The human body is an amazing machine that responds to physical demands placed upon it. Whether it's running a marathon or lifting heavy weights, our bodies adapt to the stresses we place upon them.
But what about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? This popular grappling martial art has been gaining a lot of attention lately, with people curious about its fitness benefits. One common question that arises is whether practicing Jiu-Jitsu can make you bigger.
In this article, we will delve into the specifics of Jiu-Jitsu training and its impact on muscle mass and overall physique. So if you're curious about whether Jiu-Jitsu can help you achieve a more toned and muscular body, read on!
Does Jiu-Jitsu Make You Bigger?
Yes, Jiu-Jitsu can make you somewhat bigger... but there are some things you'll need to keep in mind.
The variety of positions and movements involved can help you target different areas of the body and challenge them in various ways.
Because BJJ relies heavily on prolonged physical exertion, which forces your muscles to work harder than they would during a typical weight training session, you can expect to have a particularly rough time with muscle soreness.
That isn't a bad thing though! In most cases, it just means you've had one heck of a workout.
There are lots of drills as well, which involve exercises that can leave your muscles feeling "pumped," with lactic acid building up in the tissue.
All-in-all, while BJJ definitely can make you bigger, the exact size you gain is still dependent on a variety of factors, including how intense your workouts are and what kinds of exercises you’re doing.
How Much Muscle Can you Gain?
Don't celeberate just yet! Because in spite of what we've just talked about, the truth is that BJJ just isn’t designed for muscle-building purposes.
Building muscle mass involves two key factors: mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Mechanical tension is created by lifting heavy loads through a full range of motion, while metabolic stress is the buildup of by-products from energy production during high reps of exercises.
These by-products accumulate and create the "burning" sensation felt during a challenging workout, which signals muscle growth.
Unfortunately, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu doesn't meet these requirements for muscle growth. While there is plenty of external resistance when grappling with another person, most contractions in BJJ are isometric and occur at short muscle lengths.
For example, think about the isometric contraction of your legs when holding someone in closed guard or the grip strength required to hold the Gi. These contractions are not enough to stimulate muscle growth compared to traditional weight training.
So if building muscle mass is your goal, BJJ alone may not be the most effective way to achieve it. But incorporating weight training alongside your BJJ practice can provide the necessary mechanical tension and metabolic stress to build muscle.
So if I want to get bigger through jiu-jitsu, what should I do?
Honestly... not much. While BJJ can improve your overall strength, it’s overall not the most effective way to pack on muscle mass and achieve that impressive physique.
To build muscle size, you need to be in a caloric surplus. That means consuming more calories than your body needs. This gives your body the fuel it needs to create and grow muscle. Without enough fuel, your muscles won’t grow.
But it’s not just about calories. Stimulating muscle growth means you need to push your muscles slightly beyond their limits, creating small tears in the muscle. This process, called hypertrophy, signals your body to repair those muscles by using the extra calories or fat to fuel growth.
In BJJ, you’re constantly using your muscles to push, pull, and hold your opponents, but it’s typically not enough to actually build mass.
To achieve hypertrophy, you need to engage in progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight or reps over time to challenge your muscles and encourage growth.
So while BJJ has its benefits, if your goal is to build muscle size, you’ll need to consider other forms of training that focus on progressive overload and hypertrophy.
Tips For Getting Started With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Training
If you're still eager to learn BJJ in spite of all this, then great! You'll be in for quite a ride.
First and foremost, it's crucial to prepare your body properly. This means doing regular stretches that target specific muscle groups like your arms, legs, back, hips, neck, shoulders, chest, abdominals, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
By strengthening these areas, you'll be better equipped to handle the physical demands of BJJ.
But conditioning isn't just about stretching. You also need to make sure you're fueling your body with the right nutrients.
Eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals will help optimize your performance. And don't forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day.
When it comes to your first class, try to stay focused and listen carefully to your instructor. They'll guide you through the basics of BJJ, so make sure to absorb as much information as possible. Taking notes afterwards can also help with retention.
Many BJJ schools offer trial periods for new students. This is a great opportunity to sample the curriculum and see if it's a good fit for you before committing long-term.
It's also worth noting that BJJ does involve very heavy physical contact with other participants. While infections are rare, you should still definitely practice good hygiene.
Make sure to wash your hands regularly and shower immediately after every session. Wearing a clean Gi (uniform) and avoiding sharing personal items with your classmates can also help prevent the spread of germs.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help! Other students can be a valuable resource, especially those who are at the same rank belt level as you. Building camaraderie within the BJJ community can also help motivate you to stick with it.
To sum up, the question of whether Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes you bigger is not a straightforward one. While Jiu-Jitsu is not primarily focused on building muscle mass, it can lead to an increase in muscle tone and definition, as well as a leaner physique due to fat loss.
With constant use of your muscles, coupled with Jiu-Jitsu's intense cardiovascular workout, your body will adapt and change over time, resulting in a more athletic appearance.
So if you're looking for a fun and challenging way to get in shape, Jiu-Jitsu might just be the answer you've been searching for. Train hard, stay focused, and watch as your body transforms before your very eyes.
You've just looked at Jiu-Jitsu. Why not have a look at Bujutsu next here?