Core Workout for BJJ Practitioners

In Jiu Jitsu, just like in grappling sports in general, it’s essential to have a strong core. If you think about it, almost every movement in BJJ extends from the core, like doing guard, side control, a submission, every time you use your hips or escape, etc. A weak core will inevitably cause you trouble when rolling and it will limit your performance.

Core strength will help you reduce stress on your body, especially on your back. It will protect your spine and consequently minimizing injuries. However, in order to really improve your performance, there are a number of exercises that will specifically be beneficial for you. The goal is not to get a full back, but to strengthen your inner abs. If you’re interested in knowing more about this subject and get to know some of the key ab exercises for BJJ practitioners, keep reading.

Core Exercises for BJJ Practitioners

Constitution of the Core

The core is not just one big muscle. Contrarily, the core is constituted by a collection of complex muscles. The abdominal muscles comprise the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, the internal obliques and the transversus abdominis.

The rectus abdominis is what many people think the core is. It’s that flat muscle that goes vertically from your ribs to your pubis. The external obliques are situated on the sides of your rectus abdominis. As for the internal obliques, these are deep muscles, located below the external obliques. The transversus abdominis is the deepest of the core muscles, located underneath the internal obliques.

Therefore, a good core workout should exercise every group muscle. That way, you’ll be able to effectively develop the muscles in your core.

The importance of training the Core

Before we jump straight into the ab workout you need to implement in your BJJ routine, lets first realize how important it is to train the core.

The core is the link between your lower and upper body. It works as a transfer mechanism, by transmitting power through the body, from the lower to the upper parts. Therefore, a strong core will provide stability and good posture. It supports the body and protects the spine. That’s why a strong core can prevent injuries and eliminate lower back pain.

When you’re grappling, you are constantly moving and changing directions. Sometimes and different speeds and with the resistance of your opponent. If you have a weak core, you won’t be able to properly maintain your balance. Since every Jiu Jitsu technique involves hip movements, having a strong core is very important.

Before you start training

Instead of going straight and start doing that awesome core workout that’s going to be a great help to your BJJ performance, there’s something you might have to first pay attention to. As BJJ and other similar grappling sports, one of its downsides is that they often cause pain in the practitioner’s body. Martial arts can be physically demanding, which obviously increases the risk of injury. Therefore, before you start your training, if you feel any pain when you do a specific movement, eliminate that exercise from your routine. Don’t force it, stretch and rest, so you can heal properly.

Core Workout BJJ

Let’s start by acknowledging that your BJJ core workout doesn’t need to be complex and extensive. Just try and focus on doing the right exercises, ones that effective in stimulating the growth of your muscles. Also, if you have doubts about the right way to perform any of these exercises, get information online, watch a video, or perhaps ask a personal trainer. Doing an exercise the wrong way will only cause damage. First, learn how to do them correctly and then start.

Ab Roller

Training with an ab roller allows an effective way to strengthen your core muscles. At the same time, you’ll also work the shoulders and triceps. When you use an ab roller, always keep your back straight. Try to moderate your movements so you don’t injure your joints and always keep your core tight.

First, start by putting your knees on the floor, with your legs in a perpendicular position to your back. Arms should be straight, and your hands should be holding the ab roller. Start the movement by pushing your pelvis forward and then slide. Gently return to the starting position. As for breathing, inhale when you go forward and exhale on the return movement. Keep in mind that the more you stretch your body, the harder this exercise will be.

Hollow Body Hold

Not one of the most common exercises but a very effective one. Do to the hollow body hold, start by lying down on your back. Hold your legs and arms straight out from the body, pointing your toes and hands. Then, raising your legs and shoulders from the floor, keeping your lower back glued to the floor. The arms should be next to the ears. Try and keep the minimum distance possible between your feet and the floor. Your abs and gluts should be tight during the hold period. Keep that position as long as possible and then repeat.


Planks are one of the most often exercise done to work out the core. Besides the basic plank position, there are multiple variations of this exercise. And you only need your bodyweight to perform these exercises.

You can do plank crunches to really train your obliques, by putting yourself in the plank position and then approach one knee at a time to your chest. A great variation of this exercise are the side planks. You just position yourself sideways, with one arm resting on the floor and the other stretched up, and hold that position for a few seconds.

Core Workout BJJ Example


A strong core is essential to those who practice a grappling sport. It’s important because it will give you balance and stability. It will improve your performance and prevent injuries. In addition, it will protect your back from the constant movements and speeds that practicing BJJ require.

The core is not just one big muscle, but a collection of complex muscles. Therefore, a good core workout should include all of these different muscles. It should be able to promote the muscle growth of the inner and exterior core muscles. Using the ab roller, exercises like the hollow body hold and a variation of plank positions are great ways to improve the strength of your core. A good core workout could be the thing that’s was missing in your BJJ game. Apply it to your training and you’ll for sure see a massive improvement in your performance.

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