BALANCING BJJ AND WEIGHT TRAINING
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has always been about technique, as the art was designed for the smaller and weaker person to defeat a larger and stronger opponent. As the art evolved into a sport, the modern form of combat began rising in popularity all over the world, and throughout the United States. This led to an influx of athletes entering into the BJJ competitive arena, as the battle heated up between Northern and Southern American cultures.
What This Article Covers:
- How to Get the Most out of Your BJJ
- Effective Weight Training Methods
- Combining BJJ and Weight Training
- Differents Kinds of Training
Athletes began lifting weights as a way to isolate certain muscle groups they wanted to condition, and as the conditioning evolved, so did the deadly combination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and strength. Nowadays there are many dangerous athletes who have successfully combined technique, and power, as they have found the perfect balance between weight training and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BJJ
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is mostly about heart, but to truly maximise a students abilities they need to use their intelligence to enhance their efficiency. A lot of students go into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu clubs with little idea about how to progress, so a good tip would be to research how the Martial Art works before walking in the door. Going into your first lesson of Jiu Jitsu already familiar with the major control positions, and understanding other aspects of the art, will give students a massive edge in attempting to learn such as complex, but simple Martial Art. After a student watches techniques like ten step omoplatas, de la riva and x-guard setups, the student begins to think the Martial Art is extremely complicated. Actually it's quite simple as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is just a concept, and once a student understands the fundamentals to a concept, it becomes a lot clearer the different pathways that the student can take.
For example: a concept is when a person is on their hands and knees and each limb represents a table leg, if one table leg is taken away, the table will topple in that direction. This directly translates into Jiu Jitsu, as a guard player traps an arm of an opponent and then sweeps them over, while gaining control of their opponent. Once the student can understand the mechanics of a concept, it becomes easier to modify techniques to benefit the students' game style. When a BJJ practitioner becomes a higher rank, their Jiu Jitsu evolves into an instinctive form of actional, and reactional grappling. This is another way of saying muscle memory, as students develop many of their movements as if they were dancing. When students can tap into this frequency, they will start to see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a different light.
EFFECTIVE WEIGHT TRAINING METHODS
Lifting weights and getting stronger can be done in a multitude of different ways, as athletes have been known to hang from bars and do chin ups, flip huge truck tyres, and lift incredible amounts of weight. There are many different ways to condition a body to suit BJJ, and many high level experienced athletes have their videos posted out there accessible to everyone in the world to see. Finding the most effective training method to suit your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, will come down to your body type, your fitness condition, and your style of Jiu Jitsu. The smartest move anyone can make is to start off easy, and build into the heavier weights. Find a weight that you can lift at least 12 times, and do your first three sets at that weight. Then there's just a matter of increasing your weight over your next few sets, as students can opt to drop their reps down to 6 or 8. Using this methodology students can safely gauge how much weight they can lift comfortably.
One of the most important aspects of weight training is posture, because if a student is using bad form when they are lifting heavy weights, they are at risk of injuring themselves. Learning how to do every exercise properly, is crucial to how the student will execute the lift. Students must maintain posture throughout all of their exercises, as this is the most important facet, to maintain a strong structure. Once a student can properly execute all of the weight training techniques, then they will increase their chances of successfully building their muscles. With good posture comes good balance, as a student needs to have a strong balance for lifting heavy loads of weight. This relates to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as practitioners will constantly be lifting the body weight of their opponents in competition matches.
Another effective method for weight training, and to harness its full potential, is breathing technique. A lot of students forget to breathe when they are lifting heavy weights, and this can be another way to cause significant injury. It's important to get the right amount of breath control happening during any of the student's weight lifts. It is important for athletes to have good breathing control, meaning being able to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth at a regulated speed. Often students will breathe in extremely hard and deep and breathe out really shallow. The key component to dropping your heart rate is to breathe in and out at a regulated speed, as this will help athletes use more power into all of their lifting techniques.
There are four main types of muscle strength workouts, muscle power, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and muscle hypertrophy. Athletes will need to improve on their muscle power as this is one of the big ones that a BJJ athlete needs, in order to explosively take their opponent down to the mat. Explosive power is trained by engaging an athlete's fast twitch muscle fibres, the only issue with this is they will fatigue a lot quicker, and will take a longer time for them to recover. Raw muscle strength is designed for athletes to achieve maximum strength and size. There is a difference between powerlifting for bjj, and weightlifting for BJJ, as powerlifters increase their strength, where weightlifters are looking to increase their size. Muscle hypertrophy is important in terms of weight loss, as it also increases the amount of lean muscle mass in the body. This is what will help an athlete shred down, and really get those muscles to pop. Another important aspect of weight training is endurance muscle, as these are slow twitch muscle fibres that will help an athlete last longer, with a greater sense of durability. Training in this type of strength work requires a student to deal with a consistent push, as a way to build up the slow twitch muscle fibres.
COMBINING BJJ AND WEIGHT TRAINING
Training in a high intensity combat sport can take a heavy toll on the body of an athlete, as there is a need to bulletproof the Athlete's body. Experienced fighters know the best exercises for bjj conditioning, as they will always look for the perfect balance. It is not easy combining BJJ and weight training to the perfect ratio, as there is a fine line between being too sore for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, sometimes it is important to just do lighter weights, or lesser weights, as a way to preserve the joints and muscles. Doing light sessions of weight training, and incorporating that into 5 days of BJJ per week, will start to make the athlete feel like a beast on the mats. They can slowly begin to increase their weight training by doing heavier weights at smaller reps.
BJJ has an extremely dynamic system of combat, so training in bjj 3 times a week at full intensity can be enough to master the art. The trick is adding in the right amount of strength workouts but still having enough time to rest and recover. A great way to integrate strength training and grappling, is through doing a bjj kettlebell workout. This type of workout utilises a range of extremely functional movements, which makes lifting these kettlebells extremely relevant to how BJJ is structured. Using kettlebells is great, because the athlete can do a wide range of important movements like the deadlift, the swing, the Turkish get up, the lunge, the press, and the squat. It is also extremely important for BJJ athletes to work extensively on bjj core exercises, as strengthening goes a long way into the proper conditioning of a seasoned grappler.
DIFFERENTS KINDS OF TRAINING
Conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become an extremely popular development in the evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Different styles of conditioning are designed to work out different aspects of Jiu Jitsu, as each muscle group has a unique way of conditioning to maximise potential. An important component of conditioning is the work that goes into an athlete's aerobic capacity, as this is how their conditioning will improve exponentially. Athletes should be starting a workout at low intensity, as they slowly raise the bar and add in highly intensive conditioning processes. The aerobic capacity is an energy generating process, which is how an athlete can receive a certain amount of oxygen that can be used to match the energy demand during a high intensity exercise. Some prime examples of training the aerobic style of exercise are various forms of running, cycling, and incline training like climbing stairs.
There are different forms of conditioning that will specifically target the alactic capacity, which is the period of anaerobic activity that does not produce any form of lactic acid. Athletes will learn to use their alactic power by training in full intensity sprinting exercises, in other words sprinting at full speed over short distances. Students will learn to get the appropriate amount of rest, as this will help them develop the full range of explosive power. Repeating these exercises at high intensity is what makes this training hard, as the athlete can often struggle to keep up with the demands of such an intense sprinting process. The key component to this is to get used to exercising at full intensity, but not to lose any shape or form. Lactic acid training is how an athlete will learn how to speed up their recovery times, as this can usually be done by an athlete utilising interval training practises. This means to execute strength training at high repetition sets with little rest periods. This is so the athlete will experience high levels of lactic acid build up, and they will learn to develop their recovery time by only having short rest periods. This kind of situation is commonly seen during a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fight.
One of the most important components that a BJJ student needs to develop is their grip strength, as it can usually fail them in the middle of a fight. Lactic acid can build up in the forearms which can force an athlete to become extremely rigid when they are competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. It is important to work extensively on gripping, as this is one of the main aspects for a BJJ athlete to improve on their grip game. Competing in the Gi is all about grips, so this is why it is extremely important to train functionally for all the aspects of BJJ. There are many different concepts behind strengthening an athlete's grips like crushing exercises, pinching exercises, holding exercises, and exercises that involve extension of the hand.
Core strength is another extremely important aspect in BJJ training, as practitioners are always using their core muscles in almost all of their techniques. Students that want to be successful must develop an extensive core strength. There are many different abdominal workouts that are highly effective for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes, it's just going to take some extreme dedication and knowing when they can rest. It's all good to utilise different strength and conditioning exercises, but muscles need rest that is the only way they will grow. Athletes need to prioritise their rest periods in order to keep up with the demand of this highly functional combat art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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