot of stress on your joints, in particular your wrists and elbows.

These types of areas are common for boxing injuries and it’s worth considering other weight lifting options if you have problems there. 

The last thing to mention is that learning the correct technique is essential to reduce chance of injury. Some exercises such as the kettlebell swing can cause serious back pain if not performed correctly.

Kettlebell Workouts for Boxing 

There are many standard Kettlebell workouts that most will do including the following: 

  • Kettlebell squat 
  • Russian Twist
  • American swing 
  • Turkish get-up 
  • Bent Press 
  • Kettlebell swing 

As you can see from the list above there are many kettlebell workouts out there. Learning the technique and starting at lower weight will be vital if you are to see results.

Here are some useful kettlebell video workouts below for you check out that are specific to Boxing and MMA.

Boxing Science

Precision Movement

Top Kettlebell Recommendations to consider 

Bowflex Kettlebell 

With the Bowflex kettlebells you can forget investing in a whole bunch of kettlebells of different weight sizes as this clever contraption will allow you to pick between 3 – 18 kg in this compact design.  See it in action below

Check the price of the Bowflex Kettlebell on Amazon here 

Onnit Kettlebells 

Onnit kettlebells are built with functionality and durability in mind first. Manufactured with a cutting-edge gravity cast molding process, these kettlebells have an ultra-durable, smooth, even finish.

You’ll quickly find Onnit kettlebells are flawlessly designed to handle whatever exercise you wish to try out – sold individually in weights from 4 kg to 32 kg.

There is also the new Onnit primal kettlebells that look pretty cool. They include the likes of a gorilla, chimp and big foot, all with their own unique weight.

Check price and learn more about Onnit’s kettlebell’s on their website here.

Kettlebell Workout Programs

Visual Impact Kettlebells™ – A 3-Phase Synergistic Kettlebell Program

Visual Impact Fitness have created a brilliant 8-12 week kettlebell training program that will teach you all the basics through video format. Filmed from the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica.

The aim is to teach you the correct technique to using kettlebell while developing your strength.

These consists of 20-25 minute workouts that can be done at home or the gym. You will only require one kettlebell to take part in this course and they are three phases to the program to go through. 

If you are beginner looking to use the kettlebell as primary strength and conditioning method, this program could best for you.

Learn more about Visual Impact’s Kettlebell program here 

Onnit Kettlebell workout

onnit kettlebell

Another brilliant option to consider is Onnit’s online workout programs which you can combine with their Onnit kettlebell above.

This includes 10 workouts in 30 minutes or less that covers a whole variety of kettlebell exercises.

These are all streamed online, on-demand, so you can train anywhere, anytime. You will also have instruction from Onnit’s top trainers who are kettlebell qualified trainers.

Check out Joe Rogan talking about using Onnit Kettlebells and the importance of perfecting your technique first before going too heavy.

It might be worth also checking out Onnit subscriptions here which offers lots of other cool fitness, health and wellbeing products. 

Learn more about Onnit Kettlebell program here.

Final thoughts 

Is kettlebell training good for boxers?

Kettlebell training is a brilliant piece of equipment for the strength and conditioning of Boxers. They are not going to make your boxing technique, hand speed and punch power better.

But, Kettlebells will in fact help condition and strengthen your body that plays into those areas. Thus making it an excellent option for any boxer that wants to fight and grow stronger.

To conclude, I highly recommend you consider trying out Kettlebell exercises in your next gym session, but not at the highest weight. Start lighter, so you can perfect the technique before using heavier kettlebells.

By using them often in your strength and conditioning training days you will start to see a big difference in your body. Therefore making you more confident in your boxing training or in the ring. 

Hope you enjoyed this boxing training blog, let me know in the comments below if you plan on using kettlebell for your training plan.

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Jamie - Boxing Life

I'm a boxing analyst, amateur boxer, and blogger looking to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be gear reviews, fighter analysis, news, training tips, or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on 'Boxing Life'.

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