Building Work Capacity for BJJ

My name is Ryan Goyette. I’m a 25 year old Brazillian Jiu Jitsu competitor. I’m a multi-time IBJJF Open Medalist, Grappling Industries Gold Medalist, Texas Grappling Games Gold Medalist, all with about a year’s experience in competition.

There’s a lot of BS out there on how to perform in season strength and conditioning training for BJJ competition. Some say to run 7 miles a day, some say to lift heavy, some say to train only BJJ, and others tell you that you only need a kettlebell. Frankly, an overabundance of information is as useful as no information, so today I want to share with you my general format for in season strength training.

I break my planning down into three essential questions. First I ask, what are the major movements of my sport, and what are their given intensities? What is the duration of these given movements? How can I replicate these movements in a comprehensive and complimentary manner? Everybody’s training methodology is different, but I structure my strength throughout the week to 2 days standing specific, and 2 days ground specific, and 1 day a mixture of both. I achieve this primarily through weight training, plyometrics, and calisthenics.

My standing specific training blocks are lower body intensive. This ranges from barbell squats, box jumps, deadlift variations, and a myriad of lower body accessory work. Ground specific involves core training calisthenic exercises, weight training exercises, and hip training exercises like abductions and adductions with resistance. And the mixture day is a primarily upper body workout with bench press, calisthenics, and machines.

There is a limitless combination of effective exercises ranging in specificity for the given sport, but your exercise selection doesn’t matter in the slightest if you aren’t utilizing a proper working volume and tempo. With my major movements (i.e. deadlift variations, squat variations, upper body lifts, etc.) I pick one exercise, and I perform five repetitions with about a 40-50% 1RM intensity. I perform as many sets as possible with 30 seconds rest between each set. This becomes very intense, however it is very effective. It builds strength, stamina, skill efficiency, and much more without taxing the nervous system like heavy lifting does.

I then like to add about 4 to 5 assistance exercises. 3-4 of them will involve weights, and the final exercise is exclusively a conditioning event. For the weights, I like to keep the volume to about 3 sets of 30 repetitions, with a one minute break between sets. For the conditioning portion, I like to start with a two minute warm-up on say a rowing machine, or an airodyne bike and follow it up with 5-6 ten second sprints on the minute, and finish with 3-4 sprints every 30 seconds, taking note of my wattage.

There are many questions yet to answer but for those of you who are tired of hearing advice from your fat uncle, I have provided a much better alternative.

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