It can be said that any sport that helps develop your body and athletic ability will ultimately help your jiu-jitsu. However, the following five sports/activities are more specific for BJJ because they share a common requirement, whether it is physical or mental.
Unless you never go on the Internet, you would have noticed that BJJ is taking a similar stylistic turn to surfing. Guys love showing the “hang-loose” sign in photos, and even marketing for many BJJ clothing brands have a surf-like look to them. The reason for all of this is also because surfing is an extremely athletic and physically demanding sport, just like BJJ. The amount of balance you need to develop alone will give you a great base for jiu-jitsu. Many of the top jiu-jitsu competitors surf in their spare time when they can, and many surfers, like Joel Tudor, made a great transition in BJJ from surfing.
The benefits of yoga are well known and the activity has grown immensely in the last few years. People of all ages take various different types of yoga classes according to their needs. For BJJ practitioners, yoga will not only help make you more flexible but it will strengthen your joints and help with your muscle endurance. Also, both yoga and jiu-jitsu share many awkward positions and will help you become more comfortable working out of these positions. Yoga focuses strongly on breath control, which will help you to roll longer and harder in tough matches.
This is one of the more essential activities for BJJ because, depending on how you lift, it can have multiple enormous benefits. ‘Weightlifting’ itself is a general term and your exercises can vary from heavy powerlifting to circuit training, to develop both power and endurance. Also, weightlifting will help strengthen your joints and prevent injuries. Combine weight lifting with proper stretching and you will see the benefits quite quickly!
This is another great sport for endurance. Not only are you working against the natural resistance of the water, leaning out your muscles, but you also train yourself to breath properly. It’s also fun being in the water and is a great stress reliever.
The world’s most popular sport, soccer is not only a great chance to have a lot of fun and spend time with friends, but the amount of running you do is phenomenal for your cardio and strengthening your legs. The running in soccer is done in intervals, so you go from sprinting to jogging to walking all in short amounts of time. If you don’t already play, just ask the Brazilians, they will tell you how much fun it is!
Didn’t see this one coming? Well, BJJ has been referred to as ‘human chess’ for years. Apart from developing a strong physical prowess to preform all the proper techniques, having the ability to read your opponent and trick them into submission is another important area of the BJJ game or any other martial art. Playing chess will help you mentally develop a better strategy against your opponents in the moment. Give it a shot.