T Nation

Ferocious on the mat... and in the gym. How?

Fellow warriors, in the last few months, I began intensive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. I have quickly learned something that most of you fighters out there probably feel already: martial arts training and sparring are as important a part of your training as is lifting weights and blood n’ guts with iron. I love the experience of getting down on the mat and using the power I’ve gained from lifting weights to fight on the ground.
I’m just curious to know what you martial artists out there do to juggle the demands of weight training and the hardcore test of the body on the mat? I don’t use gear, and I eat healthy as can be. But in the last 4 months that I’ve been training both Jiu Jitsu and high volume, heavy lifting and the result has been some pretty good results in the gym but a lack of stamina in the Jiu Jitsu. That’s my chief concern; all the strength in the world doesn’t even exist when you’re out of breath and can’t “explode” with the power to maneuver. Anybody out there with experience on this matter know a good synthesis of Martial Arts while lifting hardcore? Any good exercises in particular that I need to be paying attention to? I currently train in Jiu Jitsu 5 days out of the week M to F, and lift 4 times a week (always before Jiu Jitsu in the day)Thanks for your attention!

I hope your BJJ classes aren’t 3 hours like mine used to be. If so I wouldn’t even dream of lifting on the same day, and definatley not before hand. I’m assuming your doing strength training. You answered your own question about your problem with no power for BJJ. Your weight training right before it, so your cns is all pooped out. Its just like prioritizing bodyparts, whichever one you do first will get the best results. So of course your lifting has improved and not your BJJ. Lifting before practice can have the advantage of keeping you from using strength instead of technique. You need to figure out why you’re lifting. Is it to supplement the JJ? Or is lifting more important? If you must lift on the same day, I would separate the two and give your cns some time to recover, and reduce the volume. Or don’t lift on JJ days and keep the volume the same. Your doing a ton of JJ in general though(I’m assuming your going one hour a day?)… I don’t think you need to fight that much, at least not with full intensity. I would devote one or two days to going all out (like non-lifting days, so you can “explode”), and the lifting days to technique. Chose which one is more important.

OK take it from someone who has been doing this game for a while. Your martial arts 5 days a week is gonna kill ya. I go 3 times per week, and use it almost as my cardio…I start to gain fat, I go 4 times a week…5 if needed…then cut back down to 3. Weight training…you HAVE to become instinctive. I hit full body on a 4 on 1 off split. However if I feel too sore…or have too many nagging injuries…I skip a day or two…and still see good gains…you HAVE to learn your body, and know that with the MA you will ALWAYS have 2 or 3 hurts, aches, twists or sprains at any one time…if you don’t, your not doing it right…lol. You will also learn the Murphy’s Law of Martial arts…your instructor somehow KNOWS your chest day…and he will make you do 100 slow pushups that day…and your arms will be trembling while the cute little hottie next to you breezes thru them…you look like a CHUMP! He also KNOWS your squat day, and that is the day he will specialize on leg work…once again you will look like a chump. Get used to it. Before your MA try to carb up about an hour or so before hand…it makes a big difference for me. I use basic Gatorade and a food bar (MetRX or powerbar…anything) it helps me to not hit a wall in the middle of training…but do not eat less than an hour beforehand or you feel like your gonna die when someone cranks one into your gut. Also a nice hit of androsol about 3 hours before gives you a nice nasty little edge to your training. Good luck to you…and as I said, you will learn to listen to your body quite a bit trying to do this balancing act…it isn’t easy!!

Go to Pavel forum and read up on Kettlebell traing. Basically explosive one arm snatches and over movements to train explosiveness and strength-endurance.

Also, your stength training should never make you sore are give you that “whipped” feeling.