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Grappling Technique You don't know a heel hook from a toe hold, and that's why you need to come here.

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Old 03-12-2013, 06:28 PM   #1
lagrapple

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Training frequency: less is more?

Preface my comments with I'm a BJJ blue belt, 30 years old, and I have a full time job.

So for the past year or so, I had subscribed to the school of thought that the best way to get good at jiu-jitsu was to train jiu-jitsu as often as possible (ideally every day), and the best strength and conditioning for jiu-jitsu was to do jiu-jitsu (in other words, I didn't lift weights).

After noticing that my progress was stagnating however, I recently decided to (i) cut back on the number of BJJ sessions I did per week, (ii) make sure that I had one day of rest between sessions, and (iii) add weight workouts back into the routine.

I've been doing this for a few weeks now, and it's been a nice little shake up that has improved my game. I have a little more energy and strength with which to apply techniques, which I've noticed translates into cleaner techniques and more use of techniques (i.e. I'm able to chain together more techniques instead of applying one and gassing). I'm getting passes I haven't been able to get, I'm retaining guard longer against tougher opponents, I'm able to stave off and control the big guys more effectively, and I'm able to finish sweeps and subs that proved elusive in the past.

Curious if anyone else has had a similar experience? I think this underscores the importance of strength training and to a greater extent, recovery - two things that are often overlooked in a BJJ culture where motivational facebook posts like "someone somewhere is becoming a champion while you are jerking off" and sherdog posts like "never use any strength, technique conquers all" are the norm.

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Old 03-12-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
ElKarlo

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I am 30 and a blue. I find that 3 a week is good for me. It's keeping my cardio up is my issue. But yeah i am stagnant as well. Going from intermediate to advanced seems like the biggest gap

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Old 03-12-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
daazndood

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What kind of weight training are you doing? I used to be all for power lifting and isolations. I was repping well over 200 on bench, mid 300s on deadlift bicep curling 90(bar) etc, all while weighing 155. I honestly did not notice it helping my bjj game despite basically being "stronger" then everyone my size.

How do you define being stronger than someone though? I might have been able to lift more than them but it didnt matter if I couldnt get out of their subs or if I was gassed.

Nowadays I only do body weight exercises and I found that it helped more. Especially for balancing, muscle endurance, and flexibility, but of course I lost muscle mass.

I would assume that the most effective weightlifting/exercise routine would be something like olympic lifting and gymnastics, rather then like a bodybuilding routine.

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #4
Dirty Holt
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Are you insinuating that more weight lifting and less BJJ practices per week has made your techniques cleaner, more varied, more effective, and has improved your defense?

When it comes to BJJ training, more is more. There is no way in hell 3 practices a week and a few lift days is better for your bjj than 8 practices a week. If your body breaks down so badly at 5 days a week that you are overtraining, then the issue is not too much bjj, its extremely poor recovery due diligence (diet, sleep).

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
KarateFist

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no.

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
deadlizard
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Re-evalute your data. Something is wrong with your data.

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Old 03-12-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
lagrapple

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Holt View Post
Are you insinuating that more weight lifting and less BJJ practices per week has made your techniques cleaner, more varied, more effective, and has improved your defense?

When it comes to BJJ training, more is more. There is no way in hell 3 practices a week and a few lift days is better for your bjj than 8 practices a week. If your body breaks down so badly at 5 days a week that you are overtraining, then the issue is not too much bjj, its extremely poor recovery due diligence (diet, sleep).
For me, dropping the frequency and picking up some weights has created a noticeable improvement. I wasn't necessarily "breaking down so badly" - more like the extra rest has added a zip in my step so I'm hitting stuff much more crisply and have the energy to finish things I previously couldn't. I'm also able to work new techniques more because I can deal with the extra energy a new technique necessarily requires (given it will most likely be inefficient at first).

I'm generally not a fan of absolutes regarding any training recommendation. At some stages of your career, rolling everyday might make more sense (training for mundials as a BB, getting acclimated as a white belt), where at other points it may not. It might also make sense for someone who is not working and training full time - in that case, yeah you might be able to train 8x per week. But if you're sitting at a desk all day, have a lot of other stressors in your life, and each of your sessions involves an hour of hard sparring, then yeah, sometimes it helps to back off a bit.

Overall, the point of my post was it's really about quality over quantity, and it's important to consider your unique position and circumstances in your approach to training. Not really intending to start a new "3x per week" training paradigm.

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Old 03-12-2013, 09:27 PM   #8
SquatMoar

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Holt View Post
Are you insinuating that more weight lifting and less BJJ practices per week has made your techniques cleaner, more varied, more effective, and has improved your defense?

When it comes to BJJ training, more is more. There is no way in hell 3 practices a week and a few lift days is better for your bjj than 8 practices a week. If your body breaks down so badly at 5 days a week that you are overtraining, then the issue is not too much bjj, its extremely poor recovery due diligence (diet, sleep).
I agree with this. I am 33. I train on average 11 classes a week and my body is holding up just fine. I also lift twice a week more as a method of injury prevention. Sure stuff hurts all the time but there's a difference in being a little sore and being hurt/injured.

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Old 03-12-2013, 09:28 PM   #9
lagrapple

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Quote:
Originally Posted by daazndood View Post
What kind of weight training are you doing? I used to be all for power lifting and isolations. I was repping well over 200 on bench, mid 300s on deadlift bicep curling 90(bar) etc, all while weighing 155. I honestly did not notice it helping my bjj game despite basically being "stronger" then everyone my size.

How do you define being stronger than someone though? I might have been able to lift more than them but it didnt matter if I couldnt get out of their subs or if I was gassed.

Nowadays I only do body weight exercises and I found that it helped more. Especially for balancing, muscle endurance, and flexibility, but of course I lost muscle mass.

I would assume that the most effective weightlifting/exercise routine would be something like olympic lifting and gymnastics, rather then like a bodybuilding routine.
I think the effectiveness of weights depends on where you are in your jiu-jitsu career. I lifted heavy when I came into BJJ as a white belt, and agree it didn't seem to help much. That's because I was so inefficient with the application of my force, it was easily matched by those much weaker, and the inefficiency quickly exhausted me.

Now that I have much better control of myself in BJJ context, any small improvement in general strength seems to pay appreciable dividends.

Since I've just started to get back into the weights, I'm just hitting general body sessions with the major movements. Squats, glute-ham raises, bench, seated rows, pull-ups. I also add in some intelligent pre-hab / rehab work to keep everything injury free. Finally, I really focus on quality of movement, so most of my work is pretty slow pace (i.e. a couple seconds for the eccentric and concentric portions of a rep). Before someone assumes I only believe in super slow lifts, I do intend to add more explosive stuff, but that's for down the road once I'm back in "lifting" shape and I'm happy with my movement quality.

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Old 03-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
The Cicada

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lagrapple.....sometimes our minds need a break as well as our bodies. Maybe you are experiencing a little more mental pep which is coordinating with your body healing up, making you mentally and physically a little more crisp. If it is working for now, keep at it. Everyone's body and life situation is different. Sometimes we have to step back, re-evaluate, and reapply.

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