Conditioning for brazilian jiu-jitsu

It is easy to simply fall into a pattern of only training at classes. There has been a lot of research on this in recent times. About 30 years ago sportsmen and women would simply train by doing their sport, then it was discovered that people made significant improvements when they trained outside their sports. That is why modern athletes all spend significant periods of time in regular sports/fitness/conditioning training as well as discipline-specific training.

1) Running

Running is a key conditioning method for BJJ. Running improves cardiovascular fitness and bone density, both of which are useful in BJJ. You can either run long slow or short fast. Long slow burns fat and develops your heart muscle. Short fast gives you more of that explosive burst energy. Most fights are fairly short which favours the short fast method but in a weekly programme I would be tempted to do a long slow session (5K is fine) and maybe one or two sessions of reps where you might do 10 x 100m for example, or hill sprints.

2) Weight training – but go easy!

BJJ is about power:weight ratio. Being massive does not help you. But weight training is very good to help develop strength. So the ideal weight training regimen would involve lighter weights and high number of reps. If you go down the body-building route you will end up with a massive, inflexible body that tires easily.

3) Kettlebells

Still technically a weight-training but they deserve special mention as kettlebell exercises work really well for BJJ. Kettlebell workouts typically involve cardiovascular exercises using kettlebell weights. They are perfect for developing strength and cardiovascular fitness.

This kind of workout can be done as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Short bursts of high activity. These bursts of activity send your heart rate up and generate lots of lactate so you develop fitness and lactate tolerance

4) Yoga

Yoga is absolutely fantastic for BJJ because it develops flexibility and suppleness and also strength. It also teaches you breathing and relaxation. Fighters who are tens don’t breathe so much and they tend to tire quicker. If you can relax and breathe when you’re in a tight spot it often gives you a big advantage, you can simply tire the other guy out because he is not conditioned to tire slowly.

5) BJJ-specific calisthenics

At every session we usually warm up with some BJJ-specific exercises, these not only arm you up, they also help to condition your body for BJJ. Make sure you do the exercises correctly and ask someone to show you what to do if you do not understand what is being asked of you.

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