Training frequency: less is more?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by lagrapple, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. lagrapple White Belt

    lagrapple
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    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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  2. ElKarlo Gold Belt

    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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  3. daazndood Yellow Belt

    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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  4. Dirty Holt Brown Belt

    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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  5. KarateFist Purple Belt

    KarateFist
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  6. deadlizard cold blooded

    deadlizard
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    Re-evalute your data. Something is wrong with your data.
     
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  7. lagrapple White Belt

    lagrapple
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    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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  8. SquatMoar White Belt

    SquatMoar
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    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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  9. lagrapple White Belt

    lagrapple
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    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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  10. The Cicada Yellow Belt

    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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  11. loyalyolayal Black Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    2 months training. 2 weeks hiatus. Works wonders.
     
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  12. leebyun White Belt

    leebyun
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    More time you spent, more better you get. But sometimes when we over train, we burn out physically and mentally - leading to decrease in performance and feeling stagnant. :(

    I've done 3x per day during my vacation for 2 weeks, started off well then by the 4th day, felt like shit, rolling horribly, felt like no improvement. but then after vacation, I went back to my normal training schedule. I see improvements, rolling better, hitting sweeps and passing more effortlessly.

    I think the time you've put on the mat made you improved but your body just can't withstand that schedule, so your performance didn't reflect your progress.

    And just train, get on the mat, and have fun, improvements will come naturally. :icon_lol:
     
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  13. Dirty Holt Brown Belt

    Dirty Holt
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    I can understand how 8 practices a week would drain you. I cannot understand how there isnt another underlying issue where 5 practices a week would drain your energy significantly enough to break down your technique.

    I still believe that if 5 bjj practices a week slows you down, but 3 bjj and 2 lifting give you cleaner, crisper technique and improved defense, than something is out of whack in other areas of your life.
     
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  14. DCLXVI Blue Belt

    DCLXVI
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    Some times a week off works wonders for me, anymore and I start to make excuses of why I can't make it to training.
     
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  15. chris herbert Orange Belt

    chris herbert
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    I have been told by teachers that more than 2 weeks you start to lose it but we have all been injured and missed time. at one point after a bad injury I was out 7 months, anyway to answer your question I have one weird observation. 4 days a week same, 5 or 6 same (not what I expected). 2 classes a day ( 2 tuesday, 2 thursday, and 2 saturday) so thats 6 classes a week with a day rest in between, huge jump in skill. I cant promise it will work for everyone but I have heard they train a few times a day in brazil, they train then eat then train then go to the beach then train. we really cant do that here (America) because we have no free time (the life style is diffrent here) but maybe training more than once in a day is forcing you to rely on technique more since your strength is kinda shot after 3 hours of training in one day. and the day resting may be benificial also.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  16. genkisudo69 Brown Belt

    genkisudo69
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    right now I am 33 and can train 4-5x times x week without too much sore.
    if you sleep well and eat well you can do it.
    weightlifting is good, I do it to not to get injured, but it can
     
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  17. JRT6 Black Belt

    JRT6
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    If I go more than two days in a row with a lot of sparring my shoulders start to hurt bad and it takes weeks to get that pain to go away. I however have my expectations in line with what I can put into BJJ.

    Daaz,
    You may have been on the stronger side for your weight but you weren't strong enough to seriously threaten heavier guys with it.
     
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  18. Dirty Holt Brown Belt

    Dirty Holt
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    TS, do you think maybe you just got a little burned out and the cross training has mentally just given you a break? Anyway, good luck and train brother!
     
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  19. claytongray Yellow Belt

    claytongray
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  20. domstormclay Brown Belt

    domstormclay
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    I agree with this. I'm 17 and have a fairly relaxed college schedule so I got to train 4-5 times a week. I noticed that over the past month or so when I was able to train more I wasn't progressing at all. I got the right rest, made my diet much better but still no luck.

    Recently I've traded a couple of these BJJ sessions for gym sessions and my BJJ game has got much better already. I feel you can overload yourself with BJJ, constantly training, watching videos and solo drills and stretches at home, and thinking about techniques can have a negative effect imo.
     
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