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Barbell Logic

May 24, 2021

Niki talks to Chewjitsu (aka Nick Albin), a competitive black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practictioner to discuss BJJ, strength, sports-specific training, & balancing various physical attributes & life pursuits. 

You can find him here:

Chewie is a strength advocate within the BJJ community, a community that sometimes dismisses strength as sloppy or cheating or preventing good technique. While proper technique is important, these same people would likely not dismiss conditioning or flexibility or dedication as things that stand in the way of good jiu jitsu. Strength is important for life, and important for BJJ.

Strength is really about building your machine. Add muscle, improve strength, build your injury resilience. Then apply this strength in your pursuit of BJJ.

One error many BJJ novices make is they get hooked and then want to improve everything at once, which can cause burn out. Just like with strength, consistency is key, and understanding that we're in this for the long haul can help. 

If you lift and decide to pursue BJJ, you'll need to set priorities. Likely one will need to be prioritized over the other (though this can change). You may almost assign seasons throughout the year where you put one above the other. For BJJ, you may focus on it for months leading up to a competition. For strength, you may decide you want to hit some new PRs, so BJJ may need to become less important. 

When it comes to strength training for BJJ, it's really like training for anything else. Strength training gets you stronger, and you apply your strength in BJJ. Many will try to load a BJJ movement with the idea of "sports-specific training." This is really misguided for a couple reasons.

First, if you find yourself moving through a particular movement repeatedly in your sport, it probably makes sense to emphasize a different or opposite movement in your training. 

Second, training is meant to get your body stronger. Apply this strength on the mat, but do the same movements anyone would who is building their strength. 

BJJ can be a fun, meaningful pursuit that definitely falls within the voluntary hardship realm. Coming to BJJ with your strength will help. This episode will help you consider how best to do that.

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