JiuJitsuMania IBJJF Mundials 67

Structuring Your Mat Workouts for BJJ

Making The Most Out Of Your Time On The Mat: A Game Plan for BJJ Workouts That Gets Results

By: Joe Mullings

There are many components to your Jiu Jitsu game – positions, techniques, strategies and of course your level of strength and conditioning. How you develop your strength and conditioning workouts will depend on a few key factors:

  • What are your goals?
  • Are you preparing for a specific event such as a tournament?
  • How much time per week do you have?
  • What are your resources in regards to facilities, equipment and training partners?

Prioritizing your activities will be determined by how you answer the questions above. If you have the luxury of being able to commit all of your time to preparing for a tournament, your workouts will be vastly different than a person who has a more limited time budget. If you have a full time job and family commitments, you will need to set your training priorities quite differently. Perhaps you are not competing, but instead, just want a workout to compliment your Jiu Jitsu game so that you have a little more gas when you roll, and a little more strength to nail those ‘hard to get’ positions. No matter what anyone says, strength does matter in Jiu Jitsu.

Having said that, nothing replaces time on the mat rolling Jiu Jitsu. That trumps all workouts. That means that if you have limited time, you should be rolling Jiu Jitsu. Now that doesn’t mean just all out “rolling” for a 10 minute matches with your buddies time and time again. What it does mean is structuring your “on the mat” sessions with specific goals and outcomes in mind. Below are some suggestions for your “on the mat time”:

  1. Pick positions you find yourself in most often, both offensive and defensive, and work “live” from there. Develop 3 or 4 attacks and once you either score, sweep or are scored on, return to that position and start over.
  2. Commit to a number of structured “rolls” for one minute scrambles. Where you go hard and fast without stopping in any position to buy time or to settle in. Do these as a1 minute roll, with 45 seconds rest in between. Try and work up to 6 or 7 of these. They are tough.
  3. Allow your training partner to lock you down in either side control, mount, or take your back with full hooks in – his goal being to not let you out under any circumstance. You in turn, need to power out of these positions with a mix of strength and technique, but you cannot stop moving until you escape.

You can then always follow-up your workout with a few “rolls” if you have anything else left. Try this workout for a few weeks and see how it greatly improves your game. In a follow up article, we will discuss specific workout sessions using resistance training, speed drills and interval training to add more strength and power to your game.


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