Photo: by Nec Bezmma Nomen. Written for BJJEE by Vladimir Popovic, black belt judo, brown belt bjj, master degree in sport science and exercise. Strength and condition coach, specialty – martial arts.
We talk a lot of about “cardio” in jiu jitsu. Of course, when we say that the person has “good cardio” we mean that he has good endurance. Many coaches and athletes agree that good endurance is probably the most important physical aspect of jiu jitsu. The most important part of jiu jitsu is technique of course, but after technique comes the strength and endurance. Of course, everybody knows that training is number 1 factor, and we agree of course, but it’s far from the only.
Let’s take a look what other factors can affect your endurance:
Genetics – Sound like cliché, but it is a very true. From genetics depends will you be a more muscular, strength guy, or quick, agile guy, or endure, long term guy. Fiber muscle (slow or fast) are given you with the birth, like your heart and lung abilities, your nerve system, psychological profile and many other thing.
Age – Biologically, the top of human endurance is about 20-25 years, but athletes in endurance sports are gaining the best results between 30-35, eventually 25-30 years old. This is because biology itself in not enough to be top athlete, there is technique, tactic, psychology that are very important in achieving top sport results.
Motivation and other psychology factors – Just like body and it’s performance is pretty much result of genetics (we mentioned it before), so head and mind are also. Someone is born to be impulsive and strong, and someone has head for long term activities.
Pain tolerance – Believe or not, this is according to studies one of the most important factor for endurance, and this is main reason why athletes in endurance sports achieve top results later than 20-25 years, when their body is at its biology peak for endurance. Their head is still not.
Rest – Of course, when you are rest, you can endure much more than you are tired with previous training sessions or competition.
Current health status – Health person will always have better cardio that person that is currently sick, ill, or has just recover from disease. We don’t mean on deathly and chronic illnesses, but on regular fever, infection, and other lighter sicknesses.
Proper nutrition – This is also one of the most important factors. Many studies shown that no matter how good athlete you are, strong, endure, technical, tactical, smart, brave etc. on empty stomach you are limited for good and long cardio for sure. Carbs are number one food for endurance, and complex carbs are better that simple. More you eat them, that’s better.
Hydration – Water is very important for endurance, because the longer activity lasts you are losing more water, and not just water but many minerals, vitamins, and other micro nutritients that are important for good cardio, because of many process that occurs during physical activity, in this case endurance training. Proper hydration should have ions of MG, NA, K, simple carbs.
Right supplementation – When you train to develop endurance, Beta alanine and cre alkaline are the top choices for you. BCAA is good choice for after workout. You have many supplement made just for developing endurance. Remember, you are interested in endurance for BJJ, not bodybuilding or power lifting, so choose proper supplements for that.
Climate conditions – The ideal temperature should be 18-23 degrees. Pressure, humidity, altitude and other factors should be in normal ranges also. The bigger differences from normal values result a lower physical condition and cardio.
Sport (technical) efficiency – No matter how good cardio you have if you use all of your strength in a small amount of time you’ll get tired. Sport efficiency is invested work/outcome. When we say work we mean on muscle contraction. The good efficiency is when you use all free energies (mistake of opponent, gravity, inertia…) and use less your muscle contractions, have good tactic, know then to attack, when to defend, when to rest and etc. Almost all top athletes have great sport efficiency.
Biorhythm – For example if you exercise every day in 20:00-21:30 pm, your body will adapt to train in that time, and you will have best results then (endurance, strength, speed, concentration etc.)
As we see, having a good cardio is not just roll, roll, train, train. Good cardio is combination of good training regime and good living habits. And a lot of knowledge and little luck ☺
We weren’t talking about training in this article because it deserves a special article just for that, so maybe next article will be “How to train to develop cardio for BJJ”. In case you have something to add, feel free to do it in comments. OSS guys!