Often I see people looking for an 'off the shelf' program. You want to strength train to help your jiu jitsu. Yes, you need a program. Yet, following a workout you've seen online has problems. I particularly see it as a problem when people follow workout videos. It is tempting to see a cool video, with great music and use that for your strength training. But, before I explain why...
I am not bashing the example videos I'll use in this article. Each strength workout has it's own individual merits. Many of the examples I show are great workouts. They are great for jiu jitsu. Yet, a workout is different to having a proper program in place. Here's why...
1. Strength training for jiu jitsu needs direction
2. Your strength training is on a spectrum
I'll take a kettlebell snatch as an example (see image below). If you start on a low enough weight, you may be able to perform the snatch. Yet, first you should spend time on the basic one arm swing. You need to learn the proper mechanics of driving the movement with the hips. Otherwise, as you move to heavier weights on the snatch, you won't be able to execute good technique. All because you've jumped in to far up the spectrum. You won't have the required strength or power in the hips.
3. Pro athletes are pro athletes
Some of the videos you'll see will be of full time athletes. Which means a few things. First, they have been building up to that level of strength and conditioning for years. Second, they more likely have the time to dedicate to strength training AND recovery. Third, they're at the top of their game and top of their sport.
Again, take ideas from these videos/workouts. Yet, don't think you can put the same time and intensity into your strength training. If you're new to the sport, already in your late thirties and work full time, you need a different approach. Or will more likely need a different approach. By all means aim to get to that level. Just don't think you can jump straight into to that level without a solid training background.
4. MMA is different to Jiu Jitsu
So this point is a quick one. When you see MMA workout videos and strength training routines, approach with caution. Yes, you can get in great shape. Although I think a better way to train is to be more specific to jiu jitsu. For example, less focus on quick movements on the feet, more focus on the hip drive movement and more focus on grip strength. As just some examples.
How do you fix these strength training problems?
First, identify your weaknesses across key jiu jitsu specific movement patterns. I.e. hip drive, leg extension, horizontal upper body push, upper body pull, core stability and core rotation. For a full explanation of these and other supplemental movements (i.e. grips) read 'Key concepts for jiu jitsu strength training.'
2. Properly plan your strength training
Sit down and write out your training goals. Do you need to improve strength, power or fitness? Are you strength training to protect form injury? Coming back from injury? For a competition? Know where you're going, work backwards to set milestones and go from there. Again this is fully covered in 'Key concepts for jiu jitsu strength training.'
3. Know how workouts fit into your plan
Once you have a plan, by all means use an 'off the shelf' strength workout. I post 'off the shelf' workouts myself, they're very, very useful. Just know that you're working on a particular area of strength and conditioning at a particular time. Then pick a workout that fits what your training goals are.