This training method uses high intensity intervals to increase the strength of the heart and it’s ability to transport oxygen at high intensities. It results in a higher oxygen utilization (VO2 max).

Your VO2 max is mostly genetic. You can improve it through training, but only by a certain amount (Prud’homme et al. 1984). You should only use it for 5-15% of your total training load (Neumann et al. 2000, p. 81).

Your VO2 max can be improved through high intensity intervals (Helgerud et al. 2007). We are going to use 3-6 rounds of 3 minutes. You want to get up to your maximum heart rate as fast as possible and then keep it there until the round ends (Neumann et al. 2000, p. 146). Rest 3 minutes between rounds.

You have to really push yourself during the rounds. You should not just be tired at the end of a round, but really exhausted.

Sparring doesn’t work for this method, it’s impossible to keep up the required pace during normal sparring. We can use high-intensity situational sparring drills instead. Use a different scenario for each round.

Here are some scenarios that work well:

  • Open guard passing
  • Wrestling from a single leg position
  • Escaping from side control, person on top stays mobile

You can get as creative as you want with the scenarios, as long as they require a high energy output and a fast pace.

Whenever the action slows down, reset and start over. You should never rest in a position, no matter how tired you are.

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Neumann G, Pfützner A, Berbalk A. Successful Endurance Training. Oxford: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd., 2000.

Prud’homme D, Bouchard C, Leblanc C, Landry F, Fontaine E. Sensitivity of maximal aerobic power to training is genotype-dependent. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1984 Oct;16(5):489-93.

Helgerud J, Høydal K, Wang E, Karlsen T, Berg P, Bjerkaas M, Simonsen T, Helgesen C, Hjorth N, Bach R, Hoff J. Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Apr;39(4):665-71.

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