Strength Training for BJJ: What you need to know!

BJJ practitioner strength training

Strength training has become incredibly popular with BJJ grapplers. Just like with cardio workouts, there are now more BJJ practitioners that are doing strength training to improve their BJJ.

That is why we’ve put this list together for the best strength training for BJJ. Below are the best strength training exercises that will improve your Jiu Jitsu and recommendations for different training programs.

What are the best strength training exercises for BJJ? The best strength training exercises for BJJ are explosive movements that translate to Jiu Jitsu. Exercises and movements that engage your core and legs, which improves your strength and also your muscular endurance.

Push Ups 

If you don’t have a lot of time or space available, good ole fashioned push ups are a great choice. They have been used for centuries by just about every culture.

With a small amount of space, you can bust out some push ups and get a great workout. They do everything from strengthen your chest, back, arms, stretch your legs, and improve your posture.

Types of push ups

One of the best things about push ups, there are numerous variations that you can use to boost your strength. Everything from push ups for beginners to advanced push ups for fit athletes.

  • Normal Push Ups
  • Push Ups w/ Knees On The Ground
  • Wide Arm Push ups  
  • Diamond Push Ups
  • One Arm Push Ups
  • Push Ups w/ Leg Up
  • Superman Push Ups

Push up workouts

There’s numerous types of workouts that you can do that will improve your strength for BJJ. Here are two types of push up workouts you can do.

  • Reps: Try to hit a certain amount of push ups everyday to boost your strength.
  • Time: Either do a timed round of push ups multiple times multiple times a day or mix it into a circuit workout.

Pull Ups

Maybe the best bodyweight workout that you can do to boost your strength for BJJ are pull ups. They are also arguably the best all around exercise that you can do for your overall health.

It is an all in one workout that hits your core, chest, arms, back, and your grips. Hanging on a pull up bar has even been scientifically proven to strengthen your shoulders and improve your posture and alignment.

Types of pull ups 

There’s a wide variety of pull ups that you can do to boost your strength for BJJ. Here are the top options for you.

  • Regular Pull ups
  • Chin Ups
  • Over/Under Grips
  • Gi Pull Ups(Best Option For BJJ)

Pull Up Workout

You can do various sets/reps of pull ups along with mixing them into a circuit. But the best thing to do is try to hit a certain amount of reps everyday to get stronger for Jiu Jitsu.


Deadlifts, squats, and rows with a barbell are incredibly beneficial to increase your overall strength for BJJ. They make up the core of many of the best BJJ athlete’s strength programs.

Increasing your strength and muscle endurance in your most important muscle groups. Everything from your quads, glutes, core, arms, and back will get noticeably stronger after a good barbell strength program.

Workouts with deadlifts, squats, and rows

Since you’re a BJJ athlete, you should never try maxing out on these lifts. Instead you should be more focused on getting good reps and building better muscular endurance.

A 5×5 set of each lift would be a good starting point and stay between 50-70% of your max. Once you go through a few weeks of doing these sets, you can tweak it to your needs.


Probably the most versatile piece of strength training equipment you can use is the kettlebell. They come in various shapes, sizes, and have nearly infinite exercises that you can do with them.

You can do full body workouts in as little as 15 minutes, which will boost your strength for BJJ. This is one piece of equipment that you should use if you’re serious about doing a BJJ strength training program.

Kettlebell movements

There have been literal books written about the different types of kettlebell movements that you can do. We won’t try to name all of the kettlebell movements, but here are some of the most beneficial.

  • Two Hand Swing
  • One Hand Swing
  • Deadlift
  • Squats
  • Two Hand Press
  • One Hand Press
  • AwwRows
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Around The Worlds
  • Racks
  • Turkish Get Ups

Kettlebell workouts

For how many kettlebell movements there are, there are just as many workouts that you can do. Here are two different kettlebell training methods that you can follow to build your strength.

  • Reps: Pick 3-5 different KB movements and do 5-10 sets of each with different amounts of reps.
  • Rounds: Pick a number of different KB movements and do each 30 seconds to a minute for however many times you’d like.


Training with a weighted sled might be one of the best types of strength workouts that you can do. Not only does using a sled build your strength, but also great to boost your cardio.

Pushing or pulling a sled is a full body workout that also increases your tendon strength. If you’re really serious about getting stronger, then you should really consider doing exercises with a sled.

Types of sled exercises

There are two specific types of sled exercises and those are push and pull movements. Both are incredibly beneficial and mimic many movements within Jiu Jitsu.

Sled workout 

A great sled workout that you can do is push a sled 40 yards, 5 times. Then repeat the length and pull the sled 5 times.

Grappling Dummy/Sandbag

If you are serious about doing strength training for BJJ, there are two pieces of equipment that you need to use. You either need to be training with a grappling dummy, sandbag, or even both.

Being able to pick up and throw a weighted grappling dummy or sandbag around mimics throwing around a training partner. Not only are you building strength and muscular endurance, but also doing many of the same movements with BJJ training.

Grappling Dummy/Sandbag Exercises 

Just like with the kettlebell, there are a wide variety of different exercises that you can do with a grappling dummy.(Or sandbag) Here are some of the best types of exercises that you can do with these pieces of equipment.

  • Runs
  • Walk
  • Slams
  • Flips
  • Throws
  • Holds
  • Shoulder To Shoulders
  • Sweep Drills
  • Side Control/Mount Escapes

Grappling Dummy/Sandbag Workouts

You can get a great strength workout out using a grappling dummy, sandbag, or mix other things together. Here are some workout ideas that you can give a try to build your strength for BJJ.

  • Sets/Reps: Do a standard sets and reps workout, where you do 3-5 exercises of your choosing.
  • Rounds: Set up a workout, where you do 30 seconds to 1 minute of different movements. Make the time for each round the same as what you would do in competition.
  • AMRAP: Make AMRAP workout, where you set a timer for 5-10 minutes. In that time, you repeat two different movements for as many reps as possible during the duration.

Create a routine and get strong for BJJ!

All of the types of strength exercises listed above are incredibly beneficial and will definitely get you stronger. Everyone from you, your coaches, and teammates will see a noticeable difference in your Jiu Jitsu game. You might even get some muscles and abs out of your new strength training program.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.


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