How to Balance Weight Lifting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu

How to Balance Weight Lifting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

Getting maximum progress in both, weight lifting and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) requires a good balance.

To properly balance weight lifting and BJJ, you have to realize you only have a limited amount of energy and time each week. Let your body rest enough between each training session is essential if you want to progress as fast as possible.

Let’s dive deeper into how to balance gym and BJJ in your life, depending on your personal goals.

How to balance gym and BJJ in your weekly routine?

First of all, the most important factor when it comes to how many times should you go to the gym and train BJJ per week, is how much your body can handle.

It is crucial to your progress, that your body gets enough rest in between each training session.

Listen to your body. That is the best way to tell whether you can train more or if you should cut some training sessions out of your weekly schedules. It is okay to take even a week off if you feel like you have been training too much.

Therefore, a big factor is how often you train BJJ and how often you go to the gym. I would say the best is to only do one of the two each day, and keep resting days somewhere within the week.

You could easily get started training BJJ once or twice, and on top of that, lift weights once a week as well. Your training schedule could look like this:

Monday: Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Tuesday: Rest / Cardio

Wednesday: Weight Lifting

Thursday: Rest / Cardio

Friday: Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Based on your energy, if you can handle more, you could add some cardio to rest days and/or on the weekends.

There is a misconception that you have to train BJJ a minimum of 3 times per week. Let me tell you if all you can do is once a week, that will get you to progress. It will just take a longer time. More about how often you really should train BJJ in this post.

Does training every day maximize your progress?

Training every single day of the week, or even 5 times per week, can be a lot for your body to take in.

On the other hand, if you find a good balance between different training days, and add in some weight lifting and cardio as well, you could maximize your progress.

When training almost every day of the week, it is important to avoid overtraining. It can cause your body to burnout, out and make the effects of your training more negative, rather than progressing.

It is possible to train every day and not get burned out. Getting enough sleep and rest is still the crucial part.

How to balance gym and BJJ as a casual BJJ hobbyist?

If you want to train BJJ purely as a hobby, there is no “minimum” amount you should train weekly. You could train BJJ once a week and lift weights once a week.

Even a small amount of training, such as once a week will over time get you to progress. Of course, it’s not going to be as fast as if you trained more, but it will.

Not everybody can donate their every evening to training. People have families, jobs and other duties to handle as well.

Remember that BJJ, as a hobby, is meant to have fun, stay in shape and relieve some work stress. Whatever the reason is, there is no point in overtraining if you don’t feel like so.

Although, it might be costly, to pay for a whole month of BJJ gym membership and only attend 4 times per month. More about the costs of BJJ in a list here.


How to balance gym and BJJ to become a professional BJJ athlete?

So, next up is the more “hardcore” way of training BJJ. If you want to maximize your progress and become a “professional”, compete in competitions, and achieve all that glory in YouTube comments, training as much as your body allows can get you to your goals faster.

Balancing weights, cardio, and BJJ technique training is a good way to get there. If you are lacking strength and cardio, you could focus more on those aspects of training.

On the other hand, if you already have the stamina and strength, add more BJJ to your weekly schedule. Even if you are already somewhat strong, you could add weight lifting to stay in shape and slightly progress in the strength aspect as well.

Your weekly schedule could look something like this:

Monday: BJJ + cardio

Tuesday: Weight lifting

Wednesday: BJJ

Thursday: Rest day / Cardio

Friday: BJJ

Weekend: Rest / Cardio

Whatever fits your personal training preferences the best. Keep in mind that every week doesn’t have to look the same.

Also, no matter how ambitious your goals are, avoid overtraining and burning out. Training slightly less can keep you going for much longer, but if you overtrain for a month, that could destroy your motivation to train for months to come.

I have seen overtraining happens to a lot of tougher guys than me. They go all-in on training, but after a month or two, their body just can not handle it anymore and they quit it all. Find a good balance in training so you can continue it for longer.

Should you lift weights while you also train BJJ?

Whether you should lift weights while you train BJJ is all up to you and your goals, as well as your weaknesses. If you feel like you could get much more out of your BJJ if you were stronger, then you probably should add weight lifting to your training schedule.

On the other hand, BJJ competitions are in weight classes. Therefore, you might want to avoid gaining too much muscle if you want to compete.

If on the other hand your goal is just to be the best version of yourself, combining weight lifting and BJJ can be really beneficial.

Lifting weights by all means, if not necessary if you train BJJ. When I first started BJJ, I hadn’t hit the gym for years. However, I found it to help out a lot, when I combined gym and BJJ. I gained some weight that was really useful, especially against white belts who went with full strength on sparring.

Should you do cardio while you also train BJJ?

Doing some cardio is another thing that can greatly improve your BJJ performance. If you find yourself out of breath after a minute or two of sparring, adding just a little cardio to your weekly schedule can have a huge impact.

I have noticed, that even going for a jog once a week, will have a huge impact on my stamina on the mats. Week after week, just once a week has improved my stamina and endurance a lot. Every week, I can jog for a little bit longer without getting fatigued.

Going for a jog is one of those things, that can greatly improve your BJJ performance overall, with a really small effort. Give it a shot.

Final thoughts

The main thing when it comes to balancing BJJ, weights, and cardio, is to listen to your body. Train only as much as you can handle, and avoid overtraining.

Find the best schedule for you, and remember that every week doesn’t have to look the same. Some weeks you will have some extra work, or other events to attend to. If BJJ is just a hobby for you, treat it like that.

I know, for some people, BJJ can easily become more than just a hobby. It becomes a lifestyle.

I wish you all great rest of your day!

Other BJJ-related posts can be found here.

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