Do I Still Need To Build Muscles?

Ok. So there are a lot of heated debates about building muscle mass vs. building muscle by only relying on BJJ. Interestingly enough, there are also those who say that too much muscle makes you slow. Others say less muscle and just bjj know-how can do the trick.


BJJ Requires Strength

Yes. You heard it loud and clear. I can already hear the murmurs in the background. Wrestlers have a good base. Pretty easy to beat in grappling matches… up until they learn how to defend and submit (cue thriller music). Then they become good. Wrestlers undergo rigorous strength and conditioning training. While the sport may seem to focus on keeping a good base, a bit of throws while they are at it, and they are establishing a good base for a sport such as BJJ.

On the BJJ MatsSubmission Requires Strength

Although leveraging the weak points in joints or choking your opponents may seem easy, high-level competitors will not easily be submitted. Those who have been in the game for quite some time are more difficult to submit. Don’t expect to submit a black belt with a gazillion stripes just by having the right amount of muscle to do so. It is an exercise in futility. These guys understand and are used to the strain, pain, and constant pressure. 

Push and Pull

These are all constant movements in BJJ. Well, constant directions in physics as well. Pushing and pulling your opponents, pushing them off, away, and pulling them close etc. These actions really require strength and lots of it. Not to mention stamina (which we will cover in future articles). 

Tips for Strength Conditioning

We don’t want to sound long winded here. There are however debates (again) on how to develop strength. Different schools of thought, trainers, gyms, and programs all may say different things. But there are foolproof techniques to build strength.

Here is an interesting set for strength and conditioning. Credits to

Super Set #1

Cable Punches – In the cable crossover machine, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and take one step forward to get into your boxing stance. Grasp a handle in each hand and alternate between jab and cross.
Barbell Lunge – With a barbell on your shoulders, take a large step forward. Lower your back knee towards the floor, keeping the shin of the front leg perpendicular to the floor until that thigh is parallel to the floor. Come back up and step back to the starting position; alternate legs.

Super Set #2

Kneeling Cable Hooks – Kneel on the floor and pull the cable under and across your body, keeping your arm at a 90 degree angle to simulate hooks in ground and pound.
Smith Machine Hip Bumps – Place a bench under the Smith Machine and lay on it with your hips under the bar. Thrust your hip upwards.

mullen_articleAugkettlebells2014Super Set #3

Dumbbell Bench Press – Using both hands, balance a dumbbell over your chest and push upwards while lying on a bench.
Ab Roll Out – Kneel on the floor, bracing your weight with your toes. With both hands on the ab wheel, roll forward in a controlled motion and then roll back.