Lifting Weights Before Vs After BJJ Training

Something that has been coming up a lot in conversation is whether it’s better to lift weights before or after a Jiu-Jitsu training session. There is arguments for and against both sides of this question, and probably everyone you ask in the gym will have a different opinion. In an ideal world we would all have the time to train BJJ, and go to the gym on separate days, however this is commonly not the case. Most people work 9-5 and their only chance to train is in the evening. Unless of course there is a early morning BJJ session available, and your brain is awake at that time. This means that for those people the gym and BJJ may need to be squeezed into a 5pm – 9pm window, and the question remains. Which is better?

Lifting Weights Before Training

I’ve trained martial arts for a long time now and know how to compensate during training if my body is fatigued during rolling because of lifting, work or general life. Jiu-Jitsu can put a lot of stress on your core and grips causing you to feel fatigued. This may increase the challenge to lift with good form after class, thus resulting in a injury. When I lift before class I feel I can still perform well, and most importantly avoid injuries. During rolling it forces you to be more technical, and not rely on your strength. You can also have lighter rolls with lower belts or trusted training partners to test new techniques or additions to your game. Below is a list of the benefits of lifting weights before your BJJ training:

  • You will have the energy to perform correct weight lifting form for heavy weighted techniques, for example Squats, Deadlifts, and any Olympic Lifting etc.
  • You have a reduced risk of injury during lifting due to using the correct form.
  • You will increase your strength.
  • It could also be used as a warm up for your BJJ training.

Lifting Weights After Training

Ultimately people will argue if your soul focus is BJJ then lifting weights beforehand would negatively affect your ability to perform to the highest standard during your BJJ training session. Therefore lifting weights after must be the obvious solution. Other benefits of lifting weights after BJJ are listed below.

  • You are able to drill properly because you are not tired.
  • You are able to roll as hard as you would like.
  • Your BJJ techniques will improve before your strength.
  • Could be used to fully isolate a specific muscle group after training.

I have tried both lifting before and after training. Personally I prefer to lift before I train, but only twice a week. If I train BJJ 4 or 5 times a week, two of these days I will do a 45 weight lifting session before class. The other 2/3 times a week, my soul focus will be BJJ. I also prioritise the gym once a week, and have one day off a week for rest and recovery. If you are planning on adding weight lifting to your training schedule I would recommend trying lifting before BJJ, however in these gym sessions only lift to 60% of your 1RPM to minimise fatigue, and risk of injury during BJJ. I think certain things would be fine to do after BJJ training, like pull-ups or extra conditioning work. But keep heavy lifting before BJJ or late enough afterwards that you’re feeling fresh again. For example BJJ training in the morning, and weight lifting in the afternoon/evening would be fine. Also, remember that stretching, recovery and diet are very important in helping you perform to your best ability, and minimising your risk of injury regardless if you lift before or after BJJ.

Let me know your views if you lift before or after training. I would love to hear from you. Leave me a message in the comments below.