Two in one: Strength and Conditioning for BJJ


Katia Silva is a NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach with a master’s degree in exercise science.

Heavy strength work and aerobic training are two ends of the fitness spectrum. If you train both, you likely won’t see great improvements in either. In order to improve your conditioning level without taking away from your strength, you want to use sprints. That could be 100 meter sprint repeats or movements with a little less impact, like today’s aerobic components. This workout incorporates mountain climbers and kettlebell swings. 

Remember, do what you can with what you have. Use a kettlebell, dumbbell, or water jug as your resistance. For the climbers you can use furniture sliders, socks on a hard surface, or even paper plates on a rug.

The Workout

Strength Circuit: Set your timer for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for 5 Rounds. Rest for 1-2 minutes for 3-5 rounds.

  1. Goblet Pause Split Squat 
    1. 30 seconds each side
    2. Pause 2 inches from the ground
  2. Slow Incline Mountain Climber with Sliders
    1. Elbow plank on an incline
  3. Single Leg RDL to Lateral Lunge
    1. Option to alternate hands as in video 
  4. Mountain Climbers with Sliders
    1. Pick up with pace!

Conditioning Complex: Set a timer to go off every minute. At the top of the minute hit 1 kettlebell swing and 10 push-ups. Rest the remainder of the minute. You’ll continue to add 1 swing and subtract 1 push-up for 10 rounds. For example: 

Minute 1: 1 Swing 10 Push-Ups

Minute 2: 2 Swings 9 Push-Ups

Minute 3: 3 Swings 8 Push-Ups

Minute 10: 10 Swings 1 Push-Up

Total: 55 Swings & 55 Push-Ups

The next time you complete this workout, consider a bump in intensity with one or both of the following options:

  • Can you do more than 30 push-ups in one set? 
    • Double up the number of push-ups in this complex for each round. 
  • Have you been practicing single-arm kettlebell swings
    • Start with one swing on each hand and work your way to 10 on each

Fit Tip: Practice breathing only through your nose, inhales and exhales. This can improve how your body utilizes oxygen and increase your CO2 tolerance.

Katia is available for virtual personal training and technique review sessions. Visit her website or email her at  

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