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Top Exercises for Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is exploding as the latest trend to work out, since it offers so much more than just a workout. It teaches you how to defend yourself, gives you a chance to measure yourself, test new techniques out against others and even compete if you want to. Plus, it allows you to be part of a community.

However, BJJ can be somewhat frustrating as you start, since many people don't have the body control and athleticism needed to be able to execute some of the techniques. Here are some great techniques to get you in better shape, more agile and flexible and ready for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

1. Sit-Out Kick-Up

This move works you shoulders, core and legs and will help you get the "flow" necessary for BJJ.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand on all four, with your elbows on the inside of your knees. Bring your right leg diagonally through to where your left hand is and turn your chest up toward the ceiling.

Place your left and down on the ground behind you, so that the hands are parallel and kick your right leg up toward the ceiling. Look toward your toes. Come back to the original position and go in the opposite direction with your left leg kicking up.

2. S-Mount Kick

HOW TO DO IT: Start by sitting with your feet in the shape of an "S." Bring your back leg forward and kick the leg straight out. Place the foot on the ground and drive your hips forward. Clasp your hands together to simulate the takedown. This trains your flexibility, mobility, leg strength and balance. This will also help you set up triangle chokes and armbars.

Read more: The 8 Best Cardio Kickboxing Moves

3. The Wave

This move trains your ability to learn how to put pressure on your opponent, as well as how to drive your weight into someone with your feet. It will also help your back flexibility and how to transition smoothly from stomach to back.

HOW TO DO IT: Start by lying on your back. Kick your legs over your right over your right shoulder and let your body follow, until you're lying flat on your stomach. Transfer your weight over to the left shoulder, and by using the ball of your feet, walk yourself forward and bring your hip up, until you are in a tripod position, with all the weight on the shoulder. Bring your legs over your shoulder, so that you end up on your back again. Repeat by going in the opposite direction.

4. Berimbolo

This move will help you with the Berimbolo itself, but it also helps you learn how to move your hips and be comfortable inverting yourself. Lastly, it will strengthen your abs, glutes and hamstrings.

HOW TO DO IT: Place your feet against a wall. Once your feet are firmly planted, use the wall to lift your hips off the ground. Step your right foot over the left foot. At the same time, keep the hips up, so that the weight is on the upper part of your back.

As you step your feet, use your back as a swivel, in order to allow yourself to turn all the way over and end up back in the same position. Depending on how much space you have, you can either continue the movement in one direction and then switch and come back. Alternatively, you can complete a full circle in one direction and then come back the opposite way.

Read more: Is the Famous "Rocky IV" Training Montage Really a Good Workout?

5. Jumping Jack Sprawl to Take Down

This is a sport-specific stamina exercise that works reaction from defense to offense.

HOW TO DO IT: Do three jumping jacks into a sprawl. A Sprawl is almost like a burpee without the push-up part. In other words, when you jump your legs back, keep your arms locked out, so that you end up in a similar position to "Cobra" in Yoga.

Come back into a fighting stance (staggered, athletic stance with one leg forward and hand in front of you in a ready position). Drop the front knee to the ground and clasp your hands together, to simulate the takedown. Come back up on both feet and repeat the exercise but get into the opposite fighting stance.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever tried BJJ? What did you think? Have you ever wanted to try? Which of these moves do you think you'll practice? Do you think you'll try out a class? Share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!

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About the Author

Marcus Kowal is the CEO and owner of Systems Training Center in Los Angeles and He earned his master’s degree in sports management at Cal State Long Beach. Marcus is a professional MMA fighter, kickboxer and a Golden Gloves silver medalist. In addition, he is a 2nd degree black belt in Krav Maga, the author of the book "Life Is A Moment" and founder of Liam’s Life Foundation.

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