7 Best Cardio Workout For BJJ

For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners looking to improve cardiovascular endurance and conditioning for competitions or training, finding the right cardio workout is crucial. Cardiovascular training is a must to develop the gas tank necessary to roll hard for 5-10 minutes or more without gassing out.

In this article, we’ll outline the top cardio workouts that will help maximize your time on the mats as a BJJ athlete.

Whether you are competing regularly or simply training recreationally, improving your cardio through running, high-intensity intervals training, jumping rope, swimming, and BJJ specific drills will allow you to get in shape and perform at your peak.

Why Is Cardio Exercise Necessary for BJJ fighters?

Cardio is the king to enhancing speed, balance, and endurance. You may have enough strength, balance, and stamina, but if you are tired, and it is hard to catch your breath during the fight, you will lose all. The more cardio you do, the smarter you will become in the game.

There are different forms of cardio, every coach has his recommendation for his pupil.

When you are doing cardio, you must take care of your diet because when you are overweight, you will not have speed. However, only the cardio will not help you to get the maximum results as you have to cut out all unhealthy snacks from your diet.

If you are eating a clean diet and doing regular training, and still, you are not improving your performance in the BJJ, it means you are not doing the cardio or are somehow totally neglected.

Before we dive into the best cardio exercises for BJJ, it is important to understand the different types of cardio exercises and how they are helpful to fighters.

What is BJJ Cardio Workout And Its Types

Cardiovascular exercises are the most common type of exercise. This type of workout primarily strengthens the heart and lungs and improves circulation.

A cardio workout is any activity that raises the heart rate, tells the body to expend energy to make up for the expenditure of energy.

The goal of a cardio workout is to increase the frequency and depth of breathing. The benefits of doing cardio workout include weight loss, increased stamina, and improved cardiovascular health.

Cardio workouts can be as intense or light as you want them to be, they are just as effective in different ways depending on your needs. There are many types of cardio workouts, including cycling or running outside (to name a few).

If you want to maintain good health and improve speed and stamina, then it would make sense to incorporate aerobic activity into your daily routine.

There are many different cardio exercises that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes can do.

  1. Low impact
  2. High impact

Low Impact

In low-impact cardiovascular training, you continue pushing yourself for a definite period, and you burn more calories from stored fat as well, if you are looking for weight loss exercises.

There are several exercises that you can do in low-intensity exercises which are jumping, jogging, treadmill, running and cycling, etc. From these exercises, you do any exercise for 10-15 min. These excesses are ideal when you are just starting BJJ training.

High impact

High-intense cardiovascular training is also best for the BJJ fighter to build stamina and endurance. High-intensity interval HIIT workout includes yoga, weight lifting, and circuit training; these exercises are also the best exercises to build strength level.

There are different kinds of exercises that every Bjj fighter should do at least once a week.

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7 Best Cardio Exercises For BJJ

Let’s look at 7 of the top cardio workouts to boost your conditioning for BJJ. Combining several of these high-intensity exercises into your training routine will help maximize your endurance on the mats.

1. Battle Rope training

Battle Rope training

When you are looking for the best cardio workout for BJJ, that attacks all muscles, then rope battling is the most effective exercise to do. It is a recommended exercise for BJJ Fighters. It is the best exercise to strengthen your grip.

Battle rope training is the perfect form of High-Intensity interval training HIIT, to make your muscles stronger and build better cardio stamina. Furthermore, rope battling is the appropriate exercise that is best fit for grappling.

One thing you need to remember is that, do not only work out with a single move (just making circles you should move and change your position after fewer repetitions, it will help to target the core muscles as well.

2. Running Uphill

Running uphill is a much more challenging task as compared to the usual running because you put in more effort which demands more oxygen intake.

When you try to run on the incline forces, you are giving tough times to your leg muscles.

Running Uphill

In a 2015 study, by the International Journal of sports physiology, one group of runners who had been doing uphill running, were more efficient and fast in their performance as compared to those days when they were running on plain jogging tracks.

Similarly, it is also recommended to runners to run the down hit. Running on the ascent may seem an easy task, you might think that you will roll like a ball without any struggle but that is untrue. Instead, it involves different muscles to balance your body.

For instance, you feel a contraction in your lower calf and quads. All these exercises may help you to get better in BJJ, the fighter with the stronger legs might be the more dangerous one in grappling.

3. Rock Climbing

If you want to improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu performance, then it would be better to add a bit of cross-training to your workout plans.

If you know how rock climbing works, then you might have noticed that rock climbing is the best exercise to engage all muscles in one move. Plus, it also makes your grip insanely strong, learning to balance and work on your core.

Rock Climbing

Another side benefit might be to strengthen your grip. If you were to climb a hill, you would have a dead focus on your grip because once you lose the grip, you would die. Conversely, once you lose the grip, the opponent might have a chance to die.

4. Punching a bag

Punching a bag is the best form of cardiovascular training. It is the best exercise to build physical strength and train the whole body in one pack.

The punching bag is a widely famous exercise not only for boxers but people of all ages who are more likely to perform this sort of exercise. It is the best-recommended exercise for new BJJ fighters to speed up their moments.

Further, punching a bag is not a boring exercise as compared to running or sprinting.

Punching a bag

It also falls into the category of resistance training as well as cardiovascular training.

It involves the chest muscles, leg muscles, shoulders, and a lot of energy, the more you hit harder, the more you will get the heartbeat will increase. Therefore, punching bags can be beneficial if you want to improve your BJJ game.

5. Cycling

Cycling is another great low-impact method for improving cardio.

Riding a bike long distance can be a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness while having fun in the sun at the same time.

Sometimes, you might not want to push yourself for the entire ride. You might want to try interval training instead. This means that you will push as hard as you can, for a set period. It might be a period, like a minute.

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6. Skipping

Skipping is one of the best forms of exercise for BJJ, as jumping over a rope for an extended period of time is much more taxing than other exercises. Although continuous jumping can put some pressure on the knee joints, it is a relatively low-impact form of cardio.

Cardio Workout For BJJ

It helps athletes become very good at moving their feet. It’s important for a BJJ athlete to use good feet in order to achieve dominant control and execute takedowns, as all fights start on the feet.

7. Swimming

Swimming is the best exercise to strengthen all muscles at one time. It is an all-rounder exercise for every martial artist and is recommended for everyone who wants to get ideal physics.

There is no harm to joints as compared to other exercises as this is gentle to your joints. This is also the best exercise for new BJJ fighters, especially for those who are overweight and want to cut some extra pounds.

Swimming is good for improving your breathing. When you swim in the water, your breathing pattern changes, and sometimes you have to hold your breath underwater, which makes the stomach work harder to catch more air in the lungs.

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Tips to Maximize Cardio Training for BJJ

Maximizing cardio training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) involves a combination of specific training methods, recovery, and understanding the sport’s demands. Here are some crucial tips to get the most out of your cardio sessions:

  1. Pacing is Key: Just as in BJJ matches, pacing in cardio training is crucial. Aim for consistent, steady-state cardio sessions to build your aerobic base. Mix these with high-intensity intervals to replicate the intensity bursts in BJJ.
  2. Integrate Interval Training: BJJ has moments of explosive actions followed by moderate-paced movements.
  3. Functional Circuits: Design circuit workouts that incorporate BJJ-specific movements. This can include sprawls, hip escapes, take down drills, and burpees. These functional movements enhance cardio while reinforcing essential techniques.
  4. Cross-Train: Diversify your workouts. Swimming, rowing, or even other martial arts can provide varied cardiovascular challenges and break the monotony.
  5. Incorporate Breath Control: Breath control is fundamental in BJJ. You can use breath work in your cardio routines, such as practising rhythmic breathing during runs or doing yoga.
  6. Periodize Your Training: Avoid burnout and plateaus by cycling through endurance, strength, and technique-focused phases.
  7. Stay Hydrated and Nutritionally Balanced: Proper hydration aids in cardiovascular efficiency. Also, ensure you’re fuelling your body with the right nutrients. Focus on a balanced diet rich in complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  8. Rest and Recovery: Overtraining can hamper progress. Take breaks, get enough sleep, and do things to help your body recover like stretching or foam rolling.
  9. Listen to Your Body: While pushing limits is vital, recognizing when to ease up is just as crucial. Make a distinction between the discomfort of a good workout and the pain signalling potential injury.
  10. Stay Consistent: As with any training, consistency is crucial. Regular cardio workouts, even if they vary in intensity, are better than sporadic, high-intensity ones.


There are lots of variations in cardio workouts that you can do each week but when you start as a new fighter, you would better use the cardio workouts recommended by your coach, just as not every exercise is not suitable for everyone. Somehow, the exercise may change with time.

5 Minute Cardio Workout For BJJ

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