How to Overcome BJJ Plateau

How to Overcome BJJ Plateau

1. What is BJJ Plateau?

A BJJ plateau is when BJJ practitioners feel stuck in their training and make no progress when sparring anymore. Training intensely and often can be detrimental, causing your body to become overworked or fatigued instead of stronger.  

2. Reasons for BJJ Plateau

When a technique that is used to yield good results is not working anymore or you are repeatedly submitted by your partner, this could cause negative emotions that ruin your self-confidence, also known as plateau feelings. When a BJJ practitioner hits a plateau, there are only two paths forward. Either continue doing the same routine while your skills degrade or try something new to add variety to your techniques.

Listed below are factors that can cause BJJ plateau:  

2.1. Fed Up with Hectic Routine

BJJ training is a tough and demanding activity. BJJ practitioners have to do a lot of work to improve their skills, including practicing techniques, improving cardio endurance, and doing workouts, training sessions, and sparring. After a few months or a year, some practitioners become fed up with these hectic routines. When you become tired, things automatically start to decline. If you begin to feel that BJJ practice is becoming more of a burden, this can result in a BJJ plateau.    

2.2. Poor Supervision

Just like other students, BJJ students need proper guidance to achieve their goals. If BJJ athlete feels that their instructor does not care about their success, they will feel stuck. In the absence of direction and guidance, BJJ students may lose motivation.      

2.3. Cannot Achieve Goals

BJJ practitioners may also feel depressed if they cannot seem to achieve their desired results. If a practitioner feels that none of their struggles are making any difference, they may be overcome by plateau feelings.   

2.4. Repeatedly Submitted by a Lower Belt

Part of sparring in BJJ is often being submitted by your partners. However, being submitted by someone with a lower belt rank repeatedly even when you are trying to win can be discouraging.  

2.5. Never Practicing New Techniques

Your progress in BJJ will stop if you never practice new things and only stick to the familiar. Other students who are constantly learning new things will find it easier to overcome you. To grow in BJJ, you should try to practice and incorporate new moves. Limiting yourself to old techniques will stunt your progress.   

2.6. Difficulty Finding Time with Other Responsibilities

A lot of people practice BJJ professionally and want to pursue a BJJ career. However, the majority of people view BJJ as a hobby or a fitness routine. Whether you practice BJJ professionally or casually, you have to find time to fit it into your schedule. However, you may be busy with exams, work meetings, business tours, or taking care of your family. Juggling so many responsibilities may be stressful and take up a lot of time, leaving you too exhausted to give BJJ your full attention.    

2.7. Loss of Interest

After training for a year or longer, BJJ practitioners may start to lose interest. Their lack of interest can also contribute to a lack of progress in BJJ. Not having a desire to learn new things makes it harder to master techniques efficiently. As their performance continuously gets worse, the more likely they will become prey to plateau feelings.    

3. Ways to Overcome BJJ Plateau

Most BJJ practitioners go through a phase when they feel nothing is working for anyone. Even black belts can suffer such moments in their BJJ careers. Listed below are strategies that can help you overcome the BJJ plateau.     

3.1. Do Not Compare Yourself

To prevent feelings of inadequacy, try to avoid comparing yourself with others. Everyone starts training at different times in their lives and progresses at different rates, but they all have the potential to learn. For example, students who learn under the same instructor may have different thoughts and approaches to learning BJJ. The only thing you need to worry about is whether you are training effectively and making decent progress. When you stop comparing your BJJ skills against other practitioners who have been training longer than you, you find it easier to appreciate the progress you make.   

3.2. Try New Techniques

Competing in some championships or exploring some new BJJ techniques will be the best method to boost energy and help to leave the plateau. Attend some BJJ seminars to learn something new and different from the daily BJJ session. BJJ plateau feeling can also be overcome by having some private sessions with your instructor. Your instructor knows better about your shortcomings. He can help you to improve the mistakes that are between you and your better performance by teaching some new techniques and new methods.     

3.3. Join BJJ Classes

Sometimes it can be hard to learn how to perform a BJJ technique by yourself. No matter how many videos you watch or the times you review the steps, you still may not be able to grasp how to execute techniques properly on your own. If you need advice or want to practice with others, Going to BJJ classes could be a good opportunity to watch demonstrations in person or get tips from multiple perspectives on how to perform new techniques. 

3.4. Roll with Different Partners

Most BJJ students prefer to roll with the same partners. However, being beaten repeatedly by the same person without making any progress can be disheartening. If you cannot overcome your current training partner or try out all of the moves you know, you should change your partner from time to time. Sparring with multiple partners forces you to adapt to their unique fighting styles and incorporate newer moves to bypass their defenses.

3.5. Work Towards a New Goal

BJJ practitioners can suffer BJJ plateau if they feel their routine goals have become too easy. Setting new goals for yourself will push you out of your comfort zone and force you to learn new skills necessary to fight well on the mat. When you make and achieve a new goal, it will improve your confidence and instill a feeling of accomplishment.    

3.6. Include Cross-Training 

You can add cross-training to your daily routines, such as yoga, cardio workouts, or weight training. Other forms of physical exertion can help you relax or build up muscle strength that could help make your BJJ training easier.  

3.7. Take a Day Off 

Every once in a while, BJJ practitioners need time to rest and recover. Being tired and exhausted can make it hard to focus on BJJ training and reduce performance. BJJ plateau is due to both mental and physical fatigue. If you think you are too tired to function properly, take a break for one or two days. When you get back into BJJ, you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and motivated.    

3.8. Keep Going and Work Hard

Most BJJ practitioners face plateau feelings in their BJJ career. No matter whether he just joins BJJ or trains for months or years, everyone has a difficult time when he gets stuck into some techniques and does not move forward. The only thing that is required at that time is to stop thinking, keep going, and work hard.

Think that you are not alone, you faced this feeling in his BJJ career. If all others can overcome this feeling, you will also come out of this phase. Be positive and work continuously. Your hard work will change the situation and you will start growing in BJJ.       

4. Bernardo Faria’s Advice on BJJ Plateau

Bernardo Faria, a BJJ legend, replied to a BJJ fan who was going through a BJJ plateau. Faria explained that sometimes you may try to learn advanced skills too early, resulting in you taking more time to master these techniques.

Faria shared his experiences, stating that even preparing for a fight does not guarantee a win. Even if he is not satisfied with his training, he still managed to submit most of his competitors and win championships.

Faria added that even after training for months or years, you may still have days when things do not go smoothly or do not achieve your desired results. BJJ plateau can happen to anybody, even BJJ legends. Faria’s advice for those suffering BJJ plateau is to focus on learning and improving their basics.

Here is the complete video.

5. FAQs

1. Why do I feel like I am getting worse at BJJ?

Answer: As BJJ practitioners learn more about BJJ, they come to recognize their shortcomings when learning techniques. This does not mean that they are getting worse in BJJ, it just means that they need to identify their weaknesses and improve on them. 

2. How do I know if I am getting better at BJJ?

Answer: If you do not get tired sooner, your grip and cardio endurance are improving, you can escape submissions better, your body is conditioned, and you can perfectly execute BJJ techniques, these are good indications that you are getting better at BJJ. 

3. Does BJJ improve mental toughness?

Answer: BJJ is not just a physical activity; it can also improve mental fortitude. BJJ teaches athletes to follow a strict physical regimen and come up with creative solutions to problems.

6. Conclusion

Most BJJ students take almost 10 years to get their black belts. On the way to achieving their black belts, BJJ practitioners often have to overcome the BJJ plateau. BJJ plateau might be caused due to a loss of interest, a busy schedule, exhaustion, or lack of direction.

To overcome the BJJ plateau, try to avoid comparing yourself to others, focus on training, or take a day off from training.

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