Is Jiu-Jitsu a Good Workout?

Jiu-jitsu, as a martial art, is defined as a “soft art.” However, the training involved in learning and practicing Jiu-Jitsu is not soft at all and demands a lot from the body. Exhausting, and often endless, warm-up exercises combined with specific training and sparring are essential in Jiu-Jitsu training.

Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent workout. Practically all muscle groups are required during a Jiu-Jitsu session and daily workouts will considerably improve your body’s physique, your physical endurance, and will also help you be better at other sports.

However there are so many more benefits to practicing Jiu-Jitsu, both physically and mentally, which we will get to this article. So read on!

Is Jiu Jitsu Aerobic or Anaerobic?

Jiu-jitsu is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. During the warm-up, aerobic exercises are usually used and include things like running and jumping jacks, among others, combined with various exercises performed on the ground.

However, anaerobic training is of paramount importance for the best performance of any athlete or Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.

Anaerobic exercises in Jiu-Jitsu can be performed with a duration of 45 seconds or more, and aerobic exercises can be performed with a short duration, up to 10 seconds, or intermediate exercises on an average of 15 to 45 seconds.

How good of a workout is BJJ?

During a jiu-jitsu session, which normally lasts 90 minutes, the physical demand from your body is intense.

A typical Jiu-jitsu training session is divided into the following phases:

  • Warm-up
  • Specific training (which includes dominance or immobilization positions, or even situations that normally happen during a fight)
  • Sparring training

It does not necessarily have to be in this order, for example, the specific training can be included as a warm-up and then sparring.

  • A combination of exercises, which are normally used in physical training, including ground training (mobility, flexibility), functional training (using your own body and sometimes using your training partner’s body as a load)
  • And finally, a sparring workout

This is crucial to show how efficient and demanding Jiu-Jitsu is as a workout.

Will BJJ get you in shape?

In my experience as a black belt, I saw the transformation that jiu-jitsu has made in the lives of many people, including mine.

The main transformation from training and practicing Jiu-Jitsu that I saw in others and experienced myself was the rapid change in physique. I saw thin people become strong, I saw obese people become thin, and other amazing physical transformations from practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

The vast majority of people I know who started Jiu-Jitsu and who I have trained over the years have dedicated themselves to Jiu-Jitsu and still practice it toll this day.

There are several muscle groups used in jiu-jitsu, among them:

  • forearm
  • deltoids
  • biceps
  • quadriceps
  • hand muscles
  • lumbar region
  • abdominal region
  • and triceps, among others

In short, practically all muscle groups are required during a Jiu-Jitsu session. Jiu-jitsu will put you in great shape, but it is also important to combine it with good nutrition and rest for better and faster physical results.

Is Jiu Jitsu a good way to lose weight?

Jiu-jitsu is a perfect way to lose weight and build muscle. The intense, often daily workouts, with an average duration of 90 minutes per session, generate significant caloric expenditure that helps with burning fat and losing weight. Many people do not like to go to the gym because they find the exercises monotonous and repetitive, and this is where Jiu-Jitsu fits perfectly.

Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent aid to weight loss and obesity control. The workouts are not monotonous and repetitive, but of great intensity and creativity, and gives you the chance to express yourself. With a balanced diet and regular Jiu-Jitsu training, the results will almost always be positive, but more than that, you feel great and learn discipline, that you can apply to the other areas of your life as well.

Does Jiu Jitsu build muscle?

The primary reason why most people engage in and enjoy physical activity and exercise is usually aesthetical, to look good. And this was my goal as well. Jiu-Jitsu, as is becoming more and more apparent from this article, is a great way to get in shape.

As I mentioned earlier, several muscle groups are worked on and required in a Jiu-Jitsu session.

Jiu-Jitsu impressively helps in burning fat and toning muscles, among other benefits. Jiu-jitsu will contribute a lot to your muscle building, endurance, and a great physical appearance.

The exhausting workouts, most of the time of which a student is pushed to their physical limit, will help you day by day and improve your body more and more, to ultimately reach your desired goal.

How many calories do you burn in a Jiu-Jitsu class?

A Jiu-Jitsu session will yield an average caloric expenditure of around 1000 calories, depending on the intensity and the way in which the exercises are performed individually. In addition to providing an impressive caloric expenditure, jiu-jitsu will strengthen virtually your entire body.

All this combined with a sequence of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, stretching, and sparring training, will further activate your metabolism and burn even more calories.

How does BJJ change your body?

In my personal experience, jiu-jitsu has had and continues to have, many benefits for my body.

It is quite common today for most people (as it was in my case) to be overweight, be it due to excess food, the lack of physical exercise, the excessive consumption of soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, among others.

However, in my experience as a competitor, I have always used Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to help me lose weight whenever I needed or wanted to.

I increase the intensity of my workouts in BJJ sessions and combine it with a properly balanced diet. With that, I can very quickly notice a big difference in my body and return to my ideal weight and physical shape.

But even if you keep a normal diet and train Jiu-Jitsu almost every day, your body will change, and the weight loss will be noticeable along with the toning of your muscles over time. You will also strengthen your core and body all over, making you stronger and increase your fitness levels and endurance.


In conclusion, Jiu-Jitsu is not only a good workout that benefits your physical health and help you lose weight but also benefits your mental health and other areas of your daily life.

Here are some examples of how Jiu-Jitsu can benefit your life:

  • Jiu-jitsu will help you develop strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Jiu-jitsu will help you lose weight and have a great physical shape, in addition to improving cardiovascular and respiratory capacity.
  • Jiu-jitsu will provide you with a well-defined body.
  • You will develop healthier habits, and you will begin to study and understand your body and food more.

Welcome to the lifestyle that Jiu-Jitsu can provide you, welcome to “BJJ lifestyle”.

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