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Does Jiu Jitsu Build Muscle

BJJ might not pump you up like traditional weightlifting, but it can definitely play a part in muscle development. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a dynamic and explosive martial art that is sure to get you in shape and build strength. Will it bulk you up like traditional weight lifting will? Most likely no. In this article we’ll explore the different ways that BJJ can impact your muscles and strength and help you decide if BJJ is the right choice on your fitness journey.

Does BJJ Build Muscle?

The short answer is no, the long answer is a little more nuanced. Now, there’s no denying that BJJ is a tough. It demands strength, agility, and stamina, but it doesn’t exactly pump up your muscles or help you gain muscle mass like a traditional gym workout would. Fitness gurus and science boffins tell us that for real muscle growth, you need high levels of mechanical tension and metabolic stress and these aren’t the main focus of BJJ training. BJJ is more about nailing the techniques, control, and efficiency, not about bulking up. Sure, you might see a bit of muscle development, especially if you’re new to the whole exercise thing. But don’t expect to turn into a bodybuilder with BJJ alone. It’s more likely to help you trim down and boost your overall fitness level. Want to bulk up? Then you’re going to need to add some strength training and weightlifting to your routine. Trust me, your muscles will thank you for it.

Will BJJ Make You Stronger?

It definitely can. When you dive into the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), you’re signing up for a serious strength upgrade. But let’s get one thing straight – BJJ isn’t just about bulking up. It’s more about building functional strength that you can use in your day-to-day life. This martial art is a full-body workout, hitting everything from your legs and core to your arms and back. Sure, it might not give you the same results as hitting the weights hard, but it offers a well-rounded approach to getting fit.

In BJJ, you need a good amount of strength to handle opponents, pull off takedowns, and apply submissions. It also ramps up your push and pull strength, which comes in handy when you’re wrestling with an opponent. So, even if you don’t see bulging muscles in the mirror, rest assured, you’re building solid muscle and your strength is on the up and up.

BJJ is also like a secret weapon for your core. It doesn’t just target your abs from one or two angles – it hits them from all sides, giving you a killer all-around workout. But it doesn’t stop there. BJJ puts you in some pretty wild positions that demand strength from every direction. You’re not just pushing or pulling – you’re twisting, turning, and contorting to fend off your opponent’s attacks.

This kind of training does wonders for your mobility and explosive power. Your quads, hamstrings, abs, and hip muscles will be firing on all cylinders. Now, BJJ might not bulk you up like a bodybuilder, but it’s a game-changer when it comes to overall strength and conditioning. And if you throw in some weightlifting and other exercises into the mix, you’re on your way to becoming a lean, mean, fighting machine!

What Muscles does BJJ Work?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu really gets a whole bunch of your muscles involved, boosting your overall grappling strength. You’re going to need a good deal of strength for this sport, especially when you’re trying to keep control of your opponent on the ground, pull off takedowns, or apply those tricky submission techniques. This is super important for beginners who are still getting the hang of things.

BJJ also gives your push and pull strength a good workout. These movements are key to the sport, especially during a roll. If you’re into Gi BJJ, you’ll find that it really focuses on pulling because of all the different grips you can get on your opponent’s Gi. When you’re standing and doing techniques like judo throws and sweeps, or pulling guard, you’re going to need a strong grip and pull strength.

But let’s not forget about your core muscles. BJJ gives them a workout from all sorts of angles. You’ll often find yourself in some pretty weird positions, using strength from unusual angles to fend off attacks. This helps increase your range of mobility and explosive power, which comes from your core muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, abs, and hip muscles.

Now, it’s important to remember that while BJJ can help strengthen these muscles, it’s not going to build muscle in the same way weightlifting does. BJJ doesn’t meet the main requirements for muscle building, which are high levels of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. So, if you’re looking to build muscle for BJJ, you might want to add some weightlifting to your training routine.

Can You Get In Shape With BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), in my opinion at least, is one of the most fun and effective ways at getting into shape. The sport is a killer combo of both low and high-intensity workouts, plus the mental workout of learning a new skill. This mix keeps you on your toes, pumped, and always eager for your next session. If your goal is to lose weight rather than ‘bulk up’ then BJJ will be an excellent option. Throw in the fun of training with your buddies and the adrenaline rush of competition, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet deal.

Mental Health Benefits

Regular BJJ sessions can do wonders for your mental health, give your self-confidence a major boost, and offer a bunch of other perks. Jiu Jitsu is often sited as being highly meditative, especially during sparring/rolling. During those 5 minute rounds you are highly focused on what you and your body are doing. It is rare to find these moments of intense focus in everyday life. Though it is not a replacement for therapy, people do often find BJJ is great at reliving the troughs of depression and anxiety. You might not see the kind of muscle growth you’d get from pumping iron, but you’ll feel better mentally.

Strength Training and Recovery Off the Mats

When you’re wrestling and grappling in BJJ, you’re pushing your muscles to the limit. It’s like a hardcore workout session for them. This is where the journey to muscle development begins. But, guess what? The real magic happens when you’re off the mat, during your recovery time.

This is when your body gets to work repairing those tiny tears in your muscle fibers caused by your intense training. It’s like your body’s own little repair shop, making your muscles stronger and bigger. So, it’s super important to find that sweet spot between training hard and resting well.

If you overdo the training, you’re just gonna end up tired and possibly injured, which is a real bummer for your progress. So, while it’s key to give it your all in BJJ, it’s just as important to make sure you’re getting enough rest.

Finding this balance is the secret sauce to muscle development and boosting your performance in BJJ. So, remember, train hard, rest well, and watch your BJJ game level up!

Lifting Weights

Lifting weights is a great way to get stronger and improve performance on the mat (and could potentially bulk you up). Weight lifting is a great compliment to your mat time because it can help you be more explosive. Think being able to bridge faster or hip out with more explosiveness. Imagine being able to stand up with ease while in someone’s full guard.

Exercises to Help Improve your BJJ Game

There are several weight lifting exercises that can definitely improve your jiu jitsu training. Here are some:

  • Bench press – train muscles to help you escape from side control or other pin positions
  • Dead lifts- great for getting out of someones full guard
  • Barbell Rows – great for pushing and pulling in Gi


Wrapping things up, let’s get one thing straight – getting stronger and staying balanced in your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) training isn’t a walk in the park. It’s all about sticking to a routine, knowing when to take a breather, and finding a rhythm that works for you, both on and off the mat.


Will Practicing BJJ Alone Bulk You Up?

So, you’re wondering if just doing BJJ will help you pack on some serious muscle? Well, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. Sure, BJJ works out a bunch of muscles, especially your core, but it’s not really about bulking up.

BJJ is more about technique, strategy, and stamina. It’s not like lifting weights where you’re putting your muscles under a lot of tension and stress, which is what you need for muscle growth. But don’t get me wrong, BJJ can still help you get a lean, toned body and boost your overall strength.

If you’re really looking to get bigger muscles, you might want to consider adding some weight training to your workout routine along with BJJ. That could be just the ticket!

Why is there a need to combine BJJ and Bodybuilding?

BJJ, while it’s not all about bulking up, does wonders for your strength, agility, and mental toughness. It introduces you to a variety of movements and positions that challenge your body in ways your regular gym routine just can’t.

On the flip side, bodybuilding complements BJJ by focusing on muscle growth and definition, giving you that extra edge in BJJ matches. Sure, BJJ can help you build strong muscles, but it might not give you the muscle definition you’re after. That’s where bodybuilding comes in, helping you achieve the visible muscle growth you crave.

So, combining BJJ and bodybuilding can give you a well-rounded workout routine, balancing strength, flexibility, mental grit, and muscle aesthetics. But remember, it’s all about balance. Make sure you’re giving your body enough rest and recovery time to avoid burnout and injuries.

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