DOES JIU JITSU BUILD MUSCLE
The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been around for over a century now, as it is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of combat sports in the world. BJJ was designed as a self defense system, and slowly over the years has evolved into a sports version, which has exploded onto the international world stage. Throughout the build of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many high level athletes have added their innovations to the game, this includes different maneuvers and also bjj conditioning workouts. Many of the old school Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes would build their muscle groups through different movement routines, while training on the mats.
What This Article Covers:
- How Does BJJ Build Muscle
- What Are the Benefits of Being Stronger in BJJ
- What Are the Main Muscle Groups that Need Strengthening
- What Kinds of BJJ Exercises Build Muscle
- Staying Strong While Keeping the Balance
The Modern Combat athlete is heavily involved in different kinds of conditioning programs. There is an obsession with the modern day athlete to be fitter, faster, stronger, and more technical, which is why athletes will look for every tactical advantage they can. Athletes will combine their BJJ training with other various workout programs that include weightlifting, core strengthening workouts, flexibility, mobility and cardio for bjj. Some athletes have even added the practise of yoga into their workout programs. This is another way to build a strong core, while improving their range of mobility, and flexibility.
HOW DOES BJJ BUILD MUSCLE
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is unlike any other Martial Art, due to its constant connection between combatants. When a student begins training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu they soon discover muscles they never knew they had. This Martial Art helps athletes strengthen all of their core muscles, with the added difference of functionality from all angles. In BJJ, athletes will find themselves in weirdly uncomfortable positions, as they are forced to use strength from weird angles to defend attacks. Training BJJ gives an athlete a greater range of mobility, and explosive power that comes from within their core muscles. This kind of strength derives from the quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominal, and the hip muscle areas.
There are a significant amount of bjj core exercises that are applied during the course of a Jiu Jitsu training session. The warmups will include a series of abdominal and hip strengthening exercises, which are modified to be functional for BJJ. Rolling in BJJ is a workout in its own right, as training partners will test each other's abilities on the mat, this includes strategy, technique, athleticism and their strength. Students that put in a significant amount of time into their training processes, will find that over time, their strengths are considerably improved. A prime example of this is when a beginner rolls with a black belt, as they will feel every ounce of strength and pressure that their instructor gives out. A black belt has that body conditioning because they have spent over ten years using BJJ to strengthen their bodies.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING STRONGER IN BJJ
There are many benefits for an athlete that has elevated levels of strength. Having a strong core strength for BJJ will allow students to achieve a wider range of grappling maneuvers. There will always be opponents, or training partners that are stronger than you, so it is extremely important for students to strengthen all of their core muscles. Sometimes a submission defense comes down to strength, as a student will need considerable strength to combine with their framing techniques. Improving Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques, means they will be able to execute a higher range of technical movements, this includes sweeping techniques. Sometimes athletes will come up against opponents that are extremely strong, or have a stocky build. These kinds of opponents have a good base, and are exceedingly hard to move. Having the benefit of added strength will help athletes utilise guard maneuvers, as this will upset the balance of these kinds of stronger opponents. Being stronger and able to move opponents, will lead to technical proficiency in sweeping technique.
Students that are considerably stronger have a greater chance at preventing injuries. Sometimes when a student is stuck in a submission, they do not have enough strength to hold off on their opponent's attack, leaving them exposed to all sorts of injuries. A prime example is when an opponent has secured an athlete in a Kimura, as there is a fine line between an opponent securing the tap, or the athlete bracing for impact and using strength to keep their arm close to their body. Strengthening muscles inside an athlete's body is better for their overall health, as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly intense Martial Art that also has a lot of high impact movements.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN MUSCLE GROUPS THAT NEED STRENGTHENING
In BJJ, athletes will need to have considerable strength in a lot of major areas. One of the main places they need strength in is their hips, as BJJ involves a lot of hip movements, like hip shrimping. It is extremely important for grapplers to have strong hips, as it will provide incredible power for athletes to use during training. Having strong and balanced hips will help athletes generate enough power to run, jump, kick, and achieve all of those weird and wonderful movements that athletes find in BJJ. Strong hips will help an athlete maintain their pelvis, while they run or drive through positions in BJJ. Athletes in the grappling art need to be able to escape their hips with incredible force, as well as use their hips to guide their opponents through various sweeps, and guard passes.
Athletes will find having strong legs will help them extensively in the art of BJJ. Athletes will need to strengthen their quadriceps, their hamstrings, and their calf muscles, in order to have an extra weapon when training in BJJ. Strong legs in BJJ means an athlete will have a greater driving force, which can result in them executing more powerful takedowns. This also means that athletes will be harder to take down themselves, as they will be able to generate an incredible force within their own base. There are other benefits of having strong legs in BJJ, like the extra power they will find while trying to sweep their opponents, and they will also have a significant advantage executing certain submissions. Having powerful legs will allow students to apply stronger chokes, like the triangle, as well as having extra pushing power to execute other maneuvers including leg locks and arm bars.
Having a strong set of abdominal muscles can also be extremely important for BJJ practitioners, as a lot of the maneuvers in the art require strong abs. Most of the movements in BJJ require a certain level of abdominal strength, and athletes need to work extensively to have the required amount of strength they need. Having a strong core for BJJ, is also helped by having strong legs, but if their abdominal muscles are equally as strong, the power they can generate from their core is exponential. Having strong abs will also help with injury prevention, as an athlete that is stronger will be much harder to move into awkward positions. Having a ripped six pack will also help if their opponents have them in the knee on belly position, as the athlete will be rock solid, and hard to compromise.
Having strong shoulders in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also very important, as the shoulders are used for many different pushing, pulling, and rotational movements in BJJ. Athletes that have broader shoulders, or strong shoulders, will be able to execute a higher level of grips, and submissions like chokeholds. Having strong shoulders is critical to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete's repertoire, as all athletes need to utilise strong frames, which can commonly begin from the shoulders giving frame and form to the forearms. Strong shoulders will also help prevent injury, as it makes their posting off the mat stronger, and their overall submission defense much harder for an opponent to achieve.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely diverse form of Martial Arts, as realistically it needs all muscles to be strong. There are many other muscles in an athlete's body that should be receiving extra attention, when it comes to training in BJJ. Having a strong neck is important for survivability in grappling, especially when opponents have athletes in choke holds. Athletes will need to use a strong neck, as a way of keeping a good postured frame. In BJJ the body goes where the head is directed, so if an opponent can easily maneuver an athlete's head, they will find themself in a lot of trouble. This is why it is important to have a significant strength in an athlete's neck, so they are harder to move, and can stay relatively safe from injury. Having strong arms and hands is also extremely important for BJJ practitioners, as they will need to utilise ranges of grips, so they can control their opponents. Having strong limbs will also help them stay safe in submissions, and execute their own submissions like rear naked chokes, guillotines, head and arm triangles, and darce chokes.
WHAT KINDS OF BJJ EXERCISES BUILD MUSCLE
There are multiple ways to build muscle for athletes when they train in BJJ. Athletes can always rely on exterior methods like strength and conditioning, cardio based workouts, or even a bjj kettlebell workout. But there are also several ways to build muscle just by training in BJJ. One of the obvious ways is just by rolling, as students that put extensive time into the mats will start to reap the rewards. Spending 5 minutes struggling against an opponent who's larger, stronger, or more advanced than you, is an impeccable workout that takes every muscle in the body. If students do this kind of training over a period of years, they will secure an extensive level of strength in their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Another way that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will strengthen an athlete's body, is through many of the movement based warm ups. Athletes always do extensive core workouts at the start of training; these include various styles of crunches, and many different core exercises that involve a practitioner to move their legs and hips dynamically. Other exercises include animal movements like bear crawls, and sit throughs, that help an athlete develop strength and mobility in their muscles and joints. Athletes will also do variations of push ups, as they need to be extremely strong on their hands and knees. BJJ will also give an athlete extensive grip strength, which is mainly due to using grips wearing the Gi. Having strong hands will go a long way to the overall limb strength of an athlete.
STAYING STRONG WHILE KEEPING THE BALANCE
One of the biggest problems in strength and conditioning is that athletes need to keep up with a routine, otherwise they can lose strength. It can be brutally hard to keep up with the rigorous training regimes of hardcore powerlifting for bjj workouts. Consistency is the key if athletes want to build, and maintain significant strength for their BJJ. Understanding true balance between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, and all other aspects of strength and conditioning, is vital to the health of a practitioner. Athletes must realise that having significant rest periods is crucial to the recovery and balance of a practitioner. It is no good doing weight training every day, and rolling every night, as athletes will burnout quickly, which can leave them susceptible to injury. Athletes must find the balance between what works for them on and off the mat. It is important for the body to have a significant rest after a high intensity workout, as the only way the muscles will grow is through recovery.
Athletes should try to stick to three or less conditioning workouts per week, combined with three to four sessions of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This could be two weight training sessions, and one cardio session per week. Sometimes an athlete will need to make sure they get enough rest, as this may even mean having an extremely light session on the mats. The great aspect about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is athletes can still come to training, and practise technique, then roll lightly for a more relaxed workout. So this is where the balance comes into play, as athletes will need to schedule the appropriate balance that works for them. Some athletes May swing toward more strength and conditioning, and less technical Jiu Jitsu, while others will do extensive BJJ lessons, with minimal conditioning workouts to complement. Whichever system works for you, make sure you take ample rest periods, and do extensive warm ups, which will help athletes with flexibility for bjj, and mobility exercises. Looking after an athlete's body, and preventing themself from sustaining injuries is extremely important for long jeverdy in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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