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.