Today we are answering the question: Does Being Muscular Help In BJJ?
When I started BJJ, I wasn’t muscular. Rather skinny fat. BJJ motivated me to get in shape, so I started to go to the Gym and do BJJ at the same time.
Now, I have more muscles than most people in my weight class, and I can see a big difference.
I can see and feel that being muscular helps me win matches against people I have a strength advantage.
But I also saw that having muscles made me use more muscle than technique in practice. And that’s a mistake.
So let’s discuss further whether you should build muscle for BJJ.
The Benefits of Having Muscles in BJJ
If you have ever rolled with a guy who has the same skill level as you but weighs much more than you, you’ll see that they have an advantage.
Even though people advertise BJJ as being a good tool to defeat the stronger guy, weight still plays a role. There’s a reason for weight classes in BJJ.
The truth is that if you have more muscles than the other guy, you can compensate for bad technique.
I noticed that as a white belt when I was rolling against a blue belt. The blue belts my weight would submit me left and right. But as soon as I rolled with a blue belt lower than my weight, I would be able to survive the rounds.
More often than not, they were not able to submit to me. I was also able to score points against them sometimes.
So if you want to use BJJ for self-defense or competition, you should build muscle. You’ll have an advantage.
The Limitations of Having Muscle in BJJ
The moment I started building muscle, I noticed that I was relying too much on my strength. That meant I wasn’t executing the technique properly because I could compensate them with muscles.
When I was rolling, I’d simply just push people off me instead of bringing my knees in between and getting into close guard or another advantageous position.
I’d get away with executing poor technique just by having more strength.
Now, all this didn’t work when I was rolling against people my size. I noticed that people who were at my level were winning against me. Because they were using better technique. I wasn’t progressing in BJJ because I used too much muscle.
So when I realized that, I decided to use as much strength and force as possible. I made it a point to use the techniques I learned in class and don’t do techniques that only work against smaller guys. That way, I was able to learn proper BJJ.
So the lesson here is, if you are a more muscular guy, you could fall into the trap of using too much muscle and too little technique. As a result, you won’t be progressing fast, and others will get better than you.
So even though muscles help in BJJ, you need to be careful – don’t use them as an excuse. Make it a priority to use the right techniques.
The Importance of Proper Technique
BJJ is a heavy technique-based martial art. You learn more techniques than in any other martial art.
The techniques are complex and need a lot of practice. It takes time to perfect one’s skill set. If you make one mistake in the execution, that means that the technique won’t work.
That’s why the little guys in BJJ have often an easier time learning the technique – because they cannot rely on their strength – they need to learn technique; otherwise, they will be lost. They have more urge to improve.
I see many bigger guys using too much force and improving slower than the others. So their BJJ is worse. At white belt level, you won’t notice, but if you are a big guy rolling against purple belts and higher, you’ll see that your muscles won’t help much anymore.
Does Being Muscular Help In BJJ? Final Words
So do muscles help in BJJ? yes, of course, they do. Having strengths helps in any martial art. You’ll have an advantage over the other guys. So it’s always a good idea to complement your BJJ training with weight training.
But make it a point to learn the technique and not use force in practice. As a bigger guy, you need to focus on that.
In competition, you can then mix technique with force and strength, and you’ll see that you have an advantage.
So yes, muscles help, but they cannot compensate for bad technique.