Training supplemental conditioning to get better for BJJ is a very difficult task when you have to dedicate time to BJJ and or work during the day. Even worse, gym hours often do not sync up with your free time to train. So, can you just train roll to be in shape instead of going for a BJJ workout? Well, the answer is yes and no, and more towards no. It depends on a lot of variables and the easy answer is to include a BJJ workout in your week and take the guesswork out. Regardless of gym time and/or access to equipment there are a few great ways to get you in grappling shape.
Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires spending a lot of time on the mat in order to make sure you progress. There’s no way around it and unless you’re training multiple times a week you’ll most likely end up stuck at a plateau. Having to meet that quota of let’s see three classes a week leaves little space for an additional BJJ workout. Unless you’re a professional grappler you might find it really hard to go to a gym and do a “proper” strength and conditioning workout. However, your Jiu-Jitsu academy and the gym are not the only places to train your conditioning.
The point of a BJJ workout is to get you in shape, make you better at BJJ and as a bonus, help you shed a pound or two of fat. Since the goals are clear, the way you obtain them can vary. That said, this is not a shortcut to greater BJJ conditioning, just a way to get a BJJ workout out of every activity you do. This means that you can train with no equipment, in very little space, and be done in less than 30 minutes. Sounds too good to be true? Read on and decide for yourself. Or better yet, give our BJJ workout ideas a try and let us know how they work for you!
For all you weight lifting addicts out there, there’s a great program you can use for immediate results. After all, it’s created by one of the fastest BJJ black belts, Kit Dale. Check out the Kit Dale’s 12-week Transformation Program for grapplers and become a beast on the mats!
What To Look For In A BJJ Workout
When you set off on a search for the perfect BJJ workout you’re going to get confused in just a short while. One Google search and you’ll be flooded with ideas of what’s “functional” and “specific” for BJJ. Among the mumbo-jumbo there’s the odd logical program or two, but how do you know which is which?
Well, let’s start with what you need for BJJ. Since Jiu-Jitsu is the art of controlling someone through leverage and superior technique, strength is not the number one factor. Again, because you’re controlling an opponent at will (at least in theory) you do not need to overexert yourself. So cardio is a must but not at the top of the list. What you truly really need for the Gentle Art is maximum mobility of your joints as well as all the flexibility you can get.
This means that a BJJ workout needs to get you moving better and make you more efficient at physical exertion. The beautiful thing about minimalist training is that you can train multiple athletic abilities at the same time without overdoing it. For example, if you go for a run you’ll train only cardio. But if you throw in a few sprints along with running, and stop at the monkey bars for some gymnastics exercises, you have everything you need. Mobility, flexibility, strength, cardio, power, all qualities get a boost. All it takes is for you to get out and hit the road. And, for all you indoor rodents out there, you could get the same benefits in the comfort of your living room. Read on.
A Gymnastics BJJ Workout
Rickson Gracie is a great proponent of using bodyweight training as the only means of conditioning. His son Kron is one that also follows in his father’s footsteps. And their incredible success as grapplers and fighters is the best testament to the effectiveness of this approach. Rickson is a huge proponent of outdoor training, and if you could hit the beach as regularly as him, you would be too.
Rickson’s approach involves training a lot of natural movement patterns while focusing heavily on your breath. Granted, training movements require space as you need to tumble, roll, and jump around. What it offers in return is a complete BJJ workout with absolutely no equipment at all. It also has the added benefit of being highly individual, since you can choose your favorite movement patterns.
IF you want to train at home though, gymnastics is a great way to approach things. How come gymnasts are so strong when they train only with their bodyweight? Well, the secret is in putting your body in a mechanically inefficient position and causing the body to adapt. Pushup, dips, handstands, pistol squats, planches, L-sits, and the like require nothing but your bodyweight and space to lie in. Throw in a pair of gymnastic rings you can hang off your ceiling or a pull-up bar and you’ve got everything you need to become a beast. No wonder standouts like GSP and Eddie Cummings are so big on training gymnastics.
A BJJ Workout For Mobility
On the subject of natural movement and gymnastics, the benefit of these methods is not only strength. In the same BJJ workout, you get the added benefit of increased mobility and flexibility as well. However, this is not the only approach to the subject. If you like to work specifically on your flexibility and mobility, you can explore other avenues as well.
The most obvious representative here is, of course, yoga. Yoga is a very popular way of limbering up among grapplers. The reason behind this is that Yoga, much like gymnastics, gets the body in similar positions as Jiu-Jitsu. This means the adaptations carry over to the sport. Now, while it is smart to take a few classes before doing it yourself, you could just train Yoga from videos. Just make sure you start at a level appropriate for you.
So-called prehab methods are also great ways of getting your body to move and feel better. Mobility training isn’t just for the warm-up or cool-down portion of the class. It can be a very efficient BJJ workout of its own. Dynamic stretching, foam rolling, lacrosse ball massaging and similar mobility methods are great options for getting better at Jiu-Jitsu. And, if you already have gymnastic rings and/or a pull-up bar you absolutely need to throw in hanging.
Conditioning For Brazilian Jiu-JItsu
Finally, it’s time to discuss the gas tank. If you’re truly good at Jiu-Jitsu, you most likely do not need to have high-level cardio. however, even the most elite black belts end u in scramble-heavy matches sometimes. This means you need to be able to push the pace when the occasion arises. Your best bet? Sprints. Get out, warm up, and go for a few sprints. Have an elliptical or a bike at home? do the same. IF you’re not a fan of sprinting or have bad knees, revisit the mobility protocols we talked about.
A great, really cheap, and minimum requirement conditioning tool is a jump rope. Get a rope, learn how to jump and go. You can mimic everything you can do while running and more. You could also go about it via high-intensity calisthenics. Pick your bodyweight moves (like burpees) and go for high-intensity intervals. Tabatas are always a good idea here.
Finally, go for the Marcel Garcia approach. When you roll, pick around (or multiple rounds) and go all out. Just make sure your partner knows what you’re doing. Also, do not just torture lower belts but choose partners that are going to challenge you, The point is to get a real workout out of it, not just destroy a defensive partner.
10 Strength and Condition Bodyweight Exercises for Jiu Jitsu – Tutorial
Use Gymnastics To Become Freakishly Strong For BJJ
The Strength and Conditioning For BJJ Competitors
How To Train Outside Of Jiu-Jitsu To Get In Fighting Shape
Bear Crawl Yourself Into Shape For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu