Is Leg Strength Important For Jiu Jitsu?

While there is no real answer to this question, the real important issue regarding Jiu Jitsu and leg strength is what are you comfortable with? We see some guys in Jiu Jitsu with legs that are scrawny and look as though there is no definition, while others have massive legs that look like tree trunks. From one spectrum to the other and everywhere in between, we can safely assume there is no real answer to that question, just like there is no ” end ” to the Jiu Jitsu training or experience.

At an ever evolving pace, modern day competitive Jiu Jitsu is as diverse as it is similar. There are several hundred to possibly even thousands of techniques and counters and counters to counters and counters to counters to counters and so on and so forth. While the early days of Jiu Jitsu there were only a core set of moves one can apply, the difference is that Jiu Jitsu has become such a sport that just about every part of the body is used to gain an advantageous position over your opponent.

Legs are no exception. The position one ends up in whether it is full mount, side mount, full guard, half guard, De La Riva guard, closed guard the same goes for any other guard from the bottom, you must use your legs to get out of a bad situation.

And leg strength is very important to accomplish these tasks when on the bottom. The same rings true when you are in your opponents guard. If you are in their full closed guard, you can never advance your position without breaking the guard and passing. With your weight and your opponents weight on your knees and legs, you must use leg strength to be able to help break the guard.

In a previous article we talked about having good grips for being able to advance your position in Jiu Jitsu, the second part of advancing your position would be to have great leg strength, not massive or bulky legs, but strong legs. This is the reason why we see some guys and girls in BJJ have skinny scrawny legs, it is because massive legs can be counterproductive to a BJJ career in some cases. So having strong legs is better in some situations than having massive, bulky legs.

It is said that big legs are better than skinny legs for having a good ground game, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Some people’s bodies react better to continuous training and building functional leg strength over having massive legs, while others bodies react better to having big, massive legs.

While having overall leg strength is important for maintaining as injury free as possible, becoming injured isn’t avoidable, so being as strong as possible is an asset to having a long Jiu Jitsu career.

One of many ways to increase leg strength and maintaining your legs nice and strong are squats.

Building leg strength takes time and patience, it takes as much dedication as Jiu Jitsu training does. One routine that has been beneficial to leg  strength is to start out maxing the weight in squats and lowering the weight until a comfortable weight bearing exercise can be done. From here you can raise or lower your weights or reps to gain that leg strength needed for a good ground game.

Drills are also a great way to increase leg strength. While drilling with a partner you can practice being on bottom and having your partner in your butterfly guard and while rolling back you can lift up on your legs and lift your partner into the air, while doing this many times you will also build great cardio , since it takes much effort to do this over an extended period of time.

Over the course of several weeks you will notice the effort becomes lesser and lesser, and while this is a great way to build good strength , increasing weight will get you great leg strength. Fighting for that advantage in Jiu Jitsu takes hard work and dedication, the harder your training sessions become the easier your competition becomes.

Remember when drilling or doing weight bearing exercises that every black belt, every grappling great at one point or another has had to go through the exact same ordeal, no one is the exception to the rule, hard work pays off in the long run and when you are ready to give up or quit, just remember to, Fight Hard, Finish Strong!


Happy Rolling Jiu Jitsu Fans!