Many beginning and experienced grapplers are always looking for a way to enhance their own game, and the obvious answer is to spend more time on the mat. The problem is there is only so many days you can train in a week, and there are other athletic activities you can try which will help increase your game. This will be a column in four parts where we look at other types of exercise to help you improve you BJJ or MMA game; this week we will be looking at running.
The obvious way that running helps you is that it can increase your cardio, but anyone that trains in a form of grappling can tell you is that running cardio and grappling cardio are completely different. What running does help you in is giving you a template for breathing. Many people’s cardio is bad due to them not knowing how to breathe. They either do not breath at all, or they take huge breaths. A proper flow to your breathing can help you to continuing training, rolling, or fighting for many rounds.
You can also use running to simulate rounds and matches. In competition a blue belt match is about six minutes, but the flow of the match has you pushing the pace at certain points while sitting back and working technique at others. In training, most people go crazy and do not worry about points. Using running, you can run for six minutes where you sprint, then jog, sprint, and then jog at different intervals to get your heart used to that type of movement. Plus, if you repeat this action multiple times then you get your body used to competition where matches take place then you have to cool down only to get your body moving again in a couple minutes.
The most important way that running can elevate your BJJ game is that running helps increase strength in your abs and legs. BJJ is a sport of technique, but a strong core helps you in all areas as it is your main way of controlling an opponent in your guard. Legs are used everywhere whether you are trying to escape from the bottom, or you are trying to put your weight on your opponent in mount. This is just one exercise anyone can do to increase their ability on the mat, but check back over the next three weeks for more ways to elevate your game.