Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a difficult, difficult martial art. It has no end. Hundreds of complicated techniques with weird names and an endless system of concepts and principles. As if all of this wasn’t enough, grappling martial arts are also extremely demanding on the body. AS far as full-body conditioning goes, hardly any sport involves everything in the way Jiu-Jitsu does. Muscles you had no idea were there get a workout they can’t normally get by conventional fitness means. Not only that but you also develop stamina and endurance while throwing other people around. However, once you adapt to the basic grappling exertions, attaining top-level Jiu-Jitsu conditioning is going to require more work. Just grappling is not enough to take you further into elite athlete territory. This is what many people come to struggle with.
So, in order to improve your overall conditioning for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you need to develop multiple athletic qualities. For grappling, you need isometric strength, explosive strength, agility, flexibility, grip strength, endurance, etc. Now imagine having to train each of these qualities independently, on top of training Jiu-Jitsu. Even a professional athlete would have trouble adhering to such a schedule. For the everyday Joe, this is simply impossible. Luckily, there are options out there to make even the busiest grapplers better while not taking up much of their time. The only rule of thumb to remember is to keep getting the hours on the mats in. That’s where shortcuts don’t work.
A Quick Conditioning Fix
When looking to improve Jiu-Jitsu conditioning while juggling dozens of everyday tasks, the emphasis must be on efficiency. Not all training methods are created equal and you should youse this to your advantage. You need to look for the methods that allow for the development of multiple qualities at the same time. While many fitness experts claim that this is not possible, the evidence points to the contrary. At least in terms of grappling martial arts.
For grappling specific strength and conditioning, it doesn’t take powerlifter strength, marathon running endurance, and bodybuilder-like physique. Just like it doesn’t take a deep knowledge of grappling for MMA. You only need what you can successfully use. In those terms, workouts should be designed around your needs and time constraints. A few other factors also have to be taken into account.
Namely, before you choose your basic tools, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Whether it is based on accessibility or personal preference, you should devise your conditioning plan based on the answers to those questions. For starters, how large is the initial investment? Will there be an ongoing cost or maintenance fee associated with the piece(s) of equipment you’ve chosen? Also equipment-wise, it is important to consider the size of the equipment? Does it take up much space or can it be stored easily? In this sense, think a couple of kettlebells vs a squat rack with all associated pieces of iron.
Another major aspect is portability. Since many folks travel for work, conditioning tools should be easily portable in order to have constant access to them. Can you travel easily with the training tool of your choice? It is also of note to be aware of how long this training tool will last.
Grappling Specific Conditioning
One great way of getting match-fit is the Marcelo Garcia approach. According to him, all it takes to get better at Jiu-Jitsu is training Jiu-Jitsu. This, however, doesn’t mean just doubling your time on the mat. It means upping the intensity of rolling so that you gain increased benefits. Also, consider looking for stronger and/or larger partners. No matter how technical you are, it’ll take more effort to deal with someone 30 lbs heavier than you.
The only reason why someone else’s body isn’t your best bet is that you may not always have access to a training partner. Not only a training partner, but you’ll also need access to a gym with mats. If you’re looking to put in an extra Jiu-Jitsu session based on more rolling, you may encounter difficulties.
Since Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling sport it’s a great idea to actually apply force against another body. Partner training doesn’t have to be limited to sparring though. While drilling and sparring are excellent options, partner calisthenics is also an effective method for getting into grappling shape. The exercise options are limitless, resisted pull-ups, monkey boys, resisted partner push-ups etc… Use your imagination and match your training to the demands of Jiu-Jitsu for ultimate results.
Bodyweight Jiu-Jitsu Conditioning
The one and only best JIu-Jitsu conditioning tool is your own body. Without a doubt, nothing trains your body better than your body. It’s always there; It is highly portable and easy to travel with. It’s already paid for and the exercise possibilities are incredibly immense.
You can crawl, climb, run, jump, do solo BJJ drills, shadow wrestle…you name it. If you can imagine it, you can do it. Do we even need to speak about its lifetime value? Hopefully, you’ll have it for a long, long time and if you treat it right you will. Bodyweight conditioning is the primary source of conditioning for some of the all-time greats of grappling. For example, both Rickson and his son, Kron Gracie are huge fans of getting into shape with the help of your own body weight. Nobody can dispute their result, so why not do it yourself?
Kettlebell Circuits For Grapplers
First, let’s make something clear. You do not need to own kettlebells per se. While having them is great, a pair of dumbbells will also do. In fact, they might even be more effective, since you can adjust the weight on most of them. Yes, they’re both included in the same number and yes, there are some distinct mechanical differences between these two training tools. However, it’s not that big of a deal to have a separate category.
Dumbbells and kettlebells both rank high for all the chosen criteria. They’re both very versatile, can be taken almost anywhere, they don’t take up much space and you’ll be able to pass them onto your future generations quite easily. There are some vintage kettlebells and dumbbells for sale on eBay that are well over 100 years old.
Sure, they cost more than your body or a training partner (unless you plan on doing more than training) but it’s a one-time investment and their lifetime value makes up for their initial cost. moreover, you can get a brutal workout in as much as 20 minutes. These tools can efficiently improve every athletic quality a grappler needs.
It could be a set of classic gymnastic rings, a TRX, or any suspension trainer available. There are many models and options to choose from currently and you can train just as effectively with them all.
The exercise options when using a suspension trainer are quite broad and versatile. It’s very easy to make adjustments in leverage and angles making each exercise either easier or more difficult depending on your needs. You should have no issues traveling with any suspension trainers. You can even pack them in your carry-on luggage without any glitches on both domestic and international flights. They don’t take up any floor space and can be taken down very easily and stored quickly.
Some suspension trainers are a bit on the pricey side. Make sure you investigate each option and match it with the type of training you have in mind. You may not need all the bells and whistles that come with some units.
Sandbag Jiu-Jitsu Conditioning
An old-school grappling conditioning tool is the sandbag. In all honesty, it would probably have ranked higher on this list if not for the fact that once you’ve built a nice sandbag it’s hard to travel with. You’ll be able to fit it into your trunk, no problem, but it is a pain. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from using sandbag training for your Jiu-Jitsu conditioning.
Outside of your own body and the body of a resisting training partner, sandbags are the next best thing. Sandbags develop great grip and isometric strength. They’re excellent for performing loaded carries and walks and they’re generally very tough and durable. There are several commercial sandbag options available. To be honest, it’s very easy to make one yourself, using an old seabag and some duct tape.