I recently wrote an anecdotal experience that I had while re-visiting the weights for a lift after almost a year of focusing on BJJ instead of lifting weights.
A few disclaimers:
*Individual Results May Vary*
*I have never had a strength coach or proper weight training instruction. What information I have learned has been through reading editorials in muscle magazines and watching 80’s training montages in rapid succession.
*I am not a competetive weight-lifter. I am not a body-builder. I started weight-lifting as a stress reliever and because I wanted to be stronger. Also, because being called Mr.Fats only works when you are a jazz musician.
*I do not have a spotter. In general, I lift what I can while still being safe enough to avoid dying in some horriffic weight-lifting accident. (See Darwin Awards)
*I do not have a degree in physical fitness or science. Or any degree at all. Except half an art degree. Yes, I know I’m disappointed in myself too.
When I started lifting weights, I could not do 20 pushups in one sitting. I was very lazy. When I found weight lifting, it was because of the ABS Diet, which essentially told me that if I wanted to get healthy I needed to lift weights. The way I understood it, muscle burned more calories over time than without. I started lifting very slowly and very lightly. I tried varied routines and in a self trained enviroment, I lost around 100lbs. Yes, I was a super fat guy. I’m still a large guy, but BJJ has helped scuplt my frame considerably. I’m happy with the way I look for the first time in my life. I want to keep working on it, because I one day I want to look like Conan (The Destroyer, not the talk show host). I recently weighed in around 270lbs at 6’4″. When I tell folks I weigh that much, they do not believe it.
One year 2 months ago, I used to lift the following:
Bench Press (flat): Rep x 10-12 135lbs 4 sets. 1 Rep Max 225lbs
Leg Press (seated machine): Rep x 10-12 270lbs 3 sets
Squat (guided): Rep x 10 200lbs 3 sets
Lat Pull Down (Machine): Rep x 12 110lbs 3 sets
Leg Curl: Rep x 10 70lbs 3 sets
Bicep Curl one arm (standing): Rep x 12 30lbs 4 sets
Hammer Curl one arm (standing): Rep x 12 30lbs 4 sets
Tricep Extension one arm (standing over head): Rep x 12 25lbs 4 sets
Seated Row: Rep x 12 120lbs 3 sets
Calf Raises (Standing): Rep x 10 60lbs 3 sets
The day before I wrote the aformentioned article, I lifted:
Bench Press (flat): Rep x 12 185lbs x 4 sets. 1 Rep Max x 305lbs.
Leg Press (seated): Rep x 12 400lbs x 4 sets
Squat (guided): Did not do during work out. I didn’t feel like waiting for someone to finish up. I hate asking to work in.
Lat Pull Down (Machine): Rep x 14 220lbs x 4 sets
Leg Curl: Rep x 12 120lbs x 3 sets
Bicep Curl one arm (standing): Rep x 12 45lbs x 4 sets
Hammer Curl one arm standing (standing): Rep x 12 45lbs x 4 sets
Tricep Extension (standing over head): Rep x 10 35lbs x 4 sets
Seated Row: Rep x 12 200lbs x 3 sets
Calf Raises (Standing): Rep x 12 130lbs x 4 sets
The most significant (re: shocking to me) changes were in my legs and chest. In no way am I suggesting that BJJ completely replaces strength training for powerlifters/body builders/The Hulk (Incredible, not Hogan). I am saying that I have seen gains which, in my opinion, came from 3.5 days a week of jujitsu rolling craziness. I also wanted to make an observation that while I had stopped lifting in lieu of BJJ, I had still seen gains, some significant, some not in relation to my individual experience and therefore BJJ was, indeed, a secret strength coach for me.
Most of the guys and gals I train with at Revolution BJJ are strong for their respective size. Some of them lift weights, some do not but they are all strong for their size. I am not mistaking strength for technique here, either. While they are technically very proficient, they are also strong.