Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has gained popularity over the years. As a result, the sport has generated mass appeal for enthusiasts with competitive aspirations. Meanwhile, others pursue less-competitive goals. These are BJJ practitioners who are fully aware of the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu when they train.
Jiu-Jitsu benefits are present in many forms. Many of the sport’s pioneers would attribute their skills to the mental benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Other than what BJJ does to one’s mindset and calmness, the physical Jiu-Jitsu benefits are hard to ignore.
Read on to learn the top five benefits of Jiu-Jitsu and why you should consider trying BJJ for health and longevity.
1. Improved Conditioning
Often, we use the term “cardio” instead of conditioning. However, this can be misleading. Conditioning refers to the capacity of the body to use energy for different types of tasks.
The body has different energy systems. The ones that are in frequent use are the aerobic and anaerobic systems. The aerobic system primarily uses fat and oxygen to mobilize energy to the body’s different tissues. The anaerobic system, on the other hand, uses muscle glycogen and its metabolic products to fuel areas like muscles and the brain.
Essentially, training for conditioning means training in such a way that the athlete uses different energy systems. Too much training of the aerobic system is what most would call “cardio,” and only trains the body for low-intensity activities.
Too much training of the anaerobic system makes one explosive and strong. However, in the absence of aerobic training, the athlete will not last long on the mats or walk for miles.
One of the benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it’s a sport that trains all energy systems. A BJJ athlete performs exercises and movements that rely on the ability to generate force in varying degrees of duration and intensity.
As a result, these athletes are energetically efficient. Their conditioning makes them some of the healthiest martial artists on the planet.
2. Better Flexibility
The benefits of Jiu-Jitsu are apparent in athletes like Eddie Bravo, Matt Serra, and Kron Gracie — to name a few. What these grapplers share is both unique and ubiquitous across the BJJ community. This characteristic is excellent flexibility.
BJJ puts athletes in various positions that require excellent range of motion of the joints. As an athlete trains to improve, he or she develops the necessary flexibility for submissions, escapes, stalls, and defense.
Besides the moves of Jiu-Jitsu, many academy owners are very particular about improving the joint health of their students. For this reason, many BJJ academies have carefully planned stretching sessions that immediately follow warm-ups and precede technique drills.
Everything in Jiu-Jitsu requires the muscles to stretch and lengthen sufficiently. That’s why we ensure that our students have time to work on their flexibility.
3. Better Range of Motion with Improved Mobility and Joint Articulation
Often, students and onlookers are quick to assume that mobility and flexibility are the same thing. While one contributes to the other, they’re not the same.
Flexibility is the capacity of muscles to lengthen. Lengthening them requires no more than a passive form of resistance like the ground or a Stretch-Out Strap.
Mobility has a movement element. Mobility is the active movement of the joints along their natural axis of rotation or movement.
The prerequisite of mobility is flexibility. Because Jiu-Jitsu trains flexibility, it creates the foundation for the development of better mobility.
Perhaps the perfect examples of how BJJ-built mobility looks on the mats and in the cage are BJ Penn and Ryan Hall. These grapplers — alongside others like Cobrinha and “Elvis” Schembri — can assume various positions on the mat.
Their hip mobility also allows them to attempt mobility-demanding submissions like the Gogoplata, quick triangle chokes, and Calf Slicer. These submissions and others require impeccable hip mobility.
Will the average person develop the knee flexibility for the Dela Riva Guard? Probably not — at least not right away. However, any new trainee will watch their mobility improve by leaps and bounds by training BJJ.
4. Strength Gains
Whenever people think of the benefits of Jiu-Jitsu, few will think of strength. Indeed, nobody achieves a triple bodyweight deadlift from BJJ training, nor does anybody chalk up 30 more kilos to his or her Supertotal from getting a lot of mat time.
Be that as it may, this doesn’t mean that people do not become strong while training BJJ. On the contrary, the movements of Jiu-Jitsu allow trainees to be stronger in multiple planes of motion.
Jiu-Jitsu’s movements consist of the most basic human movements — the squat, hinge, pull, and push. These movements receive ample training in every class. As well, these grow stronger with frequent exposure to resistance.
Besides making the basic movements stronger, BJJ also strengthens other movement patterns like twisting and brachiating. Twisting is moving an object from one side of the body to the other, while brachiating involves gripping and pulling. With BJJ training, athletes improve their force production in these movements.
BJJ abounds with strong athletes. Marcelo Garcia is famous for more than his slick Anaconda chokes and explosive sweeps. In the world of BJJ, he is one of the strongest athletes. He is not alone. Other powerhouses like Garcia include strong grapplers like Galvao, Buchecha, and “Toquinho” (Rousimar Palhares).
These athletes are strong in a way that goes beyond giant biceps and shirt-popping pecs. They’re strong in ways that allow them to dominate on the mats and everyday tasks. All of this is the result of Jiu-Jitsu.
5. Weight Loss
BJJ is a fast-paced sport that trains multiple energy systems and various muscle groups. As a result, the sport is metabolically demanding even when athletes train recreationally. This equates to spike metabolisms and improved energy usage. This inevitably leads to weight loss.
BJJ has both cardiovascular and resistance training. With the range of activities of an average BJJ class, a class can burn about 412 calories in just half an hour. Stretch a session to an hour, and the calorie burn doubles to more than 800 calories. For perspective, this is the equivalent of a fourth of an entire person’s calorie intake for a day.
The calorie-burning benefits of BJJ don’t stop there. Since BJJ causes multiple muscle groups to use energy at rapid rates, the EPOC is also one of several Jiu-Jitsu benefits for weight loss.
EPOC stands for exercise post oxygen consumption. It’s the amount of energy used for recovering from high-intensity exercise. BJJ training can cause a trainee’s EPOC to last for much of the waking day, adding to the calories burned during the BJJ class.
Reap the Benefits of Jiu-Jitsu and Be Your Fittest and Strongest Self
The physical benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu show themselves in the sport’s athletes. From regular trainees who take on the sport as a hobby to athletes at the sport’s highest levels, the benefits are apparent.
BJJ is a sport anyone can pursue for its physical and mental benefits. If you’re looking for a place to become the strongest and fittest version of yourself, try a free week with us at Granite Bay Jiu-Jitsu.