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Is Running Useful in BJJ?

Is Running Useful in BJJ?

Most people know that BJJ is a gentle art that focuses on fighting, rolling, and immobilizing an opponent on the ground or mat. Running in BJJ is all about improving the fighter's physicality. A BJJ fighter should focus on strength training and the body's energy systems. It is an undeniable truth that BJJ requires both mental and physical strength to do well in this sport. This martial art utilizes both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Most people think that running is not useful in BJJ so why do people run then?

1. Energy Systems for BJJ

The human body uses a complex mechanism to transfer energy to the different body parts known as the energy system. In most cases, energy demands vary depending on your level of exertion. Every bodily function requires energy, but how much energy is used depends on what parts of the body are active. Some functions do not need the same energy output. Most energy systems used in sports consist of two types, the anaerobic and aerobic systems. Anaerobic training requires your body's metabolism to be able to handle heavy weight carrying. Aerobic training or exercise includes activities such as marathons, swimming, and cycling. As mentioned above, BJJ requires both anaerobic and aerobic energy system training. BJJ fighters without proper training in aerobics find themselves struggling with executing techniques that require your anaerobic system.

Energy Systems for BJJ

1.1. Anaerobic State

This type of energy is more complex than aerobic energy. This system works without needing oxygen for body fuel in sports. It may require high intensity exercises such as weight lifting, sprinting, and scrambling. You can't do cardio for BJJ without having sufficient anaerobic energy for training.

How it is Useful to BJJ: This system produces the energy needed for physical strength like powerlifting, which may be useful for BJJ players who wish to stand against a larger and heavier opponent.

1.2. Aerobic State

Specific sports need aerobic fitness, while other sports require the aerobic system to work in tandem with the anaerobic system. The aerobic system uses the balanced energy supply stored in the body in BJJ. In other words, aerobics in BJJ is based on the fitness of the individual fighter. Taking in the right level of oxygen is key if a fighter wants better results.

How it is Useful to BJJ: As the aerobic system is used in running, this increases the body's metabolism. A BJJ fighter needs good metabolism to be able to be mobile on the mat .

Aerobic State

2. Impact of Running on BJJ Practitioners

Any BJJ practitioner should know about the advantages and disadvantages of BJJ training. BJJ fighters must know when their bodies need to be in an aerobic or anaerobic state. Most BJJ matches start with the anaerobic state before transitioning to the aerobic state. How well BJJ fighters run depends on the condition of their energy states. Training, yoga, and learning techniques strengthen the fighters, which is why running is not mandatory to do well in BJJ. Intense running can have a negative impact on the leg muscles which can lead to fighters having poor leg support during a match .

Running is a good exercise that helps keep your body in shape. However, most BJJ fighters think running may not affect your physicality in a good way for various reasons. For example, long distance running may cause strain in your leg muscles which could negatively affect your performance in BJJ. Running is not a great way to improve cardio for BJJ. Excessive weight lifting, running long distances, and high sets and repetitions can improve performance, but they tend to have a negative impact on a fighter’s strength. There are a lot of questions that many fighters want to know before they start training for BJJ.

2.1. Is Running Good or Bad for BJJ?

Running is a healthy way for a person to train, but there may be better ways to exercise which can save time or build up more strength. When you are running, you channel the energy from the aerobic system. The aerobic energy system has lots of endurance benefits but the BJJ fighter should practice using primarily the anaerobic energy system. BJJ fighters need the anaerobic system to improve their strength, positioning, mobility, and grappling moves more so than they need the aerobic system. BJJ prioritizes grip strength and grappling which running does not help improve.

However, many studies claim that running does have some positive impact on BJJ training.Running as a form of BJJ training has other benefits besides improved endurance. Running can improve blood circulation which can help you think clearer and accelerate fat loss. Fighters who decide to sprint will be able to learn mental toughness. It is easy to perform, but running does require shoes, appropriate clothing, and compression gears.

2.2. What is the Understanding of Anaerobic and Aerobic Running?

The oxygen levels need to be sustained in order for your body to maintain a high metabolism. Aerobic running requires having enough oxygen to sustain your body's movements. In BJJ, your body is consuming so much oxygen and releasing a lot of energy because fighters are continuously pushing the aerobic system .

On the other hand, the anaerobic system does not produce much oxygen to sustain the muscles. In anaerobic running, it is recommended to engage in sprinting as a form of training. There are the following factors BJJ fighters need to consider when choosing between aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic Anaerobic
It occurs in the presence of oxygen. It occurs in the absence of oxygen
It allows fighters to recover fasters in an intense position It helps fighters change their positions.
It burns 4.87 calories per hour It burns 500 to 600 calories per hour

2.3. What is the Appropriate Amount of Time to Run?

Running by itself is not a sufficient workout for BJJ fighters. A training program for BJJ should include strength and endurance exercises. These programs can help BJJ fighters understand the strain between moving back and forth between the aerobic and anaerobic states. Nevertheless, additional exercises are mandatory for BJJ training programs. Running at least two days a week is usually enough.

A BJJ fighter can start running for two minutes at the start, then he can walk for one to two minutes, before finally resting for one minute. Also, you need to make sure that you put on supportive and protective gear. A BJJ fighter should only run two days per week, otherwise the strain might lead to serious injuries.

2.4. Why is Only Running Not Suitable for BJJ?

There are a lot of variables a player needs to account for when it comes to running for BJJ.

  • Weather: summer weather is not ideal for running.
  • Running only contributes to BJJ training if done with the right moderation and reasoning .
  • Sprinting is the best form of running for BJJ.
  • Fatigue in BJJ mainly settled in the upper body which running will not help prepare fighters.
  • There is a high risk of running causing injury to BJJ fighters .
  • The combination of squats and swings will help improve stamina significantly more than running.
  • BJJ requires grip strength and manoeuvrability when rolling, so fighters should do squats alongside running.

3. Things to Remember

Running is not mandatory when training for BJJ, but a fighter can still run for fun. Running can be a breath of fresh air, but do not run long distances as it may cause you to injure and exhaust your muscles. Running by itself does not drastically improve your performance in BJJ. But running can improve your aerobic state. A BJJ fighter should know when he needs to do aerobic and anaerobic training respectively.

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