Who doesn’t want to be lean and look good? How about if I throw improved Jiu-Jitsu performance to go with that lean look? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu goals are actually pretty simple. You need to perform well on the mats and you need the body to help you do it. Both of these goals are easily achievable if you use the right tools. As far as grappling goes, almost any activity outside the academy is going to help you become better at Jiu-Jitsu. Whether you choose to run, do bodyweight exercises or lift weights, you’ll have benefits that carry over to the sport. That said, what if I told you that you can achieve maximum benefits in minimal time by only using one conditioning tool? Just going for one, properly structured medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu is going to do wonders for your grappling and your physique.
Training Jiu-Jitsu is hard enough even when you’re in peak physical condition. The fact that we roll with people of all sizes. Carrying around a few extra pounds is only going to make your life on the mats much more difficult. Being lean has valuable advantages for any grappler. Apart from not carrying extra weight, your body can move and perform much more efficiently. Try doing inverted guard drills with a beer belly and you’ll understand what I mean. Being lean for grappling will make you faster, harder to control and it will help you raise your cardio levels. And, achieving this is actually not that hard. No need for countless hours on the road or body part splits in the gym. A simple but intense medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu is all you need to become a monster on the mats.
Despite the growing popularity of medicine balls, you might wonder how you can use just a medicine ball for a complete workout. The “if little is good, more must be better” train of thought is somewhat applicable here. Pairing it with other tools and methods is a great way to achieve world-class conditioning, but it requires time and effort. Check out Hurricane training if you’re looking for something like this. However, if simplicity is what you’re after than a short sweet and brutal medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu will do the trick just fine!
Training With Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are probably the most uncomplicated tools you can use for your strength and conditioning training. They’re just balls of different sizes that are filled with weight. That said, they also come in different weights as well. Both size and weight are things you need to consider, but more on that later.
Going for a medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu is a great way fo doing something fun while achieving your goal. Medicine balls allow you to train in a range of motion that other conventional tools cannot achieve. Furthermore, the exercises you can do, as well as the speed of execution are also unique to this training tool. it is also a great way to add resistance to bodyweight movements.
In terms of benefits, a medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu athletes is going to hit everything a grappler needs. First of all, there’s no muscle isolation, meaning your whole body gets a workout. This, along with the fact it is a weighted object that’s not easy to hold raises the heart rate significantly. Gas thank – check. Furthermore, you get the benefit of strength endurance by working with a challenging weight. Finally, there’s hardly any better tool for developing explosive grappling power than medicine balls.
The weight you should use depends on your skill level, experience and, of course, goals. For example, if strength is your goal, using a ball that you can move for 8 reps is a great way to start. For endurance, it’ll be slower to 15 reps, whereas fro power, you need to use about 5 % of your 1 rep maximum.
If you’re all set on combining methods, look to throw in kettlebells into your medicine ball training. Mike Perry is the man to show you what and how to do. The “KB Essentials Instructional Guide” is the perfect compliment to any grapplers collection.
Explosive Power For Grappling
The best way to make sure your body becomes lean and powerful at the same time is work on your explosiveness. This means doing power exercises, like medicine ball slams for example. As stated above, this means using a lighter weight but really going for every rep.
The reason medicine ball exercises work so good for grapplers is core engagement. With a medicine ball, your whole core has to work in unison in order to execute explosive motions. Just to clarify, the core is not just made up of your abs. It includes the shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, hips, and thighs. All these muscles help you stabilize your body. Now imagine what you can do when your stabilizing muscles become incredibly explosive.
The slam is a great example of an exercise every medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu should have. It engages the core, helps build stamina and sheds the fat off. Even better, it offers you to work in different ranges of motion and directions, just like you do when rolling.
Medicine Ball Workout For Jiu-Jitsu:
We arrived at the meat and potatoes of this article. In terms of exercise selection, what you need for grappling is movements that will cause your body to move in a similar fashion as in BJJ. By that, I do not mean trying to train spider guard with medicine balls on your feet. The idea is to hit all the same muscle groups in a range of motion and direction similar to grappling techniques.
The medicine ball offers the perfect external resistance for grapplers. It is an object that’s not easy to hold even under the best of circumstances. When you’re trying to hold on to it or throw and catch it while performing other complex movements, you’ll need all the coordination you can master.
Here’s a sample medicine ball workout for Jiu-Jitsu that both beginners and advanced grapplers can do. Remember to adjust the wight according to your needs, though. You have the option of doing this workout for time or for reps. If you do reps, do not do more than 12-15 per exercise. If you go for time, go for 30 seconds of work. Do the workout as a circuit, resting a minute once you’re done. Do as many rounds as you can, but not fewer than 3.
#1 Medicine Ball Sprawl & Rotational Throw
Hold the ball in front of you and shi an explosive sprawl, just like in training. Use the ball to pivot on the ground when you sprawl your hips back. When you get back up on your feet, do so in a stance with one leg forward. Use the opposite side arm to throw the ball to a partner in a rotational manner. AS the partner passes the ball back, sprawl again and repeat.
#2 Medicine Ball Multi-Directional Slam
The regular slam requires you to raise the ball high over your head and slam it on the ground as hard as possible. There will be a minimal bounce back, that you can use to get the ball right back in your arms. Instead of repeating the motion to the front, do a twisting slam to one side, followed by the same to another. This is one rep.
#3 Medicine Ball Russian Twists
The Russian twist is an exercise you can do for max reps instead of the prescribed 12-15. sit on the ground, holding the medicine ball in front of your chest. Raise your legs from the ground, knees slightly bent, You might even cross them like in full guard. Turn to one side, aiming to touch the medicine ball to the ground. As you get back, continue to the other side, completing one repetition.
#4 Medicine Ball Halos
This is the ultimate upper body exercise for grapplers. Do not be tempted by how easy this one looks as it will drain your arms, shoulders and torso muscles fast. Hold the ball with two arms in front of you. Raise it up and back, like when doing triceps extensions with a dumbbell. Then, start moving the ball to one side in a circular fashion, aiming to do a full circle around your head. Go for the prescribed number of reps on one side before repeating on the other.
#5 Medicine Ball Squat To Press or Throw
This is a fairly simple exercise that you probably already know. With dumbbells/kettlebells, people usually squat with the weight in front of their chest. When they get back up to their feet, they do a press above the head before returning to the front position. That’s one rep. With the medicine ball, you’re going to use the overhead pressing motion to actually throw the ball up. IF you’re unsure about the throw, proceed with a press only, If you throw it, though, remember to keep your eyes on it at all times, so you can catch it and go straight into the next repetition.
#6 Medicine Ball Zercher Carries
You can’t do this one for reps. You’ll either need to do it for time or for distance. Pick up the heaviest medicine ball you can handle and get it in a Zercher position. With upright posture, carry the ball for a certain distance or for time.