This Exercise Is Arguably The Best One For Grapplers

This Exercise Is Arguably The Best One For Grapplers

Guest post by Mark Kislich from www.Judoperformance.com

There are many, many useful exercises for this sport, but in my opinion nothing beats the king of all lifts: the DEADLIFT.

Why? Simple.

  • Deadlifts strengthen your neck: judo = check.
  • Deadlifts strengthen your upper back: judo = check.
  • Deadlifts strengthen your grip like heck: judo = check.
  • Deadlifts strengthen your lower back: judo = check.
  • Deadlifts strengthen your hamstrings: judo = check.


All these body parts are strengthened extremely, in one single exercise. And all are super important for our chosen sport.

Now, is everything taken care of by just doing deadlifts? Of course not.

A comprehensive Judo strength and conditioning program is rather complex and multifaceted.

Power clean, full squats, pullups, special grip and neck strengthening exercises, shoulder health and performance drills, the list goes on.

And of course to make optimal progress, all this needs to be combined within a professionally designed and periodized program.

BUT, having said all that, if you’re a little strapped for time, can only do a short workout but want to get the biggest bang for your training buck?

Deadlifts are your man, any time, any place.

And to make the workout (nearly) complete, just add a few sets of chins or pullups at the end. BOOM! Ippon.


Get stronger at the deadlift, and your judo will improve.

But how do you do that, you ask?

Well, here is a super simple and effective program that, done just twice a week, will get you judo-strong fast.


Week 1

Monday and Friday: Standard Deadlift, 5×5, Wide Pullups ()palms facing away from you, wider than shoulder-width grip) 5×5.

Take 2-3 minutes rest between sets, use a weight that allows strict form, but is challenging you. If all sets are completed with full reps (in this case 5), the weight was on the light side.

5 reps fall into approximately the 85% range of your 1 rep max in the lift.

A typical workout should look like this:

Set 1: 5 reps Set 2: 5 reps Set 3: 4 reps Set 4: 3 reps Set 5: 3 reps. Same for the chin ups. All this means is that you stay at the same weight for the next workout, and until full reps are reached on all sets with that weight.

Then it’s time to raise the weight by some 5-10%. That is the principle of progressive overload, correctly applied.


Week 2

Monday and Friday: Sumo Deadlift 5×10, Close Chins (3 inches between your hands, palms facing you) 5×10.

Here the weight is significantly lighter, about 75% of your max. Rest intervals are at 2 minutes only: that’s enough.

Here are videos of lifters using the standard deadlift (video 1) and the sumo variation (video 2).


OK good luck and have fun,

Mark, GrapplersHealth.com

Marcelo Garcia is a 9-time World Champion and known for getting to the back and finishing with the rear naked choke, even against much bigger opponents. This four-part system covers taking the back, jumping back takes, maintaining back control, and finishing from the back. Learn Marcelo Gracia's famous Back Attack System. USE PROMO CODE "BJJEE TO GET 10% OFF.