Guest blog from partner Electrum Performance
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an incredibly demanding sport. It taxes both energy systems (aerobic and anaerobic) and requires a mix of strength and mobility. In other words, a BJJ athlete must manage a physical game of chess to be successful.
So how do you know what to prioritize in the weight room? And more importantly, how do you improve without leaving yourself so gassed that you can’t focus on your mat-specific sessions?
The team at Electrum Performance has worked with BJJ athletes at the highest level for years to fine tune the answers to these questions.
Our Strength & Conditioning Objectives
Our first objective is to make our clients more resilient so that they’re sidelined from injury less often over the course of their jiu-jitsu career.
Our emphasis on strength training over too much range of motion (ROM) can work to directly decrease the chance of injury. While there is a common trope of “strength vs. technique” in BJJ — as if these 2 traits are mutually exclusive — we know that building strength in an intelligent manner makes our clients more resilient.
More resilience means more mat time throughout the year. And more mat time means better technique.
Focus on a Physiological Variable
At the same time, we write each program with a specific physiological variable in mind. This variable is one that we have identified as crucial for success on the mats, for example:
- Aerobic base
- Glycolytic capacity
- Isometric strength
- Maximal strength
By focusing on a specific variable throughout 4-8 weeks of training, we can track and make considerable gains in that department so we can be sure that we’re putting time and effort into our specific needs.
Your Ideal BJJ Training Schedule
A common question we get is, “How do I schedule my workouts around my training schedule?” The answer that it depends.
Before we get into specific examples, don’t let what is optimal get in the way of what is practical for you and your life. If that means doing things out of order due to your work schedule or having to go lighter in the weight room so you don’t have to skip days — that’s fine!
The most important variable is consistency, so try to prioritize that above all else.
Casual BJJ Athlete Schedule
If you are a hobbyist and have multiple days per week where you don’t train jiu-jitsu, fit your strength and conditioning sessions into days where you don’t train BJJ. This will allow maximal recovery between training sessions, allowing you to fully apply yourself whether you’re on the mats or in the weight room.
Serious BJJ Athlete Schedule
If you train 5 or more days per week, switching off on different days is impossible.
In this scenario, we will need to occasionally lift and train BJJ in the same day. When you have to do this, aim to have a few hours between the 2 so you can manage eating and recovering somewhat.
Since we’re training for jiu-jitsu, it would make sense to have your mat time come before the weight room.
Electrum Performance Program Overviews
Want to improve your performance on the mats, but don’t have access to a full gym? If you have a barbell and some plates, look no further!
This is a 3 day per week, well-rounded program that is effective despite limited equipment. Expect a healthy mix of movement patterns with an emphasis on compound (multi-joint) movements that give you the best bang for your buck.
Due to the efficacy of these movements, we don’t need to perform a whole lot of exercises, but you can certainly expect to see your strength improve throughout the plan.
This is a great choice for beginner or advanced lifters and is ideal for anybody with a home gym.
Our aerobic and glycolytic energy systems are a large part of what is considered “conditioning.”
In this 4 day per week plan, we will focus on these 2 energy systems while focusing on the hinge movement pattern.
While steady state cardio may not be the most fun, it allows us to experience better recovery between rounds on the mats. It can also enhance our recovery between training sessions.
You do not need to push this modality extremely hard, especially if you are already getting a significant amount of mat time. While performing steady state cardio, you should be at a pace where you can manage to talk with some effort.
The hinge pattern is mostly covered between our snatch grip RDL, conventional deadlift, and kettlebell swings this month. These are great exercises to develop total body strength and even contribute to finishing mechanics in many submissions.
While these can be brutal exercises to focus on, they pay some of the best dividends once you manage to make some consistent progress. Try to hit the deadlifts when you’re as rested as possible, and enjoy pulling some heavy weight!
This is an evidence-based approach to building your glutes led by strength coach Alex Sterner.
You won’t just learn the same techniques that have been regurgitated over and over online. Alex has worked with hundreds of physique athletes with the specific goal of building the glutes. He acquired his experience operating the Glute Lab by Bret Contreras, the world’s foremost expert on glute training.
He spent a lot of time training clients and growing their glutes, but he was also being actively trained by Bret at the same time. They conducted monthly reviews on emerging glute research and were constantly testing and refining techniques to give clients the most effective tools to accomplish their goals.
The culmination of these efforts was the 4 day per week Grow Your Glutes program. It is a different training approach from what you’re used to, so expect to see different results than what you’ve seen in the past!
Everyone knows that it’s important to train your core, but there are 2 major hurdles:
- Many of us don’t like training our core.
- There is no conclusive definition of what the “core” is or how to best train it.
At Electrum Performance, we like a very inclusive definition:
A core exercise is any movement that challenges the stability and bracing of the “pillar” of our body — the shoulders, spine, and pelvis.
This 3 day per week plan includes some of our favorite compound movements, followed by exercises that stress your pillar in unique and fun ways that will transfer well to your stability and safety on the mats.
Electrum Performance Programming in the SugarSHOP
Ready to start your next training regimen? Check out our individual programming available in the SugarWOD Marketplace.