So, you’ve been training Jiu Jitsu for a while and absolutely love it! However, you also want to become stronger and you figured out that BJJ, in and of itself, doesn’t help you too much in that regard. So, you decided to start lifting weights – giving a shot to the popular Stronglifts 5×5 program. But, how good of a program is 5×5 for Jiu Jitsu?
The 5×5 is a popular strength training program that’s focused on compound lifts – deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press and the barbell row.
These lifts are split up into two workouts: workout A and workout B, with each exercise being done for 5 sets of 5 repetitions (except the deadlift, which is done for 1 set of 5 repetitions only) with the same amount of weight on the bar. Workout A consists out of: squats, bench press and barbell rows, whereas workout B is made up out of: squats (yes, again), overhead press and the deadlift.
Then, the program is set up with the workouts being alternated three days per week. This means that you’d do workout A on Monday, workout B on Wednesday – and then workout A on Friday again; and then keep on alternating each day as they come. Each workout, you’re supposed to increase the weight in every exercise you’ve completed five reps at previously.
That’s about the basis of it! You can find out more about the 5×5 details on the following link: https://stronglifts.com/5×5/
WHY THE CLASSIC 5X5 IS NOT IDEAL FOR BJJ
Now, even though the 5×5 will pay off in great strength gains, a lot of grapplers complain that it takes too much of a toll on their bodies.
This is due to the fact that even though it doesn’t have too much volume to it, this program still places quite a bit of stress on your muscles and – especially – on your Central Nervous System (which is why you feel so tired all-over, even though your muscles don’t ache as much themselves).
What this means is that the 5×5 program may hinder your possibility to perform on the mats, rendering you unable to put your 100% into Jiu Jitsu – which is your primary goal, right? To become as best as possible in BJJ, with strength coming in as a bonus.
Therefore, the classic 5×5 can be difficult to integrate with BJJ. However, you can still do it – if you alter it so that it better fits your grappling goals, you can remain well-rested for Jiu Jitsu and get stronger in the same time!
Here’s our two recommendations. First, you can do the 5×5 only two times per week, so you can have that additional day of rest – which will help heaps in your recovery and still allow for great strength gains. This means that you won’t be alternating the workouts, but that workout A will stay reserved for Tuesday and workout B for Thursday, for example.
Our second recommendation is to continue with the original 5×5 training regime, but to squat only once per week. The original program requires you to do squats each day, which is a great stress-factor to your Central Nervous System.
So, if workout A is the first one in your week – eliminate the squats out of that workout. As you progress to the next week, with workout B now being the first day, throw out squats out of it and reinstate them into workout A… And keep doing that as the first workout of your week changes.
Go ahead, give it a shot! Continue making progress in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and keep getting stronger as well.
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