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

BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and bodybuilding are both excellent fitness disciplines in their own way. Nonetheless, both have their own unique rules, applications, and scenarios. As a beginner just stepping into the world of fitness, you might wonder 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, BJJ is your better option if you want to be a professional or amateur fighter. 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?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that primarily revolves around grappling techniques. In BJJ, the goal is to use your strength and size to bring down a stronger opponent to the ground and gain dominance over them. This is achieved by leveraging your body weight, grip, and strategic positioning. The key elements involved in this process are leverage, grip, and strategic positioning.

In essence, the goal in BJJ is 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, focusing 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 goal in bodybuilding is centered around aesthetics.

Source: Will Brooks Official

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, BJJ martial arts might be the path if you want to be a fighter and compete professionally.

On the other hand, if you want to achieve an aesthetic, symmetrical appearance, and a good muscular build, you may wish to do bodybuilding.

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 of the two because both disciplines involve different exercises for various purposes.

For instance, in BJJ, your flexibility and skill matter incredibly – 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 reduce 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 must ignore bodybuilding while practicing BJJ. Instead, it’s about finding the right balance between bodybuilding and BJJ, prioritizing the latter 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 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.

Related: Apart from being a highly social grappling sport, jiu-jitsu is a terrific workout to improve your fitness and reduce weight. Click here to learn more!

Should I do bodybuilding or BJJ for Cardio Training?

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

BJJ does involve some cardio training. When dominating an opponent, you must manipulate your position and technique rather than strength to defeat them.

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

Related: Best Weightlifting Exercises for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Bodybuilding or BJJ for Weight Loss?

It depends on what works for an individual, as bodybuilding and BJJ are effective for 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 focusing 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.

With bodybuilding, you may have more ‘control’ over your weight loss, 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.

Related: Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, and Karate are practical martial arts for weight loss and fat burning. Click here to learn more!

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 similar to what you’d achieve with bodybuilding.

In that case, you must include some strength training as part of your training regimen. To what extent should you do so? It 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.

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

Related: Don’t put it off any longer; check out the list of the finest jiu-jitsu strength and conditioning workouts. Regularly integrating these workouts into your BJJ training program can help you become a stronger and more competitive grappler. Click here for further information! 

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 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 for different reasons.
  • 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 can choose the discipline that is most fit for your physical capabilities and objectives.

This story aroused your attention! Please forward this to a friend or post it on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you very much for your help!

Related: Learn which martial arts allow you to earn a black belt in under three years. Click here to read more!


Scroll to Top