You’re at work and all you can think about is Brazilian jiu jitsu. You start to think about the last class you attended or the new technique you want to try. But there is one problem. You can’t train tonight.



This scenario is common in the BJJ community. If you’re like most practitioners, you train recreationally. You may only get to the academy one or two days a week. So, in order to maintain your movements and conditioning, what you do the other five days is critical to your success in BJJ. To maximize your training outside the gym, workouts need to mimic Brazilian jiu jitsu movement patterns and energy systems. 


I am a believer in building strength for grapplers. However, sometime life gets busy and you cannot devote the time to a full-blown strength program. The options below are designed to keep your conditioning up when life gets busy and your training time is limited.



Conditioning workouts should be done two or three days a week. Allow 24 to 48 hours between workouts. If you are stressed from work or family life, then one conditioning workout on top of your BJJ training is plenty. You do not want to stress your system anymore than it already is.  


Option 1: At Home

If you are unable to get to the gym on your off days from BJJ, you can get a great workout in at home with nothing more than your bodyweight and a timer.


Perform each exercise listed below for 30 seconds each. Rest between 1:30-2:00 after the last exercise. Repeat the list for 3-5 rounds, depending on your conditioning. Write down how many reps you get for each exercise. When you do this workout later in the week, try to beat your numbers from your previous workout.


  1. Squats
  2. Pushups
  3. Leg raises
  4. Single leg hamstring bridge right leg
  5. Single leg hamstring bridge left leg
  6. Alternating reverse lunges
  7. Front planks
  8. Hip escapes in place
  9. Lay on your back shoot triangles
  10. Sprawls



Option 2: At Home or the Gym with One Kettlebell

This workout is great for an at-home session or at your local gym that has kettlebells. Perform each exercise for 40 seconds. Then rest 20 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat 2-3 times.


  1. Swings
  2. Shoulder press right side
  3. Reverse lunge holding the kettlebell in your right arm.
  4. Shoulder press left side
  5. Reverse lunge holding the kettlebell in your left arm
  6. Front plank
  7. Kettlebell clean right arm
  8. Squat holding the kettlebell in your right arm
  9. Kettlebell clean left arm
  10. Squat holding the ketlebell in your left arm
  11. Kettlebell rows right arm
  12. Kettlebell rows left arm



Option 3: BJJ Movement Drills

Set a timer for 5 minutes and perform the following movements. If you finish the last movement before the round is up, then start again with the first exercise until time runs out. Repeat for 3-4 rounds.


  1. 100 hip escapes
  2. 50 triangles (lay on your back and shoot triangles)
  3. 30 standing guard openings (start on your knees and pretend to open the guard)
  4. 20 sprawls
  5. 10 wrestler sitouts 



Just because life gets busy does not mean you have to stop training. Your goal is to maintain the specific conditioning you already developed from Brazilian jiu jitsu. Remember one or two days a week is better than zero days a week. 


Photo 1 courtesy of David Brown Photography.

Photos 2 & 3 courtesy of Brandon Hofer.

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