Top 3 Exercise Combos For Grappling & MMA-Kettlebell Kings

Top 3 Exercise Combos For Grappling & MMA

We have collaborated on this series with Master of Sport, Mike Salemi ( @kettlebelllifestyle ) to bring you the Top 3 Exercise Combos For Grappling & MMA. Mike has an extensive background in all types of lifting and collaborated with top combat sports competitors to create these workouts. His interview with Ryan and Grappling Central will air for the first time on August 18, 2017. We highly recommend you listen to the full interview as well as watch the demonstrations below. Mike can be reached for questions through the information below.


In these 3 kettlebell combinations, many of the qualities necessary to be successful in grappling and MMA are trained and developed. The athlete will practice working through multiple coordinated movement patterns, while simultaneously integrating the lower body, upper body, and core musculature.


Descend into the bottom of a Goblet Squat as you transition to the ground by rolling onto your back. Keep the kettlebell at chest level and then initiate a forward roll (shown 0:39). Push the kettlebell forward as you scoop your heels under you to get back into the bottom of the Goblet Squat position and stand up tall. This is one repetition.

Rolling single arm press to half kneeling

Start laying on your side (0:49) with an overlapping grip on the kettlebell (shown). Pull the kettlebell towards you while rolling onto your back - this is similar to the beginning of a Turkish Get Up .

Next, release the unloaded arm and initiate a forward roll, sitting up as you simultaneously press the kettlebell upward until the arm is fully locked out. Windshield wiper your knees to one side (1:00), then sit up tall and transition into the half kneeling position. To come back down, tuck your back leg in, and find the ground with your free hand. Lower back under control into the start position to repeat.

In this post, Mike Salemi uses Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebells


Start by hanging at the hips (1:27). Direct the kettlebell diagonally back through your legs. As it passes beneath the body, grab the bell with your other hand while remembering to keep the arm relaxed. Guide the kettlebell around your leg and back to the front of the body with the hand you just transitioned to (1:35), and quickly stand tall. Flex at the elbow and stop the bell at chest level using the opposite hand (shown). Lower the kettlebell back down with the same hand you brought it up with, hinging at the hips and then repeat the motion by changing hands once again when the kettlebell passes beneath you.

bonus technique


With approximately a shoulder width stance, hinge at the hips and maintain a stable trunk and well aligned spine (1:54) throughout the movement. Transition the kettlebell between the legs in a figure 8 pattern. Gripping more towards one side of the handle in order to create smoother transitions from one hand to the other.

How To Utilize

Each combination works well when performed for sets of 5-10 repetitions, for 3-5 sets, or also when inserted within a longer kettlebell flow. Depending on your goals you would want to perform different rep ranges at different loads.

If you want to build more strength and power, use a heavier kettlebell that you can perform lower reps with. If you want to build endurance, use a slightly lighter kettlebell for each movement that you can do on the higher end repetition range, 10-12+, or opt for inserting the movement into a longer flow. Here is a helpful article you can read about the number of repetitions you should do of any movement depending on your goals.

In this post, Mike Salemi uses Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebells


Kettlebell Master of Sport and 2017 WAKSC World Champion. Mike Salemi's road in strength and conditioning started at the age of 15 while competing in powerlifting. Today, as a Sports Performance Specialist, Mike's focus is primarily geared towards Kettlebell, Golf, and Combat athletes alike. By collaborating with industry leaders who share a similar vision of building more balanced athletes, Mike offers workshops on topics ranging from integrative kettlebell training, athlete nutrition, and shoulder & spine health.

Click here to read more about Mike, and to inquire about hosting a workshop in your area.

For information on hosting a kettlebell workshop specific to grappling and MMA, please contact Mike at:

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