While the Squat and the Closed Guard in BJJ might not seem to have a lot in common the two do share the same fundamental movement pattern – the ability to maintain a strong core and move your legs with your strong, flexible hips.
This may sound funny at first but stick with me for a minute and you’ll see what I mean…
Without a doubt my favorite addition to my own bodyweight training over the last year are the Bodyweight Flows. Something about getting down on the ground and crawling around is challenging, fun and enlightening all at once, plus it has a ton of transfer to helping you move better on the mats.
Alright, time for a confession…I HATE strength training. Or, I guess I should say that I hate the term strength training.
The problem is that it leads a lot of people to believe that strength is the end goal of the workouts when it really isn’t. This is based on the assumption that if you improve your strength numbers by X amount in the gym then you’ll improve your performance by Y percent on the mats.
However, we all know that this often isn’t the case. Sometimes people train hard in the gym and get better at working out but they don’t see as much improvement where it matter most…on the mats.
What gets forgotten is that strength is a symptom of how you move, not a direct cause of improved performance.
As an athlete how you move when you train – both on the mats and in the gym – is the most important thing for you to focus on. You want to use your exercises as a way to practice the basic movement patterns you need for your sport, not to simply get better at exercising.
So this means that if you improve your strength but you achieve it in a way that compromises how you move then it isn’t helping you on the mats.
For example, the deadlift is a great exercise for the BJJ athlete…if you do it in a way that trains the hip hinge movement pattern you need on the mats, not just your ability to pick up heavy stuff off the ground.
I personally like to see a 1.5 – 2 X bodyweight deadlift from guys I train BUT I want them to do it in a very specific way. If they start to drop their hips and bend their knees too much then they aren’t working the same movement pattern they need on the mat.
Strength gains made at the expense of how we move miss the ultimate goal of training and won’t carry over as effectively.
This also means that we need to establish good movement first. Any program that doesn’t emphasize mobility and movement quality over improvements in strength and work capacity will sabotage you on the mats over the long run.
So while you do need to get strong – which is why it is called Stength Training – it has to be done with the idea of following the same movement principles you want to use on the mat. Look at your Strength Training as Movement Practice and you’ll get a lot more out of it when you roll.
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Until next time…
One of the first things you figure out about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that the hips play a huge roll in your success. Being able to move your hips around gives you a lot more control of the situation and is one of the primary goals when rolling.
However, beyond just moving the hips is the specific action of moving the hips laterally, or from side to side. Shrimping your hips out is something you learned on your first day of BJJ but it can be tough for some people to pick up.
The problem is that Shrimping your hips out requires your hips to hinge and rotate laterally, which is not something most of us are used to doing. So, instead of moving the hips laterally we end up using the lower back which isn’t nearly as effective.
This makes exercises that help restore that movement pattern and provides ways to strengthen it very important for the BJJ student.
One of the my favorite exercises to do this is the Rotational Deadlift. If you haven’t seen this unique twist on the deadlift applied to BJJ then be sure to check out the video below to see how to do it and how it specifically applies to your hip movement on the mats.
Like I mentioned in the video, the bonus to this exercise is that it helps with the leg drive you need to finish a strong double leg takedown. One of the most important parts of BJJ is being able to move and drive laterally and the Rotational Deadlift is one of the best ways to add that specific element into your program.
If you have any questions about using this exercise in your workouts or if you have some exercise you’ve found help with lateral hip movement please be sure to post a comment below.
And if you liked this post please take a second to click one of the Share or Like buttons below to help spread the word.
Until next time…