Tabata for BJJ – Workout Example

Today, with marketing all around us, you have probably heard about numerous kind of high-intensity workouts and benefits they might have. But, if you were searching for a workout routine that will help you to improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacities and increase endurance level, you probably heard of Tabata protocol. For those who have not heard of BJJ Tabata workout, in the next chapter, the protocol itself and the study will be presented. Read more about Tabata for BJJ.

History of Tabata

The name Tabata come from its founder, Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher who did the study in which he tested long-lasting sessions (60 minutes) and short-lasting workout sessions (4 minutes in this case) and different impact they have on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. He constructed a high-intensity routine in which you give a maximum effort for 20 seconds and then 10 seconds of rest is coming up. You repeat that 8 times which gives you 4 minutes in total of a high-intensity workout. In the study, both types of sessions gave similar results when it comes to aerobic capacities but high-intensity group had 28% increase in anaerobic capacities Knowing all this, the next question you might have is: How can we use Tabata protocol in BJJ conditioning?

 Tabata for BJJ

There are 3 questions when it comes to BJJ Tabata protocol. Who can add Tabata to BJJ routine, how and when to add Tabata protocol to you BJJ conditioning routine.

The first question is Who? This protocol is not for total beginners in BJJ because of a simple reason. Their aerobic and anaerobic capacities and strength levels are not well developed and their body is not prepared for this kind of training stress. Also, in the early beginning, they can benefit from less stressed workout routines. Later, when the time comes and their capacities allow them, they can add Tabata. Next reason is that they are probably not familiar with perfect techniques of exercises which are used in the protocol. In, high-intensity protocols, like Tabata, this increases the risk of injury many times. Be sure that you have good foundations for aerobic and anaerobic capacities, strength, exercises techniques, and mobility before you try BJJ Tabata protocol.

Next question is How? The answer lies in simplicity. That means that when you use BJJ Tabata protocol in training, be sure to pick exercises that are not equipment dependent. In 20/10 ratio, you do not have time to change the weights, to walk from bar to bar and stuff like that. Bodyweight exercises, basic kettlebell exercises, battle rope or jumping rope are a perfect solution for your high-intensity routine. They do not ask for too much space and their technique is not hard to learn. Next thing, when you have enough space and proper equipment is to set a timer to 20/10 ratio so you can start and end working in time. Be sure to take enough rest between the rounds. Shorter rest, harder workout but sometimes too hard is not something you need.

Last on our list, but not less valuable, is when question? You can use a BJJ Tabata protocol as a developing tool or as a maintenance tool. It can become perfect endurance developing a tool or it can be used in basic conditioning preparation where it can be used as a tool to increase aerobic and anaerobic base in the off-season. During the year, in season, you can use Tabata as a maintenance tool. You can add 1-2 rounds on the start of BJJ training to increase work temperature. Also, you can add few 4-minute rounds of BJJ practice to target competition endurance. It is a perfect fat loss tool if your competition is approaching. Lose some extra weight – include BJJ Tabata protocol in your training.

Beginner BJJ Tabata protocol

If you are a beginner be sure to focus on basic exercises so you can follow the tempo of routine and be sure that you are doing exercises correctly. Bodyweight and basic kettlebell exercises are a perfect choice for you. Your routine can look like this.

  • Jump rope
  • Farmers walk
  • Kettlebell goblet squat
  • Mountain climber

You start with the first exercise and after 20 seconds of work 10 seconds of rest is coming up. Then you move up on the next exercise in your list for the same amount of time. You repeat the circle until 4 minutes are done. Repeat 4 rounds of this Tabata exercises combination. Be sure to take adequate rest between the rounds. Find the optimal time for you. In the beginning, it will be longer but as your capacities grow, you will shorten your rest.

Advanced BJJ Tabata protocol

If you are an advanced practitioner you are familiar with more demanding equipment, exercises, and their techniques. You can add a battle rope, kettlebell ballistic movements, different kind of jumps and so on.

  • Kettlebell swing
  • Kettlebell lunge
  • Bodyweight push up
  • Trx pull up variation
  • Battle rope wawes
  • Overhead farmers walk
  • Box Jumps
  • Medicine ball slams

In this example, you do one exercise and then you move to another. Because there is 8 different exercises, when you complete the last 20/10 repetition, 4 minutes are done and the first round is also done. Repeat that round 4 times with 3 minutes of rest between the rounds.


BJJ Tabata protocol is a powerful tool that can be used on different occasions and with different goals in BJJ conditioning. If you have decided to add Tabata in BJJ conditioning be sure to set a proper goal and to determine correct exercises and rest periods while taking your training level in an account. Also, be careful abthe out periodization of your training. Besides exercises and rest periods, it is important to fit Tabata protocols in the right way in your BJJ training. When all of those demands are pleased, you will get high benefits from this high-intensity workout routine.