In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu injury is something that happens to everyone at some point, but hopefully the injuries are minor. Many times people end up with a tweaked toe, finger, lower back, or shoulder. This is a normal thing in bjj, but hopefully this is not happening to you often and when it does happen you recover fairly quickly. If you are finding your getting injured more often, such as weekly injuries, you may be lacking something in your fitness. If you are one of those people who is constantly injured this article is for you.
I would like to start off looking at why people get injured in our sport. One of the major causes is overtraining. Some students can’t get enough training time lifting weights and running daily in addition to coming to bjj practice 5 or more times per week. This type of training is okay for short periods to prepare for a tournament, or fight, but this pace cannot be continued for long without inviting injury. If you want to train this hard it is okay, but every 4 weeks you need to have a back off week training light and cutting your total training sessions in half. Back off weeks give your body a chance to recover, repair, and prepare for the next upcoming 3 week cycle of hard training. Every 12th week should be taken completely off to allow the body to have a much needed break from all of the hard training. Many people worry they will lose skill, or strength, during this week, but the truth is most people come back better than ever after this short break.
Another cause of injuries in bjj practitioners is taking time off and then coming back in full force. This also is true for new bjj students. If you are new, or have had some time off, your body will not be used to this hard training and needs to be eased back into it. If you start off at 5x per week doing all of the warm ups, technique drills, and then sparring very hard you are asking to get injured. A much better way to approach this is to ease in by starting out training only 3x per week. By training less days you give your body a chance to get used to this new stimulus and start adapting. As your body gets used to this training you can start adding in more days. You also could start out training 5x per week, but I would advise making some days very light training days. In this example you could train hard 2-3x per week and the other 2x per week would be light, possible doing just the technique portion of practice and sitting out of sparring. I understand the urge to train all the time so you can learn, and progress, as quickly as possible, but if you are constantly injured you will miss a lot of practice and will actually progress much slower.
5,3,1/7,5,3 Reps to a 50 Pound Gain in All Your Lifts
Posted: April 19, 2017
I came across the 5,3,1/7,5,3 rep scheme many years ago and have always found it to be an amazingly simple and effective program. The strength of this program is in its simplicity and the fact that it is very low volume program allowing you to recover much more quickly. We will talk about volume in later articles, but for now I just want you to understand that grappling is a very tiring sport and keeping our strength training at a lower volume will help you to gain strength while not burning out. I personally have put 50+ pounds on my bench press, squat, and deadlift in 30 utilizing this program. Now let’s move on to the nuts and bolts of the program.
Let’s start by choosing the bench press as an example exercise (you must choose a compound lift to perform the 5,3,1/7,5,3 reps scheme). The first step is to find your 1 rep maximum in the bench press. In this example we will say you managed a 1 rep max of 200 pounds. Now you can apply the 5,3,1/7,5,3 to your bench press. You will subtract 30 pounds from your max (this would put your first lift at 170 pounds) and perform 5 reps. Add 10 pounds to the bar making the weight 180 pounds and rest 3-5 minutes. Now perform 3 reps of the bench press. Add 10 more pounds to the bar making the weight 190 pounds and rest 3-5 minutes. Now rest 3-5 minutes and add 15 pounds to the bar so you can attempt a new max of 205 pounds. Next week you will follow the same pattern but instead of performing 5 reps, 3 reps, and 1 rep you will instead perform 7 reps, 5 reps, and 3 reps. For example you would take the bench press again and start at 170 pounds, but instead of performing 5 reps you would perform 7 reps this time. The next set you would add 10 pounds to the bar making it 180 pounds, but instead of performing 3 reps you will perform 5 reps. Once again add 10 pounds to the bar and instead of performing 1 rep you will perform 3 reps. Now if you desire you may perform 1 more set trying to beat your 200 pounds maximum again. The 3rd week we will start over again but our starting weight will be 10 pounds heavier. So you will start your bench press at 180 pounds instead of 170 pounds and perform 5 reps. You will then perform 3 reps with 190 pounds and 1 rep with 200 pounds. You will continue to follow this pattern week after week until you begin to stall out and cannot complete the prescribed reps for the workout. At this point you will pick a similar exercise such as a floor bench press, find your 1 rep max, and then start this whole sequence over from the beginning.
By changing the exercise to a similar exercise you will be able to continue to make progress without burning out your central nervous system. Once you complete this sequence with the new lift, and begin to stall out, you may go back to your original bench press exercise, or choose another slightly different exercise such as the incline bench press. Have fun with this and I hope you are able to get the same great results I got from the program. As always if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me.