5 Essential Glute Bridges to Add to Your BJJ Training

Glute Bridges are a staple of BJJ training because they do such a great job of training an essential mat-specific movement. Being able to bridge and create space is one of the first things you learn and something you keep working on as you advance.

And while we all know and love the regular Glute Bridge, there are a lot of different variations of this movement that we should be using as well. These variations can help shore up weak links with specific applications of the Glute Bridge, like applying joint locks or keeping the knees from getting smashed together.

Below are 5 of my favorite BJJ-specific Glute Bridges that can help you move better on the mats. Pick one that works on a problem you have or area you want to get stronger and then do it 1-2 times a week, doing 2 sets of 5-15 reps. You can add it into your workout or do it as part of a daily movement practice, the important thing is to get the work in.

1 – Val Slide Glute Bridge

We all know that Glute Bridges have a lot of carryover to the mats but something a lot of people don’t realize is the importance of keeping your hamstrings engaged to keep the heels in tight. A lot of people lose joint locks because they extend the knees with the hips, increasing the space and allowing room to escape, which is directly tied to this movement skill.

Using Val Slides under your feet during a Glute Bridge can help reinforce keeping the hamstrings engaged, making it a more BJJ specific movement. BTW, you’ll notice a do 3 good reps followed by 3 bad reps in this video so you can see what happens if you don’t keep the heels in while doing the bridge.

2 – Knee Squeeze Glute Bridge

Another great way to make the Glute Bridge more BJJ specific is to pinch a yoga block between your knees. This not only works the specific skill of keeping a tight squeeze with the knees while extending the hips it also helps keep stress off the lower back by engaging the core more than a normal Glute Bridge.

3 – Hip Band Glute Bridge

Glute Bridges with a band around the knees is another way to spice things up. Since the glutes are also responsible for keeping the knees apart, this one is double trouble for them. Being able to resist someone smashing your knees together while extending the hips helps with controlling space on the bottom, making this another great BJJ specific exercise.

4 – Marching Glute Bridge

Marching Glute Bridge I’d a great way to work on single leg bridge stability. A lot of times we bridge with two legs to create space and then transition to a single leg stand as we use the other leg to control the space we created. A lot of people simply flop back down to the ground when this transition happens which ends up just going them smashed again. Using this movement to work on this BJJ specific skill can help you avoid this problem. Note the Val Slides under my heels for more hamstring activation and stability challenge.

5 – Ramping Isometric Glute Bridge

The Ramping Isometric Glute Bridge is the easiest way to improve raw strength of this essential BJJ specific movement. The a belt around your feet and waist as shown and then do 30 seconds at 50% effort, 30 seconds at 80% effort and then 30 seconds at 100% effort. No rest between the rounds, just ramp up the tension. Do one set to failure and say hello to your glutes, which will be on fire.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson
BJJ Strength Training Systems

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Improve Your Leglocks With These Mobility and Strength Drills

Leg Locks are the rage right now in the BJJ scene and for good reason…they work!

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone should just start grabbing ankles and falling back for wild, uncontrolled Leg Lock attacks. This approach to the Leg Lock game will not work in the long run and will only get you in trouble when you run into someone who understands the game and can capitalize on your mistakes.

As an official Leg Lock nerd I’ve geeked out on the movement principles behind a Leg Lock game and how I can improve them through mobility and strength training. This was both a selfish goal since I could use them to improve my own effectiveness, but it was also a way to help new people avoid the common mistakes.

One thing I’ve learned through coaching BJJ is that knowing what to do and physically being able to do it are two different things. And a lot of people lack the basic mobility and strength to apply what they are learning when getting started with Leg Locks.

Even the great John Danaher has a saying that reinforces this concept –

“Train movements before moves.”

He uses this saying to help people understand that if you can’t perform the basic movements needed for a specific move then it will be tough to do it correctly. You have to fix/ improve the basic movements needed first and then the technique itself will become easier to execute.

Which leads us to the mobility and strength drills I wanted to share with you today. They cover the 3 common mistakes I see people make and offer a way to improve the movement causing the problem.

These mistakes include…

Not being able to “close the triangle” and control the hips, usually related to a lack of hip mobility.
Not being able to trap and crush the foot in the armpit, usually from a lack of T-Spine and Shoulder Blade mobility .
Not being able to extend the hips without also extending the knees and “deadlifting” away, usually from a lack of specific Bridging work..

Based on this, here is a simple routine you can do at home to help fix and improve these key elements to effective Leg Locks:

Mobility & Strength Drills for Better Leg Locks

1 – Shin Box Switch X 10-20 reps each direction
2 – Sphinx Shoulder Pumps X 10-20 reps
3 – Sphinx Head Nods & Head Turns X 10-20 reps each
4 – “Leg Lock” Glute Bridge X 5-10 reps with 3 second hold at the top

Here is a video from a workshop I did going over these drills:

I recommend doing these drills 4-7 times a week for the next month and see how you’re feeling on the mats. Couple this with some focused drilling for your Leg Locks and you’ll be catching and finishing more people with much less effort.

Until next time…

James Wilson
BJJ Strength Training Systems

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Improve Your Deadlifts and Pull Ups With This New Training Tool – Angles90 Review

As a jiu jitsu athlete and strength coach I’m always looking for ways to improve my results. Which is why an ad on Instagram for a training tool with a funny name caught my eye a few months ago.

While I almost never pay too much attention to things advertised on the ol’ social media channels, this one looked interesting enough for me to actually order. After a few days it arrived and I got my first chance to use what would become a favorite new training tool.

The Angles90 is a simple training tool that really helps improve the feel and functional carryover of some key exercises, most notably the Pull-Up/ Chin-Up and the Deadlift.

By allowing for a more natural rotation of the elbows and shoulders during these exercises it lets you get more out of each rep and train a very important BJJ specific movement skill. It also allows for a variety of grip options, giving you some different ways to train it as well.

Another benefit to using the Angles90 is that they take a lot of stress off the wrists, elbows and shoulders compared to using a fixed bar position. I’ve personally found them to be much easier on my elbows and wrists during Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups and I can feel my shoulders staying in a better position during Deadlifts.

I shot this video to show you the Angles90 and why I now use them for all of my Deadlifts and Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups.

I’ve also found it useful for KB Swings and for Steel Mace Counter Rows. If you use these training tools then check out this video for how to use them for these exercises.

They cost less than $50 and I can’t recommend them enough to help you get better BJJ specific results from your Deadlifts and Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups. You can find out more and order a pair for yourself at their website www.angles90.com.

You can also use the coupon code A90WILSON10 to save 10% on your order. Great training tools that actually deliver results and don’t cost a small fortune are pretty rare, which is why I’m glad to be able to share this one with you.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

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Glute Training for Total BJJ Hip Development

One of the most common things that you will hear from higher belts is that BJJ is all in the hips. The ability to move the hips is one of the most important skills for both offense and defense, plus the better your hips work the less strain you put on your lower back as well.

This is is why being able to use the hips properly is so important. And while a lot of BJJ athletes are aware of the importance of mobility training and working on exercises like Deadlifts and Swings, few recognize the need to include specific Glute Training to round out their hip development.

While the hips work in exercises like the Deadlift and Squat, they are also responsible for rotating the legs and pushing the knees out. Both Hip Rotation and Abduction (the fancy word for pushing something away from the midline of the body) are vital movements when rolling and training them is a must to see the best results on the mat.

In addition, the Glute Bridge has been shown in recent studies by Bret Contreras to work the body in a very specific way, meaning that it is important to train on its own as well. Bret, who’s worked with the dominant Attos Team in San Diego, has shown that the Glute Bridge is different than Deadlifts or Cleans, making it necessary to develop the best BJJ specific strength and movement.

In this video I explain more about the importance of Glute Training for BJJ and show you some simple ways that you can start including it in your program:

Like they say, Jiu Jitsu is all in the hips and the glutes are one of the most important muscles for hip function. Start including some simple Glute Training in your routine and see how it can help you.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson
BJJ Strength Training Systems

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