T Nation

Workouts For Judo


Good morning T-Nation.
I've recently started judo classes having been attending classes for approx two months.

I know martial arts is about technique and speed not strength. But add strength to those factors and you have one mean fighter.

My question is what are some muscle areas I should be focusing on and what are some good workouts?

Thanks. Jason


Consider the aspects of sport, strength in judo is important since throwing, pinning, lifting, pushing etc requires a player to overcome their opponent's resistance.

Development of absolute strength will positively affect muscular endurance and should positively affect power as well.Speed of movement as used in Judo skills will be developed through the elimination of superfluous and inefficient movement, and through the development of efficient neuromuscular pathways. Speed can also be improved through reaction and plyometric drills

problem is this depends or your current level of conditioning and if you weight train currently, a decent strength base would be needed to be built before you can look at strength and conditioning specifically for judo.

for this i recommend a program like Joe Defranco's west side for skinny bastards part I or II


and this one despite being a vert article works well for all over strength work



there are other threads on this subject but they dont turn up much



hope this helps.




A strongman buddy of mine who works with alot of martial artists has had good results focusing on: hips, grip, explosiveness.

So, all sorts of deadlifts, farmer's walks, thick bar work, sandbag work, and olympic lift variations are going to be key.

I like DeFranco's Westside for Skinny Bastard's, like Wayland mentioned. But also, his Strongman for Athletes would be another great option (if you can improvise the equipment).


As already stated, grip and lower back/hip strength is key in judo. The exercises that worked best for me were deadlifts but especially stiff-legged ones, weighted pullups and weighted dips, rows and presses. The deads and pullups will build great grip strength but also try and add some work with grippers and wrist rollers. Best of luck.


Not according to "Sifu."

(He's a poster on this site)


Excellent post!


I a Q/A DeFranco had a sample grip training template where he did one grip exercise per day, Mon-Friday. Only one per day, always a very different exercise to avoid overtraining the grip, which is easy given how it is worked in other exercises as well.


Greetings from a fellow judoka.

There's some good advice on this thread, so I'll just add some more suggestions:

towel pullups - if you want to be more judo specific, try using your gi instead of the towels. Works wonders for the grip. Farmers walks are also excellent.

High-rep dumbbell/kettlebell swings, snatches and clean & presses.

Burpees are essential, they have a tremendous carryover to judo. Do them in different formats - ladders, 30 sec on/off etc.

I don't know how your classes are organized, but we occasionally do 10-20 burpees immediately before randori as a pre-exhaust method.

That was just some random and homefully useful stuff from me.



Don't get too involved in strength training right now. Sure twice a week or so is good, but your main focus should be on technique at this point until you become more advanced. At that point you can train for all those external factors and really be good. If you focus too much on strength now you'll try to power through all your techniques instead of learning the way to do them correctly.


Martin Rooney did an interview over at elite with Dave Tate. In it he talks about sledge training. he's done some great sledge hammer work with olympic judoka. It's on his dvds and I saw it at a seminar with one of the judo guys.
Martin himself is a learning judoka and he loves the sledge.


yeah gi hangs and gi chin ups are a bloody good worker for grip for judo have been doing them for a while now and after doing a few sets of them your hands feel like they have doubled in size.