BJJ and Strength Training

Lately I’ve been focusing a little more on strength training than simply jiu jitsu: while I’ve done kettlebell strength and conditioning for pretty much as long as I’ve done jiu jitsu, and have been teaching classes for years, I have also bee interested in starting a more traditional weight lifting program, one that involves more reps, barbells and the like. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with either, it really just depends on what you are looking to accomplish. At our academy a kettlebell workout has more of a HIIT feel to it, with short breaks and short bursts of activity- which is great for jiu jitsu in a lot of ways. And I’ve been treating the more traditional weightlifting approach at a little more slower pace, with a somewhat steady increase in sets and weights over time.

This is not to say you have to strength train in order to do jiu jitsu- there are people out there who don’t and I’m sure that works just fine for them, depending on what their goals are. For lower ranks especially if jiu jitsu is all that you can do, then by all means stick to that one activity. There may come a time however where you want to incorporate something additional into your training- which doesn’t have to be strength training. You can get involved in something like running for cardio, or yoga for flexibility, or even something like capoeira for agility and dance-y fighting. For women I would recommend strength training, actually not only because it will help with jiu jitsu, but for its long term benefits in reducing the chance of developing osteoporosis in the future.

Ultimately, whatever  you choose, it’s fine to incorporate other exercises and activities, as long as you keep your priorities in mind. It’s very easy to get sucked into the activity you’re involved in that was originally supposed to be supplemental to jiu jitsu. We’re a competitive bunch, jiu jitsu people- I remember taking yoga classes and thinking how I wanted to “beat” yoga.

Spoiler alert, there’s really nothing to beat in yoga, just your own inflexibility, lack of coordination and unquiet mind.

There is a bit of humility involved sometimes in trying these new activities, because they are newish to you, and will require that you use muscles and movements you may not be accustomed to- and that’s great! It should hopefully mean that when the time comes potentially in jiu jitsu to use those same muscle groups or actions it shouldn’t feel so awkward. I also think we should all put ourselves in that vulnerable position of the new student now and again- it reminds us that while we may know a lot about things, we don’t know everything.

Although, side note- sometimes incorporating something new into your schedule means getting to the gym around 5am and not being very happy about it, but doing it anyway. Exhibit A, for anyone who missed it on my instagram:


Anyway, feel free to comment and let me know what activities you guys have gotten involved in, or are thinking about getting involved in, and have a great day everyone!

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Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, jiu jitsu and health

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