T Nation

What Kind of Cardio to Do?


Hi guys,

I have heard a lot that you should first build a solid aerobic base before moving on to sprints and other anaerobic stuff.

Are there some sort of benchmarks to decide whether your aerobic base is solid, because i have no clue where i stand in my conditioning and i want to work on improving it overall , so looking for what to work on.


Are you doing it to drop body fat? Or to get fitter in general regardless of weight loss?

If your looking to drop fat then just jump straight in, its the struggling and feeling like your gonna die that’s gonna be effective. I think you can drop lots of fat without getting much fitter, and you can get much fitter without losing any fat.


Cardio is a great thing, but setting a goal or a milestone will change for everyone. Age, weight, and current fitness levels will play a major role, as well as your future goals.


No theres no bodyfat:), Want to up my cardio for Bjj.


I want to have professional athlete cardio and to be honest i have no clue where i stand atm and where to start. I don’t want to just start and do something even though i am already sort of doing that, but i made that mistake for long enough with lifting, so i need a program or solid guidelines.


If you’re looking to add cardio to increase your endurance for a sport, like BJJ, you should do jogging/swimming. Boxers and MMA fighters have to do road work, AKA running, as part of their training. If you have a regimented practice, you would do your road work in the morning, then your training later in the day. Typically, these runs are not very long or done at a breakneck pace because you want to be fresh to focus on your sport.

Examples would be to start jogging in the morning, working up to about 3-4 miles at a moderate pace. That cardio foundation would support your BJJ practice. If you want to do endurance workouts as stand-alones on some days, you can add TEMPO runs or sprints. Other options are sled drags, plyometrics, and agility drills.

To sum: Jogging in the AM as part of your consistent routine when training. More demanding sessions on days you’re not doing any BJJ if you want to elevate your endurance further.


A simple jumprope workout I’ve found can be great cardio, especially when done for an extended period of time. I’ve seen that for the most part, boxers and fighters use it for that and also the footwork aspect of the workout


Being in shape for a combat sport is much different then most sports. There really is no “milestone” aerobic test which would prove your in decent shape. For example, I know guys who run 3-5 miles a day, but can’t punch a heavy bag for 3 minutes. I also know fighters who have never done roadwork, but can fight hard for round after round. There is so much more then cardio, nerves, skill, and strength can all sap your energy.

If you are already in a BJJ gym then best way to test your cardio is to roll with someone. You will know where you stand after a couple rounds. The more your roll the better your cardio will get. If you need to add. SUPPLEMENTAL cardio into your program then do it. Good luck.


Agree that the best training for BJJ is rolling. However if you’re looking for a simple benchmark for aerobic fitness 2400 metre run is decent. Go to a 400m oval track. Run 6 laps for time. 10-11 minutes is decent for a reasonably fit non-runner.


Carry something from 50-300+% of your bodyweight a distance of 400-1,000,000 yards. Road work never helped my conditioning for combative sports. I needed to tax my upper and lower body at the same time. Also just roll more.