Conditioning the Body for BJJ


Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. With the sport of mixed martial arts booming at the moment brings even more popularity to the sport of BJJ. One of the reasons why BJJ is so popular is because the training can be practiced and simulated by sparring or rolling with other training partners. The goal when sparring is to obtain a good position over your opponents and try to submit them by using submission techniques. There is so many sweeps, submissions, and escapes that can be learned. With so many techniques to use makes BJJ very addictive especially when a new moves are leaned and applied effectively.

Training in BJJ is great sport for staying active and is an incredible workout. However it is not really enough to maximize your conditioning on the mat. Good physical conditioning offsets the chance on fatigue and keeps you from getting sloppy with technique. We tend to avoid trying for submissions when we are tired and a roll can end up being a fight for survival waiting for the clock to run out. With that extra conditioning enables you to keep good technique, fight for positions, make the right decisions in the roll, and pull off submissions. There are a few basic cross training exercises that can be used to improve your BJJ game and maximize your conditioning. These include:

Circuit Training- Due to the non stop intensity of a BJJ match the cross training therefore needs to be able to mimic this non stop flow of action. Circuit training is the best solution to achieve this type of workout. Circuit training consists of a range of exercises that are completed back to back without rest. Aim for approximately 12 reps (if using weights) per exercise and move on to the next. Select exercises that use all muscle groups, e.g. a circuit might consist of push-ups (chest), sit-ups (abs), military press (shoulders), chin-ups (biceps), and squats (legs). The Fran workout is another good interse form of circuit training (see previous post for details).

Hill Sprints – Find a steep hill, start from the bottom and sprint to the top, try not to sprint more than 50m. Once at the top jog slowly back down and repeat. The more sprints you do the more beneficial it will be. Ensure you stretch the quads and hamstrings both before and after the exercise. This builds anaerobic fitness which will become useful for exploding in and out of positions when grappling. The sprints will also help build leg muscles which will strengthen your ‘guard’ and prevent the legs from gassing out from exhaustion.

Gi pull-ups- Throw your gi over a chin-up bar so the lapel can be gripped in order to do pull-ups. Ensure you have a tight grip on the lapel close to the bar. Lower your body holding your body’s weight by gripping the gi and repeatedly pull yourself up and down. This exercise strengthens the grip and forearms which will become very useful in grappling when fighting for grips and attempting gi chokes.

Wall-sit- To mimic static positions of a BJJ match e.g. sitting in someones guard for a period of time, wall-sits are ideal to work on holding the muscles for a longer period of time. To do a wall-sit, lean up against a wall with your back facing the wall. Bend your knees to a 90 degrees and hold until failure. This will condition your body to hold positions for a long period of time.

Give these few exercises a go and see if it makes a difference on the mat.

If you have any other training exercises or ideas that will help prepare for on the mat grappling please feel free to comment.

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9 Responses to "Conditioning the Body for BJJ"
  1. Reply Mark December 19, 2010 05:47 am

    What do you know about bjj or mma? Have you ever competed in either? I bet you have been to bjj gym twice and now you think you can talk crap to all your friends while watching ufc and go on about how much you know about the ground game of mma. I don’t think you should share your opinion on how to condition the body for bjj if all you have ever done is watched a couple ufcs and YouTube clips. A true blogger will allow others to share there opinion without censoring them. Let’s see if your man enough to let others see my options.

    • Reply Dan December 19, 2010 05:53 am

      Thanks for you comment Mark. I have trained bjj consistently for 2 years now and have also competed. I would never write about a topic that i know nothing about. These training methods have helped me personally, its up to you whether you use them or not.

  2. Reply Shane December 19, 2010 06:02 am

    mark for starters you dont even know what your talking about. your probly fat and watch youtube clips cuz your too fat an lazy to move from the computer screen.. these tips are really helpful. Mark your a dickhead

  3. Reply Mark December 19, 2010 09:41 am

    Ha nice work Shane. I didn’t want to blow my horn but I just received my blue belt in bjj and have had 6 mma fights with as many wins at 170 so that sort of throws your whole fat YouTube watching theory out the window. We have people come threw our gym all the time that get into it cause they see the ufc and it’s the next cool thing just like yoyo’s in the 80′s and kung Fu in the 70′s and I personally think Dan is one of those guys that probably wears ufc/tapout shirts thinking they know all about triangles and guard passes. So Dan what level did you compete at and how did you go. And Shane you straight up sound like a turd sandwich.

  4. Reply college grants January 3, 2011 01:01 am

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  5. Reply John May 26, 2011 09:50 am

    What’s with you guys? Can you not just share training tips without the trash talk? It’s exactly this kind of crap that stops people taking up a fantastic sport. Mark, seriously, your attitude sucks.

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    Really interesting blog, keep up the good work!

  7. Reply lulu233 September 8, 2011 02:11 am

    so much fantastic information on here, : D.

  8. Reply A. September 28, 2012 13:38 pm

    Mark, Your comments show you’ve learned very little civility from our art. The exercises presented above could very easily compliment a practitioners/competitors training schedule or plan. You shouldn’t easily dismiss another person’s opinion on what is best simply because it fails to fit your rigid high standards of sports fitness.

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