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Balancing strength training with jiu jitsu

Balancing strength training with my Jiu Jitsu training is no easy task.

On an average day, I might roll for 2 hours. Teach a couple of classes for another hour each, and maybe do a private lesson on top of that.

All that training can add up over the course of a week. Leading to many instructors and competitors to overwork themselves.

Whenever you over train or push your body too hard is exactly when bad things will happen.

Bad things like injuries that can keep you out of important competitions.

Why do strength?

I do strength training primarily to maintain my body in a good condition. Jiu Jitsu is a tough sport/art form.

It’s easy to get addicted to rolling and wanting to train every day.

But if you only train Jiu Jitsu your body can begin to break down. Allowing injuries to accumulate and imbalances in your body to form.

Have you ever noticed that many people only pass to one side? Or only play a certain guard position like lasso or De La Riva on one dominant side.

Doing strength will allow you to maintain your body.

Strengthening the muscles and ligaments thereby allowing you more longevity on the mats.

Especially, as I get older. I think a lot about how to prolong my body so that I can continue to enjoy what I love doing as well as keeping my quality of life high.

There are many champions out there that have abused their body with performance enhancers and chronic overtraining that I worry what they will do when they’re no longer be able to keep up with vigorous training.

My schedule

During the off season I like to dedicate more time to building strength.

That could mean doing basic weight lifting like squats, bench press, and deadlifts.

Or possible a combination of more body weight and gymnastic style workouts.

During this period, I also tend to loosen up on my diet eating more carbs and dessert. With my lifts, I also try to go heavy. Being sure to use proper form and to keep track of my progress.

Competition season

During the competition season balancing strength training with my tournament prep can be tricky.

When there is a week without a tournament I can push a little harder in the gym. Twice a week maximum.

But if it is a week with a tournament. I will often only do one session and rest the other session.

My workouts are less about building strength at this point. My focus is to maintain my body. So I might continue my basic weight training but will not go above my body weight.

I also try to add some more explosive movements into my routine to get my body prepared for the stress of a tournament.

Or if I feel tired. I will often focus on doing prehab. Building joint stability and avoiding pain and injury in those often overworked joints. Like knees and shoulders.

This basic focus helps keep me in the game and helps me recover faster if and when I do get injured.

Should you strength train?

In all honesty, I go back and forth on whether or not to do strength training. Some instructors believe that you only need to do Jiu Jitsu and you will get strong that way.

I believe this method works for some.

While others will spend hours in the gym.

As with everything I write. You have to experiment to see what works best for you. You might be able to strength train six days a week and make progress.

Or you might be so naturally strong that you don’t need to lift.

Figure out what works for you and fits best with you training and your goals and don’t stop.

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