How Intensity Helps Your BJJ (Part 1)

Welcome to the Weekly Fix!

The Newsletter from the Bulletproof For BJJ boys JT & Joey, to give you the insights you need to have a better BJJ life. .

  1. How Intensity Helps your BJJ: Plan it out
  2. Technique of the Week: The King Lift T.G.U.
  3. Community Spotlight: The RMNU Soldier
  4. The Audio Hook Up: Brushes with Fame

How can Intensity help my BJJ? Part 1

The role of Intensity in the context of BJJ is generally frowned on. We all know that guy at training who is always trying to turn a drill into a world championship final.

What I am actually talking about is how hard the training you are doing feels. It also refers to you ability to put forth effort, how hard can you work against a training partner rolling or against a weight when lifting.

The stronger and better conditioned you are your tolerance for hard training will be higher making it feel easier and being better physically prepared will allow you to create higher intensities of effort.

  • How to measure Intensity?

Perceived Rate of Exertion- When trying to figure out how hard a particular exercise/ drill/ session was you can give it a rating out of 10.     1/10 on the P.R.E. scale is low, like a relaxing walk. To have a P.R.E. of 10/10 is maximum and would be the hardest you have ever rolled and at the end of the round you collapse on the ground and can’t move, gasping for air.

Reps In Reserve- Is a method to work out how many more efforts or reps you had in the tank at the end of the round or set. It is a good way to stop short of a true maximum effort but still give you a feel for where you are at. If you are completing a set of 8 squats at your body weight and at the end of the set you feel like you have 2 R.I.R. then you can know you are working at about 80% of your top end intensity.

R.I.R. is traditionally used in the weight room but can be used on the mats too. Instead of a weight lifting set you can use it with a timed round of specific rolling. You complete 5 x 5 minute rounds and at the end you feel like you could do 1 more round before you gas out then you are at about 80% of your maximum rolling intensity.

  • Make records to Break records

If you aren’t writing your rolling or lifting sessions down you have no real way to adjust, build and improve on your previous actions. You are robbing yourself of the opportunity to learn and progress through a tiny piece of effort that will change your whole game.

Your training journal will help you look at workouts differently. A workout that was a P.R.E. of 9/10 only two weeks ago is now a 6/10. That indicates a level of improvement that would have otherwise been a mystery. An important element of your ability to adapt is the way in which you map out your training over weeks, months and years. If you want to be world champion in 2 years time you will need a plan. How you space out and apply Intensity will really dictate your success long term.

  • Plan your intensity to improve

In order to be able to build your capacity to generate and tolerate intensity there needs to be a plan on how to increase it over time. Going as hard as you can every time you roll or lift is not the way to improve.

There is a big difference between training and testing.

Testing will only tell you where you are at today. The feed back will be- not where you want to be. Training's role in any good skill practice allows you to build through incremental increase in complexity/ difficulty.

Some weeks will need to have a lower intensity to allow your body to compensate and adapt. This will allow your body to perform at higher intensities the following week.

Next week I will illustrate exactly how you can plan your intensity in an easy to use format that can be applied to your lifting and BJJ training.



Academy: Robson Moura Nova Uniao (Florida)

Started BJJ: 2011

Rank: Brown Belt

What year did you start BJJ?

Its a shady question. I started MMA in 2007-ish, and while MMA does have a class or two in the buffets of arts that one takes, it wasn't until 2011 when I wound up in a pure BJJ gym being strangled with lapels and became a "pure blood" as I call it.

Who or What got you introduced to BJJ?

I think my desire to fight brought me there. I just wanted to fight when I returned from my first deployment and found the first MMA gym in the town I was stationed at. So the MMA sprinkled my first dose of BJJ upon me.  

What was your training/ martial arts experience before you started BJJ?

Like several others of my species, I was one of those cliche 3rd degree black belt 10 year olds that sprouted from the Tae Kwon Do scene. I also watched tons of Bruce Lee movies, and I think that counts at least a little. 

Have you had any major setbacks or injuries on your BJJ journey?

Tons. Tore both ACLs and MCLs, bruised my knee bone once, displaced my collarbone and it sits much higher than my right one now...sometimes it me gag  cause it presses into the throat, ripped the elbow tendon from the bone and it looks like I have a gnarly two elbowed-elbow on the left arm. My most recent one was a slow build up of tightness in my shoulder blade area that I just sort of ignored and then after a gnarly brabo choke one night, my pinky fingers began to go numb. I rested for two weeks and said fuck it, sometimes fingers tingle, and a year later after training still, all of fingers tingled and I severe pain radiating in my shoulder blades and then my thumb basically stopped thumbing. I couldn't move it and my right peck stopped firing also. I had the doctors check my neck out, and then after a year was cleared to train but still had intense tightness and some tingling that would get worse with training. I went to the physical therapist and that didn't help, it actually just made it worse.  

How has Bulletproof for BJJ helped you?

Rolling over from the above injury, I found my way to the Bulletproof program and started with some mobility before and after class and began the weight training from the ground up. Poof, like magic, over time of course, my fingers don't tingle and my upper back doesn't feel like it needs to rip apart for some sort of relief. I train twice a day and lift weights, and I don't have any issues anymore. The Bulletproof gods have saved me. It sounds cheesy as fuck, but that's the answer.