September 26, 2023
5 Cardio Tips To Stop Gassing Out During BJJ
Do you want to Stop Gassing Out During BJJ?
So much, that you have to take rounds off, as your friends roll, round after round.
That means, they are getting better and you are not.
I have 5 cardio tips to stop gassing out during BJJ rounds.
Read on to build your gas tank for BJJ and have better cardio
Stop Gassing Out During BJJ
#1 The art of timing and tension
One of my coaches said,” BJJ is a lot of timing and knowing when to apply tension(strength).”
Knowing when to relax and when to apply your strength. Is a game changer.
This can mean the difference between gassing out constantly and being one of the guys who seems to have an endless gas tank at your BJJ gym.
Think of a new white belt, they have 100% tension all the time, in every situation.
The guys who has an endless gas, is not always because of their cardio..
But, this is due to their efficiency at BJJ.
If you’re always tense, you are going gas and gas out fast.
I never want these posts, to seem like I’m exiting my lane of strength and conditioning and giving BJJ technique tips. I’m no expert at BJJ. But, I do know, that no amount of strength and conditioning will help if you are a complete spaz.
If you gas out, it may help to relax using so much strength, get your fundamental BJJ skills down, and learn when to apply tension, as well as when not to.
These are more topics to ask your BJJ coach.
#2 Build the aerobic engine
You need to build your aerobic base and fitness.
A quick assessment to do is to take your heart rate, first thing in the morning for a few days and see where it is at.
high 60s+, you’re in rough shape and need to build your aerobic fitness.
If it’s in low 60s-, you are probably in a good place.
If you don’t know your aerobic system, is the one energy system we use most our life, it will give us better endurance, and recovery and even help us live longer.
Let’s talk about how aerobic fitness impacts your recovery, it will improve your body’s ability to recover in between training sessions and rounds.
If you can do a hard round and 60s later you are recovered, and you are going to get better rolling sessions.
Versus the guy, who can’t recover well in the 60s and sits out too many rounds.
Better aerobic training = better recovery and stamina, which is why this is a great tool to build your gas tank for BJJ.
Here is how to build it.
To build the aerobic system we need to operate in a moderate intensity and keep overall blood pressure down.
This means keeping our heart rate in the 60-70% max HR range and using an exercise that is more cyclical in nature, jogging, biking, elliptical, rower, walking etc(also use joint-friendly exercise as well)
Another way to think about this intensity is you should be able to talk normally while doing this.
For most people, your HR should be in the 120-140ish range.
You want to also practice, what is called dynamic energy control, which is your ability to relax, focus on breathing and pace, to control your heart rate.
If you feel like you are getting winded on the air bike, can you mentally relax, and control your breath and your pace, to bring your HR down?
If you can do this in training/sparing, you’re going to be in a great place.
Remember the higher our HR is in sparing, the more we will slow down, make dumb mistakes and our ability to think/react will go down.
How to program?
You want to do this style of training for 30-60 minutes 1-3 x a week.
You can certainly could pick 1 exercise and do that for 30 minutes.
I like to make it less boring by doing circuits like
- 2 min bike
- 2 min jog
- 2 min sled drag
- 60s farmers walk
- 0 rest repeat for 30 minutes, staying in the right zones
Another idea is to jump on a machine and watch TV shows or movies, just pay attention to heart rate.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you just get it in
#3 Train More BJJ
You have to pay the price.
You have to do more BJJ to get better endurance at it, if you are new and worried your conditioning is not where it should be for BJJ.
Of course, it is not. This takes time, you have to put in the work and time to build the technical skills and fitness qualities, specific to the sport of jui-jitsu.
Show up and make your classes consistently.
Don’t take rounds off, if you want better endurance, you can’t take a round off every time you are gassed out. Push through and focus on slowing things down, when you’re exhausted.
Pushing, and doing rounds when you are exhausted can be a great learning opportunity.
Building the skill of keeping good fundamentals, when you are exhausted is going to help from BJJ and fitness stand point.
Don’t skip sessions.
Don’t sit out of rolling sessions, unless you have to.
#4 Get Strong
Being weak is a liability in a lot of ways.
One of them is if you are weak and everything you do, you have to exert a high percentage of your max strength.
This is going spike your heart rate, get you gassed real quick, and make it harder to recover in between rounds.
You don’t have to become a bodybuilder, 1-2 days per week working on building strength with the fundamental moment pattern like
- single leg exercise
- hip hinge
- upper push
- upper pull
Is going to pay off, in a variety of ways. Muscle takes some time to build, but you may be surprised how much strength you can build with a little work.
I go over how to do this in detail here
Get strong and improve your cardio for BJJ
#5 Sleep/eating and stress
If you have competed and had to cut weight, you know how much a low-calorie diet, can affect your gas tank and cardio.
If you are doing all the right things, but your gas tanks still feels like garbage.
How is the duration and quality of your sleep?
Are you fueling yourself with the right stuff: Protein, fruits and veggies, water and healthy carbs
If you are dropping the ball on these things, you are leaving a ton of performance and cardio benefits for BJJ on the table.
This stuff can be the toughest to change, start with 1 health habit and develop it over time slowly, kind of like we do when we learn BJJ.
Over time you’ll get better cardio for BJJ and become one of those guys, who never takes rounds off.
If you have any questions I love to hear from you and if you’re looking for coaching, apply here to get started with me.