Keeping Your Jiu-Jitsu Sharp During the Holidays-The Things that help my BJJ when I have lapses in training


Keeping Your Jiu-Jitsu Sharp During the Holidays-The Things that help my BJJ when I have lapses in training.

By: Eugene Tsozik PT, DPT, BJJ Brown Belt

With the holidays around the corner and the time leading up to the holidays, training usually takes a hit. Family outings, dinners, shopping, etc get in the way. With gym closures around the holidays for observance, training consistency takes a bit of a dive.

The things that suffer for me are cardio, my sharpness and timing on the mats, and even my weight can fluctuate with all the food thats around. Here are the things that help keep my BJJ from declining too much during the holiday season:

1) Mental Training  I try to watch videos, go over techniques in my head through visualization, and write in a notebook. Specific notes include movements or techniques I want to make sure I practice as well as go over the intricacies so that way I don’t forget important details because I feel that when you get to a higher level in BJJ, the details are what make the difference.

2) Cardio – I try to simulate BJJ through cardiovascular training. Whether its treadmill work, riding a stationary bike, jump rope, or rowing. I feel that even taking a few days off from my normal training regimen makes my cardio suffer. One of the best things for BJJ besides grappling and rolling for me is interval sprint work. I try to make sure that I work on elevating my heart rate through quick and explosive movements such as sprinting on a cardio machine for 30 seconds then taking 30 seconds for a slower pace/active rest. I do this for at least 5 minutes with sprint and rest intervals at 30 seconds each. I feel this helps my body acclimate to getting my heart rate up and then more efficiently bringing the heart rate back down to manageable levels prior to the next sprint. The key here is also breathing.

3) I am a big proponent of diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as “belly breathing,” its a way to use the muscle to make sure you are efficient in your breathing and allowing for better recovery with supplying oxygen to the muscles. Essentially, breath in by trying to blow your stomach out and pushing air into your abdomen without allowing your chest to expand (allowing your chest to expand is breathing using accessory muscles). Here is a video from my youtube channel The Jiu-Jitsu Therapist, with a video which breaks down how to perform diaphragmatic breathing:

4) Solo Drills – My head coach Nick “Chewy” Albin of has a ton of amazing videos on mental training, techniques, and drills. I can not recommend his youtube channel and website enough. I use it daily to read and learn about BJJ. He has a great video with solo drills using a heavy bag which is great for a cardio workout and also to maintain muscle memory, and ensure your body feels like BJJ movements still feel comfortable and natural. The video can be found by following this link:

5) Stay Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water is a great way to mitigate some of the effects of over-consuming the immense amount of sodium and sugar you might take in throughout the holiday meals. Water will help keep you feeling energized, will reduce feeling sluggish from eating that not so great diet, and will keep you…hydrated. I try to drink a gallon throughout the day.

Hope these five tips help and enjoy the holidays!