Strength Training For BJJ : DONT WASTE YOUR TIME!

Perception IS reality!

Social media is filled with it

Posts of a happy couple smiling together. The perception is story book relationship

Posting pictures of fancy cars and nice clothes. The perception is wealth

Pictures of someone flexing large muscles. The perception is they’re strong…..

We only see what’s on the surface, we see what posted for show, not what’s always real.

I’m bringing this up because I recently posted a video of when Jiu Jitsu athletes can fit in their strength training.

One particular poster on Redditt, told me “No one who does BJJ should ever do strength training, big muscles in BJJ hurts your game”

He went on to tell me why I HAVE to listen to him because he is purple belt…. I guess just drop it all and go home right?  No further discussion needed…

Truth is, I see this all the time in BJJ. It’s someone trying to justify to themselves why THEY don’t do any strength training.

Their perception of strength training is it will just make them have bigger muscles.

But the REALITY is that proper strength training can assist someone’s Jiu-Jitsu dramatically.

I’ve NEVER told an athlete “You need bigger muscles.”  My goal is always to help athletes become the strongest version of themselves.

With Jiu Jitsu, the goal should be to become the strongest you can possibly be in your weight class.

I can agree with the Reddit poster, that in some situations bigger muscles can be detrimental to your game.  And its going to be impossible to improve your strength and conditioning without gaining some muscle.

But we’re not talking bodybuilding muscle, that’s a whole different game.

If you compare a Powerlifter or Olympic Lifter vs a Bodybuilder it’s not even close!

There are guys weighing around 150lbs who are much stronger than a 300lbs bodybuilder.

We just have to keep in mind we’re training for function not for show!

I’m sure ill hash it out with others about the importance of strength training with heir Jiu Jitsu again.

I welcome the conversation to further educate the community and help athletes improve all aspects of their game.

If you’re struggling with finding the balance for time, or just need help further developing your strength.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

You can reach me by email support@derbycitymartialarts.com.  I’d be humbled to further help others reach their potential.


 

Strict Press : 3 Steps to Bigger Weight

Simple and Effective.

When it comes to improving our fitness, its what we want.   Get in get out, getting the job done.

Work smarter, not harder.  Right?

I’d like to have a running total of the countless hours I’ve spent wasted, performing isolated exercises to improve my strength.

The overall implications of  isolated movements can be insignificant compared to basic, essential, and effective compound movements.

Very few exercises are as simple and effective as the Strict Press (Military Press).  Attached to that simplicity, is effective improvements in overall strength.

It’s not flashy, so you really dont see it posted on social media, nor replacing bench press Mondays…..

Due to the simplicity of the movement“Just Press” there tends to be a disconnect of functionality to the movement.

It being such an isolated exercises, those disconnects may not allow us to move the weight we’re capable of.

Among those I’ve notice a trend through most athletes that are really easy to correct.

  • Adjusting your hand and elbow placement – making sure our elbows are in front of the bar not behind.
  • Over extension – Arching the chest back, be sure to keep the hip and shoulder in line, pushing down on the core.
  • Foot placement – move your feet out to your squat stance, you should never move weight overhead with a narrow stance

These are simply a quick three common faults and fixes for the strict press.

I can all but guarantee if you work on improving these three components of the strict press, you WILL move MORE WEIGHT.

Happy Lifting

– Joe


 

BJJ Strength Training : When to Do It!

How do you fit in your strength training with your Jiu Jitsu?
Its safe to say its a loaded question, and only through trial and error can you find what works best for you.
I can safely tell you my worst days ever on a mat, was when I thought I could run through my heavy weight lifting and simply jump on the mat and I’d be ok.
Big mistake!!!
On these days, I quickly learned I had made a mistake. My training partners would keep asking “why are you so tired”.
I had to much pride to simply admit I shouldn’t be training….wisdom and experience have further improved since then.
This was a learning experience that I keep in mind to this day with my training.
My training priority, as you know, is not Jiu Jitsu. I find it fun to do with friends but it’s not my focus.
My training priorities revolve around competitive weightlifting.
The first thing I had to learn was train with my priorities, don’t skip weight training to do Jiu Jitsu.
If your priority is to improve your Jiu Jitsu, dont skip it for strength training, find balance!
For me I can do traditional strength training before Jiu Jitsu, get on the mat, come back and knock out some accessory work.  Or even do it in reverse, light drilling into strength training.
What does not work, is  doing Jiu Jitsu then trying to do your strength training.  Your muscles lengthen out, and you’ll not receive the same power output as normal.
So how do we break this down what we find it works out best for everybody well, I have a simple standard I like to follow and when I found works best for me on days that I want to do jujitsu.
For any of you that do BJJ and are interested in strength training. Here’s a quick reference guide to help you fit in your training based on your priorities for that day.  
You’ll only find through trial and error what works best for you.
– Joe
Intense into Light
Moderate into Moderate
Light into Intense
Examples
Strength Focus
Hard Lifting into Light Drill
Moderate Lifting into Moderate Rolling/Drilling
Lifting/Accessory Work into Intense Rolling
BJJ Focus
Light Rolling into Accessory Work
Hard Rolling into Rest
Light Drilling into Moderate LiftingModerate Lifting into Moderate/Hard Rolling
Ultimately find best what works for you.  Good Luck!

The Unoffical Start of Summer – Memorial Day

Has anyone in your family served in the military?

If they’re anything like mine, I bet they have some memorable stories.

My grandfathers side of the family has a rich military tradition with each generation serving. None more prestige in my eyes than my grandfather.

He served in WW2, stormed the beaches of Okinawa, fought the war in several countries to come home and met the love his life and raise 13 children. (Most through adoption)

I listened to all his stories, as he loved to tell them.

What stood out most through those stories was his pride and sense of honor that came from his service.

I get goosebumps even thinking about his stories. No one was more influential in my life than him.

As I grew older I wanted that same pride, honor and tradition.

I wanted to be just like him and at 17 years old I enlisted in the military. . . It changed me life.

I went from a household full of drug abuse and neglect, to seeing the world, and becoming part of a family that built life long bonds that are irreplaceable.

I will always see my accomplishments small when I compare them to the man I looked up to so much.

The reason I bring this story up is that this Monday is Memorial Day.

A day to remember and honor those who served in Our Armed Forces.

The military is what got me excited about fitness.  So its only fitting every year with my gym we honor those with a workout.

This Monday we will be doing the workout known as Murph. 

Memorial day Murph, has become somewhat of a staple in the fitness community.

This unique Memorial Day tradition will take place at Derby City on 5/28/19 @ 11am.

Consider this an invitation to join me and countless others who will participate in honoring our service men and women.

If you have any question please don’t hesitate to let Chewy or myself know.

Look forward to seeing you there.

– Joe


 

How to Improve Ankle Mobility

On a previous video of mine, I received a question from Nicholas regarding soreness in his calves after he tries to rolling them. This is a common problem with many new lifters and those lifters who do not perform mobility or recovery exercised on their calves.

Using any combination of these three stretches will help you to improve your overall calf mobility and will help to reduce pain and tightness you may be feeling.

Stretch #1 – Standing Calf Stretch

For this stretch you will want to find a wall, pole, rig, etc. that you can use to support yourself. The stretch starts by facing the support and placing your heel as close to it as possible. Keeping the knee straight and leaning forward, hold this stretch for the desired length of time. You should feel this through your entire calf.

Stretch #2 – Achilles Stretch

This is similar to the Standing Calf Stretch except now we will be squatting down a little more and pushing the knee forward. You should feel this in your Achilles tendon.

Stretch #3 – Modified Goblet Squat

Start by getting to the bottom of your squat and holding. In this position, slowly shift your weight from side to side. You can use your elbow to help press your knee out to achieve a deeper stretch. This movement is great for when you are on the go and don’t have access to a support structure for the previous two movements.


 

How to Train Around Injuries

There we are…

Remember when you where a kid.  Its Christmas Eve, the excitement, eagerness to open presents, unable to sleep.

Anxious, excited, adrenaline coursing through your veins, you just can’t wait to get started!

This was the first time I remember having that restless eagerness feeling.

Now this is me any time I’m about to start a new training cycle, its the next chapter in my story.

A few weeks ago, I competed in the Kentucky State Championships.

I won my division, and set four state records.

I took some time off, ATE ALL THE BAD FOOD I COULD, and got ready for the next cycle.

So with all that adrenaline and eagerness to start my next training cycle, I ignored the pain in my knee from the competition.  Simply put, I thought I’d be good to go after a week off.

I was wrong….

It’s adding a lot of limitations to my training.  Over the past 20 years of coaching, I’ve seen many athletes get injured, and simply not train at all, I’ve fallen victim to in myself.

I’m not sure what’s going on this time, its three weeks before I can see my physician to get it checked out.

But I can tell you this time I’ll not stop training, I’ll simply be training around the injury.

Keeping that motivation and keep moving toward my next competition.


 

Strength Training For BJJ : Don’t Do it?

I can’t believe it!

The fact I would ever have to a rebuttal video on if someone should or should not do strength training.

Of all things, for such a physically demanding sport that requires explosive speed, STRONG ligaments, and muscular endurance.

Specifically talking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

It goes without saying, I’m a little bias on strength training and lifting weights.  But I can even respect the articles authors opposed option and passion on the subject.

To just simply tell any athlete in a physically demanding sport “muscles are bad” is well……insane.

Honestly not only is it bad information, but its irresponsible.

I was recently tagged in an article in Jiu Jitsu times, stating that Jiu Jitsu athletes shouldn’t do strength training.

There reasons listed you should not do strength training for BJJ.

 

It takes to much time…

You wont have any mobility….

You’ll be slow…

You’ll get beat…

 

More so it seem the authors bias opinion stems from “he doesn’t lift weights here is why you shouldn’t either”

I’ve never seen or studied a  particular instance where proper strength training provided negative results to an athlete and their respective sport.

Outside of a medical reason, you should absolutely be implementing strength training into your normal routine.

If you’re simply struggling and don’t know where to start, don’t worry we do have a 10 week strength training program, specifically for Jiu Jitsu athletes, that is about to release!


 

This Is How I Got Big Quads

For me, my gym is more than athletes and members.

I spend more time with these people, than I do anyone else.

Building relationships and memories, as cliché as it sounds, through blood sweat and tears.

Every athlete I train, I can identify their physical identifying trait. 

I would bet if you ask anyone what mine is, it would have to be my smile…..

Yea right!

Legs, Quads, Turkey Drums, call them what you will, my physical identifier is by far my quads.

Any sport I’ve participated in, they’ve always got noticed.  I’d have to call myself a liar if I said I didn’t take advantage to show them off…..I worked hard for them.

But what did I do?  The answer may surprise you…

To me they’re just legs.  They help me move weight from point A to B.  But to some of my athletes at the gym, they’re abnormal quads.

Due to the abnormality, I’m often ask what should they do to get their quads larger.

Short answer…..everyone is going to be different, I sure was.

This video was requested on how I grew my quads, I always took it as a joke when people ask me…

It was never something I’ve really considered anyone would be interested in.


 

What Are Best Ab Exercises ?

What is the best exercise to get six pack abs?

Arguably the most common question in the fitness industry and one of the most irrelevant.

I’ve seen some amazing athletes come through gym, with abs looking as if they just step straight off Abercrombie & Fitch poster.

Because they have abs, the perception is they’re strong. This is not always the case…

Some abs are built for function, some for show.

To really tap into your potential for general fitness or any sport, we need a well balanced and stable core.

Stabilization is the key to success with all fitness.

If we’re lifting weights, throwing a ball, swing a bat, mixed martial arts, or running.  Our power, control, and success will be made by having established positioning.  Which originates from our core.

There are literally thousands of core (ab) exercises, with new ones originating each week.  Some useful, some flashy, some are not needed.

Like everyone, I have my favorite exercises. 

Weighted Sit Ups

Planks (and variations)

GHD Holds (Glute Ham Developers)

These are just three of my favorite, its not the only ones I put into my programming.  All simple and effective to building a stable, tight, sometimes flashy, core! 


 

Missing Lifts & Lessons Learned

Not any time soon will you find me as the poster child on how to handle a missed lift.

Like you, I have my bad training days.

I’ll miss a lift, throw something, say a few words I’d never say in front of my daughter, pout a little ….eventually process why I missed the lift, digest it only to try again.

After reviewing some of my failed lifts, it made me realize as a gym owner, as an athlete, and as a coach I need to share this with my members.

Some of them I look back on and find hilarious.

But it shows that even as a coach we go through the same struggles each day as our athletes.

All to often social media is filled with the highlight reels of accomplishment, but not the struggles and failures that got us there.

As if it diminishes the achievement. When honestly it just reflects humility and shows we’re all the same.

Missing a lift can cause a serious mental block for the next attempt. How we deal with that missed lift can impact future lifts.

Record your lifts, to have something to reflect back on. Share it with friends, coaches, or send it to me. So you can learn a lesson from that missed lift, to improve and learn how to deal with it in the future