Charging Up Your Cardio for Jiu-Jitsu

yellowGlycolytic (Yellow)

Lactic Peak
20-40sec ON, 1-3min OFF, 3 sets per exercise/drill, 2-4 drills per workout.
This one is great for sport specific drills, light takedowns, positioning, set ups, mitts, bag work or similar.

Work as hard as you can for 20-40sec, rest and repeat.

Lactic Expander
90-120seconds ON, 1-2minutes OFF, 3 sets per exercise, 2-4 exercises per workout
The main difference between the peak and expander workouts is the amount of rest.

Peak workouts should allow full recovery, whereas the expander workouts do NOT allow full recovery between sets.

Any cardio drill works well in this category. Runs, VersaClimber, Battling ropes, towel taz or sport specific drills work great here.


Lactic Explosion
12-15 seconds ON, 30seconds OFF, 6-10 sets per exercise, 1-3 exercises per workout.

Now ideally, you can increase the work time each week, while reducing the rest period for each cycle.

It would look something like this:
Week 1  12-15 sec ON – 30 sec OFF
Week 2  15-20 sec ON – 20 sec OFF
Week 3  20-30sec ON – 15 sec OFF
Week 4  30-40sec ON – 10 sec OFF

Jump squats, split squat jumps, explosive push ups, med ball throws, or other explosive drills or exercises work best.



redPhosphogen (Red)

Explosive Peak
7-10 sec ON, 2-5 minutes OFF, 5-6 reps per exercise, 2-3 exercises for the day.
Explosive exercises or sport specific drills done at 100% effort, as fast as possible, with full recovery.

Think speed and power for this category. Plyos, Olympic lifts or high powered sport specific drills.

Explosive Expander
10-15 seconds ON, 20-90seconds OFF, 10-12reps per exercise, 2-3 exercises per workout.

This category is similar to the ‘Explosive Peak’ workout above, but you will not fully recover. Because of the incomplete rest periods, it is best to avoid technical lifts (O’lifts) to avoid injury. We have found great success using a variety of agility drills, plyos, rope drills and sport specific exercises.



Corey has been a strength coach for 16 years and works with a variety of combat athletes in Southern California. He owns Innovative Results gym in Costa Mesa, CA and founded a site called, that provides strength and conditioning advice for MMA fighters, jiu-jitsu players and other combat athletes.
One Comment
  • Arturo
    14 September 2015 at 4:28 pm
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    I just want to verify If I understood the conclusion of your article correctly. So you are saying if I train jiu jitsu 3 times a week I have to workout 6 times a week and allowing Sunday to be my rest day? Is that correct? I am basing this information of the chart under where you wrote this on the last page of the article.

    So, if you train three times per week for jiu-jitsu and add 3 other workouts, your week might look something like this:

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