Three Reasons To Skip Supplemental Training

U.S. Army Europe / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the most commonly brought-up topics in jiu-jitsu is supplemental training.

Supplemental training is anything extra performed outside of the normal BJJ class in order to better prepare for competition or general development.

I have been on both ends of this argument and I can see both sides more clearly than others. I have done Cross Fit, Olympic lifting, yoga and heavy cardio.

And guess what? I don’t believe it helped that much.  I know there will surely be some strong arguments for why we need supplemental training, so I will try to keep my argument as simple as possible.

Here are the top three reasons you should skip supplemental training and just train.

It takes a toll on your body

Oftentimes, completing long, brutal weightlifting or cardio workouts can leave you depleted and drained before class. This can affect the way you train and the skill you develop on the mat. We have to remember that skill is ultimately what we seek in jiu-jitsu.

It gets in the way of skill development

The next reason is related to the first in many ways. If our number one goal in BJJ is to develop skill, then we should be spending our time on things that directly increase our skill. Any supplemental training that doesn’t hone our necessary skills is not going to get us to our end goal. For this reason I want to point out that adding wrestling or judo or even balance exercises to your regimen is in fact beneficial and should be considered (if you would like to).

It takes the most valuable thing we have . . . time! 

Time is so valuable that it’s the only currency we cannot get back and cannot invest in. Most people these days are very pressed for time, and unless you are fortunate enough to make your own hours or are a full time athlete, hitting multiple sessions a day isn’t always possible. So, in most cases, it makes sense to spend the hours you have available pursuing the development of skill rather than athleticism.

I hope I have made it clear that in a world pressed for time, we should be in pursuit of skill and not any other end.  Jiu-jitsu is unlike many sports and actually doing it will always be more beneficial than almost anything else.

Of course , if you have the time, drive, and energy, I will not discourage you from adding supplemental training; rather I am advising you that BJJ skill should be your priority.


  1. these reasons seem to be well thought out, but I think that supplemental training does befit the bjj practitioner, for example from my experience in BJJ I can say that supplemental training does indeed help. When I train extra (whether its weightlifting, yoga or any other martial art besides bjj) I am indeed depleted of energy when practising bjj but I still believe supplemental training does help because it puts me in a situation where I solely focus on technique and not force ; the only time I use force is when Im sparing with somebody thats either heavier than me or has more experience (even then the main focus is on technique or a combination of those two). The third reason …. well time is never really going to be on anybody’s side, unfortunately we have infinite aspirations but a finite amount of time in the day to do all we can.

  2. I feel this fails to address what could be the most important aspect of supplemental training for jiu jitsu which is injury prevention. Even if someone prefers to spend 90% of their time on the mats, 10% could be allocated to simple activation drills for neglected muscle groups. Strengthing the VMO to assist in staving off knee injuries, the glutes to prevent back injuries, the shoulders, etc. A very simple, 20 minute program performed 3 times a week can do wonders in regards to strengthening and mobilizing common problem areas. If you are truly looking to devote your life to the art then approach it with the idea of longevity in mind. I feel this article is somewhat shortsighted in that regard.


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