How To Increase My Cardio For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

You have probably just finished a training session and you feel exhausted. You feel like you could do so much better in your rolling sessions if you just had some extra cardio. I will show you some quick easy ways to boost your cardio immediately.

How To Increase My Cardio For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)? To increase your cardio for BJJ you need to breathe correctly/frequently, conserve your energy, use correct technique, increase your training intensity, incorporate some extra cardio outside the BJJ gym. If you implement some of these methods you will see a dramatic boost to your cardio threshold. To learn how to implement these methods, read below.

How to Breathe During Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

The reason many people get exhausted during BJJ is because they are not breathing correctly. In BJJ particularly during rolling/sparring many people are so focused on their opponent and due to the stressful situation of another person trying to choke you forget to breathe. Oftentimes people will only start taking deep breaths when their body is screaming at them that it needs oxygen. By this stage it is too late and your body is redlined.

To avoid this happening you must continually take deep controlled breaths throughout your training session. Ideally you should be taking relaxed slow deep breaths through your nose and exhaling either through your mouth or nose. You will be surprised by how much your cardio improves by simply focusing on taking in enough oxygen through your nose throughout your training session. If you are a beginner I would first recommend you implement this breathing technique. 

Once you can implement that technique without much thought I recommend you also try a more advanced breathing method. Just before you make an explosive movement you will want to breathe in through your nose and then as you come towards the end of your explosive movement you want to quickly exhale multiple times through your mouth or nose. This technique is similar to what boxers use when they throw a punch. You may have heard that whooshing noise when they throw a punch. This is the sound of them quickly exhaling as they complete the punch. Give these two breathing techniques a go and you will be shocked at the increase in your conditioning and stamina.

How To Conserve Energy During Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

You probably have a lot more cardio than you think. You are just not using it effectively. As mentioned previously breathing correctly will allow you to conserve your energy much more efficiently, there are also some other tricks you can use. 

Using correct technique will conserve your energy. The techniques in BJJ are designed to be performed without much physical exertion. However if you perform them incorrectly they can be very physically taxing. The classic beginner mistake is trying to bench press someone off them to escape mount. This is extremely physically taxing and often ineffective. Instead of focusing on raw strength to dominate and control your opponent focus on performing the techniques with little power.

Another way to conserve your energy is choosing when to use speed and explosiveness. There are times in BJJ when using explosiveness is effective and times when it isn’t. For example when you are completely pinned in side control you need to be patient and wait for your opponent to give you an opportunity. Madly bridging is only going to result in you becoming exhausted. Instead wait until you feel your opponent’s weight shift or they go for a submission then you can attempt an escape. This escape attempt will have a much higher likelihood of success.

How To Increase Your BJJ Training Intensity?

To increase your cardio for BJJ you need to cause an adaptation in the body. To do this you need to place the body under enough stress forcing it to adapt. To place your body under stress you need to make it do things it normally doesn’t. This can be achieved by increasing the amount of times you train per week. If you usually train 3 times a week increase your training volume to 5 times a week. Your body will be forced to adapt to this increase in training volume and your cardio will improve.

Another way to get your body to adapt is to increase the length of your typical training session. If you usually train for 1.5 hours and do 3 rolls at the end of training. Instead stay for 2 hours and do 6 rounds of sparring. Finally you can increase your cardio by ramping up the way you train. Next time you go to training focus on making every warm up, drilling routine and rolling session as challenging as it can be. Don’t cheat on your push ups, don’t drill half ass and don’t duck the hardest guy in the room when it comes to rolling. If you take this advice your body will be forced to adapt to the increased stress resulting in you receiving a boost to your cardio.

Cardio Training Outside The BJJ Gym

The best way to increase your cardio for BJJ is to do more BJJ. However this is not always possible. You can increase your cardio by doing non BJJ training. Ideally you would want to train in sports which are similar to BJJ. Judo and wrestling are great ways not only improve your BJJ cardio but also your technique. I would recommend adding 1-2 sessions of Judo or wrestling into your training routine. You will see an increase in your cardio if you train in any sport that results in you having a high heart rate for a significant time.

What you choose to do comes down to personal preference. Boxing, running, kettlebells, skipping and swimming are all going to help you increase your cardio if you train them intensely and frequently enough. If you are training in swimming, Kettlebells or running you should focus on sprints and short bursts of movement followed by short periods of rest to mimic the type of stress your body experiences in BJJ. I strongly believe in specificity so I would recommend first training more BJJ, then Judo/wrestling and then whatever you think you will enjoy and stick to.

By focusing on your breathing, knowing when to use your energy, using correct technique and doing a bit of extra cardio outside the BJJ gym you will quickly see a dramatic improvement in both your stamina and conditioning.

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