The answer to how often you should train BJJ is often sought but not so easily given. There are a lot of variables in the equation, like school, work, family life, and fitness level. But is there a sweet spot?
Training BJJ three times a week is an excellent way to progress consistently without interfering too much with your other responsibilities and interests. If three training sessions per week are too much for some reason, two will also lead to progress, only slower. Then, if you want to compete in tournaments, you need to bump the sessions to at least 4.
Your personal goals and sports aspirations are the main factors determining how often you will train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Different goals require different methods, and it’s good to be well acquainted with how the number of training sessions per week correlates with certain goals and possible outcomes.
Knowing your current level and future goals is the key to answering this question. Then you must understand the optimal training time for each level, what is needed to reach the goals, and how you can fit that into your schedule.
Your work-life schedule is the main factor determining this. If you have a full-time job but no other obligations, you can train 4 or 5 times a week. But if you also have children or someone to care for, this may cut into too much family time. For hobby practitioners, three weekly BJJ sessions are the sweet spot for steady progress.
Ideally, you will also want to find some time for BJJ-centered strength training, which will immensely help all aspects of your grappling on top of the overall fitness gains. If you are competitive and enter tournaments, this becomes mandatory, and 4 BJJ sessions plus 2 strength sessions will be the norm.
Then, if you are aiming for a higher prize like international tournaments or things like the ADCC, you are looking at 5–6 times of BJJ training and 2-3 times of strength training, meaning BJJ has become a full-time career. But if you are at this point, you already know how to structure your training and what you need.
Recovery also plays a large role in finding the optimal training frequency. Train too much for your current level, and you will burn out both physically and mentally and see diminishing returns and injuries.
BJJ is a marathon, regardless of your goals; consistency is the most important thing. You need to train as much as you can sustain for years, or better yet, for life.
It’s infinitely better to train twice per week for 5 years than to squeeze the same amount of training sessions in 2 years, burn out, and never return to the gym again. A black belt often takes 10 years to earn, and if you are going to be around for 10 years, you have to do it in a way that will let you.
So train as often as you can but within reason.
Finding the Right BJJ Training Frequency For You
One Day Per Week
Even painfully slow progress is better than no progress, so one training session per week is better than none. But that’s about it. BJJ does not work without investing yourself in it, and one session is not enough on any level. If you are a complete beginner, you will miss critical lessons and feel lost the next time you train next to those at your level who take two weekly classes.
I train at an MMA gym, and sometimes I focus much more on striking and do grappling once a week, and I can tell you progress is nonexistent. The one training per week is barely enough to sustain what I already know.
Of course, if your work hours have changed or you are at a period in your life where you can’t train more, do what you can and don’t feel guilty. We all face challenges in life, and situations change for better or for worse, so even this one session is much better than not training at all and makes you consistent in the long run.
Two Days Per Week
Training two days per week is not only enough but also recommended for complete beginners in their first few months of training. BJJ is very information-dense, with a ton to remember and do. When you are just starting, your body is going through many adaptations to the new stimulus and strains of grappling, so it’s best not to rush and let your body adapt at the appropriate pace.
That said, if you can train three times a week, I suggest you do so. For someone more experienced, 2 days per week can be enough to maintain their skills and even progress slowly, but at a different rate than those training more frequently.
Three Days Per Week
We arrive at the sweet spot for hobbyists. Training three times per week will give you enough time to reinforce what you already know and learn new skills. Learning something new at one practice, drilling it at the next, and applying it in free rolling at the third is an excellent way to learn techniques and concepts that will stick with you.
This frequency is also common because it strikes a good balance and will not consume too much of most people’s family time because they can plan their schedule accordingly.
Four Days Per Week
We enter the recommended minimum of training sessions for anyone hoping to compete at any level. Once you have a year or two of jiu-jitsu under your belt, this becomes the new sweet spot, as you already have solid fundamentals in skills and fitness for BJJ. They will keep you sharp and quickly make everything you do on the mats more instinctual.
When you hit the four training sessions and if you strength train as you should, recovery starts to become a big part of the puzzle, so you need to prioritize it.
Five Days Per Week
People who train five days a week are usually active competitors or professionals. You need to have your nutrition and recovery on point, ensure you feel well, and do not overtrain. For advanced students of the sport, five training sessions in a week is not that much, but still, the intensity must be varied. Not every day can be a hard sparring day in his case.
And even if you want to train 5 days a week, not everyone has the free time to do it, so make sure it fits into your schedule. Now, if you are preparing for a competition, things are different, and a bigger push and dedication are required. If you are in camp, 5 sessions are a must, or you can even increase this to 6, but remember, this period can’t be sustained for years.
Can You Train BJJ Every Day
You can, but most likely shouldn’t. Even very high-level athletes always have a day off in their week for recovery. This recovery concerns mainly the body, but the mind also needs a rest and a reset from the constant grind. If you want to train every day, first ask yourself why you are doing it and whether you are at the necessary level.
Most likely, you don’t need to do it, and your results will be much better if you take a rest. This does not necessarily mean doing nothing. There are many ways of active recovery, like hiking and yoga, which can be a fun way to unwind and help your body recover quicker from BJJ-specific fatigue.
If you want to train every day, make sure you moderate your intensity daily and do not go hard for consecutive days.
Much more important than exactly how much you train each week is to train consistently. Only this will let you reach your goals because BJJ is a marathon, regardless of whether you are a hobbyist or aspire to become a world champion. But depending on your level, I advise you to train at least three times a week and gradually increase to four or five if needed.