Ideas On Cardio For The Older Jiu Jitsu Athlete
Cardio for older guys…
Recently, the question came up on the BJJ Fanatics group about stamina for the older Jiu Jitsu athlete. I thought I would offer my two cents on the questions.
First, for the older grappler, it is unrealistic to have the physical abilities of someone in their 20s. It is certainly fine that older athletes are not going to be to the same athletic standards of a twenty year old. Athleticism plays a component in every sport. Jiu Jitsu is also heavily reliant on strategy and technique. The race is not won by the strongest or the fastest in Jiu Jitsu.
Second, it is also important to ensure there is nothing medically wrong. Personally, I have Costochondritis. This condition is basically inflammation in the ribs. If I forget to take my medicine, I get gassed in the instructional part of class. When I have my medicine, I can roll for hours. Unfortunately, what is going on with your body in regards to medical conditions may not be a simple answer.
Third, it is important to be relaxed and used strength strategically. Strength is often used as a force multiplier with leverage or angles. One example of this is with the rear naked choke. For years I thought the key to a good RNC was hand placement and squeezing. I started doing the twisting method that Danaher talks about in his back video and have been surprised with how little strength I need in the squeeze. There is definitely a time in Jiu Jitsu to be strong. However that needs to be balanced with being relaxed; the yin and yang of Jiu Jitsu. Being strong all the time might initially lead to more taps but it hampers technique and is a cardio killer.
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Fourth, it may be what you are putting into your body that is impacting your cardio. There may be medicine or supplements that you are taking that are cardio killers. Food and alcohol are also big factors. Eating crap food will make you feel bad on and off the mats. Eating the wrong thing before you train may also be bad. It may be the healthiest food in the world but if it is too heavy you will be suffering when you roll. I like to check and see what tri-athletes or runners eat before a race and go with that. I will incrementally add on based on how I am feeling. Alcohol is also terrible. In my experience, any kind of alcoholic beverage taken within 24 hours of working out will impact performance. Smoking is certainly bad also. I don’t even need to address the impact that has on ones lungs.
I know some people are talking about cross training for improved cardio in Jiu Jitsu. In my opinion, cross training is beneficial if there are times you can’t make it to Jiu Jitsu. But I always advocate the best way to build cardio for Jiu Jitsu is more Jiu Jitsu. If you want to get stronger you should lift weights. If you want to run faster run more. If you want to improve your Jiu Jitsu and your cardio for Jiu Jitsu, roll more.
Hopefully this is helpful. I know there is nothing more frustrating that getting gassed in training. It is an amazing feeling to be the last one rolling. It is a terrible feeling to be the first one to call it quits.
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