How To Get Stronger For BJJ?

Do We Even Lift Bro?

One thing is for sure, Jiu Jitsu requires some level of strenght, not like other combat sports like Judo or Wrestling, but you got to have it in you, like Vitor Doria always says “So nao faz forca quem nao tem”, translated : “He who does not use strenght, dosen’t have it”, with that, we have to understand when, where and what type of strenght is crucial in jiu jitsu.

We have various kinds of strenght, Isometric, Eccentric, Concentric, within that 3 main groups we branch even more with Explosive Strenght, Endurance Strenght, Maximum Output Strenght (M.O.S), and so on…

If we thing about the many types of strenght, and think about what Jiu Jitsu requires, we can understand a few things (maybe i’m worng, most certainly i’m), in Jiu Jitsu we MUST have grip strenght, but what type? M.O.S? Endurance, Explosive? 

If a white belt match (in most cases) is a 5:00 minute match, and it is the shortest match time you’ll see in any Jiu Jitsu tournament or even in academy rolls, you can pretty easily see the importance of Endurance Strenght right? if you grips gets tired after 2:00 minutes into the match, well, you can imagine the rest 3:00 minutes, so Endurance Strenght is the way for our grips right? But how we go about that? what are the tools? the program? the system? 

We can have a debate and everyone will be right in some way or another, but the easiest way to build grip endurance, IS TO GRIP ALOT! if you workout includes pull ups, increase the amount of haging time before or after the workout, or mid sets, If you work with battle ropes, try to keep griping the rope even in the rest time, while using kettlebells try to squeeze them while doing your turkish get up, swing or every other move, Me personally love to use the bulgarian bag for that, because as long as you don’t drop the bag you are gripping, and the dynamic nature of its exercises make up for a very good endurance training for your grips, The secret here comes down to time under tension, don’t be focusing on MAX grip strenght too much(altought is always good to improve on that) try to go to distance everytime the focus is your grips.

OK, we got it, endurance for the grips uhu! but what about the rest? in Jiu Jitsu we use a combination of energy cycles, there fore we must be a little smarter when aproaching the best way to that, there is not a single energy cycle that will give you 100% improvement, we can easily say that if you work on conditioning (endurance training) you will be good, and that not wrong, BUT, what about your Explosive Strenght? or your M.O.S? are they less important? maybe the M.O.S can enter that category because in Jiu Jitsu we don’t perform one move as heavy as we can and get 5:00 miniutes to rest to the next attempt, so if you really like to work on that M.O.S try to tune it down a bit to put focus on other kind of conditioning that will be better transmuted in your rolls.

What about Explosive Strenght, this is sure in a must have category right? Yes and No, the explosive movement that you do, could be performed better by working on your timing of action, thus it will look that you are an explosive animal, BUT other than that, you could fit some Explosive Strenght exercises on your program as well, why? Because you can work on that fast reaction time, with the most amount of force possible, but be smart when doing those, don’t overdo them, they can easily injure you, For Explosive Strenght you can do plyometrics exercises, sprints, Medicine Ball slams, many other types of exercises you can find very easily today, Me personally like to implement some sledghammer slams on the tractor tire, it gives you ALOT of Explosive Strenght, while giving you a core stabilization workout, and a grip endurance exercise!

Sounds nice, we got the endurance type of work for our grips, the explosive strenght for our double legs, but what about that damn cardio endurance?!

So the quick answer to that is….drums in the background…ROLL! roll more, and roll often! don’t take any round off, even when felling like you’re dying, that dosen’t mean roll hard every roll (if you can, do it, but do them smart, not everyday, not all day), it means rolling constantly, moving your body while thinking Jiu Jitsu even when super tired, even when getting tapped 5 times a minute, keep on rolling, and trust me, your Jiu Jitsu cardio will go through the ceiling, Now what about extra workouts to improve you cardio endurance? One thing that you can easily implement is to choose a bodyweight movement and do them for high reps or even for time as a finisher, meaning, after your Jiu Jitsu class is over, you add another 10-15 minutes of endurance work while everybody is relaxing and cooling down, cardio endurance is as physical as it is mental! Don’t forget that! another thing you can do is to choose some drill movements and do them for time when you are not on your Jiu Jitsu academy, just make sure to get in the work and get really tired after 30 minutes of constant movement at least.

The last piece of the puzzle is where do i find my self most of the time when rolling? using eccentric strenght(when the muscles are being stretched)? concentric strenght(when the muscles shortens) or isometric strenght(when there is no change in the lenght of the muscle)?

If we think about it, at least 70% of the roll time, if not more(don’t take my word for it, ask John Danaher) we are using our isometric strenght, when we secure the closed guard, we use isometric strenght of our legs, when stabilizing the side control we use the isometric strenght of our lat muscles, core muscles, and more depending on the way your secure the position, when we go for a submission, we use isometric strenght to secure the attacked limb, when we frame we use isometric strenght, when we do most of the moves we do besides the dynamic ones, we are using isometric strenght, so what we can understand by that? We must work on our isometric strenght(by the way, isometrics improve connective tissue health and strenght), but how? one way is to implement isometrics holds within every exercise you do, for example, when doing pull ups, hold the top position for 5 seconds, or hold the middle position for 3 sec while doing your pull ups, when doing push ups the same thing, find the hard spot, and stay there, another great way to do this is to work with chains, you can pull it as hard as you can, it will not move, be creative about it, Me personally, implement isometrics while thinking about a situation, or a position, for example, closed guard maintaince, i put a phsyo ball between my legs and squeeze as hard as i can for 10-15 seconds, or i take the bulgarian bag and hold it with a Rear Naked Choke grip, and squeeze the upper back muscles as hard as i can for 10-15 seconds, stuff like that, again be creative about it!

So we reach the end of this blog, as you can see the opportunities for improvement are endless, and everyone of us will do slightly different than the other, and that’s great! keep on improving fam! 

See ya at the dojo, OSS!

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