BJJ is a very technical sport. Neither strength and/or conditioning are going to influence the outcome of a match if one of the competitors has a clear skill advantage.

If the technical level of two competitors is relatively close, then strength can be a deciding factor in a match. Strength can help you win an important scramble that then ends up deciding the whole match.

Strength training is an important part of injury prevention (Fleck et al. 1986). It does not only increase your strength and muscle size, but also your bone density and connective tissue strength.

Stronger muscles, ligaments and tendons are less likely to get injured. Fewer injuries means that you can spend more time on the mat.

You have to be efficient with your strength training when getting better at BJJ is your main goal. Keep the sessions short and focus on basic compound lifts like squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Those full-body exercises give you most bang for your buck. Don’t train every muscle separately like a bodybuilder.

A full body program with 2-3 workouts per week or a 4-6 day split works well. Pick one that fits into your schedule. A split will have shorter workouts, but you will have to go to the gym more often.

You can use any strength program that you like, there are lots of good ones out there. But most of them are written for people who only go to the gym. You will most likely have to reduce the weekly volume to make sure that you can still recover from all your other training.

Here are some programs that you can look into for inspiration:

  • John Sheaffer’s Greyskull LP
  • Glenn Pendlay’s MMA Strength Routine
  • Bill Starr’s Heavy Light Medium (HLM)
  • Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1

I will also release a free book on strength training for BJJ soon. It includes a program that works really well for BJJ athletes. Subscribe at the end of the page and I will send you a copy when it is released.

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Fleck SJ, Falkel JE. Value of resistance training for the reduction of sports injuries. Sports Med. 1986 Jan-Feb;3(1):61-8.

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