So you’re thinking of going to the gym. That’s great! Weight training works as a fantastic supplement to your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training; it will not only make you stronger, but it will also help you stay injury-free for longer periods of time.
However, not all weight training exercises are made equal when it comes to becoming a better BJJ athlete… So which ones should you choose?
Chad Wesley Smith, owner and founder of the famed Juggernaut Training Systems, has just the right answers for you.
WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES FOR A BJJ ATHLETE
First and foremost, Chad emphasizes that there is not one single weight training exercise that is “the best” for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Instead, it’s a combination of different movement patterns that you need to integrate into your training routine which will make the difference.
There are 6 of them: squat, hinge, push, pull, twist, and carrying movement patterns.
Squat: essentially, any squat variation will do the trick. However, Chad says that you should choose a variation such as a Front Squat; mostly because of the continuous upper back and shoulder stress that your body endures during BJJ, to which Back Squats would be of no help. Don’t be afraid to throw in some unilateral exercises as well (neither here nor in any other movement pattern), such as the Bulgarian Split Squat.
Hinge: the classic hinge movement is a deadlift. It would be best that you do it with a T-Bar, but you can do other variations as well (if you know how to do them with proper technique). If the deadlift isn’t something you’d enjoy too much, then perhaps you can opt for the Barbell Hip Thrust instead.
Push: you’ve guessed it – the Bench Press is the best representative of this movement pattern. You may also add some Overhead Presses, either with a barbell or with dumbells.
Pull: the Bent-Over Row is likely the best back exercise that a BJJ athlete can do. Make sure to do it with a supinated (underhand) grip and to squeeze your shoulder blades on top of the movement, so that you get the most out of the exercise. And, of course, feel free to chime in with some Pull Ups as well.
Twist: there are a lot of twisting movements in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so you better build a stronger core for them. The Barbell Russian Twist works like magic in this case – and the medicine ball slams do so, too.
Carrying exercises: if you want to improve your grip strength, your hip and core stability, then exercises such as the Single Arm Farmers Walk, Sandbag Carries, and Kettlebell Front Rack Walk are going to do wonders.
Watch the video below for more information on how to go about these weight training exercises: