Roger Gracie Changed Strength Training Method as It Negatively Affected His BJJ & Recovery

Roger Gracie widely recognized as the greatest BJJ practitioner of all time (GOAT). In fact Gracie is so dominant that last year he was able to submit 10x World Champion Marcos ‘Buchecha’ Almeida with a choke from the back.

Most recently he’s shared what are some key concepts for his training regimen:

Gracie favors an extremely specific training. He believes in benefits of positional training in Jiu-Jitsu.

“There are lots of different scenarios – you on top, guy on your back – and I practise each for five minutes at a time.”

Rickson Gracie and Henry Akins both also believe in the importance of positional training, and why it should be at least 50% or more of your training.

Akins stated:

I get a lot of questions about how to train Jiu Jitsu properly, whats the most effective use of time training and whats the best way to develop certain aspects of your game.

I’m a HUGE believer in positional training and I preach about the importance of it all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever gone in depth and explained WHY it’s so important and how it really helps to develop your game to an extremely high level… so here we go!

First off let me explain what positional Jiu Jitsu training is:

For positional training I will start a pair off in a position like the mount. One person is on top and the other person is on the bottom. Each person is given a very specific goal. For the person on top their main priority is to maintain the position, there is no urgency to finish, they are already winning. If they feel comfortable controlling the position their secondary objective is to finish or if the person exposes their back they can take the back, again the priority though is to maintain the dominant position. The person on the bottoms first priority is to survive, stay safe and then see if they can escape (I stress there is urgency to escape).

Any time the person on top is able to finish, or take the back, the pair will stop and start again from the same position. Finishing, taking the back or maintaining for the whole duration is considered a win. If the person on bottom is able to escape they stop and start back again from the same position. Escaping is anytime the position changes from anything except mount, guard recovery, half guard, open guard, forcing the opponent to abandon mount to cross side are all considered an escape and therefore a win.

Gracie also talked about how he had to change the way he worked out as it made him always tired for Jiu-Jitsu:

“I used to do conditioning with weights, but the intensity meant I needed a long time to recover and my jiu-jitsu sessions suffered. Now, I combine Olympic lifting and hill sprints. The powerful lifts increase strength but don’t leave me tired, and the hill sprints improve my fitness without requiring days of recovery.”

Gracie also talked about the different mentality between MMA and Jiu-Jitsu and the reason why he favors Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie went 8-2 in professional MMA, having always fought in big organisations such as UFC or Strikeforce:

“MMA involves a very different mentality, punching people until they black out. I prefer BJJ, where I can dominate my opponent without having to hit them in the face.”

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