I recently started jiu jitsu in the footsteps of my younger brother. It was a timely pursuit that I participated in right before he got too good and wanted to settle the score after all our sibling disputes in our early childhood  (as competitive siblings with a two year age gap, it wasn’t always brotherly love . . .).

Taking up a new sport has provided a few valuable lessons along the way.

Despite being a reasonable long distance runner in my formative high school years, my effort and energy has been invested in weight training to build strength and muscle for the past 10 years. While I was still quietly confident about my level of fitness when it relates to anything outside of the weight training room, I was quickly humbled when commencing Jiu Jitsu.

I realised I needed to change my current exercise regime if Jiu Jitsu was an activity I wanted to prioritise.  For me, this involves a combination of strength training and working on my fitness. To do this I will be using a variety of tools such as weights and circuits which will assist me to maintain my strength and raise my heart rate adequately to improve my overall fitness and promote a greater recovery between the Jiu Jitsu wrestling sessions.

Changing your training can bring about many benefits providing it is done with purpose and in line with your goals. These include:

  1. Adjusting the exercises, sets, repetitions and load can improve your rate of progress in contrast to doing the same thing over a long period of time, where you can end up experiencing diminishing returns. This is where your rate of progress slows or sometimes stalls, which can be a source of frustration and even abandoning your training altogether.
  2. It provides movement variability, which in turn can drive gains as well as provide a break for some connective tissues and joints, when you may be getting niggles doing the same thing repeatedly over long periods.
  3. It provides a psychological and physical break to focusing on the same training goal over a long period of time – mixing things up can help recover from a state of fatigue and improve your readiness to push hard in the gym again.
  4. Training towards a goal and having some variety in the training focus every few months can also aid to maximise progress when returning to a previous exercise or program again in the future, if planned appropriately.

Hope your training goals are going well for the year and I would love to hear of anything you are working towards.  If you need help with tweaking your strength training program please come in and see me – I’d love to help you out!