Guide to Strength Training for BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that’s heavy on technique, but that’s not to say that there’s no need to train strength.

In fact, most modern champions swear by their strength and conditioning programs.

Strength will always have a carryover in every physical endeavor, especially when engaging in a tough and physical sport like BJJ.

Do a quick Google search and it’s easy to see that there are a lot of conflicting articles out there.

Some people believe in a more bodybuilding approach, while others opt for a more functional way of training.

If I have to choose between the two, I’d have to agree with the latter as BJJ conditioning is totally dependent on performance and not at all on aesthetic.

Below is a collection of exercises that most people consider to be the best for grappling based sports like BJJ:

1. Deadlift

The deadlift is the king of strength building exercises.

It is a relatively simple-looking lift that targets most of the lower body in one go.

The deadlift is an awesome exercise because it simulates the motion of lifting a heavy object off the ground – hence the name.

It targets the legs, glutes, lower back, and even the arm!

This is the most important exercise on this list in my opinion and should be a mainstay of any athlete’s lifting regimen.

2. Squat

The squat is also an important exercise because it works the piston of the human body, the legs.

The squat is different from the deadlift because unlike the deadlift, the squat is mostly focused on the legs.

The motion of squatting up and down has a lot of carryover in most sports, especially in Jiu-Jitsu, where one of the fundamentals of scoring involves shooting for takedowns.

An alternating schedule of deadlift and squat is common to see in most workout programs and it’s easy to understand why.

3. Bent Over Row

This exercise targets the upper part of the back as well as the shoulders.

This is a great compliment to the deadlift and helps create a powerful and explosive back.

The bent over row simulates the motion of pulling someone close to you when playing guard, this fact alone is reason enough why this exercise is super valuable to do add to one’s routine.

4. Bench Press/Pushups

Some grapplers deny the value of training the chest.

They say that the motion of pushing has little holdover to BJJ. I wholeheartedly disagree with that.

Training the chest is important in Jiu-Jitsu because grappling as a whole involves a lot of pushing and pulling like mentioned previously.

While pushing someone away may not be as common as pulling someone close, it is still equally important if you really think about it.

5. Grip Training

Grip fighting is a precursor to the sweeps and submissions you normally see during sparring.

The art of getting your preferred grips is very important in Gi BJJ, it dictates the attacks that you can do, and in most cases, matches are won or lost depending on who gets the first dominant grip.

A good way to improve your grip is by doing exercises like farmer walks.