Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a sport that relies heavily on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Having population-specific data in terms of athletic performance variables can aid in designing and implementing sports performance programs. 

12 BJJ athletes (including national and international level competitors) were assessed using: 

  • Squat jump, countermovement jump, plyometric push up
  • Lower (running) and upper (cycle ergometer) body graded aerobic test
  • Lower and upper body wingate anaerobic test 

Average results from the tests were as follows:

  • Squat jump 37.8cm
  • Countermovement jump 41.5cm
  • Plyometric push up 15.7cm
  • Lower body anaerobic peak power 11.9 W/kg
  • Upper body anaerobic peak power 10.5 W/kg
  • Lower limb VO2 peak 45.6 mL/kg/min
  • Upper limb VO2 peak 36.6 mL/kg/min

Lower body aerobic fitness in these athletes was lower than recorded in other grapplers, and considerably lower than elite athletes in other sports, however upper body aerobic fitness was high. This may reflect the physiological demands of BJJ, which incorporate a significant degree of physiological loading. It is also important to note that VO2 max measurement is dependant on the modality being used for assessment, with grapplers who perform more of their supplementary conditioning in the form of running likely to perform better on a running-based test. 

Anaerobic peak and mean power was comparable to previous studies on grapplers, and power scores were in line with those of other athletes.

The authors acknowledge the relatively small and homogeneous sample size. Nonetheless, this study helps contribute to the database of physiological performance markers in combat sports athletes. 

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  1. Vidal Andreato, A.E. Leite, G.F. Ladeia et al., Aerobic and anaerobic performance of lower-and upper-body in Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes, Sci sports, (in press)

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