How Many Calories Does BJJ Burn?

Every Brazilian Jui Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner wants to know how many calories they burn doing what they love.

It’s a reasonable request that, unfortunately, doesn’t come with a straightforward answer.

How Many Calories Does BJJ Burn

The good news is that Brazilian Jui Jitsu offers practitioners a very good workout.

If you’ve ever seen or been someone after a session drenched in sweat, this is all the proof you need that BJJ does wonders for the body. 

However, knowing that it offers a great workout doesn’t give any great detail as to how many calories you could be expecting to burn.

Two variables that influence the number of calories that you will burn in a BJJ session are your physical size and the intensity that you train.

This article will help you to understand where you are likely to fit within these two scales and your subsequent calorie burn practicing BJJ. 

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu is derived from two Japanese words. In Japanese, “Jū” means gentle, and “Jutsu” means art. Jiu-Jitsu is, therefore, at its core, a gentle form of martial arts.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was created by two Brazilian brothers in the 1920s.

It is heavily influenced by the close-combat martial art known as “Jujutsu” in Japan. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is predominantly practiced on the ground. It uses the martial art principles of angles, leverage, pressure, and timing to gain non-violent submissions of opponents.

BJJ requires a high knowledge of the human anatomy and how the body functions.

Where other martial art forms are focused on attacking an opponent using striking and kicking techniques, BJJ is all about close-contact holds and techniques known as grappling.

Although grappling is not unique to BJJ, it is certainly celebrated in BJJ more than any other martial art.

Other more brutal techniques such as choking and joint manipulations are also part of BJJ, but they are not practiced by beginners. 

How Many Calories Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Burn?

As we pointed out, there are two main variables that will influence how many calories a BJJ practitioner will burn.

The physical size of a person will have a great effect on their total calorie burn when participating in BJJ.

The taller and heavier a person is, the more calories they will burn doing BJJ.

This is because their body will have to work harder doing the same movements as someone with a lighter frame.

The intensity that said person trains at will also play an influential role in their potential calorie loss.

The higher the intensity the more calories they will burn.

If a 5-minute stretch and a 1-minute warm down are factored into a one-hour session, they will reduce the overall intensity of the said session.

We aren’t saying to ditch your stretching and warm-down routines as they are incredibly important parts of BJJ that minimize your risk of injury.

We are simply stating that these factors must be considered when calculating calorie loss.

It is estimated that a person of average size that weighs 180 lbs will burn in the vicinity of 800 calories in an hour-long BJJ session.

Sounds like a lot right? That’s because it is.  

How Many Calories Does BJJ Burn (1)

How Do You Calculate A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Workout Calorie Burn?

Burning 800 calories in a one-hour session may seem too good to be true, but it’s not. Like we said, BJJ is a seriously good workout.

If you still have your doubts about this startling figure, the calculation below will lift those clouds of doubt. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes typically involved stretching, a calisthenic warm-up, some technique drills, and high-intensity rounds of sparring.

Knowing this will help us to break down the 800-calorie figure. 

All you have to do to work out your personalized calorie burn is to understand and apply this calculation to your BJJ session.

We will stick with the constant of a 180 lb person for the demonstration of this method of calculation. 

Multiply the predetermined constant of calories burned per hour for each exercise and divide this number by 60 (minutes).

You will then need to take the total you come to and divide it by how many minutes you partake in each exercise.

If you tally these amounts up this will lead you to the total amount of calories that you burn per BJJ session. 

The example below is for a 180 lb personal:

  • 5 minutes of stretching: (1.81 x 180) ÷ 60] x 5 = 27 calories
  • 15 minutes of calisthenics: (2.43 x 180) ÷ 60 x 15 = 109 calories
  • 15 minutes of techniques: (3.25 x 180) ÷ 60 x 15 = 146 calories
  • 25 minutes of sparring: (4.87 x 180) ÷ 60 x 25 = 365 calories

Tally these amounts together and you arrive at 647 calories burned by a 180 lb person in a typical one-hour Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu session.

As you can see, sparring is where you will burn the most calories.

Sparring for another 10 minutes will, therefore, put you well above an 800-calorie burn. 

How Does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Compare To Other Workouts?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stacks up impressively against other workouts.

Even when you factor in stretching, calisthenics, and technique training, BJJ still burns more calories than popular exercises like jogging and swimming.

The average person will burn between 400 and 700 calories in an hour-long jog.

Swimming at a moderate pace, the average person will burn between 430 and 575 calories.

Yes, these are just averages, but they still paint a picture of just how effective BJJ is at delivering a high-impact workout.

A workout that has no choice but to burn calories and aid weight loss.

That’s right, many people who are looking to get into shape will take up BJJ as a sport. 


As is evidenced by this calorie-centric article, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that offers people a workout and a half.

Whether you are yet to give BJJ a try, or you’re a seasoned practitioner who has always been curious about your BJJ session calorie burns, we hope this article was a useful one. 

Christopher Anderson
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