Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a tough martial art, even amongst martial artists. After rolling, you can be sore for days following. So what is the best way to train? How often can and should you train? Is it possible to train every day? Let’s dive in and find out.
How Often Should You Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
If you are serious about improving at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then you should train at least two times a week, with three or more days of training being ideal for those who want to move quickly through the BJJ ranks.
Your current fitness level could also effect how often you train. If you are out of shape, training more than two days a week could be very hard for you and so you want to give your body enough time to rest between training sessions.
Ultimately it depends on your own unique goals and what you want out of BJJ. A 42-year-old woman with two kids has very different goals than a 22-year man with no responsibilities. If that makes sense.
Here are some examples of what a BJJ training routine might look like for you depending on how often you train:
BJJ Practice Schedules
|Number of Days Per Week||What to Expect|
|2 Days Per Week||If you are a parent who has a 9-5 job and has other interests and commitments outside of BJJ, then two days a week is the minimum amount of days you should train for. It is enough frequency to improve your skills, without cutting too much into your personal life. Also, if you are out of shape, training twice a week allows your body to get enough recovery without fatiguing both body and mind.|
|3 Days Per Week.||According to Kama Jiu-Jitsu, this is the sweet spot when it comes to training. Most people who train twice a week should try to increase it to three times a week if they are trying to move up in the BJJ ranks. Three days a week allows you to maintain and improve your technique at a much faster rate. If you’re a student or have kids, but BJJ is very important to you, three times a week is a good spot for you.|
|4 Days Per Week.||If you want to compete in BJJ you have to train at least four days a week, and plan to increase this as time goes on. 4 days a week allows you to build excellent technique and drill so often that your moves become instinctual. If you don’t have kids or other serious personal commitments (job, school, etc.) you can afford to train this often. This may be tough at first, but your body will become used to the more rigorous training regimen.|
|5+ Days Per Week.||Gradually raise your training intensity to 5 days a week, as your joints and muscles need time to adjust to your BJJ training. If you plan to train more than 5 days a week, let’s say 7 days a week, then I recommend you throw in some recovery days into your routine. These recovery days shouldn’t involve intensive training, but rather should focus on things like stretching or light training. Not giving your muscles a chance to properly recover will hinder you in the long run.|
Now let me break down how often I think students at different experience levels should train.
How Often Should A Beginner Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A beginner at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu should train twice a week when they first begin. This is to give their muscles enough time to recover between training sessions. Excessive training in the beginning can fatigue you both physically and mentally.
My gym has fundamental Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes twice a week, which is standard for many gyms. During the first 6 months of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you can get away with training like this.
You will learn the basic fundamental positions, which positions work for you and what positions means danger. This period will also give you some time to improve your grappling ability.
If you are at this stage, and are frustrated that nothing is clicking, don’t worry I was there once! As a BJJ beginner, only a small amount of techniques will stay with you.
There is just too much information to learn and so techniques taught in class will not be usable in rolling until later on in your journey.
According to this post on BJJ world, training more than 2 days per week just means you are learning more material that you will not remember.
Now how often a beginner trains and progresses will also depend on the person’s background. Those who do other sports, or even better have dance experience, will possess better coordination and balance than someone who is coming from a more sedentary lifestyle.
If you have experience training your footwork, balance, coordination, etc. then you will have a much easier time picking things up than someone who is just getting off the couch and decided to do a BJJ class.
But even if you don’t have good balance or coordination, don’t let that stop you from training. Anyone can learn BJJ in time.
I don’t think training more often will hurt you as a beginner, but learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is like learning another language. So think of it like every new word (move) you learn will not make sense UNTIL the other words (moves) start to click. Then it will all flow together.
Keeping things clear and simple until you get roughly 6 months of training makes sense for most people. It will also help you that during fundamentals class, you usually will be going over and over the same thing, which helps you remember.
Twice a week of consistent classes is 8 classes a month. Over 6 months that is 48 classes. Completing 48 classes over 6 months is far better than cramming 48 classes in a few weeks and then stopping BJJ because you get burned out.
If you have ever weight lifted before then you know burn out can be real and that having a balance is crucial.
The more consistent you are with training, the quicker you will learn the Jiu-Jitsu language. Slow and steady wins the race.
Once you get accustomed to the basic movement patterns like common guard passes and escaping out of the mount, THEN you can start adding some basic moves together as your skills develops. This is definitely possible with training two times a week.
Only training once a week makes learning or retaining new information difficult. You will feel lost in your classes if you miss the previous days’ training, as lessons usually build on each other.
Trust me, I know the feeling of being lost in a class! I was training Muay Thai and BJJ simultaneously and whenever I missed a fundamental BJJ class I was completely confused, like a kid on his first day of school!
If you are SUPER busy and can only make classes once a week, then this is better than nothing at all. Just keep in mind that it will be hard to make progress this way. If you’re serious about learning BJJ, as it is arguably the hardest martial art to learn, then training once a week just won’t cut it.
How Often Should Someone With 1 Year Experience Train BJJ?
Now if you have 1-year experience with BJJ you can add more training sessions to your week. Movements should start to click now and you should be pulling off basic submissions in class. You should train anywhere between 3 and 4 times a week.
Training 3-4 times a week gives your body ample time to recover and avoid burnout from overtraining. I remember training 5 grappling sessions a week, including Muay Thai, and it was just too much. I suffered burnout as my joints ached from training and my mind was cooked.
If you have a lot of personal commitments outside of BJJ like work or family, increase your training frequencies slowly in order to give yourself a good balance between training and personal life.
That extra day or two of training is a big step and you don’t want it to throw off the balance you have in your personal life.
However, if you find you love the extra training day, and can mange personal life and training, try bumping up to 3 or 4 days a week and see how it feels. Everyone has different things their bodies can tolerate and different goals regarding BJJ, so adjust accordingly.
Training 3-4 times a week will let you explore new techniques taught in more advanced classes, and as your Jiu-Jitsu vocabulary expands, you will understand these moves more and maybe even use them during live drilling.
With a year of consistent training under your belt, you will master techniques far quicker than it took you previously.
How Often Should An Advanced Student Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Once you receive your blue belt, which is roughly 1-2 years of training depending on your school, training anywhere between 3-5 days a week is ideal. Most students at this level find this is perfect for them.
To see how the Jiu-Jitsu ranking system compares with other martial arts like Muay Thai and Karate check out my article here.
Now you can train even more frequently if you wish. It may be fine to train 5-6 times a week, but remember you need to think about not overtraining as well as giving your body time to recover.
If you choose to train this often, gradually increase your training intensity over time and make sure to work in recovery days as well.
Training at this intensity is where recovery time starts to become even more important. I highly recommend adding some weight training as well to keep your body strong and healthy while allowing you to train hard.
Check out my post here on BJJ weight lifting tips and why it’s SO good for BJJ.
The more you train, the more your body will need to recover. Also, keep in mind that your age affects your recovery time as well. Never push your body past it limits like I did. Recovering from overtraining can take a long time and will only stunt your progression. Remember, slow and steady.
Changing your training intensity is a way to train more often without over training. If you do a hard roll on Monday, do NOT do another hard roll on Tuesday.
Instead do a flow (light) roll-on Tuesday, or just focus on drilling and not roll at all. This leaves you recovered on Tuesday and now you can hard roll again on Wednesday feeling fresh as a daisy!
If you are serious about BJJ you have to train smarter and not harder. Push yourself, but don’t over exert yourself. Listen to your body.
If you have the desire to compete in the ADCC world championships then you will need the necessary training and dedication.
Like fight camps in MMA, you will need to train twice a day. In the morning weight train to make your body strong followed by an evening of BJJ technique.
Like MMA and Boxing camps, this will be organized into an 8-12 training block schedule as you prepare for competition. During these intense training schedules you may even train every day.
However, after the competition, you will go back to your normal training to learn and progress as a BJJ athlete. Training every day is not a sustainable long term solution.
Is Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Twice A Week Enough?
Yes, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu twice a week is absolutely enough for you to improve, especially if you are a beginner. If you want to compete however, then you will want to train more than just two times a week. Ultimately it really comes down to what your goals for BJJ are.
If you have a family and a job and other responsibilities, then it is understandable that it will be difficult to train more than two times a week. Two times a week provides you with a good balance while still allowing you to improve your skills.
As Chewjitsu (BJJ black belt) in the above video says, this question depends on the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner’s own unique goals and responsibilities, and what you want out of your training.
For me, my goals for learning martial arts were to learn self-defense and to be able to defend myself if I ever needed to. For a 43-year-old father who works 9-5 and is the sole provider for 2 kids, his goals might be a little different and maybe he trains to get back in shape.
However, if you want to compete in Jiu-Jitsu one day, and don’t have much of any responsibilities, then training only twice a week is leaving a lot on the table as your plate is not as full as the father with two kids. In fact, if you want to compete, you will have to train more than twice a week.
As for the question of whether or not training twice a week is a waste of time, BJJ is NEVER, nor any other martial art, a waste of time. Even if you train once a week, that is way better than never training at all!
You have to ask yourself why do you want to train more? Do you think if you double your training you will learn twice as fast? Because it does not work like that.
Training martial arts is not a mathematical formula. If you go from training 3 times a week to 6, you have to deal with all the additional stresses this puts on your muscles and joints and so recovery time is a factor you have to consider.
Also, there is only so much you can remember at once, let alone use in rolling.
The stress from training twice as much can greatly be reduced if instead of doing hard rolls every day, you do double the drilling both in and outside the class with solo drills. This will GREATLY improve your Jiu-Jitsu and is one of the best ways to improve.
How Many Hours A Week Should You Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes will last between 1 and 2 hours. So if you are a beginner and decide to train 2 times a week, that would mean you should train between 3 to 4 hours a week of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In my school, it is 1 hour of drilling followed by 30 minutes of live sparring.
How many hours a week you train will largely depend on your individual goals and responsibilities outside of BJJ. Kama, a student of Rickson Gracie, says in this video that some people progress more quickly on only two days of training than people who train four times a week!
This could be because those who only train two days a week give their all on those two days where as those who train four may goof around and not take it as seriously.
I can speak for myself that I needed a lot more Jiu-Jitsu time as I grew up having never participated in any type of martial arts. For this reason, my body lacked some of the basic skills that others had already developed.
If you were an athlete, or better yet a dancer, I bet you would progress just fine in training two days a week because you have more control of your body.
Also, it depends on your fitness level. I am in my twenties and regularly workout, eat healthy, and make sure I get enough sleep. I can afford more hours of BJJ training than a 65-year-old overweight person who is doing Jiu-Jitsu to lose weight.
Everyone’s body has a physical ceiling that they should push, but not go through as it could lead to injuries and overtraining. Be smart with your body as it is a finite resource. So take care of it!
Ultimately aim for training at least two times a week, allowing for days off for your body to completely recover. Incorporate weight training to make your body strong and less likely to get injured whilst rolling. See why weight training is key for injury prevention in this article.
Ideally, split your weight training and Jiu-Jitsu up if possible as a way to maximize recovery. If your BJJ class is in the evening, weight train in the morning if you are going to do both on the same day.
Always leave one day to recover between hard rolling sessions. Jiu-Jitsu puts pressure on the joints which can be injured easily and so recovery is key.
If you roll hard on Monday, tell your coach on Tuesday that when other people are rolling you just want to drill the classes techniques in the corner with your partner. Your coach will understand.
This allows adequate recovery between training sessions and if you train like this, or do a light flow roll between hard rolls, this allows you to train more during the week.
In the end, how often you train will depend largely on your specific goals. Always push yourself, but listen to your body and don’t overdue it.
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