Do you want to roll like Andre Galvao, Stephan Kesting, or John Danaher? Hayabusa has assembled experts in the combat fitness industry to detail how to make the best of your home workout plan, including Luke Harris, an elite level competitive athlete and highly respected coach.
Harris, a BJJ athlete who holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Guelph in Landscape Architecture and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Penn State University, lives in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, where he owns and operates Hayabusa Training Centre Ltd. The gym specializes in Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
Harris, who holds ablack belt in Judo and Jiu Jitsu, recommends a person ready for training BJJ at home to get comfortable. Wear what you normally wear for a session. If you have a partner with whom to drill, wearing a gi and belt is ideal. But if you're training BJJ alone, a rash guard and gi pants will do the trick.
Not everyone will have access to a mat, which Harris says isn't necessary, but is helpful for a BJJ home workout. If you're lucky enough to have one, make sure you're either moping it with a disinfectant solution or wipes before and after each training session.
Those who practice Jiu-Jitsu may find the nature of a home workout plan, especially alone, out of the ordinary. That said, you can do it. Whether it's watching video clips and practicing what you see or drilling from memory, but whatever you do, make sure you do it right.
"If you're a student who is new to training Jiu-Jitsu, don't over complicate the movements," said Harris, a cast member on 2014's The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia. "Stick to what you know and what feels right. People say practice makes perfect, but that isn't completely accurate. Perfect practice makes perfect. If you do repetitive incorrect movements and drilling, those bad habits will stick with you."
Although watching videos will never replicate what you can get from live drilling, it provides an opportunity to venture outside of your own weight class and skill set. Make sure you have a pen and pad handy to jot down those nuggets that can find their way into your solo drill.
More importantly, make sure you’re watching people who are credible and have a solid foundation in the sport.
"There's a lot of content on YouTube, but some techniques are just for show," Harris said. "Stick with videos from practitioners you trust. Also, I tell my students to study the techniques from high level practitioners who are your similar weight and body type. You can learn from anyone but if you're an athletic 250 pounds, you may want to mimic the game of a guy like Marcus Buchecha Almeida (Ultra Heavy 250+ pounds) rather than Mikey Musumeci (featherweight 141 pounds). That being said, if you can replicate the movements of someone with a different body type, it can be that one BJJ movement that sets you apart from other competitors."
Put yourself in a mindset where you’re working on a specific goal, whether it be a situation that you’ve encountered at a tournament or rolling in class.
As anyone who practices Jiu-Jitsu training understands, there is always something to work on, whether its in strength training, weight training, grappling, conditioning, or any other training that help you improve your BJJ skills. That said, Harris recommends students first do a warm up that includes stretching and then move on to technique work. Once that has been done to satisfaction, if you have a training partner, drill with them.
“I’m fortunate that my wife also trains Jiu Jitsu, but even if your spouse doesn’t, they may allow you to use them as a training partner,” Harris said. “Of course, you may need to bribe them by watching the kids or cooking a nice dinner.”
One thing is clear, never underestimate the gains that can come from BJJ drills at home. Training yourself mentally is just as important as the BJJ training you endure physically.
“One thing I feel that you can do on your own is put yourself in a mindset where you’re working on a specific goal, whether it be a situation that you’ve encountered at a tournament or rolling in class,” Harris said. “It’s always going to help you to be able to clear your mind of distractions and work on your game plan. Physically, you can always make gains. Just be sure to warm up and not hurt yourself.”
A key element in all of this is to understand time away from any activity, whether it's live Jiu-Jitsu training or lifting weights can bring on a form of rust. Harris urges people to work their way back into form, because when you return to the gym or your martial art school, you will avoid injuries.
"When students are returning to class following time off, they always need to be careful," Harris admitted. "It's actually when injuries can happen as they're extremely eager to train, yet their bodies still aren't used to the movements. You can't expect to pick up exactly where you left off. Start slow and increase from there, much like returning to weightlifting after some time off. You shouldn't start by lifting your max weight or you will risk injuring yourself. Don't worry, you'll be back where you were soon. Just take your time!"
This is one story in a series of articles with some of the best home workout programs we hope will keep you motivated and active at home.