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Cross-training is important in any sport. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no exception. Jiu-jitsu is all about equalizing opponents by using grappling techniques, especially on the ground. In fact, one of the founding principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that a smaller person can defend themselves effectively against a larger one with BJJ techniques. However, strength training can support the combat sport-specific training that comes from practicing jiu-jitsu. This can result in a more balanced physique and better results.

Resistance or strength training helps athletes to build muscle. It can also support bone health and help prevent the development of osteoporosis. There are plenty of ways to approach strength training. The most common is weight lifting. Bodyweight exercises and resistance-band workouts are other great ways to incorporate strength training into a workout routine. For jiu-jitsu, large muscle groups like quads, glutes, and hamstrings are all key. Key weight-bearing exercises for BJJ work many of these groups.

Squatting is one of the best exercises for anyone who does jiu-jitsu. This exercise works the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Squats can be done with just bodyweight, or with added weight from dumbbells or kettlebells. Squats have lots of applications in BJJ. Most importantly, they’re great training for getting up.

The second exercise that BJJ practitioners should consider is the split squat. The best way to do this is in a modified version specific to BJJ. Working from a neutral stance slightly leaned forward. The person then steps backwards into a lunge. From there, they add weight. Now, the athlete is basically in a takedown position. This is an exercise that helps build muscle, and also trains the body for a specific BJJ move.

Another area to work for BJJ is the dead bug with resistance bands. This is an exercise for the core. In the standard dead bug, it’s just alternating limbs. For BJJ, add resistance bands to the arm motion. This can help build shoulder strength. Finally, pull-ups are a classic workout for a reason. They build upper body strength and they’re a huge challenge to the system. Pull-ups also have plenty of applications in BJJ, where the pulling motion is very important in a number of moves. Pull-ups often really help people improve their takedowns.