How Does BJJ Change Your Body?

Are you looking for a way to shed some extra fat and maybe a bit on a bit of extra muscle? BJJ could be the perfect sport for you. It is time to look at some of the effects Jiu Jitsu has on your body.

How Does BJJ Change Your Body?

BJJ will change your body by making you leaner and increase your muscle mass, particularly in your arms, shoulders, back, neck and thighs. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing your abs. Initially, you may be left with bruises and scrapes but soon your skin will toughen and adapt.

BJJ Will Get You Lean

BJJ can have a wonderful effect on your body. One of the first physical changes new Jiu Jitsu students notice is sudden weight loss. As BJJ is an intense workout you can easily burn up to 700 calories an hour, meaning in an average 1.5 hour training session you could lose 1000 calories. 

If you are training Jiu Jitsu multiple times a week the sheer amount of calories you are burning will quickly result in you shedding excess fat. Many new BJJ athletes find themselves noticeably leaner after only training for a couple of months.

If you combine 3 plus BJJ training sessions a week with a small calorie deficit the fat will melt off your body. I know many people who started training BJJ who never had abs in their life and within 6 months of dedicated Jiu Jitsu training were sporting 6 packs.

You won’t just benefit from prominent ab muscles you will also have a smaller waist, pronounced jawline and overall look much healthier. BJJ truly is one of the most effective sports if you want to burn fat and get lean.

The high intensity combined with the joy athletes experience while training BJJ has so many students on the mats 5 times a week, every week. As you know consistency is the key when trying to lose weight, that is something you won’t have to worry about with BJJ.

You will be rearranging your schedule to get in more training time because it is so much fun.

Jiu Jitsu Will Increase Your Muscle Mass

While BJJ may not be as effective as weightlifting for increasing muscle it still a highly beneficial form of exercise if your goal is to put on some size. 

If you look at many BJJ athletes they aren’t lacking in the muscle department. This is because Jiu Jitsu is a whole body workout. It places a large amount of stress on the arms, neck, shoulders, legs, back, and core.

BJJ athletes are known for their big arms, iron-like core, and barn-like backs. In BJJ you are constantly gripping, squeezing, and pulling your opponent towards you as they try to get out of your grips. This exercise is amazing for developing arm, back, and shoulder muscles.

As BJJ is a whole body workout your core is always working. Whether you like it not Jiu Jitsu will force you to develop a very strong core which is why so many BJJ athletes have ripped abs.

If you want to maximize your muscle development combine your regular BJJ training with a couple of weightlifting sessions per week and before you know it your family and friends will be wondering what kind of illegal supplements you have been taking. 

What Negative Effects Does BJJ Have On Your Body?

BJJ can negatively affect your skin and leave you with scrapes, cuts, and bruises from impact with your training partners and the mat. BJJ can also hurt your posture, leaving you stiff and tight with rounded shoulders.

While BJJ has a lot of positive effects on your body it does cause some damage.

BJJ Can Cause Skin Injuries

BJJ is tough on the skin, especially when you first start training. Do not be surprised if you come from training covered in bruises and scrapes that you aren’t exactly sure how they happened.

As there is a large amount of contact between you and your training partners being hit the odd elbow, knee or hip is common. These can leave some nasty bruises. This can have you being the subject of office rumors if you show up to work sporting a black eye.

When you are training BJJ make sure your training partners have cut their toenails and fingernails. Long nails can leave some very nasty cuts and even cause serious eye injuries.

A serious skin injury that Jiu Jitsu students need to look out for is staph. Staph is found everywhere including your BJJ gym and on your skin. When you suffer a cut even a tiny one this bacteria can enter your skin and cause a nasty infection.

Typically, your body can fight the infection but if you suffer from a bad strain especially an antibiotic-resistant strain you could end up in the hospital. 

Another common issue BJJ athletes face is known as mat burn. These are scrapes the occur when your skin is rubbed against the mat. These can be pretty painful. 

Fortunately, your skin does adapt to the brutality of the sport and these scrapes and bruises become less frequent and the chance of a bad staph infection is low.

BJJ Can Be Bad For Your Posture

In BJJ you can often find yourself in a rounded position with your shoulders forward. This combined with the stress Jiu Jitsu places on your back and neck can negatively impact your posture. BJJ also can make your hips very tight which puts your back in a suboptimal position and effect your gait.

It is common to find BJJ athletes suffering from rounded shoulders and a forward head position. To mitigate the negative effects you need to stretch reguarly and maintain an ideal head up and back straight mechanics while training.


BJJ can really change your body for the better. It can help you lose fat while at the same time help you build muscle. There are unfortunately some negatives. BJJ can be rough on your skin leading to bruises and scrapes. BJJ can also hurt your posture but if you stretch regularly and maintain a strong posture while training you should be fine.

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