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5 Considerations For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Strength Training

Written by: Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


To those thinking of starting a martial art, the task can be quite daunting. From getting put in a violently uncomfortable training environment to realizing how “good of shape” you are in will humble even the best of athletes. For those who need to get stronger, in better condition, or become more injury resilient; here are 5 main considerations to consider when training for Brazilin Jiu Jitsu.

two in martial arts uniform doing their training

1. Focus on Compound Movements: Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and presses are great for building strength and power in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These movements generate high levels of force production from more muscle fibers being activated. Remember always prioritize form overload and chose the best variation of the squat, bench, and deadlift for your age, training tenure & BJJ practice schedule.

2. Train for Explosive Power: Explosive power is key in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so focus on exercises that involve explosive movements such as Olympic lifts, plyometrics, jumps, and medicine ball throws. Traditional keep these movements between 1-5 reps for 1-5 sets max. These will help translate to more explosive changes in positions, more efficient takedowns, and faster submissions on the mat.

3. Increase Core Strength: Core strength is essential in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so make sure to include exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and sit-ups in your strength training routine. On days when your compound movements will be at higher intensity/load, I recommend using core stability drills (planks, side planks, back extension iso holds). On days where you have higher volume and lower intensity within your training sessions, I would add drills that involve more flexion, extension, and rotation of the core muscles (Russian Twists, Sit-Ups). Due to the lower intensity, the spine is at less risk of injury. Therefore, it is better to add in these core drills due to the higher volume needs of the core muscles.

For core stability: I recommend 2-4 sets of 20-40 sec holds

For flexion, extension, or rotation: I recommend 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps each

4. Improve Grip Strength: Grip strength is important for controlling your opponent in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so make sure to include exercises such as farmer carries, plate pinches & trap bar holds.

5. Low back prehab/rehab: Low back pain is very common in BJJ, especially for athletes who tend to play guard base style. Some of the common causes of back pain in BJJ are below with a solution for each to assist with the prevention and prehab of low back pain.

A. Poor Form – Talk to your coach and discuss some regressions of certain movement patterns if need be

B. Over-Training – This is one of the biggest culprits in any martial art community. Traditionally I try to do my lifting sessions for the day in the morning 2-3 days a week combined with my BJJ training in the evening. If your dojo has certain days of the week that are harder than others for training, try pairing your highest intensity/load days with the days where you are having the harder training

C. Lack of Stretching/Mobility – You need to be mobile for a sport like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This mobility and flexibility will allow your joints to go through better ranges of motion and not compensate on the mat or in the weight room.

D. Prevention of Back Pain – the McGill Big 3 is one of the best videos and prevention series that I have used in the past for any martial artists that I have worked with. Please see the video below for reference on how to execute the drills with proper form. I highly recommend doing these on days when you are not training and taking full rest.

With the growth of martial arts, specifically Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the information on these considerations will help give you an upper hand on the mat, help prevent injury & allow for consistent training for a happier and healthier life. Please feel free to reach out and connect if you feel the need by giving my Instagram (@Coach_Telegadas) a follow and texting me a direct message.

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kosta Telegadas is a leader in the strength and conditioning for tactical athletes and martial artists all over the world. He found physical training as a necessity to grow up playing sports, help prevent injury & give back to the country that gave his family so much over the generations. Coach Telegadas has a Master's Degree from the Univeristy of Miami (FL) and over 7 years of coaching experience with both professional, college, high school & tactical athletes. He is currently the Head Coach/CEO of Telegadas Performance Training and dedicates his time to make physical training programs & remote coaching accessible to all. His mission: If you stay ready, you never have to get ready!



  • Biagioli, B. (2015). Advanced Concepts of Strength and Conditioning

  • Bondarchuk, A. (2007). Transfer of Training in Sports

  • Michael Braccio. (2018, January 1). Core Strengthening | McGill Big 3 Exercises [Video]. YouTube.

  • Verkoshansky, Y. (2003). Supertraining

  • Zatsiorsky, V. Kraemer, W. (2006). Science and Practice of Strength Training



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