Incorporating Swimming for the Grappler

Incorporating Swimming for the Grappler

Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter cascao vital and runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.

As a BJJ athlete, we are always looking for an edge. Well I say walk to that edge and jump in the water. Whether it be a lake, pool or ocean, working out in the water can really change the pace of the training grind all while bringing your physical performance on the mat up a notch.

The benefits of swimming are endless.

Not only does swimming offer great cardiovascular benefits, but it does so while being low impact, working on breath control and giving endurance work that taxes the full body. All of this while having the ability to work explosiveness and speed as well. Which one of those aspects are not directly used in BJJ?

The first step is to learn a few different styles of strokes.

Some of the top styles include, freestyle, butterfly and breast stroke, but there are some creative ones out there as well. One of those I call is the Navy Seal. Like a captive soldier on the sea who escapes, act as if both hands are tide behind your back and only use your legs to swim, while really controlling the upper body posture and timing when to come up for air. Be creative, because every style of stroke has its benefits. Some are suited for speed and endurance like the freestyle, while others like the breast stroke and butterfly are perfect for explosion. The water resistance becomes the perfect training tool for creating power and stamina.

The second step is to work on some basic swimming endurance.

Pick a stroke and build up your distance without worrying about the time. Start with a small distance of 250m or so, but break it up into sets if you have to until you can get the full distance without rest. Once the desired distance is reached, move on to another stroke and do the same. Work your way up to 700m-1000m of total swimming. Your training for grappling so anything longer then that distance or more then 30 minutes is unnecessary.

Once the endurance level is there its good to work in some speed and explosive work. Here we have a few options. Number one, pick one stroke, choose a distance that is not too long, 100-400m and time those swim sprints. Option two, build a circuit with multiple strokes and create distance and time goals. For example first 100m – freestyle, second 100m – Navy Seal, third 100m – butterfly, forth 100m – freestyle. Do 3-5 sets of this circuit with 3 min. rest in between. The options and combinations are endless.

Doing the same thing over and over lets our mind go stale and after a while our body actually stops responding and adapting to any type of training as well as it did in the beginning, so changing things up here and there can only help. Swimming takes a bit of practice, but the benefits will pay dividends. Get in, get wet and get working, osss.