Swimming: Get In Shape For BJJ

Swimming: Get In Shape For BJJ

1. Swimming for BJJ

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, muscle power determines how well you employ different techniques on the mat. We all know that power is equal to the force divided by velocity. It is clear that the increase of any of these factors will improve the performance of BJJ athletes.

Knowing that there is a linear and positive relationship between maximum strength and muscle power, BJJ athletes cannot reach the highest level of fighting prowess until they gain peak muscle power and strength. Swimming is considered the best exercise for gaining healthy muscles in martial arts. In martial arts, strength training programs can help improve muscle power but swimming aids BJJ athletes in power development. The following benefits include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Conditioning and toning of the muscles
  • Better fitness
  • Weight reduction
  • Enhances strength
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Better breathing control
  • Improves multiple sclerosis
  • Improves sleep and mood booster
  • Manages stress and anxiety
  • Regulates blood sugar

Swimming is a fun activity which improves endurance in BJJ athletes and is considered a meditative technique to raise energy levels and improve emotional health in BJJ training sessions.

Swimming is good for BJJ

1.1. Get In Shape For BJJ By Swimming

We all know that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is different from other sports, requiring a combination of strength and endurance training to better prepare grapplers. Swimming for BJJ is a great way to condition your body. BJJ athletes always need to balance how much energy they exert to maximize movement.

When swimming, water resistance allows for guaranteed low impact strength training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes. Swimming laps helps build your muscles and places less stress on the joints, thus increasing blood flow and promoting positive effects on the physical and mental health of BJJ athletes.

Learning different swimming techniques will tone and condition your muscles to get in shape for BJJ training sessions and championships

1.2. How Does Swimming Help With A Better Physique?

Swimming definitely transforms your body as it burns a ton of calories and reduces body fat. Swimming strokes also help to build up and shape your abs. Cardio swimming sessions aid cardiovascular health while water treading builds stronger stomach muscles, thus aiding in strength training that can translate to BJJ.

You can benefit even more if you use swimming as a form of interval training. Faster swimming intervals help to burn more calories compared to constant and slower swimming. This practice will help build up the stamina BJJ athletes need in live fights.

When in the water and after taking a breath, BJJ athletes should place their faces into the water and learn how to moderate their breathing. There is a rhythmic connection between movements and breathing. They can turn their face for a breath without interrupting their strokes.

Just as in grappling when an opponent has mounted you, controlling your breathing at times will ensure you do not tap or gas out too quickly during a BJJ match.

2. How Can Cool Water Swimming Help BJJ Athletes?

Swimming in cold water is gaining popularity among martial artists due to its enduring property. Cold water swimming can be used as an umbrella term for swimming in cool to ice-cold water. So far, several researches claimed the health benefits of cold water swimming for jiu-jitsu athletes are :

  • Changes in hematological and endocrine functions
  • Fewer upper respiratory tract infections
  • Improved control over mood swings
  • Better general well-being

2.1. Can I improve my cardio health through swimming?

Several studies have shown that cold water swimming has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and reduces cardiovascular risk factors such as lipid profiles and high blood pressure.

Many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes opt for cold water swimming as a form of endurance and strength training. It can improve one’s ability to handle stress as every muscle has to be exerted to swim in cold water. This positively impacts jiu-jitsu fighters by encouraging the release of various hormones in both male and female BJJ fighters. Such beneficial hormones that are released may include:

  • Catecholamines
  • Insulin
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
  • Cortisol

2.2. How Can One Improve Mental Health with Cold Water Swimming

Regular winter or cold water swimming have a remarkably constructive effect on the mental capacity of BJJ athletes. This exercise helps reduce depression and helps people suffering from diseases like orthopedic, fibromyalgia or asthma.

A case report described a married woman whose condition showed signs of chronic depression and anxiety. The symptoms seemed incurable even when treated with Fluoxetine or Citalopram. After giving birth to a child, she desired to get rid of all types of medication related to anxiety and stress. It was recommended to join a weekly program that helped depressed patients by having them do cold water swimming. After weeks of cold water swimming there was a huge change in mood which gradually lowered the symptoms of anxiety and stress. This recommendation ultimately had the following benefits:

  • Reduction and eventual discontinuation of medication
  • Improvement in the functionality of the central nervous system
  •  Increased production of norepinephrine and β-endorphin

2.3. Does Cold Water Swimming Help To Improve The Immune System?

Yes, a remarkable change is observed in research that tested the immune system of various athletes who specialized in combat sports. The number of leukocytes (neutrophil granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes) released are increased in cold water swimming. It helps provide extra protection against inflammation and respiratory infections, as well as improving the body’s ability to handle stress. Short-term leukocytosis is caused by leukocytes that leave organs such as the spleen in response to an increase in catecholamines and cortisol to improve the functionality of the immune system.

3. Swimming For BJJ Improves Upper Body Strength for Grappling

Strength training is an important factor when preparing for BJJ fights. Many studies have revealed that upper body muscular strength and power output strength highly correlate with swim velocity. Swimming improves grappling strength in jiu-jitsu fights.

When doing the backstroke, front crawl, and butterfly strokes, your arms are traveling above water which causes less resistance due to being in the air. When submerged, there is more resistance because your arms and legs have to cut through the water, which drags and pulls against your body. The upper body builds up strength and helps burn calories.

3.1. What Muscles Are Toned When Swimming?

When swimming for BJJ, you propel your body with arm and leg movements that are fighting against the high density of the water. Arms act as leverage while legs kick to move an athlete forward or backward. Water resistance and buoyancy are the principles of hydrodynamics. When your body fights against water resistance, the body muscles become toned, gaining internal strength and robustness. Thus, swimming enhances your strength training in preparation for grapplingbouts.

3.2. How Swimming for BJJ Helps to Burn Calories in Less Time?

The health benefits of swimming for BJJ are undeniable. It is the most recommended sport by health workers and medical experts. Most medical practitioners state that 30 minutes of swimming three times at least three times per week can burn up to 900 calories thus reducing the risk of many diseases like Type 2 diabetes. If the person is suffering from Type 1 diabetes then swimming for BJJ can improve insulin sensitivity significantly.

How many calories burned depends on many factors like weight and height, the body’s composition, and the swimming activities you perform.

How Swimming for BJJ Helps to Burn Calories in Less Time

The researcher Syahrastani said,
“That as swimming is an aerobic exercise, there is a significant relationship between leg length and leg muscle strength and foot width with breast stroke swimming ability. Furthermore, motor ability also affects the learning result of swimming.”

3.3 Is it easier to swim if you are fat?

Swimming for BJJ helps you burn calories, lose weight, tone muscles, and improve physical and mental health. Swimming also helps reduce fat at the abs and stomach. A person with a larger girth will face more resistance when under the water than someone with thinner girth. More drag being exerted will definitely make swimming much more difficult for an obese person.

3.4. Does Swimming Help MMA Fighters?

Swimming is considered the best form of interval training due to its low impact status for MMA fighters. This is considered a good replacement for HITT due to the following reasons:

  • Less recovery time
  • Controlled breathing
  •  Resistance against diseases
  • Improves endurance
  • Full body workout for strength training
  • Promotes flexibility
  • Improves sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Better recovery from injuries

4. What Are The Benefits Of Performing Water Aerobic Exercises?

Swimming is an aerobic activity that improves the heartbeat and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Swimming for BJJ enhances the potential and capacity of BJJ training sessions, improving grappling abilities as a result. Swimming for BJJ helps the body recover from:

  • Injury and chronic illnesses
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stress
  • Intense muscle exertion

4.1. What Is A Better Sport For A Teenager, Swimming or Kickboxing?

Swimming is a fun medium for both adults and teenagers. Swimming can be a good form of physical therapy no matter which age group you belong to or what your daily activities are. The extensive list of benefits of swimming cannot be ignored.

Swimming can help the teensagers both mentally and physically as it promotes:

Life Safety: It saves children from drowning.

Enhances Physical Fitness: It improves physical fitness. Exercising on land can be stressful but underwater exercising is relaxing. Teenagers gain strength and cardiovascular efficiency due to fighting against water resistance.

Physical Therapy: Teenagers trained in swimming from such an early stage in life helps them have better strength and flexibility. Sometimes a warm water pool is beneficial for recovering from injuries and bone fractures.

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