Does BJJ Build Muscle? (All You Need to Know!)

Is building muscles your core and main goal through training BJJ? The inculcation of the right exercises can give you results after 2-3 sessions. Weight training exercises are the best arsenal for gaining muscles. Even without adding any additional workouts you can build your muscles.

Aside from self-defense and competition, many practitioners ask whether BJJ may assist in growing muscle. This article looks at the many facets of BJJ and how they may affect muscular growth. Let’s get started!

Does BJJ Build Muscle?

BJJ exercises include grappling ground combat and submission techniques. The nature of these movements necessitates the simultaneous involvement of many muscle groups, resulting in a full-body workout.

Therefore, as opposed to conventional weightlifting, these kinds of exercises combine dynamic movements, endurance training, and resistance challenges, making them a fantastic alternative for anybody trying to improve their overall fitness.

Unfortunately, BJJ does not contribute efficiently to muscle mass development since it does not satisfy the basic parameters for boosting muscle growth, such as:

  • Mechanical tension: This is created by applying sufficient force to muscles across their range of motion, commonly accomplished by lifting large weights. It should be noted, however, that mechanical tension may be optimized with lesser loads if brought to the point of failure or near to it.
  • Metabolic stress is the buildup of byproducts produced during energy generation that fuels muscular contraction and force output. An increase in metabolic stress is an indication that muscle development is underway.

Unfortunately, BJJ fails to optimize any of these muscle-growth pathways compared to regular weight training. Although grappling and manipulating opponents provide external resistance in BJJ, most muscular contractions in this martial art are isometric and occur at short muscle lengths.

Thus, if you want to gain muscles, there is no doubt that you should combine BJJ with weight training and bodybuilding exercises.

Related: What Does BJJ Do to Your Body? Regular BJJ training sessions may result in a variety of favorable physical improvements that improve your general health and well-being. Click here to learn more!

Workouts Incorporated With BJJ for Building Muscles

best weightlifting exercises for brazilian jiu jitsu

Many Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners combine physical exercises with their mat training, all of which assist in developing muscle and shed weight.

The exercises listed below are among the greatest that BJJ fighters employ to increase their grappling skills while gaining muscle.


Source: Men’s Health

Deadlifts primarily focus on your upper and lower body muscles. It wouldn’t be wrong to say it is the perfect addition to your muscle-building exercise.

You can increase the intensity of the exercise by adding more weights to it as you get complacent with the previous ones.

How to perform deadlifts:

  • Step close to the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart. While making sure that your shins are close to the bar instead of touching it.
  • Go for the overhand grip and ensure your spine forms a lumbar curvature.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and lift the weighted barbell.
  • Don’t arch your back. Try to stand straight. Later on, shoot for the initial position.


  • Don’t lift your hips too much. Keep them lower than your shoulders.
  • Please do not rush to lift the barbell, or it will strain your back.

Russian Twists

Source: LivestrongWoman

The main center of attention for Russian twists is your core muscles, most appropriately saying, your abs. The perfectly timed rotational movements are responsible for building your upper body.

How to perform Russian twists:

  • Sit straight and lift your feet off the ground to work on your obliques.
  • Stable your body weight on your hips and interlock your fingers.
  • Move your hands along your trunk.


  • Make sure that your knees are slightly bent.
  • Keep your spine straight.

Kettlebell Swings

Source: Well+Good

Kettlebell swings are a perfect addition to your cardio workout. You can increase the weight of the kettlebell as you achieve a particular goal in your muscle-building routine.

How to perform kettlebell swings:

  • Start from the deadlift position and keep the kettlebell between your ankle bones.
  •  Initiate an overhand grip, keeping your knees bent and back straight.
  • Start with a slow momentum and gradually increase your pace.
  • Use your core to thrust a kettlebell forward and backward.


  • Don’t keep your hips stationary
  • Bend your knees and keep your form regular instead of curved or straight.

Related: 8 Best Kettlebell Exercises for BJJ (Explained Benefits!)

Box Squats

Source: Misfit Athletics

Box Squats is a killer exercise that targets your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It is a variation of the simple squat. The difference comes from the pause as you make your thighs parallel to the ground.

How to perform box squats:

  • Lift the bar and stand with your feet much more expansive than usual.
  • Sit on the box and maintain a vertical shin while straightening your back.


  • Use your hips to exert force instead of using your legs.

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Source: 3v

Dumbbell overhead press is a beneficial exercise for building your triceps and biceps. It increases your muscles’ size and strengthens them.

How to perform dumbbell overhead press:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and lift them so your elbows are pointed toward your chest.
  • Lift your hands and bring the dumbbells to the top position.
  • Stay in that lifted position for 3 seconds and then return to the initial position.
  • You can add more weight to gain muscles.

Related: Best Weightlifting Exercises for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Weight Training and BJJ

If you aim to build your muscles, incorporating weight training into your BJJ routines is the best combination ever. Lifting weights and using your body weight with BJJ exercise rewards you with the perfect muscles.


BJJ is a martial art form that offers various benefits. However, it doesn’t contribute effectively to muscle mass development as it needs to meet the basic requirements for promoting muscle gain and growth.

Deadlifts, box squats, Russian twists, and kettlebell swings are some exercises that provide you with big muscles. You can make these exercises intense by adding more weight to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Effect Does BJJ Have on Your Muscles?

BJJ has an immensely positive effect on your muscles. The most common impact it has is the strengthening of your muscles. Secondly, it increases them in size and weight. After a BJJ session, you will notice the bulk in your muscles. And training thrice a week will bring the change faster.

Is Muscle Building a Necessary Benefit of BJJ?

BJJ is all about strength so you can stand out before a more vigorous practitioner. Many fighters don’t bulk up for BJJ; they opt for exercises that can give them muscle strength.

What if a Practitioner Wants to Go for Muscle Strengthening Instead of Muscle Building?

Not every practitioner wants vast and bulky muscles. In that case, you can exclude the weight training exercises and focus on your rolling and sparring sessions. They will help you build strength instead of muscles.


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