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Kevin Scott 03-16-2011 02:08 AM

More S&C Help for BJJ
Hey guys I posted awhile back asking for help planning a strength and conditioning program to supplement my bjj program. I am now back asking for more help and ideas. I now run my own bjj school and train a lot. The last few weeks I have been training every session and found that I started to burn out. Here is what my schedule looked like:

-9am-10am bjj Drilling
-10-11am bjj sparring
-7-8pm Conditioning
-Varies but a typical workout might be 5 sets of 150# sandbag shouldering
x 30 seconds with a few minutes rest between each set. Followed by
some type of metcon stuff like sled pushes/pulls, push ups, pull ups,
heavy kettlebell work
-8-9pm BJJ drilling
-9-9:30 or 10pm BJJ sparring

-8-9pm BJJ drilling
-9-9:30 or 10pm BJJ sparring

-9am-10am bjj Drilling
-10-11am bjj sparring
-7-8pm Conditioning
-Varies but a typical workout might be 5 sets of 150# sandbag shouldering
x 30 seconds with a few minutes rest between each set. Followed by
some type of metcon stuff like sled pushes/pulls, push ups, pull ups,
heavy kettlebell work
-8-9pm BJJ drilling
-9-9:30 or 10pm BJJ sparring

-9am-10am bjj Drilling
-10-11am bjj sparring
-6-7pm Conditioning
-Varies but a typical workout might be 5 sets of 150# sandbag shouldering
x 30 seconds with a few minutes rest between each set. Followed by
some type of metcon stuff like sled pushes/pulls, push ups, pull ups,
heavy kettlebell work
-7-8pm BJJ and MMA groundfighting drilling
-8-9pm BJJ sparring and sometimes mma groundwork sparring

-12pm-2pm MMA Practice
-Focus is on learning stand up striking, clinch work, and MMA takedowns.
Full on MMA sparring with protective gear.

I also usually visit either my instructors school or a friends bjj school for additional training 1x a week for an additional 2 hours of mat time.

So that is what my week looks like. I think the conditioning sessions are to high volume for me right now do to the fact I get about 18 hours a week of matwork. I also was wondering if I needed to dial back mat time and get some thoughts from you guys. I have found that I am beginning to get pretty bad elbow tendinitis in the medial part of both elbows from all the grappling. Weighted pull ups aggravate this much worse so I rarely do them. Would you guys drop strength and conditioning all together and just focus on mat time? Cut a few hours of bjj and add in some short strength focused work? I thought about a strength and conditioning template on defrancostraining.com(located at bottom of page) and reducing some of my sparring sessions. I also looked at Gant's hybrid program but it seemed like the volume might be to high. I tried 5/3/1 but didn't really like the program and got rather bored with it quickly. I also find that although I could be stronger my cardio seems to be more the problem. I suffer from sports induced asthma and lost in the finals of the purple belt absolute 2x this year do to asthma attack brought on from pushing my lungs so hard. Both times I competed in 6-7 matches each last around 7 minutes in length. Any help you guys can offer would be great. Here are some of my stats if it helps.

-Unsure of how much weight I can max since it's been 8 months since the last time I recorded this. But I can should a 150# sandbag pretty easily for 3 reps.
-I also have a push/pull sled that is similar to a prowler. I find the sled fun but I am not sure I am getting much value out of it. It does not ever really kill my lungs and causes only mild discomfort in my legs when I push it. My guys that I train hate the sled and look like they are going to die when they use it.
-I did a 5 minute KB long cycle Snatch with 54#kb and was able to hit 50 repetitions per arm. Also I can do most KB exercises with 70# kb now and want to work up to the 88.
-I did a sporadic push up test and knocked out 70 strict push ups fairly easily
-I know my grip strength leaves something to be desired

I also have managed to dislocate 2 ribs this year and would like to strength the area to prevent this in the future. As for injuries/tendinitis I have to partially separated AC joints but they don't really hurt anymore and don't really affect anything. I usually just use a pull up bar to pop them in place before working out. I have the tendinitis in both elbows as previously mentioned. I also occasionally have some lower back pain. Chiropractor says my hips are tilted and my back has signs of mild scoliosis, but usually I stretch the back and it rarely causes much of a problem. Maybe goes out 2x per year.

Any help is much appreciated.

Greg Davis 03-17-2011 03:18 AM

That volume looks a little crazy. I hope you are cycling in weeks off...

How old are you? (relevant)

Kevin Scott 03-17-2011 08:41 AM

27 currently. Also just started really tightening up the diet following Paleo so now I am at 211. I know the volume is high but I want to get as much training as possible and I have a goal of winning world's, no gi worlds, and abu dahbi submission world championships when I hit black belt. I cycle off of conditioning about every 4 weeks for a 1 week break. My bjj volume doesn't really get cycled. I train bjj about 3 months straight and then if I feel burned out I may take a few days off or switch to really light training for a few days.

Paolo Milano 03-18-2011 06:30 AM

Tbh for BJJ I think the ideal s&c program is a straight forward 2-3 days push-pull-squat routine. If you are sparring everyday you already get plenty of sports specific conditioning and doing met-con type of workouts will only detract from your mat time. If anything I'd do some mid lenght low intensity cardio for active recovery.

Grissim Connery 03-19-2011 03:27 PM

Yeah, i agree. you sound like you're debating between doing a strength cycle and doing a conditioning cycle. if you've got tendonitis in the elbows, it might be worth doing an LSD cardio block for a few weeks.

possible benefits
1. improved conditioning (it sounds like all your conditioning is high intensity right now, so you may be able to increase your aerobic base by doing this)
2. healthier elbows
3. reduced bodyweight (i'm never going to say a person at this height needs to be at x weight, but at 5'10, it might not hurt to walk around a bit leaner. obviously i have no idea what your build is, so take this with a grain of salt).

you mentioned 5/3/1 is boring. i'll agree that a strict strength or strict cardiac output focus will be boring, but sometimes you just gotta do it. spend 2 out of 3 workouts a week doing the boring thing that you know will help you. have fun on the 3rd workout. if it's really annoying, just do some handstands as a warmup.

Kevin Scott 03-19-2011 10:36 PM

Thanks for the input. I am cutting weight right now by just changing the diet to very strict paleo. I am walking at about 207. My bodyfat percentage is fairly low though. Every time I test it I come out sub 10% and the estimated lowest bodyweight I can go is 200# I was just born with retardedly muscular legs and can't actually hit a triangle choke with how thick my legs are. I was thinking some aerobic conditioning may actually help my asthma. I know when I condition even if I push myself as hard as possible I recover quick and don't have asthma problems. I was thinking aerobic conditioning be the reason I die out in my 7th 7 minute match. I also thought strength may be better though because if I was a lot stronger than my opponents I would need less energy therefore reducing my need for aerobic conditioning.

Paolo Milano 03-21-2011 01:30 AM

I think pretty much everyone gasses after 7x7 min on the mats wether in a tournament or training. Actually , the fact that it takes you so long to gas tells me your conditioning may actually be pretty good.

Kevin Scott 03-24-2011 04:49 PM

Really? I feel like there is room for improvement. I would like to be able to 10 or more 7 minute round.s I would actually like to be able to handle 10 x 10 minute rounds for when I hit black belt. I would want to compete both my weight and absolute which usually means 8 x 10 minute matches at black belt. If you are right than it is possible that a strength increase could be most beneficial since I will need to use less energy overall if I am stronger. As always I know bjj training is the best conditioning for bjj and if I could just submit all my opponents in in 30 seconds I would need little conditioning anyway. I think I have the bjj training part covered though and just need to figure out how to supplement the training.

Grissim Connery 03-25-2011 09:09 AM

I feel that you would have to dictate the pace of the matches and keep them slow to make a strength increase really benefit your conditioning. if there's a lot of explosive, agility type transitions and an overall fast pace, then i feel that your conditioning will not improve as much focusing on ME strength. if you can crush the guy in side control for several minutes or keep him broken down in a tight, closed guard for a long time, then maybe you can keep a steady pace that will be improved with some brute strength. i do know guys who roll like this. granted, these are in class, and not in competition.

on the other hand, it does not make sense to believe that you can rely on anaerobic strength for 100 minutes (10x10min matches). granted, these are broken up by rest periods, but a large majority of you energy will be provided through aerobic means.

just doing a brief search, it looks like a strong half marathon time is 80 minutes or below. that's around an average rate of 10mph. the world record is 58:23, a rate of 13.5 mph. those guys are able to keep that kind of pace by training predominantly aerobically. i'm not saying you need to become that kind of dude, but you can rely on your aerobic capabilities to keep a good pace in your matches.

Eric Cady 07-15-2011 09:24 AM

Hey Scott,
Cool to hear you have some solid goals! I've been training with Marcelo Garcia a bunch the last year which has been a blast.

As far as training and conditioning goes it's definitely a trick balance. I've been learning from James Fitzgerald (OPT) for some time and have discovered some ways that work for me. Some questions to ask yourself when developing your program
1. What type of game do you play and how best can you develop the energy system that you personally use the most?
- this can determine strength use, explosive bursts, recovery time in cosolidation, muscular endurance needs.
2. How do you feel going into your training?
3. Periodization - when are your competitions and when do you start increasing/ decreasing your workload?
4. Staying healthy- very important. Not healthy= no training period. Be sure ti include foam rolling, stretching, and general mobility work to keep balanced.

Because of my age I have reduced my conditioning work outside jj down to 2x per week, which are primarily strength based - heavy cns now. I train jj 6x per week so burnout is always there if I am not smart. As much as I love CrossFit I can not do the wods and do bjj. My workouts are centered around the answers that i came up with from the questions above. I use quick explosive movements with some isometrics during recovery time. Some my rest periods involve active recovery, but not intense enough to raise my HR too high.

I hope this is some what helpful. I'd love to keep the dialog going because I am experimenting all the time! Good luck on your school!
Eric Cady

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