Conditioning for BJJ
Part 1 – “Most of the Year Training”
Contributed by Lou Torres
Conditioning sessions should not replace your Brazilian jiu jitsu sessions; nothing beats Brazilian jiu jitsu rolling sessions and drills. I understand time is limited, so if you have to choose between going to the gym for a Brazilian jiu jitsu class and a conditioning workout, it is always best to choose jiu jitsu. For the days when you cannot make class in Beacon or Fishkill, or have time planned out in your week for strength and conditioning sessions, the conditioning you do outside the BJJ gym must match the demand of your sport.
Humans, BJJ, and Cash?
Here’s a graphic of how I to explain different levels of conditioning and how you should spend your time. Let’s first consider training for most of the year, not competition training (come back for Part 2!). Following the graphic I further explain each section for you and also, with the help of Nico, we provide some conditioning options for you to add to your arsenal.
Brazilian jiu jitsu requires the body to be strong yet flexible. The athlete needs to have great conditioning and technical skill. To build your conditioning, each circuit needs to resemble a round of rolling. Running at a slow speed for five minutes is not going to cut it. If you look at what happens during a match there are times when you are on your feet, times when you are on the ground, times when you are pushing, and times when you are getting your breath.
For athletes, I design circuits that mimic a match and you should include movements that mimic Brazilian jiu jitsu. Your goal is to get in shape for a Brazilian jiu jitsu not a 5K. Most of the movements can be bodyweight. If you have access to a medicine ball and a training dummy you can add some variety. Use what you know. If there is a specific guard pass you want to work on, then add it into your circuit and perform it on the training dummy.
In Part 2 we will be considering conditioning for those leading up to or in competition prep. Check back for more soon!
How often should I condition?
For those who do not compete or are not competing in a while or have limited time, then one or two days of conditioning per week is enough. We’ll cover conditioning during competition prep in the next part.
How many rounds should I do?
For those who do not compete or are not competing for a while, two to three rounds is plenty. Especially Zone 1 & 2.
What specific exercises?
Use this “cheat code”: Aerobic = Bodyweight work + Traditional Cardio equipment * Personally I like drilling with partner or on a dummy for bodyweight work (aerobic), we can get more niche here for us*
Lactic & Alactic = Push, Pull, Jump, Throw. We pick one exercise from each category that the circuit you use. Now use the right times for each system, rest periods = 45 sec,1 min between rounds or when breathing calms bacUk down. The “fitter” you are the faster the breathing will get back down to baseline.
Should I be conditioning before or after BJJ practice?
Depends on how much “adulting” you do lol… Essentially perfect case scenario you stack the fatigue all together. Right before BJJ, if not possible deal with cards you are dealt. Do whenever you can really. Splitting atoms with this stuff isn’t in your favor, what matters is that it gets done.
What if I get too tired for BJJ practice?
Grab a rosary bead and say “To the Father, Son and Omoplata” lol… kidding. You’ll get through that, reality is adaptations take time, keep up with it and you’ll see things will get better for you.
How do I progress weekly?
Follow the rules that actually matter towards strength & conditioning work, SAID principle, and overload progression.
SAID- Specific Adaptations Imposed Demands, meaning the thing you “specifically” do you get better at. So #1 keep doing the damn thing off the guidelines we provided for you above. After 20 years working with folks, I can attest, they work. So the best actual conditioning we can do is live rolls and drilling. Drilling will serve you “perfectly.” Bodyweight work + cardio equipment can be the next option if you can’t drill.
Progressive Overload- You simply do more work weekly, longer times, more sets is what we need to do here. We’re filing work capacity here. How much work we can do in a given timeline.
Just. Keep. Working. Keep training, keep conditioning, keep learning, and keep growing. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any question!