A lot of people tell that in Jiu Jitsu, it is the skill that matters and not the strength. But is it true? Is it also true that weightlifting will affect your skills in Jiu Jitsu? I’ve been having some research and found some interesting ideas about it so in this article, we are going to talk about if you need to lift weights for Jiu Jitsu.
As a general rule, you do not need to lift weights to practice Jiu Jitsu. But, doing some sort of strength training will be extremely beneficial for your career in Jiu Jitsu. This is because not only does strength training makes your grappling techniques stronger, but also reduces the likelihood of an injury.
This means while you don’t need any strength training in Jiu Jitsu, doing strength training such as lifting weights will significantly make you better in the sport. Also, injuries will be far less if your muscles are stronger because they can support your bones and joints.
Do you need to lift weights for Jiu Jitsu?
You do not need to lift weights in order to practice Jiu Jitsu. However, it is a good thing to incorporate weight lifting with Jiu Jitsu because it makes you stronger. This means that your moves will have more power thus, it can increase your likelihood in winning a match.
One of the key reasons for this is that in Jiu Jitsu, while skill is necessary, you need strength for defense.
I have made a full detailed article regarding this topic, it is a good read after this article because it will give all the strong points why strength also matters in Jiu Jitsu: Does Strength Matter in Jiu Jitsu?
But back to the point. The reason why strength is extremely needed for defense is because you are usually on your back when on defense.
This means that gravity will be against you while the enemy can use the power of gravity to magnify their attacks.
This can be a very big problem if you are on the defensive side. Usually on rolls, a very strong person will be harder to hold and force to submit because of this.
Furthermore, they can use brute force to cancel out any holds or joint locks you are doing.
So in terms of abilities, strength matters in Jiu Jitsu. It makes you hard to defeat because of the boost in defense.
Another is to prevent injuries.
Muscles have a secondary function other than movement and that is to stabilize bones and joints. If you are able to stabilize your bones and joints, it will be harder to dislocate or break the bones.
This is important because it will be extremely better to add strength training because it prevents the likelihood of injuries.
If you are interested in knowing the likelihood of having an injury when doing Jiu Jitsu and how to prevent injuries, you may check this article: Does Jiu Jitsu Ruin your Body?
Now that we’ve made these points, it’s time to discuss if you should lift weights or not.
Should you lift weights for Jiu Jitsu?
Generally speaking, you should lift weights in Jiu Jitsu because it prevents injuries, it improves your defense, and it can amplify your skills. Lifting weights is a good addition to Jiu Jitsu. While skills are more important than strength, strength still matters.
What do I mean by amplifying skills?
Skills are amplified by strength because in order to execute moves in Jiu Jitsu, you need to exert strength. The more strength you have, the better it will be.
The stronger your hold, the less likely your enemy is going to come out of it.
Lifting weights aid in your skills because you simply need strength to execute skills.
It is recommended by almost all to not use 100% of your strength in Jiu Jitsu. In fact, most say that you should only use 70%.
This is because using 100% is quite hard to control. You may fall into enemies’ trap by using brute force in everything.
But what if, you are still using 70% but you are definitely stronger?
You can do that by weight lifting. It can increase your power tremendously while still maintaining full control of your moves.
Furthermore, if you are doing Jiu Jitsu to build muscles, then it is perfect to add weight lifting into your training.
I have this article where I dive deeper into if practicing Jiu Jitsu will build muscle, here is the article: Does Jiu Jitsu Build Muscles?
Does strength training help Jiu Jitsu?
Strength training helps in Jiu Jitsu because not only does it strengthens your defense, but also makes your attack stronger. You will also have more strength to control making it harder for enemies to force you into submission. Even your grapple will be stronger making it harder for enemies to escape.
Furthermore, the reason why strength training will make your offense better in Jiu Jitsu because of the specific muscle it can build.
Weightlifting is perfect to build type 2 muscles which are big and energy-dense muscles. This is the reason why weight lifters can carry really big objects.
Another is that type 2 muscles are fast in moving so you can execute moves a lot faster than usual.
It is different from type 1 muscle fibers that are slower.
However, type 2 muscles tire easily so in practicing Jiu Jitsu, it is better to have a balance between the two.
A balance of type 1 and 2 muscles is necessary because grappling matches lasts minutes. So it is also not recommended to focus all your energy on building type 2 muscles simply because they usually tire in seconds.
So if you want to strengthen and make your Jiu Jitsu, then it is good to add strength training or weight lifting in your routine. Not only it will strengthen your offense and defense, it will also prevent likelihood of injuries.
If you are wondering about people with legendary skills in Jiu Jitsu who defeated stronger opponents with their BJJ techniques, then read my other article where I discussed how and why: Does Strength Matter in Jiu Jitsu?
Is Bodyweight Training Enough for BJJ?
Bodyweight training builds enough muscles for you to be good in BJJ. But it will not be enough to compete against very strong opponents. If you have the same skill level as your enemy and he is stronger, there will be a higher chance that you can lost the match.
But that doesn’t mean that body weight training is useless.
It is recommended for beginners to start with bodyweight training because it helps coordinate your movements. The coordination of movements will also help you in the long run.
But for someone who is already used to bodyweight training, it will be better to go for weightlifting for your strength training.
But if you are not into competitions in BJJ, then body weight exercises are really good to strengthen your body.
There is nothing wrong with doing bodyweight exercises instead of weightlifting because it will also build strength, but how much it can build is only limited.
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Welcome to my recommended list of Jiu-Jitsu gear.
In this section, you are going to see my recommended Jiu-Jitsu gears both for beginners and pros.
When getting some grappling shorts, you first need to understand that the thing we are looking for in grappling shorts is the ones that will provide flexibility.
This means that we are not looking at designs but what we are looking for is how comfortable it is and if you can do a full range of motions while wearing the shorts.
If that’s the case, I recommend an IBJJF approved grappling short which has no pockets that can interfere with rolls, and most importantly, allows a full range of motion. This can help you in rolls since you need to have fluid motions to do some maneuvers.
Here is the link for the product: BJJ Shorts
Grappling spats are a great alternative to Grappling shorts and are sometimes used in conjunction with Grappling shorts.
The reason for using a Grappling spat is to prevent friction.
Remember that BJJ is focused on rolls, locks, and takedowns. This is prone to friction that can cause injuries such as burns and mat cuts.
In choosing a good pair of grappling spats, you need to take note that it is important that it is also flexible so you can easily do some full-range motions while rolling.
Furthermore, since you will be covering your whole legs with it, it is important for it to absorb some sweat while still being comfortable for the wearer.
If that’s the case, I recommend these Grappling Spats which are very stretchable making them good for fluid motion. Furthermore, it is well made to handle friction which prevents any unwanted injuries.
Lastly, its cloth is breathable which means that it is very comfortable for your skin.
Here is the link for the product: Grappling Spats
Think of a rash guard as the grappling spat for the upper body.
Rashguard helps in preventing friction that can cause injuries such as mat cuts and burns.
When finding one, it is important to find a comfortable rash guard which is breathable. Furthermore, have one that allows a full range of motion.
Thus, I recommend this rash guard which does all of the functions I’ve said: Rashguard
Knee and Elbow Pads
Personally, I am a victim of a knee injury. That’s why I always tell people to use knee and elbow pads when doing some physically intensive activities such as BJJ.
Because of my injuries, I can’t really last long with any sort of long physical activity.
So, while it is often neglected, I believe that Knee and Elbox pads are important.
Good Knee and Elbow pads are supposed to be comfortable while still providing maximum protection to both your elbows and knees.
Thus, I recommend these safety gears:
There are lots of cauliflower ear incidents with BJJ practitioners.
Even if this is quite an unpopular safety gear, it is important as we are preventing friction that can come from rolls.
In choosing an ear protector, you do not need to get something that protects you from strikes. Striking is usually not allowed.
So, what’s important is to find something that is very lightweight and protects you from friction.
If that’s the case, then you may opt for this which is really useful and won’t look weird on rolls: Ear Guards