The Truth About Conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Truth About Conditioning for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Part 1 – Strength Training for BJJ

Conditioning is one of the most important aspects of your training. You need to have the necessary physical abilities to perform at your best during competition or training sessions. If you don’t condition properly, then you will not be able to compete effectively and possibly injure yourself or others.

You may think that conditioning is just another way of “working out” but it’s much more than that. Conditioning works with the mind and brain in order to develop the right mental attitude and mindset to succeed in any activity. Conditioning is not only a means of improving your performance, but also developing your overall health and well being.

I’ve been doing some research into the subject of conditioning and I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you today. There are many different types of conditioning, but they all fall under one main category called strength training. Strength training is defined as the use of resistance (such as weights) in order to improve muscular endurance, power, speed and agility. A good example would be running sprints or weightlifting exercises.

Overall, there are 7 recognized types of strength training. They are:


Strenuous endurance

Muscular endurance

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Dynamic strength

Static strength

Balance and proprioception

Flexibility (which is technically not strength training)

In this post I will focus on powerlifting, strenuous endurance and muscular endurance. I will post a follow-up article on the remaining types of strength training.

Powerlifting is defined as the maximum amount of weight one can lift from a dead stop to complete muscular failure. It involves exercises which target various muscle groups such as the back, chest, legs and arms. Powerlifting is an excellent way to build strength, power and muscular endurance for grappling arts such as brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo and wrestling.

Strenuous endurance is considered the amount of effort put forth in a given activity. This type of training is very similar to that of powerlifting as it also involves weights and builds strength, power and muscular endurance. The difference with strenuous endurance is that it can be performed for longer periods of time without attaining complete muscular failure.

The two types of strenuous endurance are anaerobic and aerobic.

Anaerobic training is a form of strenuous endurance training that involves short, intense bursts of exercise for activities such as sprinting, weightlifting and HIIT.

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Aerobic training is a form of strenuous endurance training that involves prolonged moderate levels of activity such as jogging, cycling and long distance running.

Muscular endurance is the proper combination of strength and endurance. This means that you are able to lift a lighter weight for a longer period of time.

These are the first two strength training types that you need to focus on. These two types of strength training will get your body used to moving heavier objects which will, in turn, make the other types of strength training (powerlifting and strenuous endurance) much easier.

In part 2 of this series I will discuss the remaining types of strength training which include balance and proprioception, flexibility and other miscellaneous types.

Until then, keep on training.

To learn more about strength training check out the Strength Training 101 Now it’s time to put that new-found knowledge into practice.

1) Pick a type of strength training (powerlifting, strenuous endurance or muscular endurance).

Pick ONE. I highly recommend you start with muscular endurance because it is the foundation of all other types of strength training.

2) Buy a weight lifting manual such has Charles Poliquin’s Strength Ratio.

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Read the entire book. Yes, I mean every last word.

3) Buy some weights and Olympic lifting shoes.

4) Follow the instructions in Charles’ book on how to begin your training.

Stop when you realize that you don’t understand something. Go back to step 2 and read that part again. Once you finally understand everything in the book, move on to your first workout.

You have now completed your first strength training workout. Congratulations! Now that you’ve finished one cycle of training, you will notice several changes in your body. Some are good and some are bad.

Let’s start off with what’s bad first, because there’s not much of it. Your body will undoubtedly be sore in places that you didn’t even know could get sore. Your muscles will probably feel overworked, tired and a bit stiff. This is all normal so don’t worry about it.

Sources & references used in this article:


Physical conditioning in mixed martial arts: from evidence to practical experience by I Jukic, L Milanovic, A Hopovac, M Filipovic… – IN COMBAT …, 2016 –

Míra prožívání stavu flow v Brazílskem Jiu Jitsu Flow experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by MJ Kohoutková, M Pavol –

Long Term Effects of A Lifetime of Grappling Competition Training by G Simco – 2005 – Citadel Press

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: A Tool For Veteran Reassimilation by I Djokovic –

Training and Conditioning for Judo by GL Collura – 2018 –

Critical Thinking, Pedagogy, and Jiu Jitsu: Wedding Physical Resistance to Critical Thinking by A Broussal-Derval – 2020 –

Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power by A White, D Sanow, T Elder, J Funston –