Year-round, day-to-day base fitness programming for Jiu Jitsu, Grappling, and MMA athletes.
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. These training sessions include full gym and limited equipment training options.
Physical Attributes Trained
- 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.
Fitness Training Constraints & Solutions for the Jiu Jitsu Athlete
- Limited 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.
- Limited 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.
- Intensity – This programming is intended to supplement Jiu Jitsu & Grappling training, which has priority. We program the fitness intensity so you’re at your best on the mats.
- Tactical Athlete Needs – For tactical athletes, we provide training options to ensure your profession specific fitness (Military, LE, Fire) stays sharp.
Figuring out a Training Schedule
Below is a example of how I’m currently implementing this programming into my training schedule:
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
Programming Tested and approved by the MTI Team
All of our programming has been tested, revised, and improved by the MTI team. These efforts are critical to ensuring the program’s validity, effectiveness, and efficiency.
What Makes Our Programming Different
1) We train for performance outside the gym and on the mats. Our programming is focused on training which transfers to performance and durability. Gym numbers are meaningless. All that matters is outside performance. This means we are not wedded to one programming theory or approach. Our programming is constantly evolving as we learn more and improve.
2) Our training sessions are periodized and programmed. We are uncomfortable with random training. We like to know where we are going. All programs are designed following a length needs analysis, macro level (1-year) periodization model, applied to 1-month cycles.
3) Strength Focus. The best thing we can do for our athletes is make them stronger. Strength is the foundation of performance and durability. We train full body strength heavy, hard, and often, using classic, proven barbell and strongman exercises. Beyond full body strength, we hammer the core and midsection daily and often dedicate whole training sessions to building our athlete’s core strength. Our strength training is aimed at the athlete’s “Combat Chasis” – legs, hips, and core.
4) We build durability. By developing overall strength, core strength, and hip and shoulder mobility, we aim to make our athletes more durable. Avoiding injury from trauma or overuse keeps them on the mats. Strength + Conditioning + Mobility = Durability.
5) Constant improvement. Our programming today is much different than 12 months ago and will be different again 12 months from now. The more we coach, the more we learn, and that increased knowledge is continually folded into training programming and training session design. We are constantly making changes to improve. We can always do better.
6) We’re our own “Lab Rats.” We do these training sessions too – ahead of when they are published on the website. We understand that programming and training session design are as much craft as they are science, and there’s no substitute for the coach writing the training sessions to do them also. We try and test it before we publish it.