As someone who coaches and writes about BJJ, I have a lot of people ask me – “how many times a week should I train Jiu Jitsu to get good?”
There’s a trick I have to answer any question, in any setting, and never get it wrong. I just say the words “it depends”.
But it just so happens that in this case, “it depends” is a good answer. There’s too much to consider to give the same answer to everyone. You’ve got to think about what your goals are, where you’re at in your BJJ journey, what else is going on in your life, and more.
Based on your answers, I can give you a decent idea of how much training time is optimal. Though be aware that no answer is straight up right or wrong – and in the end, something is better than nothing. 1 day per week of Jiu Jitsu is better than 0.
What Are Your BJJ Goals?
The first thing to consider is what your goals are with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
If you want to compete and win ADCC, the number of times you need to train per week is a lot different to if you’re just in it to improve your fitness.
Your goals could be to:
- Lose weight
- Learn self defense
- Improve your BJJ for MMA
- Have fun
If you’re serious, and trying to compete, you’re going to need to train more often. A little less if you’re fairly serious, but not necessarily a competitive athlete. And less still if you’re fairly casual about it.
This can also extend to the goals for your BJJ game. Are you training for a tournament, trying to grind out for your next belt, or just looking to maintain your skills and get a little better everyday?
Again, the more competitive you are, the more often you’ll want to train.
What Else Do You Have Going On?
As much as people like to say they live the BJJ lifestyle, for most practitioners, it’s just a small part of your life.
If you’re busy with work, school, family, don’t feel like you need to ignore your commitments to get another 1-2 sessions of BJJ in per week.
Your BJJ will be better when you have a balanced life away from the mats. Don’t try to use Jiu Jitsu to compensate for any other areas of your life.
Also consider what else you’re doing in terms of fitness or martial arts. Are you training Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA on the side? Or are you hitting the gym and lifting heavy several times a week?
The more you train outside of BJJ, the more you risk overtraining. If you’re active in a lot of other areas, you may want to dial down your BJJ schedule a bit.
How Many Days Per Week of BJJ for Beginners?
Generally, beginners should aim to train 2-3 times per week, on a consistent basis.
Consistency is probably the most important thing for beginners. You’re going to be faced with a lot of new concepts and movements, and you need to eventually commit these first to memory, then to muscle memory.
That takes time, and takes even longer if you have too much time between lessons.
That’s why I advise beginners to focus on consistency over total number of hours. Better to train twice a week, every week, than six days one week, followed by two weeks off.
Though you might feel like you can train more regularly, be careful of burning out. If you rush and try to train nearly everyday when you’re first starting, you’re more likely to end up running hot and quitting a few months down the line.
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Optimal Training Schedule for More Advanced BJJ-ers
Once you pass the honeymoon phase, and you’re no longer such a danger for burning out, you’ll want to up your training load.
This is, of course, if you have time. If you’re flat out in other areas of your life, just a few days a week is still fine.
Even one day, if that’s all you can do, is much better than disappearing altogether (that means you, blue belts).
I would aim for 3-4 days per week once you’re passed the beginner level. You’re going to want to start working more on refining your game, and you’re less likely to be overwhelmed with all the information coming your way. It’s more about repetitions here, than learning new things.
The more time you can put in here, the more you’ll get out of it.
Is It a Good Idea to Train BJJ Everyday?
Now, let’s say you can make it to class everyday. Should you?
In the previous section, we said that the more time you put in, the more benefit you’ll get.
That’s true in most cases. But you can overdo it.
Training everyday is not necessarily wrong. If you have a good recovery routine – maybe you’re doing stretching, yoga between classes, as well as taking the right supplements – you could make it work.
The problem is that you risk overworking yourself. You could burn out physically, to where you have no energy every time you step on the mats. It’s just as easy to burn out mentally.
I’ve had stretches where I trained almost everyday, and didn’t have the same drive or enjoyment. This is usually fixed with a short break away.
If you’re really serious about BJJ, particularly about competing, then try and get some training in everyday, or close to it. But try to be smart about how you train. Mix it up a bit. Do drills one day, rolling the next. Or take days of from BJJ, where you focus on conditioning or cardio instead.
That will help you keep the fire going for longer.
How Often Should You Train to Get a Black Belt?
Now let’s say your goal is to get a black belt. Not an uncommon goal at all – most people want to eventually earn themselves a BJJ black belt.
Should this goal change the number of sessions you should train per week?
No. And here’s why.
Getting a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly long journey. You know how long it takes for the average person to get a black belt?
Trick question. The average person will never get a black belt.
But for those who do, it’s almost always 10+ years of training. So your weekly number of sessions is just a drop in the bucket over this time, and not worth stressing over.
A common saying in BJJ, regarding who earns a black belt and who doesn’t, is “it’s not who’s good. It’s who’s left.”
What this means is it’s more important to stick around long-term, than to “get good” or put in a lot of work in the short-term. In terms of getting your black belt, think in terms of years, not days or weeks.
Try to do 3-4 times per week, but think more about training consistently over a number of years.
The Optimal Number of Sessions Per Week For You
So, how much should you train per week?
As we’ve established, the optimal number is different for everybody.
If you’re brand new to BJJ, and to martial arts in general, I’d advise to start with twice a week. Give yourself time to absorb what you learn, as well as letting your body recover between sessions.
Once you’re past the stage of learning new concepts, try and increase your frequency to 3-4 times per week. Time on the mats here is super valuable for your progression.
If you’re a competitor, try and train as much as possible without physically or mentally burning out. Cross-training can be a great tool to help you switch it up and stay fresh.
And of course there are a ton of other variables to consider.
You might have other commitments going on, with family, work, school.
You might not be able to get to the class that often, if it’s far from where you live.
Whatever reason, that’s fine. Don’t feel like you need a minimum number of classes per week. As long as you can train somewhat consistently, one class a week will do you good.
If you train once a week for 15 years, you’ll be ahead of the person who trains everyday for three months and then moves on to their next fad.
Perhaps you’ll even be teaching them, when they decide to try again, and you’ve already earned your black belt.