How Many Calories Does Jiu Jitsu Burn?

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A brief Explanation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on pinning your opponent to the ground, and disabling joints until the opportunity arrives to attack the neck. As a practice it will develop strength, speed and endurance. Training sessions can be quite intense, and is a great way to burn a lot of Calories. 

If you are trying to loose weight, the best way to do that is to expend more Calories than you consume as food. Luckily, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Calorie burn is a significant! BJJ is a metabolically demanding sport, and can be a great tool for weight loss. 

Importance of Understanding the Jiu Jitsu Calorie Burn

If you are trying to manage your weight or your fitness in general, it is important to understand the number of Calories burned when training. In this article, I will cover the factors that impact the number of Calories burned in a Jiu Jitsu session, and provide insight into the energetic demands of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Estimating the calories burned based on bodyweight and intensity

a woman training jiu jitsu

In this section, we will explore the average calories burned during a Jiu Jitsu session. We will discuss the methods for estimating Calories burned based on body weight and the intensity of activity, compare the Calorie burn rate of Jiu Jitsu with other exercises, and provide some sample burn rates.

The number of Calories burned during a Jiu Jitsu session can vary greatly depending on the body weight and the intensity the individual is bringing to the training session. Generally speaking, a person of average weight can expect to burn around 4-6 Calories per minute during a Jiu Jitsu session. However, this number can increase or decrease depending on the weight and intensity of movement.

Estimating individual Caloric needs

Below are a calculator and a chart that can roughly estimate the Caloric expenditure of a wrestling match based on your weight. Since BJJ and wrestling are so closely related as an activity, it is a perfect analogue for calculating the amount of calories burned.

Calorie Burn Calculator for Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu

Enter your body weight below, and multiply that number by 12 to get a Calorie per Hour estimate

Physical Activities Tracking Guide

In 1993 the PATG published their data on the Caloric expenditure of wrestling (which we can corelate to BJJ) and found that in order to maintain your weight while wrestling 2 hours/day: a person should use the following equation
Calories Out = Body Weight (lbs) x 20 calories. Below is a table that might make this easier to interpret.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Calories Burned

Weight (in Lbs)1hr2hr3hr4hr

Factors Affecting the Caloric Output of a Training Session

When it comes to calculating how many calories are burned during Jiu Jitsu, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the main variables that can affect the number of Calories burned

Body Weight

a very heavy bjj competitor

The amount of Calories burned in Jiu Jitsu depends on the body weight of the practitioner. Generally, the heavier the person, the more energy is required to perform the same movements, and the more Calories are burned. 

Intensity and Duration of the Session

The intensity and duration of the training session can also affect the number of calories burned. For example, a longer session with faster, higher intensity movements will typically burn more Calories than a shorter session with slower and lower intensity movements.

Techniques Used In Training

The type of techniques used in Jiu Jitsu can also affect the number of Calories burned. High-intensity techniques such as guard passes or escapes can burn more calories than low-intensity techniques such as arm drags or sweeps. Stand up wrestling is for sure the most energy demanding, so if you’re trying to loose weight, spend a lot of time on your feet!

Gender and Age

a sweaty old man in a jiu jitsu gi

Gender and age can also be a factor in the number of Calories burned during Jiu Jitsu. Generally speaking, men tend to burn more Calories than women. On average, men have more lean muscle tissue than women, and since muscle is energetically expensive to maintain, men will burn more Calories than women when doing the exact same amount of work. Also, men and women have very different hormone profiles. Men typically have more testosterone than women, which leads to a higher rate of protein synthesis, and building of muscle. This means that men will build more muscle than women if they were to undergo the same training stimulus.

Tips For Increasing Caloric Output During Jiu Jitsu Training

Calorie burn is an important factor to consider when engaging in any type of physical activity, especially when it comes to martial arts such as Jiu Jitsu. In this section, I will provide some tips for increasing your calorie burn during a session.

Increase Intensity

One way to increase your calorie burn during Jiu Jitsu is to increase the intensity of your training. This includes pushing yourself to do more repetitions of each technique, as well as increasing the speed and intensity of your drills. Additionally, you can incorporate interval training, which involves alternating periods of intense activity with periods of rest. For example: Perform 10 burpees, 5 Guard passes left, 5 guard passes right 10 burpees and then switch partners. Repeat as needed.

Add Strength and Conditioning

Another way to increase your Calorie burn during Jiu Jitsu is to add strength and conditioning training to your routine. This includes activities such as weightlifting, calisthenics, and plyometric exercises, which can help build muscle and increase your overall fitness level. Additionally, strength and conditioning training can help improve your Jiu Jitsu performance, as it will provide you with the strength and endurance needed to execute techniques properly. Additionally, if you are able to increase your muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate will increase, and thereby increasing the amount of energy required to train. Building muscle is a great way to increase your Calorie burn during a Jiu Jitsu session. 

Vary Your Techniques

By varying your training techniques, you can also increase your Calorie burn during Jiu Jitsu. For example, when drilling select 5 or so different techniques to drill at a fast pace. After 5 Double leg fit ins on the left, do 5 doubles on the right. Then singles. Next work arm drags, etc. Additionally, you can vary the intensity of your drills throughout the session, as this will help keep your body from settling in, and burning more Calories. 


The thing to keep in mind is, your body will adapt very quickly to performing the same movements over and over again. Eventually the body adapts, and becomes more efficient. By varying the techniques you apply, your body will expend more energy, and you will burn more Calories.

Sweat More

Wearing long sleeves under a kimono during jiu-jitsu intensifies sweating, as it traps more body heat. This increased thermal load can boost metabolic rate since the body works harder to regulate temperature. Enhanced sweating not only aids in short-term water weight loss but also marginally escalates caloric burn during the session. However, take caution that you will dehydrate very quickly doing this. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during training. Approximately 6 oz ever 15min is optimal, but may not replace all of the fluids lost. 

Ensure proper nutrition and hydration

a photograph of a nutritious meal

Finally, it is important to ensure that you are properly nourished and hydrated before and after Jiu Jitsu. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats will help provide your body with the energy it needs to perform at its best.

 Additionally, make sure to drink plenty of water before and after training to stay hydrated and help your body recover faster. 2.5oz per LB bodyweight, per day is a good starting point. Also make sure to replace all of the fluids lost during a session as well, in addition to that base hydration. 


Recap of the Benefits of Jiu Jitsu for Caloric Expenditure and Weight Loss

In this article, we discussed the various ways in which jiu jitsu can help with weight loss and fitness. We looked at the calorie-burning potential of jiu jitsu, as well as what variables to manipulate in order to increase or decrease the amount of energy required to train.

Encouragement to Train

Overall, jiu jitsu is an excellent form of exercise for those looking to lose weight or improve their fitness levels. I highly encourage anyone interested in jiu jitsu to try it out and experience the many benefits it can offer. With dedication and consistency, jiu jitsu can be a powerful tool for achieving your health and fitness goals. I hope you have found this article useful, and you go out there and hit it hard! Happy Trainng!

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