The fitness levels of BJJ fighters, and other similar sports, are enviable. I mean, these guys have to endure rounds of intense fighting in the ring. And fighting not only challenges them physically, but it also takes a lot of mental preparation and alertness. Sometimes strategies and tactics beat brute force. Other times, brute force wins. But either way, a commonality is how fit BJJ fighters have to be able to compete at their best. And in order to become the best, you would have to work hard towards this goal.
Here is the major secret to becoming a better BJJ fighter: You have to train like you actually want to become a better fighter. If you thought there was something like a special BJJ supplement for BJJ fighters or anything similar, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There are reasons why BJJ fighters embody fitness and one of these reasons is because of how they train. Intensive and consistent training sessions help them increase their strength, endurance, and fitness.
So, if you are ready to do what it takes to become a BJJ fighter by training hard, read on.
Tips on how to train like an BJJ Fighter
These tips are divided into three main categories. Each category is just as important as the other two, and you have to pay close attention to all three categories to get the best results. These three categories are:
- Discipline and Endurance Tips
- Training Regimen Tips
- Healthy training lifestyle tips
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Discipline and Endurance Tips
These tips would help you build your strength, power, and other physical attributes.
1. Focusing On Warm-ups
BJJ challenges you physically, and the intensity of workouts and training sessions you need to go through is very high. You may injure your body if you don't engage in warm-ups for about 10 minutes before the workout. The warm-ups are supposed to prepare your muscles for the high-intensity training ahead of you. That, and many other reasons, makes warm-ups important.
And when you are training, you have to be observant. If you find out that a particular workout feels too painful or does not feel right, don't push it. Stop it immediately. You may be risking an injury otherwise.
At the same time, don’t be eager to skip some particular workouts simply because they are tough. This is bad for your discipline in the long run. You have to keep trying until your body is familiar with the workout and it is not as tough as it used to be,
2. Focusing On Your Discipline
BJJ is not only a game of how strong you are. You don't expect to get into the ring and always brute force your way to victory. You would need an organized fighting style that has techniques and strategies to help you in fights. In other words, you would need to learn martial arts.
Professional BJJ fighters are excellent at martial arts. They have spent years practicing and getting better. So, if you want to look and train like them, you would need to register for a martial art class. The most common martial fights are Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Taekwondo.
If you have a BJJ gym close to you, you can learn any of these arts there. But if you don't, find a way to learn martial arts. As long as you are receiving instructions from an expert in the art.
3. Focusing On Your Endurance
Fighting is tiresome. But as a BJJ fighter, you would need to maintain your power for as long as you can for multiple rounds in a fight. Many games are not won in the first round or through TKOs. You would have to do the hard work of making it through all the rounds at the top of your game. And this is where endurance training comes in.
Aerobic exercises are great for building your endurance. While they may not improve your strength, they are definitely great at improving your lung capacity. To improve your power, engage in endurance exercises with a moderate load. Do them for about 20 reps (or up to 45 seconds) before resting for 30 seconds in between about 5 sets. Another training that improves your power is circuit training.
4. Focusing On Plyometrics
BJJ fighters need to be quick on their feet and be able to deliver explosive force almost at the same time. Otherwise, their faces would be sitting ducks waiting for the assaults of their opponents to hit home. They would not be able to avoid oncoming attacks in time to dodge or counter them. This is why plyometrics are important.
As a rule of thumb, have up to three plyometrics sessions in a week. Combine them with resistance training. And make sure you get enough rest (about 48 hrs) in between plyo sessions. Plyos are very intensive and your body needs enough time to recover in between sessions. Examples of plyos are lateral high hops, jump squats, side throws, single-arm throws, and bounding.
Make sure to do these exercises on soft surfaces like a turf or a mat if you don't want your knees and back to suffer from constant jumping on hard surfaces like concrete.
5. Focusing On Training Your Core
Your kicks, punches, and throws all generate power from your core. That, amongst many other reasons, is why you have to focus on training your core. Examples of core exercises are plank, ball push-away, strict toes to bar, dumbbell plank, panther shoulder tap, dead bug, highboat to low boat, jackknife, and hollow body rock.
Training Regimen Tips
These tips are meant to give structure to your workout sessions. Also, it is essential to keep abreast of happenings in the martial arts world.
6. Keep Your Workouts Short But Regular
You don't need to go for many straight hours of intense workouts. Instead, break your workouts into multiple sessions during the day. Doing your workouts in this way would keep you from burning out in the long run. Keeping your workouts short and regular is also likely to be more effective than long workout sessions over a long time.
In addition to that, don’t ignore your weaknesses. Dedicate a minimum of one workout to improving your weakness every week. BJJ fighters are not only trying to work on their strengths, but they also put a lot of effort into eliminating their weaknesses. They know that their weakness could be exploited in fights. That is why you too should invest some time and effort into eliminating your weaknesses. For instance, if you find that you need to be more agile, spend time on sprint workouts.
7. Make Weekly Schedules but Be Ready To Adapt To Attain Future Goals
You can't just wake up on a Monday morning and head to the BJJ gym to do any workout that catches your fancy. Well, you can, but you shouldn't. Instead, plan your workouts for next week towards the end of this week. This allows you to include all kinds of training and workouts while still leaving enough time to recover between sessions.
You should also have days when most of your workouts are dedicated to improving your strengths and other days when you would be working on your weaknesses. And when you are done with creating your schedule, show it to your coach or personal trainer to confirm that you have not made plans that are not best for you.
Your personal trainer should already know about your goals, long term and short term. This way, they may know how best to adjust your workout plans to achieve these goals. You also should be ready to adapt your plans, if need be, to achieve your goals. For instance, you may need to include more sparring sessions with a partner into your weekly sessions if you have an imminent match.
8. Don't Forget To Relax
It is important that you don't burn out. Looking or training like a BJJ fighter requires a lot of tenacity and endurance. If you don't rest to give your body enough time to recover, you would be risking injuries.
For best results, you can pick out a day every week for resting. If you would do any workout on that day, it would be something simple and mild.
Healthy Training Lifestyle Tips
Your diet is an important part of your training. These are some diet tips to get you going.
9. Always Stay Hydrated
Always have a bottle of water close by during and after your workouts. Your body needs a lot of it. BJJ fighters need to eat a lot of healthy food to get enough calories to power their intensive workouts, so they need to always take a lot of water to help hasten the digestion process. You should too.
As a rule of thumb, fighters should learn to drink up to 4 liters of water everyday.
10. Eat Healthily, Eat Often
You can only engage in intense workouts when you have the energy for it, and the best source of energy is still the food you eat. While you make weekly workout plans, plan your meals every week as well. Make sure your meals are high in carbs and protein on workout days. Every other day, you can live on light meals. Also, if you can, snack every two hours (nothing unhealthy).
In addition, go easy on protein supplements. Eat proteinous foods and supplement them with protein drinks or powders. This is because the supplements are not meant to replace actual food. You can mix them into your meals or take them in between meals. But never use them as alternatives to proper food.
11. Sleep Well.
Try to get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It would not only give your body enough time to recover from the workouts of the previous day, but it would also make you feel well-rested to take on the workouts of the next day.
There you have it. 11 tips on how to become a better BJJ fighter. Follow those tips diligently and watch as your body transforms into a BJJ fighting machine. Even if you don’t have a BJJ gym near you, you could still try home BJJ workouts. Don't let the absence of an BJJ gym get in the way of your getting better at the sport.