Charging Up Your Cardio for Jiu-Jitsu

Organizing Your Training

Now that we have a better understanding of the body and a variety of workouts to choose from, we can start to organize a training schedule that helps us perform at our best and not just simply get tired. There is a fine line between training enough and training too much. These days it seems like everyone wants to be exhausted after every workout, but that can only last for so long. Train too much, too hard, too often and you will eventually suffer the consequences. Nagging injuries, tendonitis, mental and physical fatigue, poor performance and more. These are all signs that your body cannot recover and that you are doing too much.

The key is to challenge your body, without annihilating it, so you get better and are able to recover before your next training session. What we have found to work best is a schedule that varies in intensity throughout the week. Lifting heavy and rolling live every day is too intense for most people. Drilling and doing yoga a couple times per week isn’t enough. Remember our green, yellow and red intensity levels? We can schedule our workouts using these different intensity levels to ensure we get the work we need, without doing too much.

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


Do you train twice per day? (AM and PM)




The key is understanding the intensity level for each workout and the toll it takes on your body.

Green Workouts are typically light drilling, mobility work, yoga or low intensity cardio. These are essential in helping us develop a strong foundation, technically and physically. They can also help us recover from more intense sessions.

Yellow workouts are a little more intense and might include weights, intervals, wrestling, takedowns and maybe some live situations during practice.

Red workouts are short, explosive and intense: sprints, heavy lifting or explosive work on the mat. The key is 100% effort, so follow the recommended interval splits above to get the most out of these workouts.

CAUTION: If you want to introduce additional workouts (strength and conditioning), I would highly recommend adding them slowly and seeing how your body reacts to the new stimulus.


Wrap Up

Training for jiu-jitsu competitions can be very taxing on the body, so tread lightly, start slow and add additional workouts slowly over time. Your body will adapt and you will be able to handle larger work-loads as you improve. Hopefully this info will stimulate some ideas for improving your training schedule and help you develop better workouts for yourself and your team. Remember, the idea is to get better, not just be tired. My friend uses some alternative methods to train, he likes to take Austin Tennis Lessons to get his additional exercise in to keep it varied.



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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