BJJ Strength & Conditioning – How To Train BJJ For Life,

How to build a strong and resilient body, so you can train for life. BJJ Strength & Conditioning Guide 101

Hi, My name is Bobby Collins. I’ve been a trainer for 15 years but I’m also a BJJ lover. I train 5-6 days a week.

As much as it is cool, to get promoted, get subs, and win medals.

The mental and physical benefits of BJJ are so profound and important for my life.

I want to be on the mat for life

I’m on a mission to help others do the same.

There is so much information for younger and competitive grapplers to perform at a high level.

But, not nearly enough for older guys 35+, who want to do everything they can to get strong, so they can stay on the mat for life

If this sounds like you. keep reading as I share, some of my basic thoughts on BJJ Strength & Conditioning

BJJ Strength & Conditioning

Strength training

The # 1 thing anyone should do to improve their performance on the mats from a fitness standpoint is to get strong. There are so many reasons why. I’m going to go over 3.

BJJ Strength & Conditioning

Staying on the mat and avoiding injuries

The first one is having more strength and muscular tissue around our most vulnerable joints, which will help us get injured less and even make us harder to submit.

Here are a few examples

  • Strong core over ribs, to avoid popping your ribs
  • Muscles around the knees make it harder to twist your knee the wrong way.
  • Muscles around the shoulders, so your arms are not so easily ripped into vulnerable positions.
  • A muscular body can handle impact better, which is why in football everyone lifts. Because they know it is protective.

Getting strong for better conditioning and gassing out less

This might not make sense at first, but let’s think about it.

If you’re a weak dude, when you use good technique, you are going to use a high percentage of your max strength.

Take a strong dude, he is using similar techniques but he is using a small percentage of his strength due to how strong he is.

Which one is going to fatigue and get tired faster?

The weaker one, his muscles are going to be full of lactic acid, his heart rate is going to go through the roof, and he is going to have a hard time recovering in between rounds.

Stronger is usually better

I know everyone in jiu-jitsu is all about, the weaker guys beating the bigger guys.

But, is that really true?

Isn’t it more about technical guys beating guys without any or little technical skill?

If you are stronger, you can have more strength behind your technique.

Now, this won’t be applicable to every move. But, for certain moves, it’s a big advantage.

This will make up the foundation of your BJJ Strength & Conditioning.

Aerobic-based and walking

BJJ Strength & Conditioning

Aerobic-based and walking

When it comes to building our cardio. Everyone is so quick to do HIT or other intense forms of cardio.

But, this is a big mistake

Adding more stress on top of strength training and BJJ is usually not a good idea

Plus, building an aerobic base is going to help you more than any HIT routine will.

This form of training is easy to recover from, so it won’t interfere with your BJJ.

Building the aerobic base and what this means.

Having a strong aerobic base is going to allow your heart, muscles, and the rest of the aerobic system to produce power for longer.

This system also enables better recovery, so a better base means.

Better recovery and we can train more, without beating ourselves into the ground.

One of the ways we do this, is to do cardio at moderate intensity, so our heart can fully stretch as it pumps.

This will allow your heart chamber to grow in size and allow more oxygenated blood to be pumped per stroke.

  • This means we get tired less.
  • We recover better
  • We have a lower heart rate overall, upon waking, and while we train
  • Even living longer
  • 1-2 x a week we want to do zone 2 work or aerobic training.

We want to use cyclical-type exercises like 

  • Airbike,
  • Walking
  • Elliptical
  • rower
  • Sled dragging
  • Jogging etc

Make sure to keep your heart rate in the 120-150 BPM or 60-70% of your max heart rate

These workouts should be around 30-60 minutes.


Getting outside and walking more, and hitting about 7500 steps can be huge for recovery.

Something many people don’t know, is we actually recover better, while we move.

A big reason for this is blood flow. If we can get more blood flow in a stressed or injured area, that is most likely going to be very beneficial from a recovery standpoint.

Try to add some walks daily and see if you can do 1-2 aerobic sessions per week.

With the aerobic session make sure you’re using exercises that don’t beat up your joints.

For example, an air bike might be easier on the knee than running.

If gassing out is an issue, don’t neglect this stuff for better BJJ Strength & Conditioning

Eating healthy and fueling jiu jitsu

BJJ Strength & Conditioning

We all know that eating healthy is going to give us better performance and health. We cannot neglect our nutrition if, we superior BJJ Strength & Conditioning,

But, if you’re serious about being your best self and keeping your body injury-free, nutrition is going to play a big role.

How and what you eat will drive better recovery or can worsen your recovery.

Let’s go over a few big ideas when it comes to what you eat.


Hydration is huge. Showing up to train, just a little dehydrated and your performance is going to plummet.

You’ll cramp, you’ll get gassed out quickly and your chances of getting hurt goes through the roof.

Try drinking half your body weight in ounces and then add 16 oz for every hour you train.

In the summer months, it may be a good idea to bump up your electrolytes by supplementing with magnesium and sodium

My favorite supplement for sodium is LMNT

Ancient minerals for a magnesium supplement.


Protein isn’t just a bodybuilding thing. But, the building block of all tissue in our body, and if we aren’t giving our body the resources to rebuild, we will get hurt.

Plus, from a weight management point of view eating more protein is gonna be huge.

Try to .7-1 g of protein per body weight

The best protein choices are going to be from animal products like

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Whey protein
  • Lean beef

Fruit and veggies

You have been hearing this since you were little but fruit and veggies are going to give you a variety of vitamins and minerals we need to thrive. 

Plus, fruit is a great way to give your body quick fuel.

All the fruit and veggies will help you get more water and fiber in as well, for better health.


BJJ is an intense sport, and carbs are the best fuel source for quick explosive movements. 

Carbs are gonna be your friend for performance and recovery.

Healthy carbs will always be better, think of things like

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bean
  • Potataos
  • Fruit

It usually makes sense to eat your heavy carbs meals around training and at night to improve sleep quality.

Remember guys sleep = better recovery

Maintenance Calories

I know people, don’t like to track their calories, but making sure you’re not undereating, will definitely affect how you feel on the mat.

When people eat less to lose weight, they are choosing to under recover.

When you have fewer calories to play with, it makes your recovery go down, kills your gas tank, and even makes it easier to get banged up.

Most of the year try to eat at maintenance calories

To get a ballpark number multiply your body weight by 13-15 and try to hit that number.

Hope this article started to give you the blueprint, on how to train to stay on the mat for life.

Get strong

Improve your conditioning 

Eat well and enough

Any questions comment below and if you want daily BJJ Strength & Conditioning check out my IG

BJJ Strength & Conditioning

If you want to work with me, you can apply for coaching here

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