We recently launched the Daily BJJ/Grappling Training Sessions, focused on base fitness for practitioners. This programming is built for Jiu Jitsu, but would also work for MMA, Judo, and Wrestling. Below is an overview of the physical requirements and athlete constraints and how we’ve solved them in our programming. Want to learn more? Click below!
BJJ Fitness Demands Prioritized
BJJ is a year-round endeavor… there is no off-season and in-season to periodize programming around. This calls for a balanced approach, where we don’t specifically focus on a single physical attribute, such as a heavily strength-focused cycle a football player might complete in the off-season. Instead, we take the long approach, building our fitness base with a slight emphasis on fitness traits per cycle.
- Brute Strength mixed with Working Strength – BJJ/Grappling is primarily a Brute Strength oriented endeavor utilized repeatedly through sport-specific technique. Total body, powerful rotational, and anti-rotational movements are common in every ‘rolling’ session.
- Relative Strength – Same as tactical athletes, developing strength without additional body weight is a key advantage to grappling sports
- Unilateral Strength – The irregular, off-balance movements put brief but excessive loading on individual limbs and joints. Unilateral strength development is key to injury prevention and durability
- Full Chassis Integrity + Neck Strengthening – Chassis Integrity mixing standing, seated, knees on the ground, and semi-supine positions. Neck strengthening is integrated as a means for injury prevention.
- Grip Strength – (Crush, Support, Pinch) – Different varieties of grips are utilized between Gi and No-Gi techniques, involving all of the major three actions of the grip. Strong grips, strong arms, and a strong back are significant advantages.
- Short Duration Work Capacity – (5-10 min w/repeats). Training rounds are generally 5-6 minutes, with 1 minute of rest before another round. Competition matches are generally 5-10 minutes depending on belt level. Work Capacity priority is lower on this list as every BJJ/Grappling practice involves multiple rounds of sparring, aka plenty of conditioning, on the mats.
- Aerobic Endurance – Moderate duration, moderate-intensity endurance training to improve overall aerobic capacity and recovery between matches/rounds. Aerobic capacity training can be accomplished in many different ways, and we’re looking forward to experimenting with these.
- Joint Durability via Plyometric Drills – This is a physically demanding sport that can lead to disastrous injuries. We’ll utilize plyometric work to develop performance and durability in the joints most commonly injuries.
Based on the needs analysis and the requirement of keeping training sessions between 30-45 minutes, we can begin to construct a framework of what the programming will look like within a 5x session period. For example, below is a breakdown of Casey Ryback, the first training plan in the Tactical BJJ Action Hero Training Packet
BJJ Fitness Training Limitations
- Time: The vast majority of grappling practitioners are hobbyists with jobs and families. The amount of time available for training is limited and is then split between mat training and fitness training. We’ve created a 3x/week strength and conditioning schedule, with sessions lasting between 30-45 minutes. The intensity of this fitness training is appropriately matched for someone who trains on the mat 3–5 times per week.
- Equipment: BJJ gym memberships can be very expensive, and a tight budget might prohibit a full gym membership. We’ve created a system that will always include limited equipment training options. We cycle this by alternating between a limited equipment-only cycle, followed by a cycle that has options for full gym or limited equipment. For example...
- Cycle 1 (4weeks): Limited Equipment
- Cycle 2 (4 weeks): Full Gym or Limited Equipment
Below is a weekly schedule breakdown of the components of each session. This is an example from a cycle with a slight strength emphasis.
Figuring out a Training Schedule
I’m currently using this program and implementing it as follows:
Mon: AM – BJJ Training (lighter, technical rounds) PM -Session 1 Tues: BJJ Training (hard rounds) Wed: Session 2 Thurs: BJJ Training (hard rounds) Fri: AM – BJJ Training (lighter, technical rounds) PM – Session 3 Sat: BJJ Training (hard rounds) Sun: Total Rest
Questions, comments, suggestions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org