Incorporate These 3 BJJ Workout Suggestions To Take Your Game To The Next Level
As a BJJ practitioner, you know full-well there’s always a mountain to climb.
It might be a particular BJJ workout or BJJ strength and conditioning regime you do at your given gym that has you hitting a wall. Or, it could be a training partner or rival competitor that has you looking for answers, wondering how to overcome their superior skills.
The above notions apply to any practitioner at all levels. Monumental challenges lay ahead, whether your belt is colored white, blue, purple, brown, or black. That’s the beauty of a fulfilling, enriching discipline like BJJ. At no point does it stop asking you to grow and improve, both intellectually and physically.
All the same, when you run into those challenges, it gets frustrating sometimes.
Of course, part of taking part in a BJJ community is being humble and accepting there’s much to learn. However, there’s the very human need to see progress and conquer hurdles. Otherwise, it all feels unrewarding.
And there’s also the very human capacity to stall out, hit a plateau, and see all improvements halted. In some cases, you might even be regressing.
Plateauing and even losing a step or two is part of the BJJ journey. There’s no need to get down on yourself if you aren’t progressing as fast as you’d like. It could be due to an injury. Or you just needed a break. The truth is, life and work can throw curveballs that get in the way of your BJJ momentum.
There’s also the chance you’re approaching your peak or are the best you’ve ever been and just need an extra boost to really put you over the edge.
It doesn’t matter where you are with your progress. Fine-tuning your BJJ workout routine with our tips for an improved BJJ strength and conditioning program will elevate your game.
First Thing’s First, Should You Lift Any Weights During Your BJJ Workout?
Weightlifting and sports have a complicated relationship. While many athletic endeavors encourage strength training in some shape or form, the two don’t always go hand in hand.
For instance, you don’t see too many baseball players, boxers, or BJJ practitioners–to name just a few sports–who look like Arnold Schwartzenegger.
Many sports, like BJJ, require optimal mobility, agility, and flexibility. So, being the size of a house with enormous muscles that don’t let you bend isn’t conducive to top-tier performance.
That said, in BJJ, both strength and explosiveness are required, and both are aided by weight training. So, what’s important is incorporating relevant movements into your BJJ strength and conditioning program. On top of that, you’ll want to avoid exercises that merely build “glamor” muscles.
What’s more, you also shouldn’t let those exercises–no matter how functional–get in the way of your desired BJJ progress.
BJJ Workout #1: Powerlifting
Okay, let’s stick to the basics of powerlifting for this BJJ workout: back squats, deadlifts, and bench press.
Before starting any program, you need to assess your goals. Are you planning to use powerlifting to improve your BJJ strength and conditioning program? Or is BJJ part of a general fitness journey involving power lifts?
Such factors will impact how you incorporate power lifts into your BJJ strength and conditioning program. But generally, it’s suggested to power lift on the same day as you do your BJJ workout.
The crucial difference is you’ll have to adjust the lifting intensity based on how much oomph you want during BJJ classes.
Core Powerlifting Movements Are Pivotal Difference-Makers for Your BJJ Progress
You’ll increase your maximal strength, explosive power, and strength endurance by performing powerlifting movements.
These lifts can be crucial difference-makers to your overall progress as a BJJ practitioner. You can drill all the techniques in the world. But ultimately, enhanced performance comes down to the more tangible athletic factors enhanced by squats, deadlifts, and bench press.
To the above point, you’d be surprised at how well an explosive, powerlifting white belt does against a less powerful black belt. We’re not saying it completely turns the tide, but it makes a substantial impact.
Helpful Tips for a Powerlifting BJJ Workout
Note that deadlifts are considered by many experts as the most functional powerlifting technique for a BJJ strength and conditioning program. Specifically, it exponentially increases grip and hamstring strength while developing the power in your core and hips, and it vastly improves your posture. These are all factors that drive a BJJ practitioner’s performance.
As for benchpresses, experts suggest incorporating the following technique for your BJJ strength and conditioning program:
- Hold your elbows at your side
- Keep the bar low on your hands
- Your feet must be placed flat on the ground
- Maintain an arched back
- Bring the bar down between your nipples and your top ab
- When lowering the bar, inhale
- When pushing, exhale
- Don’t let the bar bounce off your sternum
Now, here’s an example of how you can incorporate powerlifting into your overall BJJ workout and training program:
- On Mondays, after BJJ, do a squat workout
- Tuesdays should entail light aerobics and accessory lifts
- Come Wednesday, it’s BJJ class followed by benchpress
- Thursdays is another day of light aerobics and accessory lifts
- Enter Friday, where you’ll follow BJJ class with deadlifts
- Saturdays are for more light aerobics and accessory work
- Sundays you can take off
We’ll note that’s a pretty packed schedule. You can adjust based on what you can handle.
And again, keep in mind that you don’t need to try to lift the entire world on your shoulders. In fact, we suggest focusing more on proper powerlifting techniques than trying to win the world’s strongest man competition. Doing lighter lifts still has a massively positive impact on your performance if you do them correctly.
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BJJ Workout #2: The Turkish Get-Up
There are five specific benefits of the Turkish get-up that can all impact your overall BJJ performance:
- When performing Turkish get-ups in your BJJ strength and conditioning program, you’re doing a full-body workout. That means you’re hitting a plethora of muscles groups that directly impact your performance, including your glutes, hamstrings, triceps, calves, lats, lower back, and traps.
- A Turkish get-up makes for the ideal BJJ workout because of the core strength it develops. Each get-up requires that you rotate your body into multiple positions, igniting your core through the duration of the movement. The exercise requires that you extend a kettlebell above your head throughout, specifically targeting your obliques.
- The upper-body muscles you activate doing Turkish get-ups during your BJJ workout will pay dividends with your posture.
- With Turkish get-ups in your BJJ strength and conditioning program, you substantially stabilize your shoulders and increase their mobility. Moreover, the muscles in your shoulder joints will be strengthened drastically.
- Hip flexion is one last benefit of Turkish get-ups being part of your BJJ workout routine. During the movement, you transition between an array of positions. So, while get-ups function as demanding workouts themselves, moderating the intensity makes them ideal warm-ups for hip-hinging movements (e.g., deadlift).
Executing the Turkish Deadlift with Proper, Safe Form
Turkish get-ups can only be a useful component of your BJJ strength and conditioning program if you do them correctly.
So, be sure to follow the instructions below when performing Turkish get-ups during your BJJ workout:
- With a kettlebell beside your body, lie down on your right side. Keep your shoulders and knees atop one another, and bend your knees 90-degrees.
- Using your right hand, grip the kettlebell beneath its handle. Then, ensure that your left hand covers the top of the handle before pulling the kettlebell to your lower chest area.
- .Keeping your hands to your lower chest, roll onto your back. Bend your right leg after straightening out your left leg, then plant your right foot into the ground.
- Push the kettlebell toward the ceiling using both hands. The kettlebell should be over your right shoulder.
- Pointing your knuckles toward the ceiling, maintain a neutral wrist.
- With your palm facing downward, bring your left arm to the floor. Form a 45-degree angle between your left arm and your body, then outwardly rotate your shoulders, engaging your lats.
- Maintain a tensed upper back while engaging your core. And keep your chin tucked the whole movement.
- Begin all reps of your Turkish get-up from the position detailed above.
- From there, use your left arm and legs–simultaneously–to roll upward onto your left forearm. Using your right arm, push the kettlebell up to the ceiling as you’re rolling. Then, shift your body weight to your left elbow.
- Ensure the kettlebell remains over your right shoulder. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell.
- Straighten your left elbow, maintaining a long right arm and neutral wrist position to push your body upward. At the same time, push through your right leg, lifting your hips off the floor. Keep your hips in a high enough position that offers a clear pathway for your left knee to swing underneath your left hip.
- At this point, your left hand should be under your left shoulder. And the kettlebell must be held over your right shoulder. With your right leg held firm and your left hand touching the floor, straighten your left hip. This should cause your left shoulder to hang over your left hip, and you should finish in a half-kneel.
- To end up in the bottom position of a lunge, move your right leg forward. Now, remove your eyes from the kettlebell and look straight ahead.
- Before straightening your hips and knees, push through your front hip. You should end up standing upright, pausing at the top.
- Start the downward movement. Look ahead and begin performing a reverse lunge. Bend your knees and hips slowly so that your left knee touches the floor.
- Pivot your lower left leg toward the inside of your body with your left knee continuing to touch the ground. From there, it’s time to look back at the kettlebell again. Then, hinge into your left hip before returning your left arm to the ground.
- Once you’re stable and there’s enough space for your legs to move unimpeded, straighten your left leg in front of you. Then lower your hips to the ground.
- Slide your left hand behind your body to give your left shoulder more space
- After outwardly rotating your left shoulder, pull your elbow to the ground.
- Roll to the starting position once you’ve straightened your left arm.
BJJ Workout #3: Burpees
We’re offering three BJJ workout ideas to add to your BJJ strength and conditioning program. But in those few suggestions, we’re offering you the world.
Because with a power-lifting BJJ workout, you need barbells and weights. For Turkish get-ups, all you require is a kettlebell.
And now, with burpees, all you need is your body weight. So, you’ll have different workouts for different needs and limitations.
While each of these exercises offers specific benefits, each suggestion can make a huge impact all on its own. With burpees, for instance, you can vastly improve your BJJ strength and conditioning program and your overall performance without shelling out money for any additional workout equipment.
From the comfort of your living room, you can do a full-blast, full-body workout that hits all your necessary muscle groups. Burpees are a perfect way to supplement BJJ classes for practitioners who want to keep things simple and bare bones.
Better yet, the cardiovascular impact of fine-tuning your burpee abilities will have you working your rolling partners and rival competitors into exhaustion.
How to Do Burpees
- Start standing, then drop down into a squat. Put your arms to the ground in front of your body. Land in a push-up position by kicking your legs back.
- Drop down and do a push-up, then kick your feet into a squat. Explode upward, perform a full vertical jump, and clap your hands above your head.
Aim to eventually perform 100 burpees at once for your BJJ strength and conditioning program. But start by performing 5 smaller sets and work your way up.
With these three versatile, functional BJJ workout suggestions, your BJJ strength and conditioning program will take your performance to the next level.