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Maximal Strength Training Improves Strength Performance in Grapplers

Øvretveit, Karsten1; Tøien, Tiril2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 12 - p 3326–3332
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002863
Original Research

Øvretveit, K and Tøien, T. Maximal strength training improves strength performance in grapplers. J Strength Cond Res 32(12): 3326–3332, 2018—The aim of this study was to assess the short-term effects of maximal strength training (MST) as an accessory to grappling training on strength performance in competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) athletes. Fourteen male BJJ athletes underwent measurements of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in the squat and bench press, rate of force development (RFD) and peak force (PF) in the squat jump, countermovement jump (CMJ) height, and muscular endurance in pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups. After baseline measurements, subjects were randomly allocated to either an MST group or control group (CON). The MST intervention consisted of 4 × 4 repetitions at ≥ 85% of 1RM in the squat and bench press, and 4 sets of pull-ups to failure, performed 3× per week. Both groups were instructed to maintain their BJJ training and avoid additional strength training. Maximal strength training improved 1RM in the squat and bench press by 15 ± 9% (p = 0.02) and 11 ± 3% (p = 0.03), respectively, and CMJ height by 9 ± 7% (p = 0.04). Muscular endurance performance increased by 33 ± 33% in pull-ups (p = 0.03), 32 ± 12% in push-ups (p = 0.03), and 13 ± 13% in sit-ups (p = 0.03). Increases in RFD (35 ± 55%, p = 0.13) and PF (8 ± 9%, p = 0.09) did not reach significance. No improvements were apparent from BJJ training alone (p > 0.05). These findings suggest that MST is a potent approach to rapid improvements in maximal strength, power, and muscular endurance in active grapplers.

1Department of Sociology and Political Science, Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; and

2Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Address correspondence to Karsten Øvretveit,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.