Strength & Conditioning for the BJJ Student

– by Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mark Nino – El Nino Fitness


Most times when it comes to strength and conditioning, athletes tend to overthink things.
This monthly training issue is set up based on the myBJJ training curriculum for beginners. But just because the training exercises delivered are based on the beginners curriculum, intermediate and advanced BJJ students can implement these strength training exercises into their tool kit.
First things first, a strength and conditioning program should deliver sound training practices that support the athletes/students goals and cover what’s not being covered during sports specific training (BJJ class).
If a BJJ Student is leading and peaking up to competition and is spending 5 training sessions per week sparring non-stop, then the last thing on their S&C program should be to do 1-3RM squats or deadlifts. There’s a time and place for everything, so long as it’s related to the student and the sport their in (in this case BJJ).
So without any further non-sense, the first 3 exercises that we’re going to cover (not in any specific order) are:
– Barbell Glute Bridge




– Dumbbell Split Squat




– Push-up plank



These 3 exercises all help strengthen the muscles that help with performing:
  • technical stand ups
  • performing basic label chokes
  • double leg takedowns
  • Bridge / Upa
When starting out, perform these exercises as a circuit 3 x per week on non-consecutive days.
Start by performing 2 sets of 15 reps of each exercise as a circuit. Each week, add either some resistance by using heavier weight or holding the position for a longer period of time (20secs to 25 secs for a push-up/plank)
After 2 weeks. Increase the weight even more on each of the exercises and decrease the reps to 12.
After 4 weeks of performing these exercises, it will be time to make things a little more challenging to improve your Bjj game.
An example 4 week block for the barbell glute bridge would look like this:
W1- BBGB: 30kgs x 2 sets x 15 reps
W2- BBGB: 35kgs x 2 sets x 15 reps
W3- Mon/wed : 37.5kgs x 2 sets x 12 reps
W3- Friday: 40kgs x 2 sets x 12 reps
W4- Mon: 42.5kgs x 2 sets x 12 reps
W4- wed/fri: 45kgs x 1 set x 12 reps, 47.5kgs x 1 set x 10 reps
Try to progressively add weight each session.
If you have any questions regarding how to implement strength training to improve your BJJ game, feel free to email me at
Happy Training
Mark Nino, Pn1
Owner | Head Coach
El Nino Strength & Fitness