Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Conditioning Exercises

Although learning techniques and rolling in class will make up the bulk of your training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you can further your proficiency in the art with conditioning off the mat as well. Here are a couple of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu conditioning exercises you can do.

Kettlebell Long Cycle

When training for BJJ, you aim to build up your cardiovascular endurance. This will allow you to avoid running out of steam at the beginning of a rolling bout and later when you compete against others. You’ll learn to pace yourself and push through physical fatigue. One long cycle might not be the most difficult; however, it is by continuing to perform it without ever letting the kettlebells touch the ground that you build cardiovascular endurance while also improving lower body mobility. Begin with small amounts of time and work up to several minutes straight.

Start by gripping two kettlebells from the floor in front of you and taking a shoulder-width stance. Lift the kettlebells and swing them back between your legs. Then, swing them up in front of your chest with your arms bent in a prayer-like position. Your hands should point up and be almost touching while your elbows should tuck in close to your body. Finally, bend your legs and use them to lift the kettlebells above you so that your arms are straight. As you lower the kettlebells, take the middle position where they are in front of your chest then drop them down to the swing between the legs in a fluid motion.


In BJJ, you need to have strong pulling and grip strength for many of your techniques, such as takedowns. Without the power to back up your gripping, you won’t be able to pull off many moves. Even if you do manage to hold your opponent briefly, they’ll quickly get away. Pull-ups will reinforce your back muscles and your forearms so that your upper body can handle the motions of BJJ.

To perform one, grip the bar with your palms facing away from you. Your hands should be wider than shoulder-width. Lift your feet from the ground and hang. Next, activate your back by squeezing the muscles so that you raise yourself slightly while still maintain straight arms. Your chest should push forward as your back contracts. Start pulling with your arms and bend until your chin is fully above the bar and your chest just about touching the bar. After this, drop back down in a controlled manner to your starting position and repeat.

If you’ve started to make exercise a part of your weekly routine but want to focus on martial arts as a place to utilize the strength and endurance you are trying to build, contact Northwest Fighting Arts. We offer classes for martial arts in Portland Oregon, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.