Brazilian jiu-jitsu is among the best martial arts out there for self-defense. It's brutal and incredibly efficient, and its popularity all over the world as well as prominence in MMA and UFC have made it abundantly clear just how unstoppable it is in the right hands.
With highly technical moves, high-impact maneuvers, and stringent drills, practitioners of BJJ can expect to gain improved strength, speed, and agility--and that's just for the physical benefits.
But if BJJ is that good for improving physical performance, then is it safe to say it also makes for a great workout? We'll be finding that out here today.
Does BJJ Make a Good Workout?
It also teaches practical self-defense skills that can be used in real-life situations. Overall, practicing BJJ is a well-rounded physical and mental workout.
Yes, BJJ makes for a good workout--an excellent one even! However, your definition of a "good" workout might not be the same as everyone else's. In general: BJJ is great for your overall health and is wonderful for losing weight, but is not good for helping you gain muscle.
BJJ sessions involve constant physical activity and requires persistent mental focus. You're going to be engaging in something strenuous every single session, whether it's drilling techniques or live sparring. This constant movement makes it a great choice for overall cardiovascular fitness.
Those drills may not sound like too big of a deal, but trust me, they are. They involve grueling conditioning exercises, such as sprinting and calisthenics, and they're meant to drain you out so you can last longer when you fight.
BJJ is simply good for your overall health, as well. There are tons of benefits associated with training: from lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, a vastly healthier respiratory system, and even endorphin release to make us feel happier and more ready to take on challenges.
Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Good for Weight Loss?
BJJ is excellent for weight loss. It's a highly physically demanding martial art that requires you to use your full body every single session.
The constant involved and the persistent toll it puts on you works similarly to cardio, and it actively burns significant calories and encourages an increased metabolism.
In fact, a common realization amongst new jujitsukas is that consistent training is causing them to lose quite a bit of weight. It helps a lot that BJJ is a great sport to practice no matter your weight, as well, as it's built around the idea that anyone can learn the lessons it teaches.
BJJ isn't a full-on answer to weight loss though. Those who enroll BJJ expecting to shed off a layer of fat or two need to remember that training should still be paired with adequate rest and a proper diet. After all, you can't outrun (or in this case, outroll) a bad diet!
Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Build Muscle?
BJJ is not that good for building muscle. It's great for cardio and encouraging overall health, but techniques taught in this martial art simply aren't enough for stimulating muscle growth.
Sure, many moves arguably involve some form of calisthenics, which is itself an established muscle-building exercise, but there's only so much that that can do. You will likely reach an upper limit where you just won't gain muscle anymore and just start getting more toned.
That doesn't mean you won't gain some muscle though. You still very likely will, especially since it involves putting various muscle groups into constant physical activity. Just don't expect it to be a lot.
There is one thing to note about this though: while BJJ doesn't necessarily build muscle, it does build strength. Jujitsukas train their body in difficult maneuvers that, while not meant to stimulate muscle growth, do encourage the body to be as powerful as it can be.
How Many Calories Can You Burn Doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Expect to burn anywhere around 470 to 670 calories during training. That isn't set in stone, of course, and the exact number of calories you burn in each session depends on various factors, like the intensity of your workout and the types of exercises you do, among others.
Generally, however, research suggests that an approximation of about 400 to 600 calories should be pretty standard for most sessions.
As always though, remember that this is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. In the case of losing weight, BJJ is just one part of a well-rounded fitness routine. You should still incorporate other forms of exercise, especially if your goal is to lose some weight.
Although BJJ can't be used to build significant muscle mass, it's a great martial art for weight loss and is overall wonderful for your health.
This is on top of all the myriad other benefits that BJJ already brings to the table, from self-defense skills, to heightened focus, to greater discipline and a sense of self-worth. Not only will you be getting healthier, but you'll also be more productive, more capable, and just all-around happier.
Curious to learn about other martial arts? Check this out!