Targeted Intensity for Better Jiu-jitsu (Part 2)
Training as hard as you can on the mats or in the weight room is not sustainable and also won’t take you as far as a planned approach to using Intensity to get more out of your Jiu-jitsu and lifting. This has a reciprocal effect in improving each other further, acting as a multiplier which accelerates your progress.
Your training days need to have 3 different modes: This can be measured by your Repetition Max for
- Light: 50% RM or 5/10 Light rolling or drilling.
- Medium: 70% RM or 7/10 normal class + rolling rounds at the end.
- Heavy: 80-95% RM or 9/10 Comp class or serious rolling rounds.
Your Heavy or hardest day of BJJ should be planned to be with in a day of your Light lifting session. In the same way your Light BJJ session should be within a day of your Heavy gym session. The hardest day or 24hr period of the training is when you complete both your Medium BJJ and lifting sessions.
The Weekly Schedule: This is a hypothetical weekly plan with BJJ comp class on a Friday and the heaviest lifting session on a Monday as this falls directly after a rest day, which is Sunday. The days can be swapped but the intensities need to be matched similarly.
This just a suggestion as I know some of you train less BJJ and might only lift once or twice a week. The main take away is that you space your hardest lifting and rolling to get the most from each.
The Monthly Over View: As you get use to training with different intensities you find your own sweet spot on timing, combos and frequency of sessions that works best for you. What I am putting out there is a very basic framework for you to think differently about how you approach your training to make it more effective. This next piece of the puzzle is an example of basic wave loading across a single cycle (6 weeks) of the Bulletproof for BJJ program.
The total intensity of each week is built up over 3 weeks and then backed off at week 4 to build up to a maximum intensity week at the end of the 6 week Cycle. We generally recommend a back off or active rest week before starting Cycle 2. You should be looking to gradually build up the reps of each movement and once you achieve the top end of all sets/ reps and it’s feeling easy then put up the load and reduce the reps and build up again.
In a BJJ context you need to build up the length of your rolling rounds and gradually reduce your rest time between rounds. Of course you need to work in with your team mates and what your coach expects, that said you need to find ways to make certain rolling sessions harder and certain classes easier so you can build your intensity in accordance with your plan.
Specific Competition Prep
Once you have decided to compete take note of the date & day. You want a minimum of 12 weeks or 2x 6 week Cycles to really prepare your BJJ strategy and get your physical conditioning on point.
Now you need to plan your training to peak each week for that specific day. That means your hardest day of BJJ should be on the specific day you will compete and your weekly routine needs to support you having maximum energy for this day.
Your monthly build up should have days of peak effort within in them to really push you almost maxing out your ability to generate intensity. A great way to do this is with simulated competitions at your academy or organise your hard rolling rounds to have a similar structure to that of an actual comp.
Peaking refers to being in a state of optimal physical and technical ability on the day of competition. In order to fully recover and be at your best a 10-14 day period of reduced total workouts and training volume needs to be followed. FOMO often rubs our insecurities the wrong way and creates an urgency to keep training hard when this is not necessary. If you have done the work you will be fit enough on the day of comp but you need to trust the process.
If you are striving for year round improvement and have no interest in competition then taking a more evenly paced approach will get you to achieve great results in tolerating and generating intensity.
Organising the year into 4x 12 weeks blocks that are also then divided into 2x 6 week Cycles will give more opportunity to plan and reflect how you build up your intensity over time. You should be aiming to peak every 12 weeks and give your self a back off week directly following that.
This will give you 4 major opportunities to test how this process is working for you. Ideally you can build on greater performances each time but this isn’t always the case for many reasons. The key to understanding this is to reflect on the process and modify a single element and see how that impacts your performance over the next 6 weeks. This will allow you to find your sweet spot on how hard you roll versus how hard you lift and what gives you the best result.
Don't try to change more than 1 thing at a time so you can actually test if that is the thing making the difference. Make a plan, stay consistent and cultivate a process of knowing when to apply your intensity and as you go through these cycles of development you will see your BJJ take off.