WSBB Blog: Strength Endurance for BJJ
Time to Read: 4min
Strength endurance training is an often overlooked method of training when constructing a conjugate style weight training program. At Westside, our powerlifters will typically train up to a max effort lift for both upper and lower four weeks out of the month. This is because powerlifting calls for the ability to be maximally strong in a short amount of time, so training up to a max effort single is sport specific.
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor faces a different problem, the need to be able to maintain a high level of strength over a prolonged period of time. With this becoming the training goal, the conjugate training template will need slight adjustments.
We will modify the athlete’s max effort days, decreasing the amount of all out max effort lifts. What this means is instead of working up to the heaviest single rep, you will instead work up to a top set or sets with the heaviest weight you can lift for the prescribed sets and reps. The repetition ranges and percentages must be correctly matched in order to have the intended training effect.
Here are some recommended modified max effort exercises you can program into your conjugate training to begin working on strength endurance immediately.
The sumo deadlift is a great option for athletes. Sumo deadlifts target and strengthen all of the muscles responsible for creating a strong base that will benefit any athlete in any sport. For the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor, the sumo deadlift will strengthen your takedowns, guard control, sprawling and balance, and your ability to create a base and control your opponent.
The sumo deadlift can be done in many different ways, and can be altered and frequently used while still avoiding accommodation. At Westside, we will sumo deadlift from a deficit, from mats for a block pull, or out of the power rack for rack pulls. Additionally, bands and chains can be used to create added training stimulus. These exercises can be done for a top set of five reps at 80%, five sets of five reps at 70%, or heavier sets of 90-95% for six to eight sets of two reps with lowered rest times between sets.
Clean and Press
This exercise is one of the best strength endurance exercises for athletes. The clean and press will create muscular coordination, strength, and endurance, which are all paramount attributes for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor. Aside from the strength endurance, multi rep clean and press sets will train cardiovascular endurance as well.
It is important to maintain good form and properly regulate the intensity when performing the clean and press.
The recommended set and rep schemes are six sets of two around 90% with shortened rest periods, 5 x 5 at 80%, or work up to a top set of five reps followed by two to three down sets of five reps at a lighter weight.
One of the best ways to increase posterior chain strength in athletes is to box squat. It allows you to control the depth the athlete is squatting to, giving you the ability to manipulate the training effect.
Box squats are also a safer way to perform intense multi rep squat sets due to the box preventing you from having a complete collapse if the set is failed. Box squats also have an enhanced training effect on the hamstrings, hips, and trunk. Similar to clean and press, intense multi rep sets of box squats will improve both strength and cardiovascular endurance.
The recommended set and rep schemes are six sets of two at 90%, working up to a top set of three at 90-95% followed by two sets of 5 reps, and 5 x 5 at 80%.
Programming your weight training with a strength endurance focus is a guaranteed way to improve both your ability to be consistently strong throughout the duration of a match, while also increasing your cardiovascular capacity. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking technique is all you need. The strong man always has a chance against the skilled man, but no man has a chance against the strong and skilled man.