Kettlebells For Muay Thai

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Editor: In our quest to improve and achieve better performance, we will discuss the benefits of training with kettlebells for Muay Thai in this article.

Kettlebells have taken off in the last few years among different groups of people. It seems everyone is using kettlebells, from weekend warriors to top-level athletes. There are even kettlebell certification courses out there with different tiers (I’m not kidding). 

Kettlebell’s extreme rise to prominence in the fitness community might lead most people to think that they are just another fitness fad that will go away with the times. There are actually many legitimate benefits that they can provide that are very applicable for Muay Thai practitioners. 

History Of Kettlebells

kettlebells for muay thai

Despite their recent rise in popularity, kettlebells have actually been around for a while. Some evidence shows that a tool similar to the kettlebell was used in ancient Greece but the modern kettlebell is derived from Russia. 

Originally kettlebells (Russian: Ги́ря) were used as tools by farmers to weigh grain. Later in about the 19th century, it was recorded that circus strongmen used them and training tools.

Towards the end of the 19th century it was recorded that more conventional athletes were using kettlebells for strength training in Russia and broader Europe. There were even competitive kettlebell lifting competitions or girevoy sport around in the late 19th century.

The English term kettlebell has been in use since the early 20th century.

Benefits Of Training with Kettlebells for Muay Thai

kettlebells for muay thai

Kettlebell training offers a lot of benefits that one can’t receive from standard weight training. Here are some of the benefits of training with kettlebells for Muay Thai practitioners:

Simple Workouts

The first benefit is that Kettlebell exercises are generally very simple and don’t require a lot of expertise to do properly. This contrasts with most weight training which requires a lot of time and effort put into ensuring proper techniques. General weight training tend to require more focus on having the right technique for safety and better results. 

Full Body Workout

Kettlebell training helps train overall strength, core and muscles that are usually overlooked like the lower back and the hips. This is good as these muscles are usually disproportionately weak due to being undertrained. Weak muscles often lead to a higher risk of injuries.

Also strengthening the low back is a good way to help mitigate or even eliminate lower back pain. While it doesn’t have a direct connection to Muay Thai, less pain is always welcome.  

Develop Explosive Power

Kettlebells are also great tools for improving explosive power, primarily in your lower body. This means that you will be able to strike harder and not just in terms of your kicks and your knees.

It can also improve your upper body strikes. This is because the power from those strikes comes from the lower body, or at least you should be trying to get power from your lower body. 

Improves Stability & Strength

Kettlebells are also tools that can be used to train stability and strength in many parts of the body in the ways that you can’t with other tools like dumbbells or barbells. This will help maintain strength throughout class, sparring or competition. 

Best Kettlebells for Muay Thai

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of kettlebells for Muay Thai, you might consider getting a couple for home training.

Kettlebells come in different weights the same way as dumbbells do. Most exercises require a single kettlebell while some require two bells. The choice of weight depends on the individual’s strength and fitness. As a general guide (as recommended by Kettlebells USA): 

An average, active person should start with a kettlebell between 8 kg – 18 lb and 12 kg – 26 lb. Athletic individuals should start with a kettlebell between 12 kg – 26 lb and 20 kg – 44 lb. If you are out of shape and inactive, consider going with a 8 kg – 18 lb kettlebell.

Here are the best and the various types of kettlebells for your consideration:

Amazon Basics Cast Iron Kettlebell (Bestseller & Budget)
Amazon Basics Cast Iron Kettlebell with Enamel Finish, 15-Pound, Black
  • Kettlebell supports a wide range of resistance training exercises
  • Includes a 15 pound kettlebell made of solid cast iron for built-to-last strength
  • Black enamel finish for increased durability and corrosion protection

This is the bestselling kettlebell brand on Amazon. If you are looking for a basic kettlebell, classic style, then you don’t have to look any further.

The Amazon Basics Cast Iron kettlebell comes in 6 different weights from 15 lbs (6.8kg) to 60 lbs (27.2kg). It is made with solid cast iron as its name suggests and finished with a coat of painting for long-lasting usage. 

Design-wise, nothing to shout about but it gets the job done. This is also a great budget option if you are looking for one that is easy on the wallet. 

Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell
Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell with Handle for Weightlifting, Conditioning, Strength and core Training 25lb BBKB-25
  • Heavy-duty and soft materials — this kettle bell is constructed of soft materials that prevent damages and injuries from accidental drops. It is a reliable and durable fitness COMPANION that will...
  • Large handle for superior grip — due to its ergonomic handle, This kettlebell allows you to perform large movements. The kettlebell’s Offset center of gravity ensures a unique and versatile...
  • Various sizes for customized workouts — this kettlebell Series comes with varying weights, making it perfect for any cross-training program. You can easily customize your free-weight workouts to fit...

The innovative people at Bionic Body have come up with a pretty smart and novel upgrade of the classic kettlebell. 

Instead of the usual iron, this kettlebell is made of soft materials (likely leather shreds). The soft construction prevents damages and injuries caused by dropping, making this a safe yet effective kettlebell for home workouts.

It comes in 7 different sizes from 10 lbs (4.5kg) to 40 lbs (18.1kg). Not as heavy as the heaviest iron kettlebells but adequate for most people.

Kettlebell Gryp Adjustable (Portable)
KETTLE GRYP - The Original - As Seen on SHARK TANK! Converts Your Dumbbells Into Kettlebells - Made in the USA - Dumbbell Grip Handle
  • TURNS DUMBBELLS INTO KETTLEBELLS IN A SNAP: Simply, open hinged handle, place your own dumbbell into the grip, re-close handle, snap latch. Kettle Gryp has the #1 patented secure latching closure....
  • COMFORTABLE SURE GRIP: Kettle Gryp’s handle is made of durable ABS plastic that is texture molded to give a soft feel, yet non-slip grip for any intensity of workout. Size matches top selling cast...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Kettle Gryp is made from impact-resistant ABS plastic, urethane foam, and stainless steel. Its high-quality materials and advanced engineering make it incredibly strong. Maximum...

The Kettlebell Gryp is another clever design and highly recommended for those with a set of dumbbells sitting at home. You no longer have to worry about getting more kettlebells. 

For frequent travelers, most hotel gyms are equipped with dumbbells. You won’t have to miss out on your kettle training routine with this portable nifty piece of gear when you travel.

The best part: Kettle Gryp offers lifetime warranty! 

ONNIT Primal Bell
ONNIT Primal Bell Kettlebell (Gorilla (72lb))
  • Chip Resistant Iron
  • Perfectly Balanced
  • Enlarged handles for enhanced grip strength

Looking for kettlebells that look great? Say no more, fam.

ONNIT offers a series of cast iron kettlebells with awesome primate designs. They are available in weights from 18 lbs up to 90 lbs for those strong enough to handle them.

This is the kind of kettlebell to show off at the park with its intricately designed kettlebell.  Or maybe post on social media if you’re into making fitness videos. 

Kettlebell Exercises

Now that you know the benefits and a little bit of history of the kettlebell, we can move on to the workouts. Here are some exercises that can be done with kettlebells to help improve your Muay Thai.

Kettlebell swing

We might as well start this list of kettlebell exercises with the exercise that is most common for the kettlebell: the kettlebell swing.

This exercise is perfect for training the power body muscles and even the low back. The kettlebell swing can be done with either one or both hands.

It can be tailored depending on what you want to work on. You can train your strength, endurance or power, by messing with the sets, reps and tempo of the exercise. 

If you want to focus on power and explosiveness training, you can even add a resistance band, wrapping it through the kettlebell to add a special kind of resistance that will help you train your hips. 

Turkish Get-Ups

Turkish Get Ups are a great exercise for developing a level of full-body strength and shoulder stability, both of which are important for Muay Thai.

In terms of full-body strength, this exercise will put you into multiple awkward and somewhat weak positions. This helps you develop strength in pretty much every muscle in your body.

In terms of shoulder stability, the constant overhead hold throughout the whole exercise will help train shoulder stability. This is beneficial in minimizing shoulder injuries such as dislocations or sprains which are somewhat common in Muay Thai. 

You’ll see this exercise done by a lot of BJJ guys for their grappling and it can really help in leveling up our clinch game. 

Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press

This is another exercise that developers shoulder stability. For this one, all you need to do is hold a light kettlebell with the flat bottom facing the sky and press while holding it in that position throughout the range of motion. 

This will help train your shoulder muscle’s stability as well as some of your posture. 

Kettlebell Snatch

The snatch done with the kettlebell will help develop explosive power in your whole body and can really help in terms of punching power. The snatch is a more beginner-friendly movement than the clean and press and is less likely to cause injury. Make sure that when you lift the kettlebell that you pull it with your legs and back, as if you were deadlifting, before launching it overhead. 

Suitcase Carry

This is a great exercise to not only help develop grip and forearm strength for the clinch but also help train your core stability. As you are only holding a kettlebell in one hand, you will need to balance your core to not tip over. This also really helps with the clinch.


Kettlebells are invaluable strength training tools for Muay Thai and all combat sports. Incorporating kettlebell exercises into your workout routine also helps to mix things up and which can keep you motivated. 

Join the “swingers club” and prepare for massive gains to your game!

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