Gi BJJ Comp Training

Just spoke to a good buddy of mine who is entering a Gi BJJ comp after gaining some kilos, he asked what he could do with kettlebells to be more prepared for his upcoming match.


I asked what his weaknesses were. He said that last time his triceps completely gassed out. Thats got something to do with having to keep the arms extended, i.e. opponent away, he said he was working from the bottom, so, all made sense.


I suggested adding some heavy kettlebell overhead walks to his training. Not only will this strengthen the triceps, it will also strengthen and help with shoulder stabilization. Plus the added benefit, a good core workout. “too strong core” said no one ever!

He said he was doing burpees, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings, so he already had a good idea how to keep it simple and effective.




Great for cardio, but also flexibility, and of course working on speed for the sprawl. Make sure you perform burpees correctly, with a wide squat style at start and end.

For: cardio, speed, flexibility, sprawling



Performed best with a barbell, unless working single leg, great for grip, core, traps, the whole posterior chain of muscles. Try some heavy single leg deadlifts with a kettlebell, awesome for balance, and working those muscles one side at a time.

For: strength, grip, posterior chain muscles, flexibility


Kettlebell Swings

Great for cardio, grip strength, posterior chain muscles, and explosiveness. Easier with two hands, but great with one. Work in the low rep range, with medium to heavyweight. 6 to 10 reps.

For: cardio, posterior chain muscles, core, grip, flexibility

Make the same movement, but less weight and more explosive. My movement is slower because I was going with a heavyweight for more reps.


Overhead Walks

Bring a heavy kettlebell into racking, then overhead, you might want to push press or jerk it since it has to be a heavyweight, don’t mess up your shoulders trying to press something that’s ok holding overhead, but you can’t press yet! Push press or jerk it. Stabilise the shoulder, pack the chest, pull the lats down and start walking, becomes even more challenging if you have to turn some corners.

For: triceps, shoulder stabilization, core


Farmer Walks

These are awesome, especially doing them with one side. They add more benefits to the core as well but be careful, there is already a lot of grip work above, program accordingly.

For: obliques, quadratus lumborum, upper traps, side delt, grip


How to use it in your program?

Start with a good full body bodyweight warm-up.

You can do your burpees first, as they’re a good additional warm-up for each round. 8 to 12 speed reps. Again, adjust to your level of fitness.

Rest 20 to 30 seconds.

Then complete your overhead walk, you want to make sure those shoulders are fresh, you don’t want to mess about with heavy weight above your head. Gauge your own distance or time, I’m not going to say do this or that, you know what you can safely do. Make sure you have about 30% left in the tank after each walk. Make sure to do each side.

Rest 20 to 30 seconds.

If you do single arm swings, do about 6 to 10 reps each side, if doing double arm, do 20 to 30.

Rest 20 to 30 seconds.

Finish with your deadlifts, start the first round light to medium, increase weight over the rounds. Fast up, slow going down. Don’t neglect that eccentric phase. 12 reps first round, reduce by 2 each round while adding weight. Don’t go heavier than 75 to 80% of your 1RM towards the end.

Rest 1 to 2 minutes. Decrease rest between exercises if you’re fresh enough and need to work on your cardio.

6 to 8 rounds


Feel free to ask me a question about this article, and/or join our discussion group.


Note that this is generic programming, because each and every individual is different, at a different level, in a different state, can be supplemented with other training etc. I recommend speaking to a good coach who can program specifically for you.




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