This post is coming to you from Coach Jordan, a trainer and BJJ athlete.
As a personal trainer, I not only work with “general population” clients but also with athletes who participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts (MMA). These sports require a unique blend of strength, core strength and stability, explosiveness, rotational power, and overall conditioning. Here, I will outline how to approach training to reach your full potential.
Body Weight Exercises
Martial arts modalities require a lot of bodyweight strength and control.
Key exercises are:
- Pull-ups with different grips
- Push-ups in various positions
- Squat variations such as single leg or jump squats.
Key points for bodyweight training:
- Focus on quality of movement over quantity. When performing these exercises, focus on doing them with excellent form and technique. This will help you get the most out of each exercise and prevent injury.
- Mix it up: Try incorporating different exercises and variations into your training program to keep things interesting and challenging.
- Be consistent: To see real results, it’s important to be consistent with your training. Aim to train at least three times per week, and make sure to give your body enough time to recover between training.
In martial arts, moving quickly and explosively to generate more force when striking your opponent or trying to escape from a hold is essential.
There are several types of explosive training modalities that are commonly used in martial arts; the following are my favorites:
- Olympic lifting will help develop explosive power in your entire body, increase bone density and increase overall lean muscle mass. Olympic lifting is very technical and proper technique is important.
- Plyometric training is very dynamic by nature and involves explosive movements like jumping, bounding, box jumps, depth jumps, gator crawls and burpees.
- Sprint training involves short, intense bursts of running, which help you develop explosive power in your legs and improve your overall conditioning.
- Explosive landmine training involves using a barbell with one end anchored to the floor while the opposite end moves freely. Movements can be seated, kneeling or standing. Common landmine exercises for MMA are single-arm row to overhead press with rotation, half-kneeling isometric holds with shoulder press, and landmine Zercher reverse lunges with knee drive.
- Explosive banded training involves exercises such as banded half-kneeling punches, banded rotational punches, banded jump squats, banded speed rows, banded hip throws and banded med ball rotations.
Conditioning for BJJ, Muay Thai and MMA
Conditioning is an essential part of being an athlete in this arena. The higher one’s conditioning is, the better an athlete will perform. Some of my favorite conditioning exercises are:
- Jumping rope is an excellent tool for developing a strong aerobic system. It can be done at a slow, steady state or at a very fast and intense pace. Jumping rope can be done in singles, doubles and figure 8’s. It is also a great way to develop foot speed and help condition one’s calves.
- Heavy bag work is a very useful tool in developing speed, power and endurance. An example includes 3-5 minute rounds of all-out striking in any combo imaginable. Being able to send a flurry of kicks, knees, elbows and punches with speed and power is how fights are won. Being able to deliver staggering combos with power continuously takes time. One can start off with less work time and more rest, and as one progresses, increase work time and lessen rest intervals.
In conclusion, developing strength, core power, explosive power, rotational power and conditioning for BJJ, Muay Thai, and MMA is essential for any athlete looking to perform at their best. By incorporating these exercises into a training program and staying consistent, you can reach your full potential and become a better athlete. Keep pushing yourself and never give up on your goals!