Take Your Training to the Next Level – Benefits of Running for BJJ

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Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you’re mostly rolling on the ground. In order not to stall in your practice you should consider incorporating running into your BJJ practice. There are many reasons why running for BJJ training and competition should be considered.

Really good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practicioners make sure they incorporate running in their training schedule to enable them to roll longer and harder. Conditioning training also has a great impact on your physique—so it’s a win-win.

BJJ is labeled as a mixed sport because it is neither fully anaerobic nor aerobic.

Many BJJ starters normally depend and tap into only one system—either aerobic or anaerobic—to fight. However, to be strong enough for BJJ, both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning are necessary.

Two young BJJ Brazilian Jiu jitsu Athlete fighters training sparing technique at the academy fight lapel gi kimono

The Benefits of Running for BJJ

Strengthen your joints and ligaments

Running helps improve the health of your joints. Your ankles, cartilage in the hips and knees compresses and expands when you work out. This will take in oxygen, removes waste products, and nourishes cartilage while maintaining health. Running builds up the ligaments that support joints by stabilizing them and lessening their susceptibility to strains and sprains— which is important for martial artists.

Running allows you to eat a doughnut!

Man hands eating chocolate doughnut with coffee on wooden table

One of the best forms of exercise that people go for to lose weight is running. It is easier to do it because you do not need to learn any new method as you could with swimming or rollerblading. After an intense run you can go and eat a doughnut you pig! We both know you want one!

Running makes muscles of the legs, hips, and back, stronger, and bones denser

Running helps you to be a mean and lean fighter. During running, bone density increases greatly and creates a continuous impact when you follow a healthy diet.

Cardiovascular efficiency increases

Running helps you to stay active for long hours, which helps you practice for long tests required to rise in belt levels. It helps to cope with a fast, gust of activities like grappling and sparring. Combining activities such as jogging, sprinting, and running allows one to cover both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Enhanced breathing: Cardio helps your blood become more aerated, improving lung strength and enabling you to breathe less. This means you take in more air and keep your blood oxygenated. The more you run, the more your lungs increase and it will be easier to maintain your breathing when practicing under stress of a belt test—especially when grappling or sparring.

Mastering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu depends on your endurance: Endurance is the most important aspect of BJJ, among various other physical factors. If you are caught breathless during lessons, you might not be able to comprehend or put into practice the teachings by your instructor. Getting in good form allows one to learn more, do better, and benefit from the training.

Running is important for self-defense: Running is an important aspect of self-defense. It does not matter if you are a good fighter or not, you can easily be defeated simply by your conditioning levels. You need to have good stamina.

Cardio is the eventual self-protection: Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented if you exercise and observe your diet. Cardio does not only help you defeat your opponents, but it also helps in prevention of heart attacks or strokes. To protect your health, you must consider your fitness, and nutrition. Although in BJJ you focus on working hard to protect yourself from external enemies, don’t forget that there are internal enemies as well.

Your strength to weight ratio improves: You will move faster and be more competitive if you are stronger and lighter. Cardio helps us burn fat off the body and by getting rid of it, your strength also increases when compared to your weight, which is important to martial artists. Therefore, cardio is essential in making you leaner andstronger.

Running is difficult: While running—especially when you’re out of shape—you will sweat. You will ache. You’ll find it hard to breathe. However repeating hard things makes you disciplined, better, and much tougher. When you improve your self-discipline, it helps you deal with difficulties in all areas of life. Mental robustness and tenacity enable you to resolve difficult situations.

Fitness man running on terrace of a building with a resistance band to his waist. Man doing workout on rooftop doing resistance running.

How to Get Maximum Benefits From Running for Your Jiu Jitsu Practice

Understand aerobic and anaerobic running

  • Aerobic running is running at a pace where your body takes in enough oxygen to enable you to move.
  • Anaerobic is running at a pace when the body takes in insufficient oxygen to move your muscles.

Anaerobic happens when you run faster. Since the body doesn’t have enough oxygen, the body will break down sugars to give oxygen and energy. This method increases the production of lactic acid instead of letting out carbon dioxide and water as waste. It is not easy for the body to switch to an aerobic state when it has been in the anaerobic state. Most BJJ starts with anaerobic and then switch to the aerobic state.

  • Run in a way that imitates BJJ rounds:It is important to mimic the BJJ practice when running. This depends on the level of your belt. For the white belt, you can use those round 5 minutes, and increase gradually. For the purple belt, your runs should estimate around 7 minutes. It is important to imitate the number of rounds depending on the competition you’ll have. When your competition is near, it is good to exercise for up to four rounds.
  • Running the right amount of time:Most individuals practice Martial arts to lose weight and get fit. Those goals are much easier to achieve through both training and nutrition. Nevertheless, if you want to go a notch higher on your fitness, other training is important when added into your martial art practice (like running).
  • Shoes: When running for BJJ get a quality pair of shoes. Just wear them while running and replace them every 4-6 months—especially if you are running on a regular basis (as you should be). It is always good to try different styles and models until you find what works for you.
  • Consider BJJ as the first priority: When you are an enthusiastic student who wants to make the best out of practice, you may consider implementing running into your training regimen. However, you always need to know that BJJ comes first. Running is important but it does not replace BJJ.

You should always know that training for BJJ should be the top priority. If given the choice, train first then go for a run. If you find that running makes you too tired to train for BJJ then reduce your runs to shorter distances. Nevertheless, always consider running as it might be a good supplement you need to take your BJJ to the next level.

  • Avoid excessive training: In this modern era, people do not consider nutrition and their sleeping schedule as an important aspect of their training. However, their lack of attention can impair recovery from training. Excessive training and less resting time—as well as improper nutrition—could lead to quick injuries or sickness.

Running to get benefits in BJJ practice could get enjoyable but you need to consider the volume of your total training. If you practice BJJ three times a week, it could be too strenuous on your body to run two-three times a week on top of your practice. You’re adding to your training volume but not to the recovery time. It is important to allow for proper recovery after each training session in order to minimize possible injuries.

  • What to do and not to do when stretching: Warming up before stretching is important. Therefore, go for a small jog and get your muscles warm before stretching because your legs will be flexible and this will enhance your BJJ practice. Do a little stretching after each run but ensure that once a week (at least) you do a comprehensive stretching routine. Stretching in your cool down is also helpful to avoid soreness.
  • Begin slowly: You might be hurt, injured, and discouraged if you go all out during the first running tryout. Instead of going balls to the wall, alternate brisk walks with easy jogs at the start. This will let the body adjust to the running in your training schedule. It is good to increase the weekly long run by around ten to fifteen per cent every week.
  • Drink a lot of water and eat a meal after the run: While running, you sweat a lot and lose energy, therefore, it is important to drink a lot of water and grab a snack pre or post workout that has a balance of starch and proteins. This will reduce tiredness and soreness in your feet and muscles the following day. It helps recovery too. If you go for longer runs, take a good snack with you to quickly gobble down after running to avoid dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Make sure to always have water available.
  • Go longer, go faster, and push harder: The best way to challenge yourself with running is by making it harder. Running gets harder if done at various levels of intensity, meaning you should play with your pace on your regular run. It is better to run outdoors but if you really have to use the treadmill, go for hill and sprint intervals to make it harder. This will be a decent workout within a short time. In general, after you’ve got your feet sweaty after a few runs, start to pick up the pace, pick up your pace and sprint from time to time. Increase the speed, and run up a few hills too.
  • Make it satisfying: If you prefer running outside, picking a scenic trail through the forest or winding mountain paths can help you be more and more encouraged to go on runs. Some people like running with a partner, some prefer solitude. Try different things to find your groove! Everyone is different. It might take you a while to find the best running conditions for yourself. Just keep on running!

It can be a challenge for your lungs and heart to run up a steeper hill, but it will enhance the strength of your legs and your core.

Program your running for your BJJ: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a multifaceted sport that needs the body to switch into aerobic and anaerobic systems. Therefore, to be fully prepared for upcoming competition and training, it is important to incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic systems into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program. Running can help you train for long, high-intensity workouts and you will be prepared for your competition.

Trail runner man looking at heart rate monitor watch running in cold forest wearing hat and gloves. Male jogger running training in woods.

Exausted after a few sparring sessions?

If you find yourself struggling on the mat due to exhaustion, incorporate running in your training regimen.

It is always important to focus on establishing a training routine that entails both anaerobic and aerobic exercises. Running for BJJ is the best thing one can do to condition their bodies. It’s easy to do.
You don’t need any equipment, apart from a pair of decent running shoes.

BJJ comes first!

Make sure that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu always stays your main priority.

In order to improve your Cardio for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, put more effort into your training sessions. When you work on your cardio, your mental strength and endurance will improve. 

Toughen up and become a better martial artist!

A lot of people experience quite a big difference in terms of their performance while rolling after a few weeks of regular running. If you too have stories to share, please do leave a comment.

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