Strength Training

            Strength is an essential part of BJJ. Strength is required to advance positions, stabilize positions, and execute maneuvers. Many difficulties found in performance will be due to lack of strength, an athlete may know the correct mechanics of a movement, but if they lack strength, no amount of discussion will allow them to complete the movement. Practitioners require both concentric and isometric strength. BJJ requires concentric force in order to push and pull opponents and isometric strength is required in order to hold positions and resist opponent’s force. A good BJJ strength program will incorporate both concentric and isometric strength. Strength can be increased through strength training. By utilizing the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) principle, we can progressively and gradually increase the stress placed on muscles to increase strength gains. The strength and conditioning session can be structured through the amount of sets and reps in order to achieve increases in strength, power, or endurance. The basic exercises that should be incorporated into an athlete’s exercise program are:

  1. Push (lower and upper body): Practitioners must push their opponents away with both their upper body and lower limbs.
    1. Upper body: Pushups, bench press, overhead press
    1. Lower body: Squats, bridges, lunges
  2. Pull (lower and upper body): Practitioners must pull their opponents towards them with both their upper and lower limbs.
    1. Upper body: Pull-ups, back rows
    1. Lower body: Deadlifts
  3. Core: Practitioners must have a strong core in order to withstand the push and pull of the opponent. The ability to retain a rigid posture is important in many situations in BJJ. If posture is broken, the athlete will be at the mercy of their opponent’s attacks. I
    1. Planks, side plank
  4. Plyometrics: Plyometrics must be incorporated in order to give students explosive strength. This will help the student utilize takedowns and escapes from positions. Plyometric exercises will also help with balance and power.
    1. Squat jump, split jumps, box jumps, medicine ball slams, medicine ball throws

We can combine all the previous movements in order to create a strength and conditioning program that can target all the needs of the athlete. The following tables are example templates of three programs that can be used to target the athlete’s endurance, strength, and power. Since the athlete should spend their time doing technical tactical training in class, the strength and conditioning template only consists of two days per week.

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