How to train for a BJJ competition: 8 weeks competition training program

Posted in Inside BJJ. Strength & Conditioning Coach Leo Frincu to put together a basic 8 week training program for a normal (think non-champion) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor.

As we all know, if we want anything to work, we need structure. A great training program will be successful because it is properly planned and structured. Training for a competition requires a commitment to the direction given by trainers and coaches and also personal diligence and focus. You need to write down your training plan before every training camp. Having your weekly training written down will take away any confusion about what your training program looks like for the week.

You must begin the 8 week training program already in decent physical condition. If you start in good physical condition, the 8 week program is enough to achieve peak form for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament.
Eight weeks is long enough to push at your maximum capacity without getting burned out. As you kick off the training program, you must mentally enter into a phase of giving one hundred percent every training session. As weeks pass, it will be difficult to mentally sustain extreme intensity every training session and your chance of injury will increase substantially.

In the first 6 weeks, you need to focus intensely on strength, conditioning, and of course, mat time. The question is, where do you fit all these components in?

First, you need to asses what you need to work on the most. Do you need more conditioning? Do you need to get stronger? Do you need more mat time? Do you need all of the above? Focus on areas you need improvement in first, then go down the ladder and include all the aspects of your training.
Everything needs to fit like a puzzle.

Example Program
Training session should be under an an hour and a half. As your training intensity increases, and you’re more prone to injury. It might sound strange, but sometimes its better to do less to accomplish more.
Rest and nutrition are very important factors during the 8 weeks of training. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest and you’re eating enough to sustain an intensive training program. I also suggest a vitamin and mineral supplement during this training period. Intake of vitamins and minerals in liquid form is a more effective way to get these supplements. In liquid form, vitamins go straight into the blood and muscle tissue.

Weeks 1-6

Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the morning involving live matches with different partners at a high intensity.
In the evening perform a strength training program. Strength training should include power weight lifting combined with Olympic weight lifting such as: clean & jerk, squats, bench press, dead lifts, rows, etc etc.
By splitting the program into two different sessions, you’ll be able to better focus and give 100% effort for each session. At this level of intensity, sessions must be broken up with several hours in between order to give the muscle and connective tissue an opportunity to recover.
Watch your diet closely. A nutritional deficiency will become apparent over the 8 week period.

Running/speed intervals combined with conditioning strength training and high intensity circuit training. Your heart rate is elevated the entire training period and you’re improving your conditioning and strength as well.
In the evening you can focus more in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques with medium intensity involving only two live high intensity matches.

Since Wednesday follows two full days of training, you’ll only train once today. Remember, rest is part of your training as well. You need to give your body the chance to recover. Today, you can choose to train things you need to improve. It can be strength, conditioning, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or a little bit of everything.

Follow same plan as Monday
Follow same plan as Tuesday
Choose an area you need improvement. You can choose strength, conditioning or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Feel free to mix and match your training on this day.

Week 7
Week 7 and 8 are for healing and getting the body and mind ready for the tournament. Remember, your training is done. If you haven’t got into shape by the end of your first 6 weeks, it’s almost impossible to accomplish great form in the last two weeks of training. Week 7 and 8, you need to slow down and rest more. The last two weeks are for last minute improvements which are typically in your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game and maintaining what you’ve accomplished in the past 6 weeks.
During the first 6 weeks of training, your body takes a serious beating. Now it’s time to let it rest and absorb as much energy as possible.
Your training should consist of the following.

In the morning, you can start with some weight training combined with conditioning. You can still push at 80% intensity but you don’t need to give 100% anymore. Remember, your training is done by now. You’re entering into a different phase, the tournament phase.
Evening training should consist of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques with 75% intensity matches. All you have to do is stay healthy. You came out of 6 weeks of intense training without any injuries, you want to keep healthy.

Today, you’re only going to train once. Pick anything you’d like to work on more or that needs improvement. This can be all aspects of your training put together. However, the intensity should not pass 75%-80%.

Follow same plan as Monday

Follow same plan as Monday or Tuesday

Train something easy and fun. Get your mind off serious training and have a good time.
It can be rolling with your teammates with technique, easy training, or anything you want.

Week 8
Keep it light. You don’t need to push anymore. Training is done. Focus on resting and light training. Listen to your body. If you feel you can do more, do it. If you feel tired and burned out, take it easy and get more rest.
Week 8 you train once per day and mostly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Keep it light and work on fighting strategies. Your focus this week is on competition day.
Remember, your competition day is what matters. It is the reason you have trained. You are not training just to be trained. You are training for the competition. You want to feel rested and energized and not tired and burned out.
I hope this is helpful and I wish you good luck. If you’re trying to lose weight for your competition, the training program is a little different. I will cover more about that topic next time. Thank you.

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