How Many Times A Week Should I Be Training?
I don’t know…how good do you want to be? Let’s talk about it.
There is a school of thought that you should “Go hard or go home.” The other side of that coin is “Quality over Quantity.” Which one is for you? Maybe somewhere in between? Really, though. How many times a week should I be training?
I have gone through both. I went hard in the paint for the first few years and now that I don’t compete as much, I like to have training sessions that while still being high-intensity are more based on concept learning rather than repetition. This allows me, as an advanced student, to explore the art instead of the technique itself.
We’re going to look at the three definable phases of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a way that I have found most beneficial for my students AND myself.
I’ll also relate some of this to age. We all aren’t twenty years old anymore and training 5-6 times a week is downright, unrealistic for us older crowd. So strap in for a short read and a few hacks to help grow your Jiu Jitsu skills with the time you have available.
I’m a beginner. How many days a week should I be training?
I want you to take a step back in time here for a moment. All the way back to your school days. At some point, you were sick enough to probably think that you were on death’s door. Maybe you really were? During these days you maybe even missed a few days of school.
I remember being in the 3rd grade and missing an entire week of school because the whole house caught the flu. I also remember the amount of sheer terror I felt when I picked up an eight-inch stack of make-up work that had to be done ON TOP of all the other work I would have for the returning week!
This is ALMOST how it is when you miss Jiu Jitsu class. The difference is, there is no makeup work and you really just missed out on a week of technique details. And that my friends, is a BUMMER.
Your teammates now know just a liiiitle bit more than you. Who knows, the week you missed may have been the moves that would make you fantastic at BJJ. *SPOILER* They aren’t.
As a beginner, you first need a bit of repetition. This allows you to develop your body and condition yourself to connect with the techniques. To make them flow instead of flop. It’s also a great time to get into better shape. Missing workouts will definitely not help that. (Check out one of our students that lost 100lbs!)
To avoid gaps in learning, I suggest no less than 3x a week for the beginner students. The more reps you get in, the more your body will respond to more complex techniques and sequences which will breed some confidence. The more confident you’ll feel when trying techniques, the higher level stuff you’ll be able to try. 🙂
As an intermediate student, do I need to train more or, less jiu-jitsu?
If you have made it to the intermediate level (blue-purple), you have invested a serious amount of time into BJJ. You may have even competed in a local tournament or one on a regional circuit. This is a really fun time in Jiu Jitsu. Your learning technique after technique after technique and retaining most of it. Your knowledge of yourself and jiu jitsu is EXPLODING!
When I was at this level, I was training like a madman. Throughout the work week, I would train a minimum of twelve times. It was a lifestyle for me. No kids yet and I wanted to get good at this stuff.
Do I suggest this? Hell no. It’s tough on the bones. Was it fun? Oh yeah. WOOOOOORTH IT!
At Blue Belt, I still suggest repetition a key factor in being better at jiu jitsu and training less than 3x a week will have an impact on the length of time you spend at that belt level.
For a purple belt, repetition is STILL king but, being able to think in concepts and create systems around those positions will see a GREAT benefit when sparring. Train as much as you can. This is a deep learning level.
I’m at an advanced level. Whatcha got, man?
If you’re at Black or Brown Belt, you’re probably an old man or woman and your priorities are MAAAAYBE a little different than they were 8-10 years ago.
As a brown belt, I felt the most comfortable with exploring and knowing what was going to work for my body. I was content to drill positions so that I could sharpen those edges and became much more dangerous with the more fundamental techniques of Jiu Jitsu.
I was still training 2x a day with my students. So, there was no shortage of mat time and, with only a small number of beginner students, drilling for me.
BUT, I don’t think that it is critical for that much. A SOLID 2-3x a week for a brown belt that is, in my mind, acceptable.
BLACK BELT? DO WHAT YOU WANT, FOOL! You probably have a coach and he tells you to come train more than enough. You don’t need it from me, too. But, If you are a black belt out there and you aren’t training, get that ass in the gym. Call me, let’s train. (lol for real though)
I still train three to four times a week cause I don’t want to be a big ole, piece of shit in my 40’s and, there are a few high-level black and brown belts that come through and train on a regular basis. You have to keep the skills sharp. Why else did you train for as long as you have?
IF YOU’RE AN OLD MAN OR LADY!
Listen to your YOUR BODY!
We have men and women in their 60’s that train 2x a week. 3x if their hips aren’t sore. PERFECT! Learning a martial art as an older person can sometimes be difficult, listen to your coaches!
Your coaches SHOULD be able to scale your workouts so they fit your condition level a little better. If you’re an upper belt and you’re older, you know what you can do!
None of this is an excuse to not push yourself to be better and go an extra round if you really know you can, by the way. There is no growth without struggle. Even at 40+ years old.
Are you a competitor?
Shut up and train. Do what your coach is asking and you’ll get the best results.
Let me say that again.
SHUT UP AND TRAIN!
Look if you aren’t making it to class as much as you think you should, you’re probably right. But, it doesn’t mean that you should up and quit. It is still a valuable skill to learn. It’s Just going to take a little bit longer for you to progress.