Preparation for BJJ Training in Rio 101

BJJ Training in Rio is different to what you know back home. Here’s how not to fall at the first hurdle and get the most out of your time here as possible

When training BJJ In Rio you probably want to get as much mat-time as possible. Two a day? Three a day? No problem! Or is it???

Many people arrive in Rio de Janeiro excited to train as BJJ as possible. They have the idea that when they get here they’ll hit the gym as much as possible, training multiple times a day.

But are you really prepared to train BJJ In Rio like this? The answer is probably no. Here’s why.

Problem 1: You only train a few times a week back home

Three or four 90 min classes a week is between 3 1/2 to 6 hours of training. You want to train twice a day, 5 days a week? You’ll be training 3 hours every day, which is 15 hours a week. That’s almost a 300% increase in training volume.

Think about how you feel after a normal week of training. Sore, tired, berate up? Now multiply that by three. Can you body handle such a jump in training volume?

Problem 2: You roll 5-min rounds with mostly blue and white belts

They do things differently in BJJ gyms in Rio. Expect 7-minute rounds against tough purple, brown and black belts. Not every roll will be Mundial final intense, but you can still expect “spirited” and “enthusiastic” sparring. How much of an increase in intensity can you expect? The answer is quite a lot.

With the level of sparring here in Rio being what it is, you may find you don’t even have the same level of energy to do as many sessions as you do back home.drink water

Problem 3: The climate

Do you come from a cold weather climate? Then get ready for a BIG shock to the system. Training in the heat and humidity of the Rio weather can leave you lying half-dead on the mat in a pool of sweat. The temperature seems great when you’re lying on the beach, but is it so much fun when you’re wearing a gi?

Moving from an environment where you train wearing socks and a hoody under your gi jacket to the weather we have here in Rio can massively impact your athletic performance.

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How to Prepare: Adaptation 101

We suggest doing a little bit of preparation to get ready for your trip to Brazil. Like they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so here are some suggestions on how to prevent any unwanted hindrances to your training.

Tip 1: Slowly increase your volume of training BEFORE your arrive in Brazil

It is better to gradually accustom your body to the demand of increased training prior to arrival, rather than hoping you’ll be able to get by when you land. Starting a number of weeks out from your travel date, add an extra session into your weekly training schedule. Add another every week until you’re training every day.

One week out from departure it’s best to relax and just do some maintenance training, allowing your body a brief rest before your amp up the amount of training when you get here. By doing so you’ll have given your body ample time to get acclimatised to the increase amount of training sessions, and you’ll be in much better shape for the training to come here in Rio.

Tip 2: Increase the intensity of your training

Torryn_sponsfeatBy adding an extra minute on to every round, going against fresh opponents and putting yourself in bad positions, you’ll simulate a little of what to expect here in Rio. When training BJJ in Rio you’ll often go against advanced opponents – if this isn’t an option where you are, then do a few rounds of starting from bad positions, allowing lower grade guys to get control before trying to escape. This is good practice for the sensation of a black belt controlling you, as it’ll help build your defenses to their attacks but also prepare you to survive in challenging in positions.

Tip 3: Turn the heat up

Do you know how many gyms in Rio have A/C? The answer is “not many”. At best some gyms may have a small electric fan, most will have an open window! Training BJJ in Rio’s heat can really impact your game: it can make a featherweight feel like Gabi Garcia!

At home, prepare for the humidity and heat by cranking up the thermostat a degree or two and maybe wearing an extra layer under your gi. It’s difficult to simulate the climate of Rio but by at least getting used to rolling with a higher core temperature it won’t be as much of a shock when you step on the mats.

Training BJJ in Rio: Do what you can BEFORE you arrive

You don’t need to put yourself though a 2-month training camp just to train BJJ in Rio, but a little bit of physical preparation goes a long way to making the most of your trip. Don’t end up one of those people disappointed because they fall short of the physical expectations they put upon themselves.

Train smart and you can enjoy training BJJ in Rio as much as possible. It just takes a little bit of preparation before you get here.


From training and accommodation to academy visits and special tours, and even small group classes with the best teachers Rio has to offer, Connection Rio offers everything you need for the perfect jiu-jitsu holiday!


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