The Value of BJJ as Functional Fitness

You’ve got your weight lifting, your power lifting, and your… functional fitness? If you’re not familiar with the term, it describes the most supportive and arguably most important form of fitness you can do. Functional fitness is strength training that’s designed to mimic daily life — all the bending, lifting, loading, pulling, squatting, pushing, and hinging you do in a day. And you might not know it, but BJJ is a great way to get that functional fitness session in. Here’s why.

Meet the Six Functional Fitness Movements

The movement patterns that make up functional fitness can be categorized as follows:

  • squat
  • lunge
  • push
  • pull
  • hinge
  • carry

Oh, and a bonus pattern — rotation, something that can be paired with all of the above. Unlike, say, an isolation curl, functional fitness movements are all about training the muscles to work together in preparation for the wear and tear and demand of daily activities. That means exercises like squats, deadlifts, bear crawls, walking lunges, standing overhead press, pull ups, and good ol’ fashioned push ups.

Now, think about the ground-based movements of BJJ, the foundational postures, all the rolling, sprawling, crawling, kneeling, lying down, all-fours positioning. All of it falls into functional training. The most skilled practitioners are amazing to watch, and so much of that relates to how well they move.

And then there’s the mental element. Functional training builds on movements patterns, and the big goal is to learn and ultimately master a specific skill. The same is true in BJJ. It’s not about how big or fast or strong you are, but rather about how to use different patterns and techniques to maintain control and gain the upper hand.

The Takeaway

We’ve written before about the inevitable fitness component of BJJ. And it’s true, simply because this combat sport is a great functional strength training workout every time. In the process of completing that workout, you’ll improve your cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and mobility. That’s the thing about this sport. Its benefits aren’t limited to increased self confidence and a good grasp of self defense skills. It truly improves your general health as well.

If you’ve been considering beginning a functional training program, take a good look at BJJ. And in Reno, check out Guerrilla BJJ to get started.

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