Does jiu jitsu build muscle? [Experience shared]

A question that is always on the surface – Does jiu jitsu build muscle? And yes, this question is interesting for jiu jitsu beginners and those who think about starting jiu jitsu.

Those who are in the rolling game have already answered the question.

Let’s share today some thoughts and our own experiences.

Does jiu jitsu build muscle? Part 1

My verdict is yes, jiu jitsu builds muscles.

In fact, while my jiu jitsu training life I understood physically what it means that fat weighs the same as muscle but not the density. Because before I knew it only from a physics textbook.

An example from real life.

I was preparing for tournaments. As any athlete knows, competition in 90% of cases means weight loss. Even if it’s only about a pound or a kilogram of weight.

Obviously, at that period, I was training jiu jitsu more times a week than usual. Honestly, I didn’t even realize that I was just visiting available jiu jitsu classes at our academy. For some while, I didn’t check my weight as I followed a diet and I started to tighten my BJJ casual belt over the next one or two holes.

But how surprised I was when finally I got on the scale and the weight didn’t change at all.

What happened and how can it be?

Searching for the answer I started to remember the words from my teammates about how muscle-shaped and dried I was looking.

And then I remembered the physics that fat weighs less than muscle but not the density and everything fell into place.

My fat burned and hard jiu jitsu training built me more muscles. I didn’t visit the gym for additional BJJ strength and conditioning workout.

Does jiu jitsu build muscle? Part 2

Jiu jitsu will build your, let’s say, natural muscle frame and you will keep it unless you train regularly. You can read more in our article How many times a week should you train jiu-jitsu?

But BJJ will not make from you a mountain of muscles.

Does weight training help BJJ?

If you want to gain more strength you will need weight cross-training for jiu jitsu.

As the lockdown 2020 showed worldwide, training with weights is not just a great alternative for home workouts, but it really works if you do the exercises correctly.

All the big guys in our jiu jitsu gym do workouts, weightlifting, etc.

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BJJ and weight training

Find a good fitness coach to create a BJJ weight training program for you.

If you plan to do strength training for BJJ at home find help and advice from the right people on YouTube. Right people are those experienced athletes who are close aware of strength training and your sport – in our case grappling or jiu jitsu.

Like on the YouTube channel Renaissance Periodization.

For instance, in the next video, Dr. Mike Israetel, a sport scientist, bodybuilder, and BJJ brown belt, talks about balancing weight training and BJJ.

Is jiu jitsu good for weight loss?

Actualy, my previous story is the answer.

Yes, jiu jitsu helps with weight loss. We have talked more about BJJ weight loss in one of our articles here.

jiu jitsu weight loss

First of all jiu jitsu is good for weight loss because it’s a sport.

But as you know there is always a “But” at the end.

To have real results it is better to:

  • Train jiu jitsu at least 3 times a week
  • Pay attention to daily nutrition at least on a minimum level
  • Take part in BJJ tournaments as it disciplines to monitor your weight regularly

For a newcomer or for someone who plans to start jiu jitsu it may sound like hard work and nothing easy. Yes, it’s work, sometimes hard work.

But the point is when you start training jiu jitsu and it’s your thing you don’t feel how you are going through all these tasks. It becomes commonplace. And at some point, you are just gathering the results from BJJ muscle gain and strengthening.

Does jiu jitsu build muscle? Reddit opinions

I have mentioned here many times how I like to gather comments and experiences from the Reddit martial arts and sports communities because they are so real. Just check our big research for the Best BJJ Gi Reddit Reviews – 13 Top Gi Brands Ever.

This time is also the case. We gathered experience and thoughts on the subject from many other BJJ practitioners in short sentences.

Can you gain muscle from Jiu Jitsu?
Jiu jitsu muscle pain may occur from time to time even after years of training.
The body becomes more toned.
With intensive or regular training arms get more build, shoulders and chest bigger, and some abs settings appear.
Be sure to eat enough protein. Otherwise, the body will consume it from the muscle mass for energy.
Jiu Jitsu makes you stronger but not as strong as strength-specific training.
You gain muscular growth and get stronger. At the same time, you may look slimmed down.
If you train to strengthen and at one moment switch only to BJJ your muscular form can shrink.
If you are a normal person or athlete, not a strength athlete, then jiu jitsu will make you stronger.
Does sparring build muscle?

Does jiu-jitsu build confidence?

I came to this question on the internet and find it interesting to discuss.

Why is it interesting?

Because this one question has a sports request with a psychological context.

  • Firstly, everything that has a psychological context can be talked about endlessly by different people and is in a gray zone: how many minds – so many opinions.
  • Secondly, I will not talk much about it but only share the answer that I have now, after training jiu jitsu for years.

Why do I put the question about jiu-jitsu and confidence together with the Does jiu jitsu build muscle question?

Because the muscle building that gives jiu jitsu is quite tightly connected with the confidence aspect too.

So, my short answer to does jiu-jitsu build confidence or not is yes, it does.

I would describe the process as developing a physical habit that releases psychological clamps.


Jiu jitsu is about community. And at the same time, jiu jitsu is a very contact combat sport where you have to fight against an opponent with the goal to win.

With BJJ you acquire a bouquet of abilities for your living:

  • complexes of close contact take off like a cloud after the first training
  • your body becomes stronger and flexible
  • you become a grappler
  • you look at conflict insults in society from a different angle, easier
  • to start a new sport becomes an easy and obvious thing
  • you get sportsmen’s mindset

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