The Neutral Corner: Kettlebells for Fight Sports Training

In recent years, the use of kettlebells has re-emerged as a staple in almost all legitimate strength programs. Although the benefits of training with kettlebells are undeniable, the common misconception of strength and conditioning for boxing is that the use of weights will make you bulky or slow and tight. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even with all the information about the advantages of weight training for boxing, some old-school trainers still believe that weights of any form should not be used in boxing. Here’s my attempt to dispel this notion:

The proper use of kettlebells requires functional movements, meaning movements that are not isolated and are similar to the way our bodies function in everyday situations. For example, the simple squat and lunge are highly functional movements because we do them every day without ever really realizing (i.e. sitting and getting back up, or walking up stairs). This is beneficial for all athletes, not just boxers, because these efforts require you to use multiple joints in conjunction with each other in order to successfully complete the movement. This directly correlates into any sport specific motion, because everything we do athletically requires multi-joint movements on some level.

Kettlebell training blends cardiovascular endurance with muscular strength and stability. First we’ll talk about cardiovascular endurance. The most popular movements using kettlebells require repeated hip extensions in order to propel the bell into the desired movement. This motion requires a great deal of strength and develops both respiratory and explosive powers, which are two attributes that are absolutely imperative to attain in order to excel in boxing. The kettlebell swing and the kettlebell clean are great examples of exercises that train these areas.


These are just a few examples of the benefits of kettlebell training. All forms of weight training have their place in the boxing world when implemented correctly and at the right stage of an athlete’s conditioning programming. Individuals who use boxing as a tool for general fitness should incorporate kettlebells into their daily training regimen as a means to develop explosive power, cardio endurance, and muscular strength and stability. The notion that kettlebells, or any weight training, will negatively affect boxing development is simply an old boxing myth that isn’t supported at all by facts or science. Don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself! Throw some kettlebells into the mix of your training and watch your fitness and boxing ability shoot through the roof. Just be sure not to hurt anyone with your new found strength.

Jeff Hunter
About the Author:

Jeff Hunter. Passion for fitness and results based training is what drives Jeff to share his knowledge with the world. With over 6 years of experience as a personal trainer and strength & conditioning coach, Jeff brings a wide range of practical know-how from his experience with the general population and also elite athletes. Jeff is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and is also a USAW and USA boxing coach. You can find him training out of the Everlast Lab in Hoboken, NJ.