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Old 07-09-2008, 09:35 PM   #1
David Melrose
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bjj help, again

Ive been training BJJ 3-4 times a week and I have been doing the starting strength workout (deads, squats presses, etc) 3 x a week.

On top of that I have been dieting (sorta) eating roughly 2000 calories a day ( a handful of cheat days )

I started June 3rd and put about 70 pounds on my squat, 30 on the MP and 50 or so on the bench.

I put on about 10 pounds of muscle and lost about 5 pounds of fat in that time.

I am beat up and don't think I can sustain the pace.

Additionally, I don't see that the increased strength has really helped my BJJ.

My conditioning still sucks and half the rolling we do I am trying to catch my breath then attack.

So I am only getting half the benefit of my BJJ time. (at this point I am willing to consider better conditioning makes you better at BJJ, strength while important is a distant second)

My goal was to compete in the NAGA on August 16th in Dallas (white belt over 40 and perhaps under 40 if possible)

I was trying to cut weight as well I am 184 with about 16% bodyfat.

Interestingly my instructor Carlos Machado doesnt appear to be very strong physically =and he isnt big.

Id guess hes about 170 and 5 8 or so.

He doesnt lift weights and he murders everyone ( as well he should ).

BUt I mean guys who are massive 250+ solid muscleheads who bench press small cars.

Its crazy.

I dont know if you can help sort it out for me but I am a bit confused as to what direction to head in.

Oh yea, my idea was to compete in the 170 and below at the NAGA but with my bodytype I put on muscle very easily and the more I lift the harder it is becoming to make that weight.

My goal is to get to 10% bodyfat, get great at BJJ and compete in tourneys.

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Old 07-09-2008, 11:33 PM   #2
Neil Duncan
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Re: bjj help, again

To be honest, In BJJ outright 1RM kinda strength isn't really all that useful.. the more what I like to call 'enduring strength' where you can stay relatively strong and fit for the whole 5 mins (at whitebelt) of your fight is more important... and of course technique. I've competed quite a lot and from my experience the best kind of training really is the CF main page WOD's .. Especially if your trying not to go up a weight category. Other than that the best conditioning you can do to get you ready for fights is simply to fit in as much competition sparring with your club as you can!

Carlos Machado will murder everyone weights or not because he is technically excellent and has the experience, but almost all seriously competetive BJJ players will do conditioning work outside the mat. My instructors philosphy is technique is most important, but if you come up against someone who is just as techincally good as you then strength and conditioning will make the difference.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:54 PM   #3
Polo Lopez
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Re: bjj help, again

Your speculation that more strength not translating into Bjj was more or less correct. It will help your stand-up game, i.e. Judo, however, on the ground, you're going to need anaerobic conditioning. Yes, strength is necessary and a component of conditioning. However, using only strength on the ground really only leads to making newbie, white belt level mistakes, such as trying to push your opponent off of you then getting submitted by armbar. Chances are you're doing it yourself now. Guarantee you're charging head on into your sparring partners because you feel you're stronger.
The reason Carlos is stronger, faster, and can go longer, is because he uses the strength of that 250# guy against him. When the big guy pushes, Carlos uses that energy and the rigidity of the bigger opponents to flow and use leverage. He doesn't push back. He uses solid technique, and experience to find the openings, where the rigidity is standing. When his opponent is swept, Carlos probably stays on top. Reason: he again uses the pushing of the big guy to move freely around. Just because someone is strong doesn't mean they are good on the ground. Another reason he can do what he does is years of anaerobic training brought on by sparring. Sparring several times in a class is interval work.
Be patient, you're a white belt. Don't expect to be dominating guys in jiu-jitsu with strength, ever. Jiu-jitsu is all about technique. In competition, conditioning is needed to be able to go one fight after the next. Work on jiu-jitsu technique, use CrossFit for the extra conditioning competitors need.
Think of it like this. When you're doing WOD like "Murph", "Cindy", or "Fran" it's just like a fight. Whomever stops will be overtaken in the end. You have to be able to withstand the high pace, recover quickly, get position, then go for a submission, recover, go again, before the other guy can recover. Then if you win, you get to fight again. The pace of the WODs mimics what takes place in a Bjj match.
Use CrossFit only and see what happens. Try doing a short WOD, body-weight, after jiu-jitsu and a scaled WOD when you're not in class. Stick to the 3 on, 1 off schedule. Try to work it out so you do a harder WOD on Saturdays with jiu-jitsu class. You're going to be fighting on a Saturday so, if you train your body to be prepared that Saturdays are a hard day, harder than the rest, come fight day, you're already acclimated. Back off the week of the fight, and do only scaled BW WODs work to stay loose and recover. I've done the same, and it has served me well.

Last edited by Polo Lopez : 07-10-2008 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:14 AM   #4
Graham Tidey
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Re: bjj help, again

Hey man,
BJJ 3-4 times a week is tough, no question. Dieting and rolling will be enough. You shouldn't be trying to catch your breath so the most likely answer is that you are not giving yourself recovery time - i.e, good sleep.

Why not do some lifting on the days that you don't train BJJ? You'll get more used to rolling soon and will find yourself less out of breath. Then introduce WoDs on the same day as you train BJJ.

Listen to your body. If you can't cope, scale back.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:03 AM   #5
Kevin Steel
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Re: bjj help, again

the ss program is not what you want to do. i agree with neil that the regular wods on the main paig will help your alot more that ss. i am about 145 and mop up most of the people in the gym, but with my little weight, i have to be able to keep my endurance going. i aslo found it difficult to balance strength and conditioning. strength does up, conditioning does down. conditioning goes up, strength goes down. for me, finding crossfit was like finding gold. the high intensity, high rep exercises ie wall balls, box jump, push jerks ect will help more that doing a high weight/ low rep ss program (better on your joints to). if you can buy a rower, all the muscles that get fried while you are rolling, will be fried twice as fast when you are rowing. also, you may notice that carlos is supper strong (unbrakable grip, is able to lock up joints and not be moved), and that comes from 30 years of grappling. after a couple years you will start to notice that your "grappling strength" will naturally increase. just think of the guys in your gym who are 30lb lighter than you, but still "feel" stronger.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:43 PM   #6
David Melrose
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Re: bjj help, again

After sleeping on it I have decided to drop the starting strength program for now.

I have added a decent amount of strength and muscle and I am going to put together a program based on II and 3-4 classes a week of BJJ.

My first goal is to lose about 10 pounds of fat before NAGA and I can see with my conditioning I am going to suffer if I don't make that a top priority.

Plus I don't really want to compete against guys who are 190.

So I will focus on conditioning first.

I agree with the opinion that mat time is most important, but I believe that the beating your body takes makes it difficult to roll 5-6 times a week and that outside conditioning is a must.

When I am done cutting and with the tournament I am going to cut back on everything, stop dieting and do the starting strength program again, with the sole focus of adding muscle mass and strength.

Any additional input would be appreciated.

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Old 07-10-2008, 03:47 PM   #7
Matt Corley
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Re: bjj help, again

For what its worth a round of Tabata sprints, DB thrusters, and/or body weight squats feels a lot like a 4 minute round of hard rolling.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:29 AM   #8
Eric Cady
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Thumbs up Re: bjj help, again

I've been doing bjj for 7 years now 2-3 times per week and I started training at Crossfit Rochester a few months ago. I can already feel the difference in my rolling. I am not doing specific strength exercises but WOD's set by Joe Ceslo- including Tabatas, burpee swings ladders, on and on. So my strength hasn't doubled or anything but my overall strength has improved as well as strength stamina.
After 6 minutes of hard rolling I am not exhausted and my technique is still sharp. I agree with hard rolling as a way to improve your conditioning but there is a higher risk of injury in doing so. I can push my conditioning outside of bjj and sharpen my technique while rolling. I've competed a bit so I know the level of exhaustion, and until working seriously with CF I have never felt adequately prepared. I did alot of sprints and BW routines but my muscle stamina was always so so. By adding in the technical olympic lifts and combining them with the plyos and rowing my deficient areas started to develop.

I also alternate days between CF and bjj. I don't do them on the same day. I want to keep my workouts fresh and free from burnout!

Keep Crossfit'in and doing bjj - they're a match made in heaven!
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:15 PM   #9
Paul Coplin
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Re: bjj help, again

I would say that you've cut your food too low at 2000 calories a day.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:30 PM   #10
Alex Bond
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Re: bjj help, again

Originally Posted by Paul Coplin View Post
I would say that you've cut your food too low at 2000 calories a day.
Yeah, that's way too low, even for just SS. I can't imagine what it's like to do SS and bjj on 2000 a day - I suspect you aren't making very fast linear progress in your lifts. I agree that SS isn't for you right now, but when you start it up again, eat way more. Like, double what you are now. You won't believe how strong you will get. You just can't recover enough without more food.
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