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Cardio for BJJ is probably something every one of us experiences problems with no matter how trained or experienced we are. The more you have it the more you push right?

Most of us will usually dose ourselves in sparring making our gas tank last as long as possible. While in the class we’ll even choose the sparring where we’ll go hard and where we’ll go light. That usually depends on our sparring partners and how hard they go and what is our goal at that moment.

BJJ and cardio problems

Every one of us was in a situation where we get the deep lung burn, your forearms are filled with blood and stiff, you’re exhausted and you just can’t breathe. We all have our limits right? Then you look at the clock and you see few minutes left and suddenly your brain “dies” and you feel like you just want to lay down on your back, spread your arms and legs and take deep long breaths and get back to “normal”.

In situations like this, we can say that you actually did a mistake. You did a mistake because you didn’t leave a bit of gas in your tank to continue. But also, if you’re leaving some gas in your tank your gas tank won’t grow. So, pushing yourself to the limits and getting yourself fatigued isn’t that bad at all.

That’s exactly where HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) training comes into play. HIIT training is designed to push you to your limits. It’s designed to push you to the spot where you can’t take it anymore. It’s draining your body until you’re completely out. If you’re doing HIIT training as it is designed to do you’re going to fatigue yourself as much as possible. You’re definitely going to push yourself to the limits and feel the same like you’re in a sparring session going all out.

Is HIIT training good for cardio for BJJ?

The short answer to this question would be yes unless you want to use the time for conditioning outside of your BJJ gym for something like weightlifting and other strength workouts where you won’t fatigue yourself and save your energy for BJJ.

Why is that so? Well, in your BJJ gym you’ll do sparrings, you’re going to fatigue yourself as much as possible and you can do it pretty easy. So, doing the exact same thing outside of your BJJ training will make you more open for injuries and you won’t really have a lot of energy to do it if you were sparring to your max the day before.

So, should you do HIIT for cardio for BJJ?

If you’re eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle where you’re able to train many times a week while having enough time to rest then yes, HIIT is good for you and you should go for it for maximum performance in BJJ. Otherwise, it’s not for everybody. Having a day job, kids, and other things that drain you, some weightlifting programs, yoga and similar ways of training should be ok to fulfill your BJJ training and keep you healthy while lowering the risk of injuries. Just spar as much as you can, don’t spare yourself in sparrings and you’ll do fine.

Also, If you’re training BJJ 1-2 times a week then yes, do HIIT or some other conditioning training and workouts cause you’ll miss energy in sparring.

Frequently asked questions about HIIT and BJJ

Is BJJ considered HIIT?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and BJJ sparring is usually a high-intensity type of training. So, BJJ isn’t actually considered HIIT because it’s a martial art that includes much more than just pure exercising and workout for cardio and muscle gains.

Is HIIT good for gaining muscle?

Just like most of the workouts, HIIT training is building muscle because any kind of workouts requires more muscle tissues to perform. For BJJ, HIIT training is mainly used for conditioning so you’re able to roll for an extended period of time.

What are the benefits of HIIT workouts for BJJ?

  • Increases EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption)
  • Increases the aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Greatly increase your endurance
  • Increases cardiovascular health
  • Very good for your heart
  • Improves body composition
  • Perfect for busy people

What are the drawbacks of HIIT training for BJJ?

  • More risk of getting injured
  • Not enough time to rest depending on your training schedule

Example of HIIT workouts for BJJ

  • Sprints – 100m sprints followed by 200m slow run – 4 times, 3 minutes rest
  • Cross-Trainer – 30 seconds fast pace, 30 seconds slow pace, up to 10 minutes
  • 10 pushups followed by high jump with 30 seconds rest, up to 5 times

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