Is Jiu Jitsu a Good Workout? Is It Good for Weight Loss?

You don’t have to be a genius to figure it out – any type of physical activity is great for your body.

Jiu Jitsu, well, let me just save you some time and tell you that yes, this martial art is one hell of a workout. It provides intense HIIT style training.

Perfect if you are overweight, or have a bit of flubber on the belly.

But hey, we’ve all been there, whether things got a bit out of control, we’ve noticed a bit of belly fat or perhaps some fat under the chin.

Unless you’re into certain sports and know the workout they provide, chances are you think that the only way to get a good workout and to lose weight is by doing just that… working out.

But how about taking things further?

A classic gym will help you lose weight and look better, sure. But Martial Arts has the exact same effect, maybe even better, and you’ll also be able to defend yourself.

With these thoughts in mind, you might have noticed it already – more and more people turn to boxing, MMA, karate and other martial arts for their workouts. Think heavy bag workouts, which for those that don’t know is a workout designed around punching and kicking the heavy bag in a specific training set up style.

Of all these options, Jiu Jitsu is one of the most appreciated options. Here’s everything you need to know to determine whether it’s right for you too.

Reasons Jiu Jitsu provides an insanely good workout – great for weight loss, here’s why

Defined as a self-defense martial art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also an excellent workout for the body.

Full Body Workout

You will need to jump, roll forward, fall on your back, move your arms and legs in all directions, engage your core, bend over and squeeze your back.

You get the idea – every single muscle in your body is worked on.

Obviously, different techniques work on different muscles, but as you cover the whole of this martial art, you get to target every muscle in your body.

Excellent Cardio

Lifting weights will almost never target cardio (although, some say that cardio is just lifting weights faster…) this is why you also need to jump on a treadmill or engage in some type of fast paced cardio-style training.

And who knows how long you’ll have to go running on a treadmill for. I was recently reading about just how long you have to run on a treadmill for each desired training goal.

Let me tell ya, it’s far too long for me to even think about doing. Especially when I can get the same result or better from doing something I enjoy.

In Jiu Jitsu though, everything changes.

As you jump, roll, and turn for each technique, you’ll practically perform a simple cardio exercise. A full training session implies lots of such moves.

In other words, you’re not just working on your muscles, but your heart rate will go up with each movement and stay up as there is no real rest period.

Fun Activity

We’ve all been there – standing in front of a mirror in the gym, lifting weights again and again. It does feel good when you’re done, but the gym can be extremely repetitive.

Which leads to burn out.

Even if you train with someone else, chances are they’ll interact with your workout far too much and just consume more of your time with no real added training benefit.

While mostly aimed at self-defense, Jiu Jitsu has numerous offensive attacking moves too. There’s always something different to learn. You’ll find out how to fall if someone pushes you, but also how to roll to defend yourself.

The more advanced you become, the more diversified your moves will be. Forget about boring repetitions and stick to something that will motivate you – both physically and mentally.

Social Training

Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport. The martial art requires someone else to train properly, yet many moves are performed individually as well.

Whether it comes to basics or more advanced moves, chances are you’ll need to train with others too. Just like other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is social.

You play the defensive part, then move on to the offensive one. It’s great to prevent burnouts and boring workouts, but at the same time, being social also helps.

You get to interact with people who share the same passion and maybe even the same goals – extra motivation will also kick in.

Strategic Thinking

It may sound a bit weird, but you might be aware of the fact that many of the world’s leaders and wealthy individuals are familiar with some sort of martial arts.

Jiu Jitsu helps you become successful from all points of view. To be good at Jiu Jitsu, you need to change the way you see things. Basically, it makes you think strategically.

Jiu Jitsu is like chess but more active. Every move is about anticipating the opponent’s next step. It’s not just a workout for the body, but also a workout for the mind.

You’ll gain experience in operating under pressure. You’ll gain more confidence, and your body language will change as well. Bottom line, Jiu Jitsu will positively affect other aspects of your life too.

What Is Jiu-Jitsu, its history, gear and fighting style

What muscles does Jiu Jitsu work?

Jiu Jitsu offers effective whole body fitness. It is a total body involved body sport that boosts strength everywhere, not to mention endurance. Some parts are targeted more actively than others, though.


The core will always be a direct target in jiu jitsu. They stabilize your pelvis, as well as the back. As you gain core strength, everything around the superior part of the body is affected.

In Jiu Jitsu, most of the strength comes from your core, so many exercises will focus on it. Your performance will be improved, as well as the stability and balance.


Both the lower and upper torso will benefit from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Things are a bit unusual when it comes to the lower torso.

Unlike other similar martial arts, Jiu Jitsu doesn’t really involve kicking exercises. With all these, it does affect the muscles in the lower torso. How? Simple.

The martial art makes you aware of how and where you place the feet. It also focuses on your knees.

Whether you adopt a defensive or an offensive stance, you will end up in a series of positions that require leg flexibility and plenty of footwork.

When it comes to the upper torso, you need it for extra leverage. This is why Jiu Jitsu will work on the shoulders and arms.

You will feel pressure in your biceps and triceps quite often, but your grip and forearm muscles will also improve.

The upper body becomes a priority when on the floor – after all, Jiu Jitsu implies a series of floor movements too. At this point, the upper torso will have to work much harder.

Glutes, Quads, Calves – Legs

Leg muscles, glutes and hips are critical in performing in Jiu Jitsu too – and by hips I don’t mean the actual bones, but all the muscles surrounding them, such as quadriceps, glutes, or groin muscles.

Lots of maneuvers and moves will give these muscles a thorough workout, and you’ll definitely feel the pain over the next few days.

Stories of people who lost weight doing Jiu Jitsu

You don’t have to be a genius to realize that Jiu Jitsu will tone your body and help you shed fat right away.

Jon Orton’s life-changing experience

Jon Orton used to weigh almost 500 pounds. He had no health issues, so he convinced himself that it’s alright – disease was just around the corner, though.

He has always been a fan of martial arts, so he started doing jiu jitsu at a friend’s suggestion. He was quite embarrassed, but things started moving eventually.

Four years later, Jon Orton is just over 200 pounds of muscle. Jiu Jitsu was his fire – the thing that saved his life. If he could do it, so can you.

Al Diaz’s cure to obesity

Al Diaz was in a similar situation – gaining more and more weight, without any positive prospects in his life.

Obesity took his life over, leading to the necessity of cholesterol drugs and many potential affections for the future.

Jiu jitsu helped him lose 70 pounds in no time, turning him into living proof that this Brazilian martial art can change lives.

What else to do to lose weight

Jiu jitsu can and will help you to lose weight. But it won’t help you just in the weight loss category. It’s a martial art that will change the way you see things and think too.

Now, what else should you do to boost its positive effects?

Cut sugar from your diet

Losing all the sugar in your diet is nearly impossible, but there are many things you can clear out from day one.

Even if it feels a bit challenging and you may experience some withdrawal symptoms, sugar is referred to as the white poison – you’ll notice extraordinary effects straight away.

Keep an eye on your calorie count

A healthy diet, regular meals, and not overeating will prevent the necessity of this step. But if you have some history of bad dieting, you may want to count calories for a while. I was never able to do this, but that’s just me.

It’s boring, indeed. However, it won’t last forever. Once you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you won’t need to do it anymore.

The idea is to burn more calories than what you eat.

Everlast Nevatear Boxing Heavy Bag is a great choice for beginners

Get a punching bag for cardio

Just because you do Jiu Jitsu, it doesn’t mean that you can forget about other forms of cardio. Whether you warm up or finish a workout, cardio is still helpful.

Forget about treadmills and elliptical machines, though. Instead, get a punching bag and work on your punching technique too.

Try other activities

No Jiu Jitsu workout today? Fine. Got some time on your hands? Try something else.

Take a long walk or a jogging session. Grab some weights and lift a little. Any type of physical activity will help.


Bottom line, it’s fairly simple to understand. Jiu Jitsu will give you a full-body workout and target each muscle – plus, it provides a decent influx of cardio exercises as well.

It’s one of the most efficient ways to lose weight and get a toned body – hence its growing popularity all over the world.

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