“They say that strength doesn’t count, but it does. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference if the opponent didn’t know anything. If the opponent knows something, then strength starts to count.” – Carlson Gracie
This is becoming ever more prevalent in the competitive world of BJJ. Whilst in a self-defense situation you would most likely have the upper hand of your attacker not knowing how to defend a takedown attempt, armbar, or triangle. When competing, not only does your opponent know how to counter but more and more competitors are enlisting the help of Strength & Conditioning coaches especially at high level. Many academies now offer some sort of S&C training as part of their curriculum, because as the saying goes “when technique is equal – strength counts.”
The Swing: The kettlebell swing is one of the simplest, yet under-rated of all Kettlebell exercises, it trains the body to work as a unit and improves not only metabolic conditioning but also the explosiveness of hip flexion/extension. Think of BJJ techniques that use ballistic hip flexion/extension:
- Hip Bridge escape
- Hip bump Sweep
The Turkish Get Up (TGU): This movement is similar to a technical get up from BJJ, it builds a strong midsection and core, as well as improving your shoulder flexibility and stability which are crucial for BJJ. Many athletes who train with kettlebells find themselves becoming more resistant to shoulder injuries. This is also a great conditioning exercise as the body is constantly adapting to keep the load overhead stable, although it may look easy…it’s not – start with a light weight.
The Snatch: This is another excellent exercise for BJJ and general athletic conditioning, not only does it train your grip, but it builds endurance, both physically and mentally. It strengthens your posterior chain which is an essential area to develop to improve your takedowns and also takedown defense.
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