Undeniable Benefits of Swimming for BJJ

Undeniable Benefits of Swimming for BJJ

1. Swimming for BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art which focuses on grappling the opponent on the ground and applying different techniques to enforce a submission or tapping out. BJJ is a form of combat without the use of weapons, requiring physical and mental health. For gripping your opponent, the mind and body needs to coordinate efficiently and effectively to achieve victory. Which is why you cannot deny the benefits of swimming for BJJ.

Jump into the water, do some swimming exercises, and gain the strength and muscle mass necessary to tire out your opponent.

1.1. How Swimming Can Help To Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu Performance

In BJJ, it does not matter what your weight and height is, BJJ strength training can make you strong enough to defend yourself from opponents who are twice your size.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires good joint and muscle coordination to get yourself out from locks and chokes. You also need to gain enough strength to pull off mounts, sweeps and reversals. BJJ strength training aids in the muscular development of fighters but this process can also be achieved by swimming, resulting in unmatchable power, flexibility, and joint durability.

 Let’s explore the undeniable benefits of swimming for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

2. How to Improve Cardio for Jiu-Jitsu Competition?

Swimming improves blood flow in your body. Improvements to your heart automatically improves the strength of your muscles and blood vessels. If your heart rate improves, the healthier blood flow reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and maintains a healthy cholesterol level. When cardio health is improved, BJJ fighters gain increased stamina. Your lung capacity increases which better absorbs oxygen and your muscles become better conditioned to grapple an opponent.

Amir Khan said that the most remarkable benefit of swimming for BJJ is oxygen intake. Breathing patterns matter a lot in swimming and martial arts can help with the growth and development of a good base. Khan stated that jiu jitsu is a great way to learn how to better control your breathing

“Whenever I swim, I just focus on my breathing, and I feel it translates to martial arts because, in martial arts, you always need to have a proper breathing system.”

2.1. Swimmers Having Incredibly High Metabolism

Swimming is an aerobic exercise that boosts your metabolism. You can burn 3,500 calories in 30 minutes when swimming. The basic reason behind the boost in your metabolism is the muscle strength gained by overcoming the density of water. Research has shown water is 800 times denser than air, exerting more drag and resistance. Due to the high density of water, the body requires a warm up to ensure you consume less energy and minimize the amount of drag.

2.2. How Does Swimming Improve Your Stamina and Endurance for Jiu-Jitsu?

During BJJ training and championships, the knees and joints are susceptible to injuries. Swimming can have a relieving effect on your limbs, resulting in a speedy recovery compared to exercising on solid ground. The joints are less stressed under water due to gravity exerting less weight on your body. Swimming works the back and shoulders muscles without straining them which help condition them to pull off grapples and clinches. Putting your postural muscles through strength training will help you stand straighter.

Swimming for BJJ can be a form of rehab for your injured joints and muscles due to its low impact and light pressure exerted on the joints and muscles. Swimming is an exercise which promotes active stretching which helps your muscles stay relaxed, Helping to reduce muscle and joint stiffness.

Even in the case of nerve injury or sciatica pain, swimming for BJJ can help encourage the regeneration of nerve cells.

3. The Invisible Wounds: Stress and Anxiety

Healthy cells promote proper body functions. When a person becomes stressed, you lose a lot of healthy cells. Swimming releases a chemical called endorphins, a pain reliever that reduces stress and helps BJJ fighters stay motivated. A direct result of releasing endorphins is that you have smoother control of your breathing. The mind and body coordinate to ensure no wasted movements when under water and on the mat.

Different research has shown that swimming helps improve a person’s focus and reduces the risk of inflammation. Swimming also helps improve recovery from imbalanced hormones. Mental and physical health is improved due to the secretion of endorphins.

3.1. Encourages Mindfulness

The British Medical Journal highlights that due to repetitive laps in the water, mindfulness is promoted. Mindfulness keeps a person calm, helps him/her to focus on breathing patterns to improve oxygen intake, and maintain focus when swimming. This will help you glide through water with less resistance, which in turn improves your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. Negative thoughts are easier to express as biochemical changes in the body can affect neurotransmitters in the brain which automatically influences a person’s mood.

All of this activity is helpful for BJJ practitioners as new cells regenerate, injuries heal, and motivation improves.

4. Swimming Help To Shape the Body for Jiu-Jitsu Training

Swimming for BJJ burns extra fat and tones your muscles, keeping you lean and fit. The extra weight shed off during swimming improves the endurance of a BJJ practitioner, allowing him/her to execute various techniques without quickly gassing out. Doing longer swimming laps at a slower pace are always fruitful and improve endurance.

If a person is tired of gym exercises, then swimming can be a less strenuous workout that allows you to lose weight in a peaceful environment.

Swimming helps you learn how to better control your breathing, develop stronger back muscles, and helps to reduce problems in your vertebrae. The muscles are toned in the legs and abs and you develop stronger bones, joints and muscles to better grapple and execute sweeps or reversals. The guard and mounting skills in jiu-jitsu training requires muscle strength and improved flexibility.

5. Swimming Strokes and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Each of the swimming strokes have some relation with techniques used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Many professional swimmers consider freestyle’ stroke as the best way to practice movements that you need to pull off most BJJ techniques. Freestyle stroke can also be used to practice movements needed to bypass your opponent’s guard in jiu-jitsu training. The other strokes in swimming like backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly stroke help to build powerful muscles, joints, and bones, improve stamina and lung capacity, and ensure a cool head while fighting.

6. Swimming For BJJ Connects People and Has Therapeutic Effects

 The health adviser Perry Sawan favors swimming for BJJ training due to its therapeutic effects.

“Whether it’s training, racing or for leisure, swimming always helps me disconnect from everything else. For me it’s a form of meditation as I’m able to feel the water and forget about everything else while I’m there.”

“I’ve always liked the sense of community that you find at swimming pools too. I often see people swimming and talking to others, regardless of whether they know each other.”

Swimming for BJJ promotes empathy, creates emotional connections between people, encourages collaboration, encourages discussion, and allows for multiple opinions on solutions to problems. Good behavior is encouraged and helps participants to learn ethics in their social lives.

Group swimming sessions help encourage sportsmanship and teach self-discipline in other aspects of life.

7. How Can I Get the Health Benefits of Cardio Without Running?

Swimming is an aerobic exercise that can improve heart rate, decrease the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and low blood pressure.

A study at Indiana University revealed that swimmers that swam 3.2 to 4.8 kilometers per week postponed their aging process. They had healthy lungs, no obesity, and a toned and flexible body.

Swimming can be started at any age. Studies showed that people with spinal injuries are recommended to stay under water to improve recovery. From toddlers to elderly folk, swimming is considered beneficial and essential for all. Physical exertion can release brain chemicals that can lift your mood and relax your nerves, giving time for you to heal effectively.

8. The Number of Calories Burnt in Interval Training

 Different swimming strokes help to burn a large number of calories. Body weight, swimming time, workout intensity, and metabolism greatly impact the number of calories burned during swimming. According to NutriStrategy, the following is the number of calories burned in one hour for people who weigh 130, 155, 180 and 205 lbs.

Swimming activity
(1 Hour)
130 lbs 155 lbs 180 lbs 205 lbs
Swimming laps
(free style, fast)
590 704 817 931
Swimming laps
(freestyle, slow)
413 493 572 651
Swimming backstroke 413 493 572 651
Swimming breaststroke 590 704 817 931
Swimming butterfly stroke 649 774 899 1024
Swimming sidestroke 472 563 654 745

  The butterfly stroke is considered the best stroke for burning calories. It is a difficult but strong technique, its mastery requiring proper coaching to be able to gain the benefits. The butterfly stroke uses a wave-like movement and a dolphin kick. This move burns fat from your chest, back and shoulders while improving your posture. This stroke consumes excessive energy and is typically used in competitive swimming.

9. Toddlers Love Splashing and Floating

 For toddlers, splashing and floating are fun things to do in the water. They enjoy pool time and encouraging them to do something like  interval training can  minimize the risk of drowning  by 88%. The major concerns for most parents relate to their kids’ health, low concentration, eating disorders, poor sleeping habits, memory loss, and less focus  on studies. The different strokes in swimming helps improve metabolism in kids, reducing sleeping and eating disorders. Also, due to an improved heart rate, children’s and adults mental health becomes healthier as well.  

9.1. A Child with ADHD

Brzilian Jiu-Jitsu is a good introduction to martial arts for  children. They are taught invaluable skills which enable them to focus better, resulting in a better  attention  span. They are able to overcome  failure and become more committed towards reaching goals.

Likewise, kids with ADHD have better control over their hyperactive energy  thanks to the release of dopamine. This is the same chemical which is released in the human body as a result of rigorous exercise like  swimming. They are not as  easily distracted which can  boost their self-esteem.

10. Summary

Swimming as an exercise greatly reduces  stress, weight gains, and heart and lung health issues. The different swimming methods and styles help to  strengthen the  bones, joints, and muscles,  improving a practitioner’s  capacity to fight without stressing the body and significantly increasing life expectancy.

Swimming is a productive exercise for children as well . The physical and mental coordination helps  deal with physical and mental disorders, improves the immune system, and generates new cells to replace old ones.  It is evident that swimming increases athletic performance and gives practitioners a competitive edge in different aspects of life.

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