April 8, 2020

White Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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BJJ Strength Training | Should You Bench Press?




We’ve talked back and forth with our Jiu-Jitsu athletes in relation to strength training, specifically the bench press and floor press. The most asked question that has come up is “Why we like to program in bench press and floor press into the program development.”

One athlete talked to another coach and was told that the bench press was a useless exercise. Bench press is not a useless exercise, I would challenge that coach to a sit down to discuss why he would even feel that way.

We are not trying to make everyone in the grappling power program have huge bench press numbers, we are simply trying to make them stronger so that transfers to the mats. One thing I have noticed working with Jiu-Jitsu athletes is that they all have a very overdeveloped mid back, but a very undeveloped upper back.

We are talking about the traps, lats, shoulders, and scapula area. This is where our stabilization for our push exercises comes from. The stronger we can make the traps and lats in the upper back, the stronger our stabilization will be.

This will lead to more efficient movements on the mats and in the weight room. We program bench and floor press so we can develop that subscapular area.

My personal favorite primer movement is the subscapular retraction as well as the band pull a parts. These are two exercises I like to do all the time, they make me get ready for the bench or floor presses. It doesn’t matter what movement I’m doing that day, I always implement those two exercises into my warm-up.

The more you develop the upper back/subscapular area, the better your push is going to be on the mats. In the program we don’t program bench or floor press with arms out wide, we program with arms in. This helps a lot of athletes that may have or had shoulder injuries or issues, by teaching them to press off the back this reduces strain on the shoulders.

Bench and floor press are not programmed as chest exercises, its simply for push strength. It is used to develop the upper back area, shoulders and the triceps. You will tone and tighten the chest a little bit, but not as much as if you were just doing it with dumbbells. Don’t think of bodybuilding, that is just going for a certain look, we are focusing on strength from this exercise. So guys, this is why we program the bench and floor press into the grappling power program.


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