T Nation

Total Body Routine & BJJ?

Hey all,

I practice BJJ 3 to 4 days a week, 2 to 2.5 hours a day. With school and work, I don’t have a whole lot of time to lift, and may end up having to skip something on occasion (probably lifting, since I really like BJJ).

I was thinking of doing a total body routine instead of a split so it would screw me less if I ended up missing a day. I’m not sure, though, how to build a routine so I’m not too exhausted for BJJ. I was thinking 3x5, but I wasn’t sure if I would really see much strength gain (even going 2 - 3 days a week).

I’m looking for functional strength; my back needs a lot of work (I have difficulty posturing in someone’s guard when they are pulling me down, and I’ve injured my back in the past), and I would like to work on my quads as well (to help with sweeps). Hip strength is also pretty important. I’m 25 and 180 lbs.

Here’s the routine (all exercises are 3x5 with a 1x15 warmup, except chins and hip raises, which are 3xfatigue):

Super 1:
Front Squat

Super 2:
Hip Raise

Super 3:
DB Bench
DB Military Press

Thoughts? Thanks.

Age and Recovery ability will have an affect on what you can do.
My prior TBT:
Squat or Deadlift/Chins/Bench Press/Calf Raises

Let your goals dictate the order.
Also, figure out if your priority is muscle gain or BJJ. Then you can decide on what should encroach on the other energy/recovery wise.

BJJ is my priority–muscle gain is more to improve my game. That’s why I’m concerned about doing 5x5–I don’t want to be too tired/sore for BJJ and start developing bad habits.

But is 3x5 two or three days a week enough to see improvements?

3x5 two or three days a week is enough to see improvements.

Also, to better manage fatigue, pair up deadlifts with benching, front squats with pullups, and military presses with hip raises… whatever that is… and you might want to consider replacing it with ab work.

Then again, you might not, considering BJJ is really heavy in that department anyway.


Hip raise…leg raise…I dunno what they’re called… Basically I’d be hanging from the chin bar and pulling my knees up towards my chest. So yeah, works out the abs & hips.

[quote]akdms wrote:
I was thinking of doing a total body routine instead of a split so it would screw me less if I ended up missing a day.[/quote]
Good instinct. That’s the way to go.

Like Otep said, 3x5 does work fine for strength building.

How? Lifting, in BJJ, or something else? Are you 100% as of now?

[quote]Super 1:
Front Squat

Super 2:
Hip Raise

Super 3:
DB Bench
DB Military Press[/quote]

Front squat/deadlift supersets are bad mojo. There are better exercise pairing options, like Otep suggested. And I’d nix the hip raises. With the volume of rolling you’ll be doing, direct ab work will be redundant. You can build hip strength and power without necessarily doing ab work. Olympic lift variations work well for that.

Here’s a template I’ve used with some recreational (non-competitive) martial artists, lifting two or three days a week. Absolutely avoid going to failure on any set.

Workout One
A) Front squat 4x4-5

B) 1-arm dumbbell high pull 4x3-4

C1) Neutral-grip flat dumbbell press 4x4-6

C2) Romanian deadlift 4x6-8

D) Dumbbell rack walk 3x30 seconds
(Hold the dumbbells like you just finished a hammer curl, brace the dumbbells against the shoulders and walk for time.)

Workout Two
A) One-arm farmer’s walk 2x30 seconds (per hand)

B) Step-up 3x4-5

C1) Dumbbell jerk 4x3-4

C2) Bent 2-dumbbell row 4x4-5

For you, I’d also add back extension holds for time, done at the end of your general warm-up/beginning of each workout. Hold the top position of a back extension, so there’s a straight line from your neck to your knees. Aim for 2x30 seconds without weight. Once that seems “easy”, work up to 2x45 seconds without weight, and then add resistance.

Thanks again. I’ll give both mine (with Otep’s supers) and yours a try and see which feels best.

I’ve thrown out my lower back a couple times. The first was ripping a wall down, the most recent was when I tried getting back into the gym and I threw it out on a dynamic row (probably bad form both times–I’ll pay a PT to help me on those if I decide to do that again). I haven’t thrown it out doing BJJ.

And yeah, if anything goes the ab stuff would make sense. We do two or three minutes of crunches before class as warmup anyway–though probably not quite as good as hip raises, they’re at least getting worked out.