In the culture of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, athletes are advised to keep exercising. The athletes practice jiu-jitsu every evening, lift weights every morning or vice versa, and do two training sessions a day at least five to six days a week.
If you exercise this way and still feel like you are not necessarily making progress because you:
Then you are most likely exercising too much.
Are you overtraining?
Many chronically overtrained athletes feel this way, and to top it off, they are frustrated because they cannot lose weight despite all the training.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a complex sport that puts a lot of strain on the nervous system.
It involves the constant activation of multiple muscle groups with both significant movements and small, subtle movements. Rolling around the gym can take up to eight minutes, and black belt matches last ten minutes. Hence, muscle endurance and cardio fitness are required to be explosive within this period. Hence, BJJ requires that all energy systems fire at one level or another.
Relax and repair the central nervous system
There are methods for better recovery such as ice baths, meditation, and good nutrition.
Deep sleep is one of the best ways to deal with overtraining because the central nervous system can relax and begin the repair process. Many people fail to understand that the nervous system takes much longer to restore than other systems such as the muscular system.
Due to the nervous system affecting the slow burning of muscles, it can affect the following:
- reaction time
- Grip strength
- Explosive force
Ironically, once our nervous systems are fried, it is hard to sleep, but it is what our bodies need most when we are continuously exercising to recover.
Although ice baths, meditation, and good nutrition all help mitigate some of the adverse effects of chronic overtraining, it will ultimately catch up if we do two intense sessions a day.
Structure and periodization
In order to be successful in the long term, the Jiu-Jitsu training in the region must be periodized and structured.
- If you want to train on the mat every day, days must be selected for hard rounds and other days for more fluid rounds, with the more technical aspect of the sport being the focus.
- Weight training should only be done about twice a week and should be done on the days you do flow rolls.
- Make the strength workouts count and do them with intensity. Then give your body time to recover.
- Don’t go to the gym and go over the moves just because you think you should – which so many of us do.
- Push yourself to get those gains and make every session count.
Perform on purpose.
Choose exercises that mimic movement patterns
In bodybuilding culture (why gyms came into existence in the first place), lifting began with the goal of building big muscles.
This type of lifting is not necessarily suitable for competitive athletes who need to train the compound movements of multiple muscle groups at the same time to maintain coordination or core strength for balance, strength, speed and muscle endurance.
Getting creative is key, so try to mimic BJJ’s movement patterns as closely as possible. Lateral thinking.
Here are some great exercises that can be done back to back that will benefit any competitive athlete.
2. Pull-ups with the Gi to increase grip strength
3. Kettlebell swings
4. Plank handles and variations
5. Stability ball exercises to increase proprioception
Training in a circuit-based format with little rest is ideal for building muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
Try to make significant full body movements that activate the core to build all total body strength, then spend the rest of the day resting if you can, or doing technique and flow rolls. Limit these effective and intense strength exercises to only about two days a week.
Allow yourself a full day of rest once a week so that your muscles, nervous system and joints can recover and recharge.
Start the following week hard and repeat. Adding rest will reduce your stress levels, which will help you stay lean.
Athletes who chronically overexert are heavily stressed and therefore hold on to body fat and water.
Exercise vigorously with less total volume, rest to relax and relieve stress, and you’ll get leaner in the long run.
In it in the long run
So that most of us can embark on this wonderful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey, we want to be there for the long term. You want to grow and keep your body healthy and strong by working out smarter, not necessarily harder.
To sum it up, aim for three hard BJJ sessions per week, two intense strength exercises per week, and one full day of rest per week.
This schedule gives you the rest you need to keep working towards your goals without fatigue or burnout. It will get you further along your path to a black belt as well.