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Fast BJJ Workouts for Busy People


Lifting weights will reduce your risk of injury on the mats and improve your performance.


But alas, I hear you say, "I don't have time to lift weights!" 


I won't lecture you about how this is an 'excuse'  or copy and paste the response, "Just make time." 


Instead, we will do something about it by implementing strategies to reduce the time commitment of your workouts without sacrificing their effectiveness.  


I will outline five time-saving strategies you can implement right now to reduce your risk of injury, increase your muscle mass, and get strong for jiujitsu without spending hours in a gym. 


The 80/20 Principle 

The 80/20 Principle states that roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. 


This Principle was first coined by Vilfredo Pareto when he studied the distribution of wealth in societies. This 80/20 pattern recurs in complex systems spanning many areas, including business, health, wealth, statistics, jiujitsu and fitness.


We can apply the 80/20 Principle to strength training for jiujitsu by identifying the 20% of effort that will yield the most results. 


When combining 80/20 thinking with time-saving tactics, we have fast yet powerful training methods for busy BJJ enthusiasts.


Time-Saving Strategy 1: Supersets 

Supersets combine two (or more) exercises; each performed one after the other without rest in between. 


You can combine muscle groups, such as a Zercher Squat (legs) with a Dumbbell Bench Press (chest and shoulders), or movement patterns like a Barbell Overhead Press (push) with an Overhead Pull-up (pull). 


Research has shown that supersets are no less effective than regular sets if the volume is matched. 


In other words, supersets are effective and can save you time. 


Time-Saving Strategy 2: Full Body Workouts 

If you only have one or two days per week to lift weights for BJJ, then full-body workouts are the way to go. 


Unlike traditional "bro-splits," which divide each body part into its dedicated day, full-body workouts train every muscle group in one session. 


The advantage of this training approach is that each crucial muscle group gets targeted during every session. 


Combined with other strategies on this list, you can get a highly effective 30-40-minute workout that targets the whole body. 


An example of working following the full-body programming model is:

Superset 1: Upper Push + Lower Pull (Hinge)

Superset 2: Squat (Lower Push) + Upper Pull 

Superset 3: Accessory Movement 1 + Accessory Movement 2 

Superset 4: Finisher


Time-Saving Strategy 3: Finishers

'finisher' is a high-intensity exercise(s) you include at the end of your workout. 


Finishers can be:

  • A Circuit
  • Tabata set 
  • VO2 max intervals 
  • Carries 
  • Sprints 
  • Explosive Plyometrics 
  • Or high-intensity accessory work 


By including a finisher at the end of your workouts, you're 'finishing' things off with a bang and getting your conditioning work in, too. 


Time-Saving Strategy 4: Focus on Compound Movements 

Compound movements involve multiple muscle groups and planes of movement.


By loading your workout with compound exercises, you won't be 'wasting time' on isolation work, which will yield a lower return on your time investment (think 80/20 Principle). 


This way, we're being more intentional with our exercise selection and focusing on maximising our target muscle groups. 


Here are some examples of compound movements: 

  • Squatting Variants 
  • Deadlift Variants 
  • Rowing Variants 
  • Bench Press Variants 
  • Overhead Press Variants
  • Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups 
  • Weighted Carries 
  • and many more.


Time-Saving Strategy 5: Circuits

Consider circuit training if you're short on time and can only dedicate 15-20 minutes MAX to a workout to support your BJJ. 


A circuit is a series of exercises completed one after another in a circuit for a set amount of time or for a specific number of rounds. 


Circuit training for jiujitsu is practical, effective, and infinitely customisable to your available time and can easily target the areas of your performance that need the most improvement. 


An easy circuit to implement is the 'Lucky 7s':

  • Select seven exercises in total.
  • Here are some exercise categories to consider (upper push, upper pull, squat, hinge, carry, cardio, plyometrics, core, grip, carry, rotation, stability and more). 
  • Complete 7 reps of each exercise for 7 rounds total. 


Lucky 7's: Select seven exercises, complete seven reps, and repeat for 7 rounds. 


If you'd rather have a more predictable completion time for your workout, you can replace this with an EMOM workout.


EMOM is an acronym for Every Minute On (the) Minute. It's a form of circuit training training where you set a timer and complete your designated exercises and reps every minute on the minute. 


For example, you could set a 15-minute timer and complete the following:

  • 5 Pull Ups 
  • 5 Box Jumps 
  • 10 Push Ups 
  • 15 Rounds (on the minute for 15 minutes)
  • The faster you complete each round, the more rest you get before the next minute. 


Putting It All Together

Here's what I recommend:

  • Do a minimum of 2 workouts per week 
  • Aim to do 25-45 minute full body workouts
  • Focus on 1 primary compound movement (3-4 sets) plus 2-3 accessory supersets (3-4 sets per superset)
  • Add a conditioning/accessory finisher at the end of each workout
  • Maximum rest time between sets should be 90 seconds. 
  • Total workout time should be no more than 45 minutes
  • If you're short on time (<20 minutes), complete a strength circuit instead.


Check out BJJ Strong Online if you want a highly effective yet time-efficient workout program to improve your BJJ performance and reduce your risk of injury.


Get Stronger, Faster and more Powerful on the mats, while reducing your risk of injury. Take my FREE Fitness Quiz here.

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