How to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at home
If you are currently at home in self-isolation, you may be feeling concern about what this means for your BJJ. If you are just starting out as a fresh white belt or getting ready for the IBJJF Worlds, it can be tough to put your usual routine on hold. Therefore for these reasons I have put together a few tips on how to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at home.
Regular exercise is important for both mental and physical health and is even more important than ever during these times of self-isolation.
Here are 6 tips to help guide you on how to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at home.
1. Using online study to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at home
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing academy closures, many gyms have switched to delivering their classes online. As a result of this there is a huge amount of content available online, most of which are heavily discounted. Some of this content can be useful for practising at home to improve your fitness and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills.
Free content ranges from short clips on social media or YouTube all the way through to flash giveaways from top level coaches and competitors. For example Bernardo Faria recently offered any free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional from his hugely popular BJJ Fanatics website. Certainly I took advantage of this myself and downloaded Bernardo’s Nogi Pressure Passing series. I have yet to work my way through the entire instructional at home, but I already know that studying this will improve my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to some degree while stuck at home.
Of course there are many others to choose from depending on your budget and technical requirements. For example take a look at this post for some of my favourite instructionals including a free release from Masakazu Imanari. Hopefully you will find something on there which you can use to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at home.
Also in the meantime, one of my favourite free resources comes from BJJ Scout’s study of the great Murilo Santana. Here is a three part series of Murilo’s famous pressure passing methods.
2. Mental Mastery
It may sound unconventional but give this a try and see for yourself. There are many experts who believe that mental repetition of a technique can have a positive impact on skill acquisition. This is not just restricted to BJJ, it can be applicable to other fields not limited to sports psychology.
As an example, try to picture yourself shooting for your favourite takedown. Pay close attention to each of the steps which you learned in class (or online). How do you win the grip fight? How do you off balance your opponent and proceed with your entry? In which position will you need to land? Run it through over and over until you are happy with it to give you the best chance of successfully adding it to your game when you eventually return to the gym.
3. Using rest and recovery to improve your BJJ at home
There is no doubt that regular BJJ training can be tiring and punishing on the body. Waking up with multiple aches and strains is a common occurence, especially for the more ‘mature’ grapplers.
Continuous workouts without rest will eventually make us weaker instead of stronger. The recovery period is the time that the body repairs itself and adapts to the stressful demands of vigorous exercise. Recovery also allows the body to replenish its energy stores. Failiure to maintain a suitable rest and recovery plan can result in overtraining, which can lead to a decreased physical and mental performance.
Do not be afraid to take time off and come back stronger and fresher. Your body will thank you in the long run.
4. Using solo drills to improve your BJJ at home
There is an unlimited amount of solo exercise routines which you can do at home to improve your BJJ training.
For example, there are drills designed to help improve mobility and movement. You have probably already been doing some of them during your warm ups before classes (unless you are a purple belt – you’d obviously skip them). These kind of exercises can be beneficial all year round, not just while you are stuck at home.
Here is a fantastic article and video from one of my favourite grapplers Nick ‘Chewy’ Albin – BJJ solo drills to build better hip movement. The content is self explanatory, check it out and let me know what you think. Additionally I posted this article which covers some free BJJ movement instructionals.
5. Get Stronger
Use your time out of the gym to get stronger. If you are blessed with a home gym, lift some weights to increase your strength and power output. There are many different resistance training strategies to meet your equipment requirements (or lack of). Improving your strength is always an effective method of improving your Jiu Jitsu.
No gym? No problem. Bodyweight exercises can be equally effective. In fact there are some BJJ practitioners who believe this method of training has more crossover onto the mats than lifting weights.
I remember reading a book in the early 2000s called Never Gymless by the highly regarded boxing and martial arts coach Ross Enamait. Writing this article triggered a trip down memory lane of burpees in a snowy back garden. So I looked him up and he has the exact same 230 page book on offer for $1. Take a look here – Ross Enamait – Never Gymless and let me know if you decide to give it a go.
6. Clean up your diet to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
In most countries bars, restaurants and takeaways remain closed for business. There is also limited availability of more popular food items which can lead to sub-optimal nutritional choices (or laziness – my turbulent relationship with pizza for example).
Take advantage of the extra time at home to experiment and learn some new recipes. There are plenty of online resources to guide you towards healthier options. This will help improve your BJJ through positive adjustment of your body composition (i.e. losing some fat from eliminating the previously mentioned pizza).
I hope you have found these tips useful. Please comment with any feedback or tips on how you have improved your BJJ during the lock down.
If you liked this post please take a look at my earlier articles: