Want to get better at BJJ? Progress faster, perform better in rolls, and get better results in comps?
Strength and conditioning workouts are one way to do it. When you get better physically – stronger, faster, more flexible and with better endurance – your Jiu Jitsu game will improve as well.
Read on and we’ll share some BJJ workout tips to help you boost your athletic game.
Is Strength and Conditioning Really Important for Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters need to be in excellent shape to compete at the highest levels.
Now, let’s say you’re not necessarily targeting ADCC gold. Should you still put an emphasis on your strength and conditioning?
In short, it’s always going to benefit you to be faster, stronger, and in better shape. It’s not the whole picture – you still need to work on your technique, and without technique, your fitness doesn’t mean a lot.
But put together, fitness and technique is deadly. And without being in good shape, you might struggle to hit your techniques in live rolls, or competitions.
It shouldn’t be the only thing you focus on, and you should be careful that you’re not putting all your physical and mental energy into conditioning, and neglecting technical drills. But it’s never a bad thing to get in better shape – not only for Jiu Jitsu, but for your overall wellbeing too.
Top BJJ Workout Ideas
Want to improve your workouts and get in better shape for Jiu Jitsu? We’ve got you.
Here are some workout ideas that can help BJJ fighters get stronger and more fit:
1) Use a weight vest when training
Full body calisthenics and movement exercises are great for Jiu Jitsu. They replicate natural, functional movements, and therefore translate beautifully to BJJ.
A weight vest can make your movement exercises even more effective. It will help build explosive strength and power, by conditioning your body to move under more pressure than just your regular bodyweight.
Weighted vests also somewhat simulate having a big old opponent on your back, which will make you feel more comfortable when it comes time to roll.
2) Incorporate sprints into your training regime
BJJ is basically sprinting. You’re making quick, explosive, start-stop movements. Moving all-out until you get to a position, then stopping, before another sprint when it’s time to scramble again. This makes a lot of regular workouts rather ineffective for Jiu Jitsu – such as regular weight lifting or steady long-distance running.
Sprints help improve your anaerobic capacity and cardiovascular conditioning, making it much easier to maintain the kind of rhythm you need for a Jiu Jitsu roll.
3) Do plyometric exercises like box jumps and medicine ball throws
Plyometric exercises are dynamic, functional movements, perfectly suited for athletes. They’re generally high-impact, high-explosion, and work a number of muscle groups.
A few examples are box jumps, medicine ball throws and jump rope.
These help you develop the explosive power which is essential for takedowns, scrambles and submissions in BJJ.
4) Use resistance bands to train your muscles
Resistance bands are a great way to safely increase the intensity of your workouts without putting undue stress on your joints.
These exercises simulate stress and resistance on the muscles, without putting yourself under the same physical weight as typical weightlifting. They also help improve flexibility and range of motion, which is vital for Jiu Jitsu.
5) Get strong by lifting weights
We talk about a lot of alternatives to lifting weights, but weightlifting has its place for BJJ athletes as well.
Your typical aesthetic-focused weightlifting is not as good if you’re training for BJJ specifically. But there are a lot of weightlifting exercises that can get you stronger and fitter for BJJ.
Read more about Strength Training for BJJ.
6) Grip strength exercises
Work on improving your grip strength with exercises like farmer’s walks and hanging from a pull-up bar.
This will obviously be a big advantage when it comes to gripping your opponent’s gi. You’ll also find grip strength comes in handy in a lot of ways for No-Gi BJJ, however.
7) Focus on conditioning and muscular endurance
Conditioning is key for BJJ fighters – you don’t want to be a one-roll Ronnie. Try sprint interval training or circuit training to get in great shape, and boost your cardiovascular fitness.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is another great way to boost conditioning and simulate the kind of energy systems you use in Jiu Jitsu.
Whatever you do, try and cut down the rest you do between sets or exercises, to get your body used to maintaining your power, strength and explosion for longer.
8) Eat a healthy diet that provides plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates
Finally, not specifically a workout tip, but focus on eating the correct diet.
Your body can only work as well as the fuel you put in it. If you’re stuffing yourself full of processed foods, you’re not going to perform as well.
However, a balanced diet, full of protein, complex carbs (don’t ignore carbs – these are essential for energy production), vitamins and minerals, will give you what you need to achieve peak performance.
A Complete Guide to Nutrition & Diet for Martial Arts Fighters.
By following these tips, you can develop the strength, power, and conditioning needed to be the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter you can be.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive! There’s a lot more you can do to get stronger and fitter for Jiu Jitsu – such as yoga, metabolic conditioning circuits, boxing drills and more.
Don’t let fitness completely take over your focus, but also don’t neglect it. The key to success in BJJ is a balance of both.