“I put all my energy into Jiu-jiutsu. I don’t have to lift weights, I don’t have to jog because I want to improve in Jiujitsu.” (Marcelo Garcia)
“I like to challenge myself. I like to do a lot of plyometric, explosive exercises. (Including olympic lifts) Good for my legs and my explosiveness. I’ve been doing this since 2011.” (Andre Galvao)
It’s worthwhile to digest these words from 2 champions and absolute beasts. Very different views but both achieve success with their methods. Always remain open minded and try to find what works for you.
When considering Strength & Conditioning training for Jiu-jitsu there are a number of factors that should be considered first.
-How does extra volume of training fit in to your work/family/BJJ life?
Balance is key in all things, push too hard in one aspect and the others may suffer. Although the 2 can synergize quite nicely, there is also a possibility that you need a different training facility, an extra commute and a big chunk of your physical and mental energy that may already be taxed.
-What are your goals
In fitness and BJJ this is a very important piece of the puzzle, do you want to be competitive, lose body fat, be the best version of you etc. This will play a big part in how your program will look.
-What are your weaknesses
This is something that will include your own opinion and ideally the advice of professionals. You know if you feel gassed out, weak, small, big and so on. A good S&C coach will put you through a battery of basic tests that will give you a baseline and a platform to reassess progress. A good Black belt/instructor will advise you what he/she sees as the limiting factors in your progression. When all things are considered it’s up to you to go and experiment with different methods. Here are some super simple self analysis tools;
-If you’re very strong there’s a chance you’re also a little slow. Fast, light to medium weight exercises, agility training, plyometrics and even some olympic lift variations may suit you.
-If you’re super weak a strength program is probably a good idea. Food will be important for progress here.
-Serious lack of flexibility and mobility issues can lead to injury. Daily life may not be affected too much but in BJJ you will be brought through all ranges of motion in ballistic fashion. Prepare your body.
-If you’re super basic and a white belt..Don’t worry about S&C just yet. The basics of BJJ must be learned.
-In my opinion training and competing NOGI requires a little more thought on whether or not you’re going to do some S&C. A fast guy trying to smash past you in the GI can be tied up a little more than a sweating, lycra wearing NOGI powerhouse. That said your physical condition will directly impact any engagement in combat.
-Through a long and winding road in martial arts, I’ve come across guys and girls who may not have the physical attributes of an athlete but their heart, grit, determination and dedication carries them to victory. Also there are those that would squat a house, take on Usain Bolt and still have belief and killer instinct deficiencies. Don’t ever discount the mental game.
Apart from all of the athletic benefits of supplementary S&C training like speed, agility, endurance, strength, power etc etc somethings that are overlooked in BJJ are posture, muscle imbalances and how these thing will effect you as you get older. Injury prevention is crucial in combat sports and a little resistance band session after training will go a long way. A good strength coach is easily accessible nowadays and private session once a month with guided programming can be very effective.
10th Planet Blue Belt, CrossFit gym owner, S&C coach.