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 Just Give Me 10 Minutes and I Will Make You a Man: The Ultimate Kettlebell Exercise for the Standup Fighter By Jon Engum, Master SFG

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PostSubject: Just Give Me 10 Minutes and I Will Make You a Man: The Ultimate Kettlebell Exercise for the Standup Fighter By Jon Engum, Master SFG    Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:21 pm

Just Give Me 10 Minutes and I Will Make You a Man: The Ultimate Kettlebell Exercise for the Standup Fighter

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 11:09 AM PST

By Jon Engum, Master SFG

Question asked the other day… What is the go to kettlebell exercise for martial conditioning? Well, pick your poison; you really couldn’t give a bad answer. Are Kettlebell swings good for the martial artist? Uh, Yah!! Or how could you argue against the Get-up? No not really, there are literally a ton of benefits hidden inside a Get-up. What about the Snatch? Certainly the Tsar of the Kettlebell world would be a great addition to any martial arts training regimen. Like I said …pick any of these and you would be correct, but what if you found yourself on the proverbial desert island of exercise and could only choose one Kettlebell movement to keep in your training quiver. The answer is easy. The one-arm Clean & Jerk.

Yes, you need a solid strength foundation and the best way to get that is a steady diet of deadlifts and presses a la Pavel’s Power to the People! Program but the one-arm Clean & Jerk is the go-to one-stop-shop for martial conditioning. Inside the Clean & Jerk lives a Swing, a Press, and a bit of a Squat. Give me just 10 minutes, and one Kettlebell and I will give you, power, stamina, resilience and mental toughness all in one tidy package. It’s all about legs and lungs, guys, and if you follow this to the letter that is exactly where you will feel it. After hard work on the Clean & Jerk everything else will feel like a party.

Before we go any further I need to clarify something. I am talking about long cycle Clean & Jerks, and you need to re-clean the Kettlebell between every rep. What I am NOT suggesting is a GS type 10 minute set. GS is the term for someone involved in sport Kettlebell competition where the object is to get as many reps in 10 minutes as possible without setting the bell down. A manly effort for sure and great athletes, beyond a doubt. If this is what suits your fancy, more power to you. The point is my goal and the goal of the martial artist goes beyond the Kettlebell. We are just using the Kettlebell as a means to an end…(shhh, don’t tell my Bells)

So how do I program the Clean & Jerk for my martial conditioning?

First get your Clean & Jerk technique down pat…for this it is critical that you work with a SFG Level 2 instructor. They have specialized training in the Clean & Jerk and they can short cut your learning by taking much of the trial and error out of your way. There is a time to be cheap and a time to be smart. Be smart and hire a coach.

Once you have your form dialed in, time you must go heavy. In this case “heavy” means a bell you can Clean & Jerk for about 7 to 8 reps. A 32kg kettlebell would be a good place to start for men and if you can’t, do this with at least a 24kg. STOP and GET STRONG FIRST!

Now I need you to take a 10-minute test. See how many Clean & Jerks you can do in 10 minutes. You can switch hands whenever you like and you can set the bell down whenever you like but you are fighting the clock.

If you get more than 120 reps…you used a bell that was too light, shame on you! On the other hand if you could only do 50 or 60 reps, you chose too heavy. I would be happy with a score of about 80 to 90 reps. We are after the Goldilocks Bell…not too heavy …not too light but just right.

Record your score.

Now here is how we train it. At your next practice set a timer to count down 10 minutes. You want it to beep at you every minute.

Using your Goldilocks Bell do 5 Clean & Jerks with your right arm then switch and do 5 with the left. Rest for whatever time is left of the minute. Repeat at the top of every minute for 10 minutes.

IF you can keep up the pace at the end of ten minutes you will have done 100 total reps. What most people will find is that at about the 7 to 8 minute mark things start to get ugly. If you need to drop your rep count to 4 and 4 or even 3 and 3, go ahead. You must keep excellent form and you may not fail. By the way, it is important to keep an accurate track of your reps, so figure out some way to do this on the fly. Many of my students just make a mark on a white board during the rest. 5 right and 5 left gets one tick mark. 10 tick marks equals 100 reps.

We can program our training very easily now.

The Hard Day pace is 5 and 5 (100) reps. We will call it 100%.
Medium Day: the pace is 4 and 4 (80) reps, or 80%.
Easy Day: the pace is 3-3 (60) reps, or 60%.
Test Day is 6-6 (120) reps, or 120%.
Set the training week to go like this:

Monday (Hard)
Wednesday (Easy)
Friday (Medium)
About once a month swap out your hard day for a Test Day. If you can successfully make 6-6 every minute on the minute for 10 minutes …you have just earned the right to move on to a heavier bell.


Ok I see a hand going up in the back of the room. You are wondering if the one arm Clean & Jerk is so great, then the two armed would be twice as good? The answer is, yes and no. Yes, you can move twice the weight in half the time and that is good, but you need to have better than average shoulder mobility to safely do the two-arm version. Most fighters do not. Should we aim to improve their shoulder mobility? Sure, but that is the icing on the cake, not the main event, and if you try to make correctives the main event, you will starve as a trainer. The one armed version will let us work around shoulder mobility for now and, to be quite frank, there is really no compelling reason for a fighter to do double Clean & Jerks…remember this is not their sport, just a means to an end.

The second reason I like the one-arm version better than the two-arm is that you can rest one arm while the other works…if you can call that rest. Even though one arm is just along for the ride…the legs and lungs are still smoking away… The one armed Clean & Jerk allows us to prolong the agony!

There it is. You will find that you really do not need or want much more. Plug this in after your technical martial arts training and stop wasting time in the gym. You can have your conditioning and a life at the same time. Just give me 10 minutes and I will make you a man!

# # #

Jon Engum, Master SFG, is a certified Martial Arts Grandmaster. He currently holds a 7th Dan black belt in Taekwondo, a 4th Dan black belt in Hapkido, and 4th Dan black belt in Kumdo.

Engum is a Master SFG Kettlebell Instructor, SBS, CK-FMS and Author of Flexible Steel, an Insider’s Guide to Ultimate Flexibility. His website is www.extremetraining.net.

Want to improve your mobility, flexibility, power, and performance? This is your invitation to dramatically and instantly improve your mobility and flexibility. No matter if you are chronically tight or an advanced athlete looking to break through your current plateau. Jon Engum will teach you how in his Flexible Steel Workshop. He guarantees instant measurable results!

March 8, Minneapolis, MN
March 16 -17, Seoul, South Korea
April 27, Chicago, IL
May 4-5, NYC, New York
May 11-12, Vicenza, Italy
May 25-26, Munich, Germany
June 8-9, Torrance, California
July 20-21, Guthrie, Oklahoma
Oct 19-20, Nashville, TN

Gym owners and event promoters who want to bring a Flexible Steel workshop to your city, contact Jon at info@extremetraining.net

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Just Give Me 10 Minutes and I Will Make You a Man: The Ultimate Kettlebell Exercise for the Standup Fighter By Jon Engum, Master SFG
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