Bodybuilding & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Can They Go Together?

Bodybuilding & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Can They Go Together?

So you want to do bodybuilding and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the same time. Sure, you may not want to take the „bodybuilding“ word too seriously, but the matter of fact stays the same: you want to gain muscle. While training Jiu-Jitsu simultaneously.
But could this be done? Can these two very different disciplines coexist at a high level?



The short answer is, unfortunately, no. You cannot do bodybuilding and BJJ at a high level simultaneously. If you truly want to get better at any of them, your focus has to be on what you chose… You can’t chase two rabbits at the same time and hope to catch any one of them.

So, you have to make a decision. Which of the two disciplines is most important to you? Hopefully your answer is going to be „Jiu-Jitsu“.
And if Jiu-Jitsu truly is your answer, then there are some things that you could do to ensure long-term muscle growth; without suffering from injuries or a lack of progress on the mats. Just don’t expect fast and huge results. This is a long, but steady road you’ll take.



The best thing you could do for your muscle growth and Jiu-Jitsu at the same time is to follow a strength training program. Focus on compound lifts (Deadlift, Squat, Overhead Press, Bench, as well as Pull-Ups, Pushups, etc.), and on training programs such as the 5×5 and 5-3-1. Both are fantastic programs for increasing strength, which’ll yield to better BJJ and less injuries.

When you’re done with your strength workout for the day, throw in a couple of accessory exercises that will help you build muscle. For example, Barbell Rows or Tricep Extensions.
Do these for the count of 8-10 repetitions and no more than 4 sets. This range is ideal for hypertrophy (muscle growth)… But you’ve got to pay attention to one very important thing.



You need to watch out for volume at the gym. If you go overboard with the number of sets and reps, you’re going to burn out and your Jiu-Jitsu will take a hit. Therefore, you must find the middle ground which will enable you to get a reasonable pump – all the while not feeling totally spent after training.

To figure out what this middle ground represents to you, you should play around with the number of reps and sets. You should also play with how heavy you go.
Pay careful attention to how your body reacts and feels after these training sessions. Keep a notebook nearby, to jot down the changes you’re making in your workout routine and how you feel after following them.

Altogether, after some time and experience, you’re going to find an approach which enables you to keep lifting (and adding muscle) without feeling fatigued for Jiu-Jitsu.



Not one person can be serious about building muscle and training BJJ if they don’t care of their diet and rest.

You’ve got to eat a lot if you want to build muscle. Make sure that you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning – and that these calories come from protein, carb, and healthy fat-rich sources. Also, don’t be afraid to add in a bit of whey protein for muscle recovery here and there.
Sleep. A lot. There’s nothing that can substitute it. And also, try not to do lifting and Jiu-Jitsu on the same day. Try to have at least a 12 hour space between the two (ideally it should be 24h), so as to recover and perform properly on the mats.