Source: Rich Mejias for BJJ.org
Does your routine look a little like this?
Monday: Chest and Triceps
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: Legs and Shoulders
Friday: Arms (you have to do arms before you go out to the bars or clubs)
We are all guilty of training in the bodybuilding style of working out, and there is nothing wrong with this style! That is if your goal is to look like a statue. If looking like a statue on the mat does not fit your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, then we will need to look into adjusting your programming style a bit to fit what your actual needs are.
Let’s look deeply into what any BJJ practitioner would need in order to improve their conditioning. Training to improve your BJJ game requires you to have strength in difficult situations. You may be required to maintain the guard position as your opponent stands up, you may need to lift you opponent during a double leg take down, or you may be asked to maintain top position while your opponent is trying to buck you off. All of these actions require TOTAL BODY STRENGTH! If your sport requires total body strength, why wouldn’t you train that way?
Everything that we do in BJJ requires us to use Total Body Strength. There is never a time on the mat where we are found just pushing our opponents away…when we push away we are looking to create space for a Judo Sweep or possibly regain some type of guard position. Doing all this requires Total Body Strength…so why would you feel the need to lie down on a bench and push 60lb dumbbells over your head? Does that sound like something that requires Total Body Strength? I THINK NOT!!!
This is why I, without a doubt, truly believe that every BJJ practitioner or Mixed Martial Artist should be training with equipment such as the TRX Suspension Trainer and Josh Henkin’s Ultimate Sandbag. Both are based upon changing stability and leverage to enhance strength and perceived load. In most cases, people tend to think that the only way to increase the level of difficulty in an exercise is to increase the load. This is not the case and far from the truth. Variables such as speed, range of motion, and complexes can take any workout to the next level. My favorite variable to use with my athletes is Complexes. A Complex is a series of lifts performed back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving on to the next lift. The piece of equipment that you are using only leaves your hands or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed…Now doesn’t this sound more like something you should be doing?
Here are two samples of Complexes that I use with my athletes:
TRX Chest Press x 10 reps
TRX High Row x 10 reps
TRX Single Leg Squat x 10 reps on each leg
TRX Skater Lunges x 10 reps on each leg
TRX Rollouts x 10 reps
Ultimate Sandbag Complex
USB Clean x 10 reps
USB Front Squats x 10 reps
USB Overhead Presses x 10 reps
USB Clean : Front Squat : Overhead Press (ALL COMBINED) x 10 reps
These Complexes can be used as the main part of your workout or what I like to call the “Finisher”. It really depends on the number of times that you look to complete it. You will find that this type of workout and training involves everything from strength, conditioning, explosiveness, etc. Being versatile and open to expanding the training to this level will not only help you achieve your fitness goals of getting into the best shape of your life, but also help with taking you BJJ game to the next level.
Here is another sample of a complex that we the Ultimate Sandbag is used :