Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Work Your Legs Well?

Martial arts are very popular with people who are looking to get into shape or to work out as they work a variety of different muscles and keep you toned and healthy.

You can burn fat by training in martial arts as they are physically demanding, but does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu work your legs?

The rules of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are different from other martial arts as it focuses on ground fighting.

Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Work Your Legs Well?

As the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu only allows ground fighting, it is important to adhere to the rules as it could result in a disqualification if not.

As it involves ground fighting, can you build muscle in your legs?

This article will explain whether or not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works your legs so that you can see if you can build up your leg muscle from training.

You will also learn how to strengthen your legs for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and see how you can improve your performance.

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art form that focuses on ground fighting and holds.

Competitors in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fight try to control their opponent through dominant positions.

There are lots of different techniques involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as you need to make sure that you are performing the holds correctly to not injure your opponent.

Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Work Your Legs Well?

As a general rule in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kicks are not allowed.

In other martial art forms, like Taekwondo or Muay Thai, the kicks help to strengthen your leg muscles.

As kicks are not allowed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, are you able to strengthen your legs?

As competitors need to perform dominant holding positions on their opponent in a competition, your legs are worked well as you need strength to maintain the position.

Without strength, you will struggle to hold the position and your opponent will be able to gain the upper hand.

Therefore, with the right training, you will see your leg muscles become stronger.

How Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Work Your Legs?

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, gaining dominant holds over your opponent is the aim to gain control.

Therefore, your legs become stronger from holding your opponent in place on the ground.

When you are holding your opponent in a dominant hold where your legs are wrapped around their waist, you need to use the muscles in your thighs to keep control of the hold.

Takedowns in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu work your legs well as you need to perform either a fireman’s carry or a single leg takedown to bring your opponent down to the mat.

Your legs will be worked during these movements and you will see them become stronger after a short while as you will be relying on your muscles to hold your opponent’s weight and keep your balance.

Maintaining A Strong Core

Maintaining A Strong Core

When you are performing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu movements, you want to make sure that your balance is good and stable.

If it isn’t, you won’t be working your legs as much and you will not be able to hold the positions for long enough.

Loss of balance can cause you to fall over, which will prevent you from working your legs.

A strong core helps you to keep your balance as you will be able to hold yourself in a steady position.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps to strengthen your core, but you can also perform core-strengthening exercises to work your core more regularly and see an improvement in your performance.

This will help to work your legs more as you will feel stronger and more stable.

How To Build Your Muscles For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Although Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps to strengthen your leg muscles as it works your legs well with holds, you can work on strengthening your legs to improve your performance.

You might not see a huge physical improvement in your leg muscles just from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but you will be able to if you work on other leg-strengthening exercises to help.

Squat Jumps

Squat jumps can help to build your leg muscles for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as they improve your stability, and strengthen your legs, and they are easy to perform anywhere.

You can perform squat jumps either at home or at the gym as they are easy to do anywhere.

You simply begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down as you normally would.

When you are bringing yourself back to your starting position, use momentum to jump as high as you can. Land back in a squat position and repeat 10-15 times.


Deadlifts help to strengthen your legs as you are adding weights to increase build up the muscles in your legs.

You can use a trap bar, kettlebell, or a deadlift bar to perform the deadlifts, but it is important to get your form correct to avoid straining your back or injuring yourself.

You need to squat down and keep your shoulders and head up to avoid straining your back. This will allow you to lift with your legs, not with your back.

Make sure that you do not use weights that are too heavy when you begin as this can damage your muscles.

Box Jumps

Box jumps can help to strengthen your legs and improve your balance and landing.

They also help to reduce the stress on your joints, keeping your joints in good condition to avoid damaging them from stress or from straining them.

You need to begin with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hips pushed back and your knees bent.

Jump onto the box in front of you and land in a squat position, keeping your chest up. Step back off the box and repeat.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does work your legs well as you are performing dominant holds on people, but there are more ways to develop your leg muscles.

You will feel your legs become stronger after Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training as you will be working the muscles well, but squat jumps, deadlifts, and box jumps can increase your strength to improve your performance.

Christopher Anderson
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