Matt D’Aquino is known throughout the BJJ and judo community for releasing loads of quality material for free on his YouTube channel and his website, beyondgrappling.com. As a 2008 Olympian judoka, he certainly knows what he’s talking about.
Once in a while Matt comes up with a complete and comprehensive product that will benefit its users far beyond short video tips (which,by themselves, are still very good). The products come at a cost, but there’s something about having an entire book or dvd dedicated to a single topic that you can’t replicate by searching unrelated videos and blogs.
Kettlebells for Grapplers includes over an hour of technique video, a three part written program and more designed for getting those who are serious about improving their strength and muscle endurance in a way that will translate directly into grappling.
Of course, when you are getting a product as comprehensive as this, you have to wonder if it’s worth the price tag? We thought it was and we’ll tell you why below.
What do you get?
Once you pay for the package you will given a download link where you download:
-Intro to Kettlebells for Grapplers (program overview)
-General Physical Preparedness: a video where you can follow along with the warmups Matt does
-Beginner Kettlebell demos
-Intermediate Kettlebell demos
-Advanced Kettlebell demos
4 written programs in PDF
-Beginner Kettlebells Program
-Intermediate Kettlebells Program
-Advanced Kettlebells Program
–And a few bonuses
The product does a good job of walking you though everything from what size kettlebell to start with, warming up for a kettlebell workout and then of course the core workout.
The core workouts are broken into a beginner program for the complete noob to get used to handling a kettlebell, the intermediate program has more complex and difficult movements to further increase muscle endurance, and the advanced program will floor even the best athletes.
Each program has numerous sub programs inside which you will work through.
Make no mistake, this is a very thorough and well thought out program.
Who is it for?
I was a complete noob and I have never done any kettlebell work before. Ever. I’ve seen some people swinging them around and, to be honest, I thought they looked quite stupid. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so wrong. In fact I compare starting kettlebells to something along the lines of starting bjj and judo
“Why the hell didn’t I start this sooner?!”
I’ve been doing bjj and judo for about 8 years and after 6 weeks of kettlebells I’ve noticed my muscle endurance for long bouts of grappling has increased quite a bit. This is even considering the fact that my grappling was down to 2 a week recently (from 5), which would usually mean I would be gassing after the second hard standup grappling round. My forearms and hands do not give out as quickly and overall I feel looser and therefore better able to explode.
I would also say that kettlebells are not as good as powerlifting in terms of developing maximum strength BUT are great for developing the sprint-stop-sprint-and-explode type of muscle endurance needed for grappling competitions.
Your girlfriend or wife?
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “how do I get my girlfriend or wife into exercising?” Kettlebells may be the answer.
My girlfriend is not a fitness buff, she prefers walking and bike riding to the foreign district known as the gym. I started her with a ten pound kettlebell and away she went with a shortened version of Matt’s beginner kettlebell program. It works for her because it takes maybe 15-20 minutes, she can do it from home (I can understand why many people don’t like going to gyms), and the single kettlebell was $25. The only piece of equipment you need to get a solid workout in.
Why are kettlebells good for grappling? Can’t I just use regular dumbbells or barbells?
Kettlebells are wierd, awkward, heavy ass cannonballs with a very thick handle. You can swing them around and they will test your lactic threshold.
Does this sound familiar?
It should, because grappling with live, resisting humans wearing handles is wierd, awkward, and tests your lactic threshold!
Barbells and dumbells are generally well centered, balanced, and exact. Grappling is not, and neither are kettlebells! What a match!
The way the thick handles and explosive movements end up feeling is very similar to having grips (even no Gi) and a live resisting opponent.
Explosive and Dynamic Movements with Weights
Because of the awkwardness, explosiveness and dynamic nature of kettlebell excercises, they will develop your hip drive core strength and stone-wall-stability in a way that is difficult to describe. This helps everything for moving in for grips quickly, maintaining grips on a flailing opponent, exploding into a throw with hip drive and being able to maintain and improve position once on the ground without gassing.
That said, it would be difficult to develop maximum strength with only kettlebells. Doing heavy barbell squats, rows and bench once or twice a week combined with this type of HIIT kettlebell routine is a killer combination for grappling. (2019 note: as someone in my mid 30’s I stick to mostly kettlebells during competition season and I only do heavy barbell lifts every now and then)
Why is this product good? Couldn’t I just find all this info for free on the web?
It’s like everything else on the Internet. Sure you can cobble together a program built from various blogs and assemble some 20-odd technique videos for free. But that would take a lot of time and you would have an incongruent, half-assed program. It’s sort of like learning about economics from a real book out the library versus learning about economics from random blogs and YouTube videos. Catch my drift?
Also, everyone knows Matt has a knack for breaking down grappling techniques on video, and his demos of kettlebell movements are just as good. His style of teaching is very similar to how he teaches bjj/judo techniques, and this works perfectly for grapplers. Some kettlebell techniques are surprisingly complex, and having a good demonstration is key.
Are there better paid programs out there?
It’s possible, but again, this one is more thorough than others I’ve seen and also is designed specifically for timed grappling competitors. Even some of the best kettlebell programs I have seen do not include warmups, cool downs and stretches like this one does.
Is there anything I didn’t like?
- Some of the videos had a classroom session (Matt speaking) just before the demo section. The volume between one and the next would be very quiet and then suddenly very loud. Some of the writing also have minor grammatical errors (I shouldn’t judge, have you read this site?)
- There are about 10 different programs for each stage (beginner, intermediate and advanced programs) for a total of almost 30 programs which can be a little bit overwhelming. I understand that they are there for variety but I’ve just stuck to the same 3 or 4 over the years.
How much is it?
This bundle of well over an hour of demonstrations and explanations, an extremely thorough beginner, intermediate program, and advanced program
And it’s all only $47 bucks.
Is it worth it?
Yup. You could buy a 30lb kettlebell, this program and it would cost around $90 for a type of complete fitness you just can’t get with anything else. You don’t need special shoes, or any shoes, a membership, you don’t have to talk to anyone, nothing! Just download this program and buy a cannonball with a handle that takes up no space in your basement. It’s ridiculous. Seriously! Why didn’t someone tell me about this earlier!
Where can I get it?
Here is a link to purchase!
Do you currently use kettlebells in your weight routine?