Good question, amigo…
Like all things physical development, the exact amount of strength, mobility, fitness etc. that an individual needs is precisely that – individual. However, here are some thoughts on what a general recommendation for the average BJJ player might be…
The first thing to ask yourself is:
How much strength do I actually need?
Then ask yourself:
How much spare time do I have to invest?
One of the main considerations for us when we design a program, is how much time does this athlete have outside of the time on the mat?
For most, it’s not a lot of time…
If they’re the kind of person who trains full time, has no real work commitments and has good recovery protocols in place ie. their lifestyle is geared towards high performance – we can go to town on that thing, writing them a super comprehensive program that addresses every little inch of their athletic ability (it would be nice to be in this camp, no?)
However, if like 99% of the Jiu Jitsu athletes out there they work a full time job and tend to struggle to get to the gym as much as they’d like, we’re going to take a much leaner approach…
For the general BJJ player, we suggest strength training 1 to 2 days per week with the sessions lasting no longer than 60-90 minutes. The sessions should be simple, easy to follow and cover a few basic movement patterns – like squat, hinge, push and pull
In general, the sessions shouldn’t leave the athlete feeling extremely sore or fatigued. Soreness may result in the first week or two while the movements are new, but once they’re in a groove the recovery demands should be minimal –
We see this mistake a lot – athletes diving head first into heavy, intense training sessions ie. like in your standard powerlifting, bodybuilding, crossfit program, getting left sore and busted up from their strength work which only detracts from their progress on the mats
In those 1-2 sessions we keep things REAL simple. Here’s a basic format:
- 1-2 basic primary strength movements, like a deadlift and a bodyweight push exercise (3-6 reps)
- 2-3 accessory movements, like a higher rep push and pull variations, along with a squat or hinge exercise, performed at higher reps (8-15 reps)
- Finishing with a few sets of 2-3 isolated Bulletproofing exercises, like strengthening of the shoulder external rotators, out-of-alignment knee drills, and wrist mobility work (8-15 reps)
The focus is largely on range of motion first, followed by strength second
So, in the same way that nifty parents might mix nourishing vegetables into a kids bolognese sauce in order to get the kid to eat the damn things, we will often fill the gaps in a strength program with flexibility work where possible… In addition, we’ll also make sure they dose up on the mobility work before and after sessions on the mats
If you want help with ANY of this, you should check out our online program which is the ultimate starting point for any BJJ player (hobbyist or athlete) to start making big changes to their strength and mobility
You can also get in touch with us right here on the ‘Contact’ page above