How Often Should I Train?

Photo courtesy of Adem Redzovic

Many BJJ academies offer classes six or seven days per week in both gi and no-gi. The student is spoiled for choice when it comes to opportunities to train!

Then the question creeps in,”How often should I train?”

Of course, everyone wants to get as well as possible. Would training every day or twice per day really accelerate your progress?

Not necessarily.

Here is why.

The Threat Of Burn Out

We are not just talking about burning out in the physical sense. The brain can only process so much information in a given period of time.

You have probably experienced this at a BJJ seminar where at a certain point, you were mentally fatigued and found it difficult to concentrate and absorb the next technique. In fact, it may even have hindered your ability to retain the techniques that you did learn earlier in the seminar.

The same thing happens if you are attending too many classes in a week. Your brain needs enough time to process and assimilate the techniques and consolidate the information.

The amount one can absorb will vary from person to person, but if you can’t recall what you saw last class, chances are you might be trying to force too much information into your brain.

Cross Training

Most martial artists are cross training in a striking art like Muay Thai or boxing. If you are into MMA, then add wrestling, and striking to your jiu-jitsu.

Many jiu-jitsu students are also doing physical conditioning exercises – like running, lifting weights, or doing CrossFit – two to three times per week.

All of this must be calculated in your “total training load” for the week. You can’t just add seven or more jiu-jitsu classes without the risk of edging into overtraining.

Minor but nagging soft tissue injuries in your fingers, toes, or elbows can start to accumulate; and before long, you lose your enthusiasm for training BJJ.

So how often should you train?

Once per week is not enough. You simply will forget what you learned the previous class and not accrue enough mat time to burn movements into your muscle memory to improve at any rate.

Twice per week is minimum.

Three to four sessions per week is about optimal for most recreational jiu-jitsu guys and girls. You are getting immersed in the art enough to start to recognize positions as being familiar and getting some muscle memory of the movements.

If you are under 35 and have a surplus of free time and good physical conditioning, you can try 5+ sessions a week, but it is not necessary or even optimal for the average recreational BJJ student.

Remember, above all else, you are supposed to be having fun at class; not always grinding it out!

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times: The Proper Way To Drill Techniques


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