5 Best Cardio Workouts for BJJ

5 Best Cardio Workouts for BJJ

1. What is Cardio (Cardiovascular) Workout?

When the large muscle of the body stays in the movement for a long time then it increases the breath and heart rate rapidly, and it causes respiration to produce more energy. This type of workout and exercise is said to be cardiovascular exercise and for short cardio. When the large muscles like arms, legs, and the hip are involved in the exercise at the same time then there is the chance of dehydration and hypoxemia, which boosts heart rate and acquire more energy and oxygen from the body This is why a person needs to increase the oxygen amount in blood circulation, this can be achieved by doing cardio workout. The aerobic exercise deals with cardiac health to increase the metabolism and heart rate which helps the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player to stay strong and breath long.

Related Reading: Cardio for Beginners

What is Cardio (Cardiovascular) Workout?

2. Types of Cardio Workouts for BJJ

There are numerous cardio workouts that people do for their fitness and moderate body weight. When it comes to BJJ cardio workouts, there are multiple cardio trainings that maximize the intensity of technique and performance of the player in the game. If you are a BJJ player, then you must have experienced the engaging and nerve wrecking intensity of grappling. A competitor in the game, who knows how to push the limits and uses right techniques while maintaining advantageous position can defeat the player easily. For achieving boosted intensity and perfect muscle memory, a BJJ fighter should practise the cardio workout. The cardio prepares the BJJ fighter for intense and fast grappling movements. The ability to recover in grappling depends on breathing patterns and the amount of oxygen level in blood circulation. Here are some distinguished types of cardio workouts for BJJ.

2.1. Non Machinery Cardio Exercise

Those BJJ fighters who want to train hard and are unable to join the regular gym because of any reason, can start doing non machinery cardio.


Running is an essential aspect of the non machinery cardio workout. Running involves arms, legs, and the hips muscles while body demands more energy for blood circulation that maximizes the breathing limits. Running is an aerobic training which improves heart rate.

How to do:

  • Keep your head up and back straight.
  • Wear proper shoes and joggers to comfort your feet for the long run.
  • Warm up a little before running.
  • Run daily for at least half an hour.

Frequency: At least 30 minutes

Heart rate increase: 179 avg bpm

Calories burning: 80 to 140 per mile

Jumping rope

This workout also involves and engages the full body at a time. The jumping rope increases the muscles strength, burns calories, and after practice prepares your body to perform better in grappling situations and exhausting tussles in BJJ. It is a challenging and exhausting workout that pumps the blood fast and helps the body to overcome and push the breathing difficulties.. But after persistent and daily exercise, the difficulty in breathing can reduce. Gradually increase the number of sets manually and be prepared for taking your opponent down by Armbar, Americana or Kimura.

How to do

  • Hold the rope with both hands, and keep the hand straight near hip level.
  • Rotate your wrist to make a swing with rope and jump when rope is close to your feet.
  • Repeat this process until your set is complete.

Frequency: 3x per week (8 min each x)

Heart rate increase: 126-153 beats per min

Calories burning: 15 to 20 per min


This workout is mainly aerobic training, that boosts the heart rate when you cycle fast and for a long time, it also engages the lungs which causes inflate breath. Cycling stimulates the heart rate and improves its beat if you have a cardiac disease then cycling improves the breath inflation, with lungs and blood circulation decreasing the risk of your cardiac disease. In BJJ, most of the time the opponent will try to exhaust you by engaging you in an energy consuming position like knee on mount or knee on belly. If you control the breath inflation then it helps you resist the knee mount and transition into side mount or guard pass and secure a more advantageous position.

How to do

  • Make yourself comfortable on cycle, wear a helmet in case of falling, and other gear for saving yourself from injury.
  • Keep your shoulders lower than your ears, it makes clear vision towards traffic.
  • Bend your elbows, and upper body on cycle.
  • Start pedaling, and don't bow out to the side of your knees. Keep cycling at least for 30 to 40 minutes.

Frequency: Two or three days every week.

Heart rate increase: 200 avg bpm

Calories burned: 298 per 30 min

Related Reading: Running benefits to BJJ

2.2. Machinery Cardio Exercises

The machinery equipment in a cardio workout for BJJ is also very important, remember your body is meant to move in every position for the intense competition of BJJ fight. If you are attacked by the half guard and you know the shrimp movement and bridging, if you are lucky you will get your opponent in turtle position and you have easily changed your situation into a more advantageous position. For this shrimp movement and bridging you need to practise cardio exercise and swift footwork. The BJJ fighters use the machinery cardio exercise to boost their heart rate and the breath inflation in the game. Here are some machinery cardio exercises that can strengthen your leg muscles.


The treadmill workout provides Cardiovascular training that can potentially improve heart rate. Treadmill is popular for cardio workouts because of its ability to maintain a steady heart rate throughout the workout. The treadmill shows the heart rate and calorie burning ratio on its screen. The BJJ fighters can check and track their progress on the screen.

How to do:

  •  Set the treadmill according to your speed. First, walk to warm up yourself.
  •  Run for 2 -3 mph for 1 minute.
  •  Gradually increase the speed, it will boost your heart rate.
  •  Repeat this process 6- 10 times.

Frequency: 150 min every week

Heart rate increase: 60% up to 75% per two min

Calories burned: 150 to 200 per hour

Rowing Machine

If the BJJ player is looking for good cardio training that does not include drilling, rowing is the best option for their workout. A rowing workout is great for BJJ players when they can’t spend more time on the mat or feel exhausted. BJJ fight is all about pushing your own limits and testing the endurance of your opponent through grappling and choking techniques. Rowing serves its purpose as a conditioning tool for training the legs and upper part of the body to stay in tussle and perform better in BJJ fights. This contains adaptation to pressure for the entire body and mind. A wonderful aerobic workout for the legs and the main hip muscle that boosts the heart rate level to stay more on the mats against the opponent.

How to do:

  • Make yourself comfortable on the rowing machine.
  • Push yourself back first lower body then stretch your hands towards your chest.
  • Release your body to glide back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 2-3 sets to get better results

Frequency: 30 minutes

Heart rate increase: 85 per min

Calories burned: 300 per hour


Airdyne workouts are extremely intense to boost the heart rate through the ceiling within seconds. It is a great way to burn fat and increase aerobic energy or endurance. The harder workout makes your heart pump accordingly and makes breathing inflation that improves the cardiovascular training. It is the best workout for BJJ combat sports training, it makes you stay on the mat more than before.

How to do

  • Start the exercise with arms only for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for 2 minutes then start with the legs only for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly and gradually start this exercise with both arms and legs
  • Repeat and complete 2 to 3 sets for a better result in Jiu Jitsu

Frequency: 7 mph

Heart rate increase: 93 to 150 per min

Calories burned: 75 per min

Related Readings: Equipment workout

3. Best 5 Cardio Workouts for BJJ Training

3.1. Mountain Climber

Mountain climbers work by doing compound workouts while engaging multiple muscles at the same time. In other terms, this workout targets core muscles, hips, leg joints, and shoulders. This type of boosting workout gives you the best aerobic training to sustain your attacking position, in an entire session of fighting. It is something that cannot come without training or a dedicated workout routine. The best possible way is to start mountain climber cardio for specific drillings. on the mats that can complement your BJJ taring. Most fighters try to spend their significant time rehearsing their moves. It is a really important workout for gripping strength, and grappling with the legs. Mountain climber cardio for BJJ has become popular over the years. It is a type of cardiovascular exercise that contains the intensity of the combat regime.

How to do: Slow Incline Mountain Climber with Sliders

3.2. Push Ups

Push-up exercises are very demanding for BJJ fighters and students, it allows them to develop a firm grip and forearms. As BJJ involves a lot of grabbing, sweeping, rolling and pulling. Push-ups increase the power, and strength of the upper body. Pull-ups and push-ups have a high-intensity workout program that exhausts the body and burns calories in high amounts. It allows a player to boost both strength and cardio level for the fight. A strong core is very crucial not for BJJ training but for life. Push-up maintains the core strength and solid abs that allow the player to develop strong gripping, hooking and pushing power.

How to do: Push-Up and Pull Up for cardio level

3.3. Sprinting

Sprinting is used most commonly for cardio fitness and especially for those sports that involve performing in highly intense conditions just like BJJ fight. If the BJJ player has the proper shoes for running and space he can run, he must use the sprint for high intensity and then jog for low intensity. This cardio workout strengthens the leg muscles and improves flexibility that are prerequisites for a BJJ fight.

How to do: Running and sprinting for cardio level

3.4. Swimming

Swimming is an endurable cardio exercise that involves full-body training. The practitioner can avoid those issues that a player may have experienced while running. It includes a more synchronized pattern along with an entire physical movement program. It strengthens the arms, leg, and shoulders muscles while maintaining the heart rate. This cardio training for BJJ can be a great addition to your exercise regime. It will help you to master the calmness and focus while being in the intense grappling fight. It can be used for a physical workout, meditation, and also train the breath inflation techniques to support the BJJ training journey. In the water, the swimmer propels the body through water using all body muscles. This process strengthens overall muscles that would help the BJJ players to transition from one position to other.

How to do: Swimming to boost cardio level

3.5. Sandbag Cardio Workouts for Endurance

This great cardio workout builds the muscle’s stamina and endurance. The sandbag suggests an unstable weight that sets your body to work extra with each practice move. These unbalanced activities imitate the derelictions to grappling in BJJ that an opponent will practice. Throughout the workout practice, the players need to lift and carry the heavy loads for maximum time, or there can be modifications in the times. The dynamic weights are quite strenuous on the body, like it was done by the opponent’s grappling.

How to do: Sandbag Conditioning movement

4. Why are Cardio Workouts important for BJJ?

A cardio workout is important for Jiu-Jitsu. It increases and improves the efficacy of the heart and lungs which allows the BJJ player to perform consistently for a longer time. Most of the people think that the aerobic energy system is better to improve the efficiency and the duration of activities with less intensity. In this martial art, the majority of the fighters used the aerobic system to develop a strong place on the mat. The BJJ fighters strive for perfection in all moves, positions and movements because BJJ is all about sliding from one position to another position looking to choke the opponent and securing a more advantageous position.

The cardio will ensure greater fat consumption to the energy system that prepares the BJJ players to remain on their game plan and simultaneously cope with the attacks of the opponent. Cardio tap when you tap due to inflation of breath. If you are lacking the cardiovascular training then you are tapping more for the submission. When you train yourself cardio at a greater level. It is a key aspect of good performance on the mat. If you get out of breath in the game but still have great technique, it will not work because you are out of fuel. Many professionals say that Jiu-Jitsu puts a lot of weight on the cardiovascular system.

5. Benefits to Health and BJJ

There are different benefits of cardio workout to health and BJJ.

  • Lowers the blood pressure, and improves the breath inflation during the games.
  • Strengthen the immune system to keep your mind at peace in the game.
  • Gives your brain a boost that helps a player in the execution of a game plan.
  •  It provides the balance and coordination to the body that is useful in the BJJ sports.
  • In addition it improves the aerobic energy and endurance that improves joint flexibility.

6. Choose Cardio Workouts That are Best for You

With many of the cardio techniques for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is important to select the best one that will help you a lot in the BJJ fights. Select the cardio workout as your joint and muscle condition allow. If the BJJ player uses less energy in defense, it implies that he is efficient in the BJJ technique.

Keep in mind that you should find a train that suits your mind and body. A good BJJ trainee must have the endurance. Otherwise, your tapping out rate would be consistent and you will not be able to win any game. That is why you choose your cardio workout that is best for you for the BJJ game. The BJJ practitioner needs to practise and repeat the cardio workout in order to keep progressing.

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