EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of James Kearns. James is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting. Learn more about James at his website, BJJ Barbell Strength, and follow his journals here every week.


Athlete Journal Entry 8 - 2/26/2014


I’ve finally made it through a week in 2014 without the weather or an injury keeping me out of the gym. This was by far the best training week I’ve had this year, and it feels like my Brazilian jiu jitsu and weightlifting are coming together. I am finally getting back into my normal routine and not stressing out over how I’m going to fit all of my training in for the week, and that's a big reason my training has improved. If all I’m doing is thinking about how to fit all my sessions in, then I’m not focusing on the training itself.


Breaking Muscle Shop

This week I got some good mat time at Tactical Combat Academy, where the Brazilian jiu jitsu class is growing by the month. Our school is getting ready to send some competitors to Pan Ams soon; plus we’re sending a lot of competitors to the Boston Open and New York Open. Everyone is beginning to step up their game. Our coaches Brad Souders and Bobby Knotts have been focusing on leg drags, drills, and a lot of rolling.


It has been great to see the amount of people training the past month or so. The Brazilian jiu jitsu class has had around twenty students for the past few weeks. The school is also starting to get some heavier guys attending class, which is good for me. This week I will be traveling a little bit to get some more training in with some different guys, which will help me get ready for my next BJJ competition in March. 


I am completely back on my Olympic weightlifting program and getting ready for the East Coast Classic at the York Barbell Hall Of Fame this May. My weights are moving well and I have about three weeks left on my program right now. During the past couple months I have been using light weight and working on mechanics and bar speed. I could feel the bar moving this past week, and it was hard to resist the urge to add more weight. Thankfully, I stuck to the program and only used the weight that I was supposed to (which does not always happen). Next month we will start working with heavier weight and I can’t wait. 


My weight lifting coach, Doug Lentz, gave me a good rehab/prehab workout to add into my program to help prevent (or at least minimize) any of my back pain from returning. I’m also getting regular weekly adjustments by the chiropractor, which has helped a lot with my back and is probably the only reason that I am back in the gym at all. 



BJJ: Competition drilling



AM Session: Weightlifting

  • Power Jerk 90kg 2x3, 92.5kg 2x3
  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats 70lbs 4x6
  • Dumbbell Incline Press 90lbs 4x4
  • Core work


PM Session: BJJ - Sweeps from reverse, de la Riva, drilling, rolling



BJJ: Leg drags, drilling, rolling




  • Overhead Squat 67.5kg x4, 70kg x4, 72.5kg x4, 75kg x4
  • Snatch Grip High Pulls 75kg 3x3
  • Hang Squat Snatch 60kg x3, 70kg x3, 72.5kg x2, 75kg x2, 77.5kg x1
  • Pull-Ups 25lbs x10, x8, x8
  • Core Work



Weightlifting: Barbell Complexes

  • Clean, Push Press, Lunge 80kg x2, 82.5kg x2
  • Cleans, Front Squat, Romanian Deadlift 107.5 kg x2, 110kg x2, 112.5kg x2
  • Lower Back Stability Drills
  • Core Work