Bodybuilding or BJJ: Which is Better? (Solved & Explained)

BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and bodybuilding both are excellent fitness disciplines in their way. Nonetheless, both have their own unique rules, applications, and scenarios. As a beginner just stepping into the world of fitness, you might be wondering which is better: bodybuilding, or some form of martial arts, say, BJJ?

There is no one answer to this question, as bodybuilding and BJJ are intended for different purposes. Generally speaking, if you want to be a professional or amateur fighter, BJJ is the better option for you. Otherwise, If physical aesthetics are your priority, you might want to go for bodybuilding.

Read more below to know more about the differences between bodybuilding and BJJ. Indeed, you will discover various scenarios in which bodybuilding and BJJ play out differently to help you determine which of these two fitness disciplines is best for your goals.

What Is the Difference Between Bodybuilding and BJJ?

BJJ is a form of martial arts centered mainly around grappling techniques. In BJJ, the focus is on manipulating and exploiting your strength and size to bring a stronger enemy down to the ground and dominate them, leaving them powerless over you. The main elements brought into play during this process include leverage, grip, and strategic position.

In essence, the goal in BJJ is to be able to smartly overpower a larger enemy by making the best out of your size and physique.

On the other hand, bodybuilding is a sport practiced by professionals and amateurs alike, in which the focus is on building muscle definition.

Exercises such as weightlifting and resistance training are stressed to make the most out of the aesthetic potential of the human body. While the end goal in BJJ is succeeding in a fight, the end goal in bodybuilding is centered around aesthetics.

Bodybuilding and BJJ: Which is Better?

Whether bodybuilding or BJJ is better depends on what you are looking for and what goal you wish to achieve. For example, if you want to be a fighter and compete professionally, BJJ martial arts might be the path to take.

On the other hand, if you want to achieve an aesthetic, symmetrical appearance, and a good muscular build, bodybuilding may be what you’re looking for.

Another aspect that might help you decide which is better for you is that bodybuilding is better if you do not intend to become a professional fighter and want something to keep you in good shape for a lifetime.

You can still obviously pursue BJJ as a hobby. Still, you may want to prioritize bodybuilding to achieve the body shape you wish to have.

Is Body Building Good for Jiu-Jitsu?

Generally, no. You need to choose one out of the two because both disciplines involve different exercises meant for various purposes.

For instance, in BJJ, your flexibility and skill matter a lot – you’re supposed to manipulate your strength and size to overwhelm a stronger opponent.

If you focus too much on bodybuilding, you’ll achieve a big, muscular size that will bring down your flexibility as you try to dominate an opponent. This means you’ll be left too exhausted on the mats, and your BJJ will take a hit.

However, this does not mean you have to ignore bodybuilding while practicing BJJ. Instead, it’s about finding the right balance between bodybuilding and BJJ, with the latter being prioritized more.

There are benefits that strength training has to offer in BJJ, which include:

  • An excellent strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Reduced risk of injury and muscle misalignment.
  • Overall increased physical fitness.

Bodybuilding or BJJ: What’s Better for Building Muscle?

The short answer is bodybuilding; the simplest way to increase your muscle mass is to increase the amount of work. So you gradually increase the weights and the number of reps over time to make more muscle.

This does not mean, however, that BJJ doesn’t build muscle. It does, but if you want to become noticeably big and buff, BJJ is the wrong choice for you.

BJJ generally works out quite a lot of parts. For example, dominating someone and bringing them to the ground requires push and pull strength. You also strengthen your neck, back, arms, core, and legs in BJJ.

The most significant thing that is worked on is grappling strength, which is interesting if many professional BJJ competitors appear skinny but can easily dominate a prominent opponent.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you have done a lot of bodybuilding and are just getting into BJJ, you will lose quite a bit of the muscle mass you gained before.

Should I Do Body Building or BJJ for Cardio Training?

Bodybuilding is a better option for cardio training as compared to BJJ. Most bodybuilders use cardio to reduce calories while still maintaining muscle mass.

BJJ does involve some cardio training. When you have dominated an opponent, you need to manipulate your position and technique rather than strength to keep them dominated.

Also, rolling consumes a lot of energy and becomes a kind of a cardio workout. But suppose you want to focus on cardio. In that case, BJJ isn’t the best option since it does not replace actual cardio and strength training exercises.

Bodybuilding or BJJ for Weight Loss?

It depends on what works for an individual, as bodybuilding and BJJ are effective weight loss. BJJ can reduce up to 1000 calories in a rolling session which involves practicing BJJ techniques on a live opponent.

On the other hand, bodybuilding involves a balance of muscle gain and weight loss. It involves a bulking phase that focuses on gaining as much muscular bulk as possible. The cutting phase is about cutting as much weight as possible while maintaining the majority in the bulking phase.

You may have more ‘control’ over your weight loss with bodybuilding, as you can control how many calories you’re consuming and losing.

Still, it all comes down to responding to your body’s natural state and experimenting with what works better for you, whether bodybuilding or BJJ.

Bodybuilding or BJJ for Aesthetics

BJJ can give you an excellent aesthetic appearance too. Still, bodybuilding is mainly the discipline that concerns itself with aesthetics as the end goal.

Suppose you want to pursue BJJ while still having a physique slightly similar to what you’d achieve with bodybuilding.

In that case, you will have to include some strength training as part of your training regimen. To what extent you should do so is something a professional can guide better, as every BJJ competitor has a different body type.

Should I Lift Weights and Do BJJ?

Yes, but not to the extent that you exert yourself to the point that you are left too exhausted on the mats for any BJJ activity. A good practice is to train BJJ 4-5 times a week and do bodybuilding 1-2 times a week.

Including moderate weightlifting exercises for BJJ will give you better power explosivity and perform several technical moves while you grapple with your opponent.

Final Thoughts

Brazilian jiu-jitsu and bodybuilding are becoming more popular among millions of admirers and followers. They are worthwhile fitness disciplines that many people do, and you should be aware of them.

In this article, we’ve studied a lot about bodybuilding and BJJ to help you decide which discipline to train. Here’s a quick summary of everything we’ve learned so far:

  • BJJ is a fantastic grappling martial art discipline that teaches you how to overwhelm a more prominent opponent utilizing the appropriate techniques and leverage.
  • Bodybuilding is a fitness discipline done by both professionals and amateurs to grow muscle by lifting weights.
  • Suppose you want an attractive, symmetrical appearance and a nice muscular build. In that case, bodybuilding may be what you’re searching for.
  • If you’re going to be a fighter and compete professionally, BJJ martial arts may be the way to go.
  • Bodybuilding and BJJ training simultaneously may be inadequate for your health. You must choose one of the two disciplines since they entail separate workouts designed for different reasons.
  • By adopting the proper training program, both bodybuilding and jiu-jitsu may assist you in losing weight. 
  • The proper weightlifting regimen may assist you in developing the incredible strength and fitness level required to boost your overall BJJ performance.

I hope you found this essay to be informative. It helped you learn more about bodybuilding and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Because of this, you will be able to choose the discipline that is most fit for your physical capabilities and objectives.

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