Improve your punches with high pulls!

highpullcurvekbImprove your punches with high pulls!

One of the most common questions that I am asked is, “can you use kettlebells to improve your punches?” the answer is yes!  The high pull is the first kettlebell exercise that showed me that kb’s could be used to aid with striking.

One of the reasons I love the high pull is because you are pushing, pulling and hinging all in one exercise! So that means you are hitting your core, back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and forearms all in one movement.  I really feel that the high pull is one of the most neglected and underdeveloped exercises in kettlebell training.  When performing the high pull the way I do, you turn it into a more explosive, compound movement.

The kettlebell high pull contains almost identical mechanics as punches do. When throwing a punch, you are using your core, chest, back, shoulders and arms.  When doing the high pull you are hitting all of the same muscles.  The traditional high pull is used more or less as a precursor to the snatch. Ive adjusted the technique into what I call a combat high pull. I also have other kettlebell exercises that come even closer to throwing actual punches. You can find these movements on my combat kettlebell systems digital download.

With the combat high pull we address the punching and retracting motions found in a real punch.  So, when performing the combat high pull, you start the same way you would a swing. Once you pop your hips and propel the bell up to where it is parallel to the floor, you drive your elbow back as far as possible and then immediately punch it back out.  This add that explosive element you need when throwing punches.  You can see the exact mechanics in the enclosed video.

Since I am constantly teaching, I do not get to train my striking at all.  But, I always do my kettle-jitsu training.  Periodically I will spar with my students and they are surprised at how fast my hands are! Try out the combat high pulls for yourself and see the difference.

The benefits of compound bodyweight training

The benefits of compound body weight training

I’m sure most of you all are familiar with the burpee. This is what I like to refer to as a compound body weight exercise.  People worldwide use burpees every day and with good reason. It’s simple and extremely beneficial exercise. A compound exercises is made up of 2 or more movements together. The burpee combines a squat, sprawl and a push up. So you are working several major muscle groups at once making it a metabolic exercise. Compound exercises raise your heart rate more so than muscle isolation exercises.

Since the burpee is such an awesome exercise, it made sense to me to develop more compound body weight and kettlebell exercises.  In the new kettlejitsu revolution dvd, I use many different body-weight flows and combinations. Some of these flows even contain movements from jiu jitsu and mma. I specifically created these combos to challenge you both physically and mentally. A good example of what I am talking about is the karate kid flow.  This compound movement consists of a sit up, shin box, deck squat and push up. Using these exercises in unison has many benefits. It challenges your focus, timing, coordination and your conditioning.

This particular exercise was inspired by my trip to Lisbon, Portugal.  There I administered a kettle-jitsu workshop. One of the attendees was a karate kumite fighter named hugo. I was showing different sit up combos and he stopped and asked if was it OK if he added a kick to it. I said show me. I immediately loved it and added it to my arsenal! When I got back home I played with it and added the other movements.  It spawned the “karate kid flow!” We use it regularly at my gym socal mma and fitness to my students enjoyment. Check out the enclosed video for a demo of this amazing compound body-weight exercise. Enjoy!


Featured body weight exercise, “Thai Knee Combos”

Screenshot_2013-07-14-19-22-35Thai Knee Combos are one of the many dynamic body weight combos that will be featured on the new Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd.  This compound exercise is a class favorite at Joey Alvarado’s gym, So Cal mma and fitness in los Angeles, CA.  Like many of the exercises in Joey’s system, it an mma infused movement designed to improve your anaerobic capacity.  The Thai knee combos are a fun and effective flow to add to any ones arsenal!  Look for a detailed instruction on the upcoming Kettle-Jitsu Revolution double dvd!

Fitness Trends and Practicality: Which one is right for you?


If you haven’t noticed, the fitness industry is booming! With the emergence of such power house systems such as crossfit and p90x, people are crawling out of the woodwork and developing their own brand of fitness. Which one is right for you? Are they all legit? A lot of questions pop up. It is so easy to do it now a days.  Whip a program, hire a bunch of fitness models and then put it on a dvd. Presto! A new fitness system is born. Does this make it legit?


I respect systems like crossfit and p90x because they get results. People criticize them like crazy because they are successful. People are enjoying and getting great shape. This makes it legit in my eyes. I always ask myself, “is this practical?” What I mean by that is, is it practical for me, my gym and my clients? Will this  system  bring me more clients?


Im seeing a lot of bodyweight training these days. I think its great. Your body is a gym. But im seeing allot of movements being used that aren’t so practical. I see people doing human flags, one handed handstand and all kinds of crazy pull up variations. Its looking like gymnastics out there! This is all good. It looks cool and you definitely have to be in shape to do them.  But is how can I use this at my gym? Can I teach a class room full of people how to do a human flag? How will I be able to implement gymnastic type pull up variations to a class of beginner students?  The answer is you cant.

The same goes for the kettlebell industry. You have organizations charging and exhorbinate amount of money for certifiations and they only show you five movements. Then on top of that, they put so much emphasis on the snatch, that they never even teach their clients how to create balance full body routines with them. I say shame on them. Most of these organizations dont even teach proper warm up and they are always injured beacuse they put so much emphasis on weight. Technique and safety should be priority.



I have had the pleasure of knowing my good friend John wolf for a couple of years now. He teaches his system, E.K.G or Evolution kettlebell groundwork, to packed classes at his gym. He uses kettlebell and bodyweight in his system He has embraced their practicality.  His system is proven. I believe this is why he and I get along so well. We see eye to eye on just about everything.  My system, kettle-Jitsu is also proven. I can have up to 40 people swinging on my mat at once. Variety and effectiveness leads to the retention of students. So does practicality.


So ask yourself this before you purchase you next dvd or embark on a fitness cert: is this system right for me? How will it benefit me? Will it help me get more clients? Who developed this system? Does he/she own a gym?  Is it practical?!?



Uconventional Joint mobility and bodyweight exercise: Scorpion Progressions


Scorpion Progressions: Full Body Agility & Conditioning

Joey Alvarado scopion progressions

When I first discovered kettlebells, I couldn’t believe how effective and versatile they were. I became obsessed and wanted to learn as much as possible about them. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning just to put myself through a different kettlebell workout everyday. I would try my best to emulate the masters like Steve Cotterand Steve Maxwell and discovered that the kettlebell is not just the ultimate training device, it’s the ultimate tool for creativity; the only limit is your imagination.

This realization let to the creation of dozens of new exercises that I included in my first workout DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems. The CKS DVD fired a spark of creativity in me and also included new bodyweight exercises. Over time, I continuously added new movements to what I callthe “Shadow-Jitsu” bodyweight system. Creating this new system made me realize that your body can be just as diverse a training tool as a kettlebell. I have now concluded that the two most effective training devices are your body and kettlebells.

I love to challenge myself and my students with creative new exercise combinations. One set of exercises that are quickly becoming class favorites are called Scorpion Progressions. Scorpion Progressions stem from two simple drills, the Scorpion Drill and the Scorpion Twist. I believe I originally learned the Scorpion Drill from a video created by Steve Maxwell. You’ve probably done it as a mobility/ stretching exercise to loosen up the legs and hips before or after workouts. This one movement is the foundation of the entire progression. The Scorpion Twist, a movement I learned from my Jiu Jitsu Coach Roger Machado, incorporates an upper body movement that loosens up the core. After a while, I figured out that these two drills flowed perfectly into one another. By adding the Scorpion Thrust and Get Up, I completed the Progression and now have an extremely fun, challenging, and dynamic series of exercises that challenges your focus, conditioning, and agility.

When performed in a class environment, you must make sure everyone is in sync. When the whole class works the progressions in unison, it looks pretty awesome! The following are pictures and instructions for how to perform each movement. Make sure to check out the linked video to see the entire series in action!

Scorpion Drill

Joey Alvarado scorpion drill exercise

Lie chest down on the floor. Extend your arms to either side of your body so that your body is forming a “T.” While keeping your right leg as straight as possible, move your left leg across and behind your body. Attempt to touch your right had with your left foot. Return your left leg to the starting position and transition the movement to the other side.

Scorpion Twist

Joey Alvarado scorpion twist

Lie chest down on your stomach with your arms positioned as if your are going to do a push up with the tops of your feet on the floor. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick one foot behind your body, and twist your body in the same direction as the kicking leg. Allow your arms to continnue the natural twisting motion. Done correctly, you should end up in the “S-Mount” position. Torque your body in the opposite direction and get back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Scorpion Thrust

Joey Alvarado scorpion thrust bodyweight exercise

Begin in the same starting position as the Scorpion Twist. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick your left foot behind your body, and roll your body over. As your hips roll over, plant both feet on the ground and allow your lower legs to become vertical. Keep your right hand firmly planted on the ground. Thrust your hips into the air and seek to make them parallel to the ground. Lower your hips as soon as they reach the apex and sit on the ground. Roll your entire body over into the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Scorpion Get Up

Joey Alvarado scorpion get up mma drill

Scorpion Get Up: Repeat steps in exercise 2, but as you hip thrust, push off your supporting had and stand up. Drop down into the “rock bottom” squat position, roll back to your stomach and repeat to the other side.

These exercises can be performed in many different formats. You can do each sequence for 30 second intervals, or repeat the whole progression for one minute. It will get your heart rate up big time! For more dynamic exercise combinations, check out my new Shadow-Jitsu Bodyweight Training DVD!

Check out the video of the Scorpion Progressions!


Kettle-Jitsu and Crossfit: A Comparison

Kettle-Jitsu and Crossfit: a comparison
Since developing my system of training, I am constantly being asked questions related to fitness. I think the most common question I get is what I think about different fitness systems. Probably the most common one I am asked about is crossfit. First let me say, that I am not an authority on crossfit what so ever. I do have friends who train in it. I also have students that previously trained it as well. I know from what ive seen on videos and the dozens of crossfit people I have on my page. I also know it is a highly controversial subject in the fitness community right now.
People come into my gym all the time and ask if we offer crossfit. I tell them no, but kettle-jitsu is comparable to it. To put it quite simply, I think crossfit is a form of circuit training. They use various different training tools in different stations and get great results doing it. It’s also a sport. Kettle-jitsu is also a form of circuit training. But, we use the kettlebell and bodyweight for our circuits. So instead of choosing to look at crossfit as a totally different style of training, I see more similarities.
Crossfit uses a lot of Olympic style lifts like snatches, cleans and overhead squats. Kettle-jitsu does the same, only with a kettlebell. I think this is where my system adds a bit more variety and safety to training, When I teach these movements, I start my students off with a single kettlebell. I also insist they use a weight comfortable for them. By using a single kettlebell, it allows for more natural movements which make the bell allot easier to control. This makes training a lot safer.
Crossfit also has their WODs or workout of the day. This is one area which I’ve seen them criticized for. The more schooled fitness experts feel that this method is too sporadic. But I see crossfit people getting great results. So what’s the problem with it? Kettle-Jitsu uses workouts of the week. Some of my movements require a little more coordination. By using the same routine for the entire week, we get to practice the movements in our circuit and master them through repetition. This also gives my students the opportunity to gradually increase the weight as they feel comfortable with the exercises.
Crossfit also uses bodyweight exercises such as burpees, squats and lunges. Kettle-Jitsu offers a plethora of bodyweight exercises. We have different burpee variations, bodyweight flows and a lot of mma influenced bodyweight exercises. I think variety is key in retaining clients. Most people do not like to exercise because its boring for them. Doing the same monotonous exercises will not keep your clients interest. So I feel both kettle-Jitsu and crossfit are good at mixing it up.
So there you have it. I just touched on a few points that were off the top of my head. Like I said earlier, I see more similarities with Kettle-Jitsu and crossfit than differences. Both systems get results. Id love to hear more opinions!:)

The Rocking Chair: Its Origins and Applications

The rocking chair: it origins and applications
The rocking chair exercise was first taught to me by my jiu jitus coach, roger machado. At that time I thought it was a cool move. But I had no idea of this moves potential and versatility. After years of doing this movement, I started to notice all of its applications in jiu jitsu. The rocking chair can be found in dozens of bjj techniques. I honestly don’t think that most bjj practitioners realize they are doing it. So it made sense for me to drill it and master this movement. There are allot of bodyweight drill master roger engrained in me and my teammates. I believe its something that is missing in allot of gyms.
After being introduce to kettlebell training, I started to experiment with the fusion of kettlebell and bjj exercises. The rocking chair is the first exercise I worked on. This gave birth to the first hybrid kettlebell style, combat kettle-jitsu.
Three years later, this awesome exercise has taken on a life of its own. It is featured in many different forms throughout my system. In this clip for bjj video, im showing the bodyweight version, kettlebell variations, bodyweight flow combos and its application to Brazilian jiu jitsu.
The rocking chair exercise is also an excellent joint mobility exercise. It loosens up the hips and knees thoroughly. It also warms up your core before a hard grappling session. Try the movements in this video and see how they will improve your game!524710_10200692775351311_281795548_n


Kettle-Jitsu Revolution: What is it? Who is it for?

Flamin kettle hook finalKettle-jitsu revolution: what is it and who is it for?
As many of you many know, I released my first dvd, “combat kettlebell systems’, on my mad methods productions several years ago. I introduce new, mma inspired kettlebell and bodyweight movements to the world. Exercises like snake move, combat swings, upa and the fighters figure 8 were some of the newly developed exercises featured on the dvd. The whole dvd has a strong mma influence due to all of the dynamic, sports specific exercises in the program. The dvd became a godsend for those stuck in the rut of doing the same monotonous kettlebell workouts over and over. At that point, my system was relatively new. It was develop in my first, tiny gym that I owned. I used the workouts in my classes to my students enjoyment. But at that time, my classes were allot smaller. Since then, we moved to a huge, 5000 square ft facility. My classes grew as well. Sometimes I would come to the gym ready to unleash a new workout on my students, then see that there were some rock bottom beginners trying the class out for the first time. The workout I had planned would definitely not be suited for them. It forced me to adapt! This is how the new Kettle-Jitsu revolution program was born!
I had to think fast! How do I create a workout easy enough for beginner, yet challenging enough to push my advanced students??? Well I figured it out! The new kettle-jitsu revolution program is a combination of joint mobility, body weight training and kettlebell training that anyone can do! The new formula allows for an ever evolving repertoire of new movements and workouts. Once I unleashed this system at my gym, the word got out and my classes started getting more packed than ever. The shocking part is that over 70% of the clientele at my gym are women! Remember, you don’t have to be a fighter to train like one. The kettle-jitsu revolution is designed to get you in crazy shape fast! You will never be bored and it will continuously challenge you! Best of all, it is for everyone, and anyone looking fresh and different approach to fitness! Anyone of any level will be able to pop this dvd in and immediately start working out!

The four stages of an mma war

D3D_2405The Four Stages of an MMA War: Preparing for a Fight

If you’ve never competed in a professional fight, you might not realize the amount of mental fortitude required by the fighters to get into the ring. Coach and former professional MMA fighter Joey Alvarado will fill you in.

Time after time, fans of MMA glue themselves in front of the big screen to watch the UFC. What they see is the fight that happens in the cage, but what most people do not realize is what an MMA fighter goes through behind the scenes preparing for the match, both physically and mentally. They simply see the final culmination of months of hard work. As a former professional MMA fighter, I can tell you from personal experience that the trials of preparing for a fight are some of the most difficult I have ever experienced. Here is an inside view of what an MMA fighter endures when preparing to fight. I have broken it down into what I call the “Four Stages of an MMA War.”

Stage One: Long Term Preparation

Training for a specific MMA match can take anywhere from two to three months. If you are training properly for a fight, you should be training at least twice a day (some UFC fighters train as much as three times a day). When training this much, there is little time for anything else; almost everything else takes a back seat to the training. The preparation of a fight can put a significant strain on personal relationships; if your significant other is not understanding, it can hinder the training process. A boyfriend/girlfriend who is demanding attention can cause you to lose focus, leading to lackluster training sessions or even inconsistency in training. My father, a former world ranked boxer, once told me that in order to be a fighter, one must live the life of a monk. What does a monk do? A monk spends his days meditating and keeping away from the distractions of the outside world. If afighter can apply the discipline of a monk into his/ her own training, they will be much better off.

Stage Two: Hell Week

This is the week before the fight. This is the time when you might be cutting the pounds needed to make weight the day before the fight. Reducing your caloric intake significantly can cause your mind to become more susceptible to the stresses and anxiety of the upcoming match. During Hell Week, fellow training partners are constantly going to ask you, “How you feeling man, are you ready to fight?” The slightest thought of the fight will most likely raise your anxiety levels and mentally drain you. Keep your mind occupied and try not to dwell on the fight too much. This is a difficult stage and it is important that your coach pays close attention, preparing you both mentally and physically.

Stage Three: The Day of

Stage three is the final waiting period the day of the fight. This is an extremely nerve racking time period; it may only be a few hours before the match, but it will seem like days. While in the warm up room, you can hear the droves of people filling up the arena and your adrenaline will kick in. Proper breathing is extremely important to control your anxiety levels. It’s important that your coach stays with you during this whole period to make sure your mind is in check, wrap your hands, and make sure that you’re warmed up properly. A good coach will prepare your mind and constantly reassure you that you are prepared for the fight. If you are not prepared mentally, you can lose the fight before you even step in the cage.

Stage Four: The Fight

The final stage is the actual fight. There is a saying amongst trainers/fighters that states, “the hardest part of a fight is the preparation, the easiest part is the fight itself.” This is 100% true. Months of training boils down to a mere 15 to 25 minutes a cage fight (sometimes much less). A fight can end within seconds. During the fight, you must not think; you should simply react. After the months of drilling techniques and the countless hours of sparring, your body should be conditioned for the proper reactions to what happens during the fight. In MMA, there is no time to think. If you spend too much time thinking, your opponent may capitalize on it and end the fight.



Combat Kettle-Jitsu is the first and only MMA inspired Kettlebell and bodyweight training system! This system contains elements of traditional kettlebell liftining/bodyweight training and fuses it with newly innovative drills from mixed marts. Joey Alvarado combines them into one comprehensive fitness/conditioning system that can be taught to anybody! Kettle-Jitsu is an ever evolving system that takes the monotony out of exercising. Kettle-Jitsu workouts will challenge you like no other! See for yourself by purchasing Joey’s DVD;s at and

General Information

Kettle-Jitsu Headquarters is located inside of SoCal mma and fitness. in los Angeles, Ca
Joey is available for kettlebell/bodyweight training seminars/certifications as well as mma/bjj workshop For more info, leave a message here or email at