Judo for BJJ Practitioners (Athlete Journal 26)

This week I had a chance to add some judo techniques into my training, and I think it will go a long way in helping prepare for the New York Open.

This week I was pressed for time, but I still got four good days of mat time and three days of strength and conditioning. Since my last competition a week ago, I’ve been focusing on filling some holes that got exposed in my game. I’ve been drilling tighter passes and working some more judo into my stand-up.

Friday evening, one of my teammates and I drove up to Harrisburg to train at Harrisburg BJJ and Judo. It’s great to get some different looks and roll with guys who I’m not used to. Since the school has a lot of judo practitioners, many of the guys up there have a different style of rolling that you don’t come across that often. It was a nice trip and I will probably get back up there sometime before the New York Summer Open.

I wrapped up week two of four of the conditioning phase of my thirteen-week strength and conditioning program. I only have two more weeks left of the entire program and I’m feeling great. This is the first time in the last year that I’ve been able to stay uninjured and complete every week of my strength and conditioning program. The benefits of consistency are paying off. Right now I’m about 209lbs and I feel as strong as ever. I can also tell a big difference in my cardio on the mat.

It’s amazing how following proven training methods and laws of periodization and overload with just a barbell and some dumbbells can make you strong and explosive, and greatly improve your conditioning performance. For the New York Summer Open, my thirteen-week program began with a five-week strength phase, where the focus was on base strength. The next phase also focused on power, but had a primary focus on just plain getting stronger.

This phase was followed by a four-week power and sport-specific phase. It still had the same exercises to focus on base strength, but the sets decreased for those particular lifts and the increased on my Olympic lifts. I also focused on sport-specific exercises, such as rope pull ups, and began my plyometric training.

That all led up to my current four-week conditioning phase. In this phase the only thing I’m concerned about is getting blood into my muscles, getting waste out of them, and improving my conditioning. I’m not doing any strength exercises, because the strength I built up in the first nine weeks will last me for the next few weeks.

In this phase, my mat time and intensity in BJJ training also pick up, so I don’t want any of my strength and conditioning to interfere with mat time. My conditioning program is meant to complement my jiu jitsu, not necessarily to improve it. Only mat time will do that.

I’m looking forward to all of my upcoming competitions this summer. Hopefully I can continue to stay injury-free and keep training hard. The next few months will give me a good idea of what my competition schedule will look like the rest of the year.

Sunday – BJJ

Competition drilling

Monday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Vertical Jump 3×10
  • Ploy Push-Up 3×10
  • Barbell Pop-Up 3×10
  • Push-Off 3×10
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 65x3x15
  • Dumbbell Rows 65x3x15
  • Overhead Dumbbell Extension – Superset with Dumbbell Curls 70/25 3×15
  • Core Work
  • Fan Bike 20 Minutes

Monday – BJJ

Stand up, Passing, Rolling

Wednesday – Strength and Conditioning:

Interval Circuit: 4 rounds, 3min Rest. Each exercise for 30 seconds:

  • 4 Step Agility Run
  • Med Ball Chest Pass
  • Attack Sprawl
  • Med Ball Overhead walking
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lunge
  • Shrimp
  • Dive Bomber
  • Heavy Bag Flip
  • Med Ball Overhead Squat
  • Plank
  • High Knees w/Step Through (1 min)

10 Minutes Hill Sprint Intervals

Wednesday – BJJ

Throws, Passing, Rolling

Friday – Strength and Conditioning, BJJ

Strength and Conditioning:

  • Dumbbell Squat – Super Set with Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 45x3x15
  • Pull Up 17, 15, 10
  • Reverse Dumbbell Fly 30x3x15
  • Core Work


Rolling at Harrisburg BJJ and Judo

James Kearns is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting.Follow his journals here every week.

Photo courtesy of D-Kline Design Photography.