Fight Magazine Article 3/24/14
Saya Phil Ross: 8th Degree Black Belt, Master RKC
Combat Arts Experience: Training Since 1975
Black Belts: East/West Martial Alliance, Bando, Taekwondo
Instructorships: Shamrock Submission Fighting, CDT, Arnis
Fitness: Master Personal Trainer, Master RKC Kettlebell Instructor, Functional Movement Specialist, Certified Bodyweight Specialist
Other Experience: Professional and Amateur MMA Coach, High School Wrestling Coach, Professional Bodyguard
Phil Ross' name is synonymous with Martial Arts and Fitness. He is known as the area's Kettlebell King and was teaching a Mixed Martial Art since 1988, before MMA was envogue. He assisted 5 Time UFC Champion Frank Shamrock on more than seven seminars and was a corner for UFC and Bellatore Fighters for over 4 years.
He has successfully competed on the National Level in Submission Fighting, Kickboxing, Full Contact & Point Karate, Taekwondo and Olympic Style Wrestling. He has also held several titles in Bodybuilding and Power Lifting. More important than his personal accomplishments are the many benefits that his students have gained. A multitude of very accomplished individuals that have trained and continue to train with Phil Ross; The US Navy SEALs, UFC Fighters, Martial Arts School Owners, Personal Trainers, Professional Fighters, FBI Agents, DEA Agents, Police Officers, US Marines, Professional Athletes, Doctors, Attorneys, Educators, Students with Special Needs, Computer Programmers, Wall Street moguls, moms, dads, not to mention the thousands of children trained over the years.
His training methods have produced champions in the sports of Karate, Kickboxing, both Collegiate and Olympic style wrestling, Track and Field, Lacrosse, Football, Volleyball, Golf, Baseball, Hockey, Tennis and Soccer, to name a few.
His S.A.V.E. Self Defense Fitness video series was Rated #1 by Ange Purdue of Socyberty and his Advanced Russian Kettlebell video is ranked in the Top 10 of Kettlebell videos. His Kettlebell Basics Workshop and Manual and Kettlebell Training Course was approved by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for continuing education credits.
Fighters, Wrestlers, Boxers and other Martial Artists require the ability to employ explosive strength over a sustained period of time. A bout or an encounter may last 10 seconds, 10 minutes or 10 rounds. Your body will need to process lactic acid, deal with the adrenalin dump and maintain muscular endurance without sacrificing the explosive power necessary to execute a throw, deliver the knockout punch or apply a finishing hold for the duration of the contest.
Attaining and maintaining one’s strength while staying within a particular weight class or while losing weight is particularly challenging. Fighters are faced with the task of how to maximize their strength while increasing flexibility, athletic prowess, reflexive power, cardiovascular conditioning as well as developing essential core stabilizers.
As with actual combat, focus, concentration and intensity are a must for this style workout. So not only are we conditioning the body, but forging a mindset that lends itself to success in the combat arena.
Quite a few of my students consist of martial artists, wrestlers and fighters. Many of my students have competed in such venues as the UFC, Bellator, NCAA and High School Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as in Amateur MMA Shows. Their strength, conditioning and flexibility have increased dramatically with our training system and it enables them cope with, as well as reduce the incidence of injuries while competing in some the toughest sports on the planet.
There are many other clients that also benefit from the methods employed with the training the fighters. Not only do they benefit physically, but they like knowing they are doing the same workout as a Pro Fighter. They feel empowered!
There will be a 30 to 60 second rest period provided between the rounds of triple set Complexes. A Complex is the term applied to selecting a group of exercises, performing the allotted amount of repetitions for an exercise and then immediately moving to the next movement. Only resting when the set of three, in this instance, exercises is completed. You should use this time to stay loose, hydrate and chalk-up.
Warm-up: Jump Rope for 3 to 5 minutes.
Below are several suggested stretches. There are many other flexibility increasing regiments that may be employed. I will suggest mixing and matching exercises from the various available movements. Variety is important to keep your training fresh and your body continually having to adapt and respond to the different movements.
Standing Twists with Bo Staff:There are 5 basic movements with the Bo Staff. You may use any straight stick as a substitute. For the first three, you need to maintain taught buttocks with your hips tilted forward; for the last two, a flat, arched back with straight legs.
1) Set your feet about shoulder-width apart with the staff resting comfortably on your shoulders. Keeping your head straight forward, twist approximately 180 degrees to each side. 15 repetitions each side.
2) Maintain the same position and then bend side to side. Keep the staff in line with your body. Do not break the plane. 15 repetitions each side.
3) Reach- Backs: Keeping the staff and your feet in the same position as the previous exercises, reach upward and back with one end of the staff and low and forward with the other end. The motion is as if you were swimming the backstroke. 15 repetitions each side.
4) Now arch your low back, as if you were in a “line backer” or “second basemen” stance except that your knees are straight. Head is up and looking forward. Your upper body is parallel with the floor. Begin to twist side to side, rotating around your spine in space. 15 repetitions each side.
5) Good Mornings: Maintain the same position as previously and go down to parallel with the floor and then up to completely upright. Do 20 repetitions.
X-Presses & Elongate:
Begin with your feet approximately 1 ½ of your shoulder width apart. Cross your hands in front of you and “push” out to the front and the back as you pivot your feet toward the right side. The palms are flat and the fingers of your right hand are up while the fingers on the left are down. Shift your weight onto the front (right leg). Repeat the process to the left side as you execute deep breaths.
Repeat the movement 3 to 5 times each side.
Door Jam Stretch:
This stretch is a great way to reach every part of your back. However, it takes a little experimentation. Find a door jam and start with your left hand. Grip the door jam with your thumb down, your feet a little less than shoulder-width apart and your right foot slightly approximately 18 inches in front of the left. Your right foot should be almost in line with your left hand. Adjust your height and shift your hip to stretch the different areas of your back. Repeat the movement on the opposite side of your body.
Cross Stance Squats:
Stand with your feet close together and your hands overlapping, palm up directly below your navel. Imagine that you have a cup of hot tea in your hands. Spilling it will burn, so you need to keep your body in balance with your nose in direct line with your navel. Take you left foot and step deeply across and behind your right leg. Both of your feet as well as your body should be facing forward. Bend both knees and outside of your left knee will touch the outside of your right knee. Lower your weight onto the back of your left leg and be certain to not allow either knee to touch the floor. Then uncross your legs as you stand up and repeat the process to the other side. Do this 5 times per side.
Shifting Hamstring Stretch:
Also known as the “Karate Stretch”. Stand with your feet approximately 1 ½ shoulder-width apart and point the toes of your left foot straight forward and the toes of you right foot to the side. Your feet will make an “L”. Shift your weight onto your left side by bending your left knee. Maintain a straight back and drop your body low. Flex the right foot and you will feel the stretch in your right hamstring. Place your hands out in front to maintain your balance. Shift to the other side and repeat this movement to both sides three to five times.
Crucifix Stretch: Crossing Variation
Lay down on your back in a “crucifix” position. Bring your right leg straight up as high as you are able and then across your body and reach for your left hand. Keep your left leg straight with your toes pointed up at the ceiling with your hip, knee and foot in a straight line. Relax into the position. Repeat the movement to the other side. Three to five repetitions will be sufficient. You may use a jump rope wrapped around your leg to afford greater tension and a more challenging stretch.
1 Set of Figure 8’s, Low Halo’s, Mid Halos & High Halos
Standing with your feet apart, bend your knees, keep your back straight and pass the Kettlebell from hand to hand in a “Figure 8” motion while going between and around your legs. There will a slight up and down motion while you move. Accomplish this by flexing your legs, almost like a shock absorber. Do 10 repetitions in each direction. I always find it best to grasp the corner of the Kettlebell handle.
Stand with your legs close together. Knees slightly flexed approximately 20 degrees. Pass the Kettlebell from hand to around your flexed knees. Maintain a straight back. Do 10 repetitions in each direction.
Stand with your legs close together. Pass the Kettlebell from hand to around your waist. Maintain a straight back. Do 10 repetitions in each direction.
Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and grasp the Kettlebell by the horns with the bottom of the bell facing upwards. Rotate the Kettlebell around your head with the bottom of the bell pausing at your chin. Try to keep the bell as close to your head as possible. Maintain a straight back. Do 10 repetitions in each direction.
3 Sets of the Following Combination: No rest between movements
Single Hand Snatch, Alternating Hand Snatch, Kettlebell Swings Alternating with Lateral Hopping Swings
Punching power and endurance are the focus of this circuit. Working one side and then alternating sides also mimics the conditions in combat.
Single Hand Snatch: This is a potentially dangerous movement & you must maintain complete concentration throughout the performance of this exercise.
First you swing the bell between your legs, contract the muscles in your buttocks, hips & legs as you “pop” the Kettlebell above your shoulder level. While flexing your knees, position your palm directly under the Kettlebell. Your hand, shoulder, hip, knee & foot need to be in alignment.
“Pop” the Kettlebell up and quickly grasp the handle and guide the Kettlebell down between your legs. Repeat this movement five to ten repetitions to each hand.
Alternating Hand Snatch: Very similar to the aforementioned, except that you will be changing hands with every repetition. Repeat this movement five to ten repetitions to each hand.
Kettlebell Swings Alternating with Lateral Hopping Swings: Start with the Kettlebell in the neutral position on the floor and grasp the Kettlebell with both hands. Swing the Kettlebell upward until the bell is directly facing outward with the bell at approximately chest level. Be certain to root with the floor, bring your kneecaps up into your quads, pack your shoulders and engage your latissimus dorsi. Swing the bell downward between your legs again and execute the same swing with the bell straight out, but as you assume this position, hop to the left between 12 and 18 inches while attempting to raise yourself off of the floor as high as possible while locking your knees out. Repeat the process again, except to the other side by hopping to the right. Repeat these movements for ten repetitions in each direction. You will be executing 40 repetitions per set.
3 Sets of the Following Combination:
Alternating Snatches, Alternating Cleans and Alternating Presses
This movement sequence is incredible for development of contra lateral strength and coordination. Fighters need to be able to move effectively in different directions simultaneously.
Alternating Snatch: Start this exercise with two Kettlebells between your legs and both thumbs facing toward you. Pop your hips then straighten and bend your knees quickly as you hoist one of the Kettlebells over head. You will then simultaneously snatch and lower the Kettlebell, reversing the position with every repetition. Be certain to straighten and bend your knees and utilize hip hinge in a rhythmic pattern consistent with the rising and lowering of the Kettlebells. Repeat this movement ten repetitions each side.
Alternating Cleans: Begin the exercise with two Kettlebells between your legs and both thumbs facing toward you. Pop your hips, and lift one of the Kettlebells into the racked position. Repeat to the other side, lowering one Kettlebell as the other is raised to the racked position. Be certain to straighten and bend your knees in a rhythmic pattern consistent with the rising and lowering of the Kettlebells. The Kettlebells should pass each other approximately waist level while traveling in the opposite direction. Repeat this movement five to ten repetitions each side.
Alternating Presses: Standing with two Kettlebells in the racked position. Press both above and slightly behind your head. Lower one Kettlebell to the racked position in a twisting motion while keeping the other locked and above your head; wrist must be straight and your knuckles pointing straight toward the ceiling. The movement should be performed as if you were punching upward to the ceiling. At full extension of the movement, front of your hand will be facing outward with the back of your hand toward you. Repeat alternating between the racked and overhead positions. Repeat this movement ten repetitions each side.
3 Sets of the Following Combination:
This exercise group is enhances of contralateral core stability throughout the whole body. This is essential to achieving and maintaining superior positions while fighting.
Renegade Rows, Cross Renegade Rows and Kettlebell Push-ups
Renegade Rows: Begin with the Kettlebells reasonably close together and on the ground. Grasp the handles with your thumbs forward fists in direct line with your shoulders. Assume a push-up position while your hands are centered on the Kettlebell handles. Shift your weight to one side, locking your elbow & shoulder as you lift the Kettlebell high, so that your fist is alongside of your chest. Be certain that you keep your body parallel with the floor throughout the entire movement. Place the Kettlebell back onto the floor and repeat the motion with the other side. One Kettlebell and both feet are on the ground at the same time. Repeat this movement ten repetitions each side. The
Cross Renegade Rows: Start the exercise the same as you did while doing the Renegades Rows. Shift your weight to the right side in the front and onto the left foot. Lift up your left arm and your right leg. Lock your elbow and shoulder as you lift the Kettlebell high, so that your fist is alongside of your chest and the adjacent foot is off of the ground at the same time. Make certain to engage your gluteus and bring the foot up higher than your back. Place the Kettlebell and your foot back onto the ground and repeat the motion with the other side. Repeat this movement five repetitions each side.
Kettlebell Push-ups: The Kettlebells should be spaced about shoulder-width apart with the handles at a 15 degree angle, thumbs slighting facing inward. Maintaining a straight and strong back, execute 20 push-ups while balancing on the Kettlebells.
3 Sets of the Following Combination:
Explosive Power and flexibility are the focus of this exercise group. Fighters need to develop their Knockout Power and be flexible enough to deliver it.
1/4 Turn Hop-Squats, Renegade Side Lunges and Towel Halos
1/4 Turn Hop-Squats: Rack two Kettlebells, inhale and squat down as deep as possible with your feet at 30 degree angles. Exhale and propel yourself upwards as you leave the ground, performing a ¼ turn to the right. Repeat this motion until you have made a complete revolution. Then go in the opposite direction, repeating the steps to the other side. There will be a total of 8 repetitions in each set, 4 per side.
Renegade Side Lunges: Rack two Kettlebells, inhale and step out with your knee as high as you are able to bring it up. Then step to the side with a lunge, toes on the stepping foot facing forward. Bend your knee and thrust off the ground bringing your knee as high as possible. Repeat 5 times and then do the same with the opposite leg. Be sure to maintain a straight back. There will be a tendency to bend your back to get lower. DO NOT; bend your knee to get lower. Additionally, keep the opposite leg straight.
Towel Halos: This motion is a potentially dangerous one. It must only be attempted in an area free of obstruction and any other people. Thread a towel evenly through the Kettlebell handle. Stand with your feet approximately 1½ shoulder-width apart, grip the towel very firmly and swing the Kettlebell around your head and in front of your body while making certain not to strike your knee. Repeat this movement 10 times in each direction.
Clean, Press & Squat (Single Arm) – “Six Minutes of Hell”.
In succession, perform a Clean, Press and Squat (Single Rack Version) for 1 minute and then change sides. Do this three times or for a total of six minutes. Try to complete as many repetitions as possible in the allotted amount of time. If you are unable to execute any more presses, change to the Push Press, by engaging your legs as you hoist the bell into the overhead position.
This method that we employ here is referred to as a Chain. In the Chain, you select 3 to 5 movements and perform each once and move directly to the next exercise. Chains are used to develop Muscular Endurance and are excellent for ending a training session.
Fashion a martial arts belt with a knot on one end and a loop on the other. Thread it through the handle of an appropriately sized Kettlebell and make the belt snug. Place the knot of the belt into your mouth and bite down hard. Assume a position as you would for a swing and place your hands upon your knees. Swing your head in an up and down motion through the full range of motion. You may alternate with swinging your head side to side as well.
Additional Abdominal Work
Lie on the floor with your low back planted firmly into the ground and your knees bent. Be certain to contract your abs prior to bringing your upper body upward. You do not want to allow your head and neck to lead the movement. Outstretch your arms and put your palms upward as you contract your abs, exhale and hold the position for a count of 10. Repeat this to each side and then to the center again. Do four repetitions to the center and 3 to each side for a total of 10. Make certain that the bas of your shoulder blades never touch the ground and keep your low back on the ground for the duration of the exercise. The range of motion that your upper body travels is only about six inches.
As previously mentioned, I also train a great deal of “non-fighters”; however the benefits of weight loss, strength development, flexibility, cardio and muscular conditioning as well as empowerment they reap from the exercises and in the aforementioned workout are extremely desirable. As a trainer or a Kettlebell practitioner, you must be able to determine how hard you can safely push your students, fighters or yourself.
When you or your fighters first do this workout, you may find that you require a longer rest period between the sets or executing fewer rotations or repetitions. Additionally, if you are looking to focus on strength, you may want to again, increase the rest period and raise the weight of the Kettlebell. By adjusting the load, intensity, density or volume, you have the ability to alter the result of the training session.
Vary the workout for your self and your clients.
Keep it Fresh & Good Training!