The key movements involved in nearly all land based sport can be broadly placed into three categories:
- Triple extension through the ankle, knee and hip
- Pushing with the upper body
- Pulling with the upper body
- Stability and rotation of the core
The next question to ask yourself is: am I trying to get strong, or get strong for BJJ?
Let’s talk pushing with the upper body.
There is no doubt that you can get incredibly strong by using the bench press for upper push strength training. But is that the most applicable for BJJ?
The problem with the benchpress is that if we look at muscle activation studies, the muscles with the greatest activation are in the triceps and chest. Yes, they are the primary movers in the upper body push.
But what about the smaller supporting muscles that play a huge role in stabilising the shoulder joint while pushing? Such as the infraspinatus……say that after a few drinks……which is one of the muscles of the rotator cuff.
When we push in multiple directions, do we need those smaller muscles to be strong and activated not only for optimal strength, but for more stability in our joints?
Surely it can’t hurt.
So, if you compare this muscle activation study looking at a planche on gymnastic rings you can see how this exercise not only activates the muscles in the chest, but also in the rotator cuff, and the shoulders. You can see how you get a much broader impact in terms of strength development and muscle activation.
Yes the planche on gymnastic rings is a very advance exercise. Although, the same should apply (albeit it at a lower level and maybe targeting different stabilising muscles), for basic entry level planche movements like a frog stand or planche push-up.
Hopefully you can start to see the benefits of bodyweight training over weights.
In this video, I discuss the two main reasons for why I prefer bodyweight strength training for BJJ. This is a very quick discussion, on a big topic, that I cover in more detail on a podcast that I’ve recorded but not yet released (current date 2nd August 2018). So, I’m hoping by the time you read this you can search on iTunes for the ‘BJJ Strength Podcast’ and find the show and get into this topic in more detail.
Enjoy the video.