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Strength Program for Submission Wrestler

I’m a competitive submission wrestler and bjj player and I’m thinking about taking a few months off from grappling. In effect, I’ll be creating an off-season so I can focus on strength and conditioning.

My primary goal is simply to get much stronger and secondary goal is to increase my anaerobic fitness. I can afford to gain up to 10lbs., but not much more due to weight class concerns.

I think I've come up with a good anaerobic interval program, but I need a strength program to go with it. I want to train strength 4 days per week and emphasize deadlifts, chins, and rowing movements because I've found they carry over well to grappling. If anyone could give me a steer in the right direction I'd much appreciate it.


Don, I suggest you contact Coach Davies. The Renegade will almost definitely be able to help you with all of your goals.

In the mean time, you should read the following article for the basics:


Hope this helps.

2nd what John said. If you want a specific program to leave you with zero weak points it can only come from a Renegade program. I know there are several Renegade mentors that are into your sport. Careful what you wish for…

I find goodmornings are great exercise for bjj.

hell yea im lookin into takin up bjj next year and gm’s are one of my fav excercises. btw if you dont go the davies route it seems to me that squats might be integral for knee health (tendon strength and such).

Definitely go with Renegade Training.

I am a submission wrestler as well. If I had to train with an off season I would spend a great amount of time on working stabilization and core strength exercises and just continue with my basic exercises Squat,Bench Deadlift,Chins,Ham Raises and Neck Work when my time was more limited. I would definitly add plyometric drills in there as well since the time is available.

What is your experience in Grappling? I would never stop grappling and train with weights only hoping for a performance carryover from the weight training. Do both.

I hit Squat, Bench, Hams and Neck one day.
I hit Deadlift, Chins, Hams and Neck on another.

This is almost to much weight training when your grappling. You can work 20’s or more in the exercises if you want the anaroebic effect. But if you are used to hard sparring you will find it challenging to get the heart racing even with high rep Deads or Squats.

I have only time for two weight training days a week. This has worked well for me and my training partner. I would love to do more specialized exercise but when training the grappling daily it is too hard for me juggle a more than full time job and family so two weight workouts a week have proven effective.

I am also a wrestler. Some lifts I see omitted but have found great carryover with are reverse hypers, saxon side bends, and neck work.

The more I think about it, the more I think that taking a few months off is probably a bad idea. Any gains in strength and conditioning will probably be balanced by losses in technique.

If I keep up my mat training, it really only leaves me with 2 days per week to lift and work on anaerobic conditioning. I’m thinking about a split like this:

Day 1 - Extended-range deadlifts, front squats, bench press, weighted chins, one-arm DB rows, abs

Day 2 - Extended-range deadlifts, military press, bent-over rows, glute-ham raises, weighted chins, abs

The weight training days would be at least 2 days apart, preferably 3. The idea is to emphasize the lifts that seem to help my grappling the most - deads, chins and rows, while still including some squats, presses, abs, and g-h raises.

I would periodize the reps and sets, but stay in the max strength range (1-5 reps) most of the time, except for db rows, bench presses, and abs, where I would alternate hypertrophy and max strength protocols in order to build some lactic acid tolerance. I would also do some sprint interval training after each strength workout.

What do you think - a reasonable plan?