In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), your legs are indispensable; calves and knees to pin down someone to pass guard, or thighs to squeeze someone into a triangle submission. For BJJ world champion Eliot Kelly it’s therefore a no brainer – he needs to make sure that his legs are strong and ready for competition.

Here are 3 simple exercises that Eliot uses to build both muscle endurance and power in his legs. They can be done anywhere – an empty parking lot, a gym, or even a Tokyo residential balcony.

Try doing the below 3 exercises (in any order you like), 1 minute for each. Take a short break after completing all 3, a minute or so. Then repeat the 3 exercises. You could also do each exercise for 20 seconds, take a 10 second break, then exercise for 20 seconds again. This is more along the lines of High intensity Interval Training.

Find out what you’re comfortable with. Since there’s some heavy cardio involved and you’ll definitely feel a good burn in your legs, don’t feel bad if you have to take a breather in the middle of an exercise.

Check out below!

1. Lunges

From standing position, put your left or right foot forward and bend the knee of your front facing foot to form a right angle, bringing your body down. Keep your back straight! Then bring that same foot back and return to standing position. Now do the same with the other foot and repeat.

You can keep your hands on your hips, to your side, folded on your chest, or even grab your gi (like Eliot). Or like me, you can hold a clubhouse sandwich in one hand.


2. Jumping Squats

Traditional squats are a good for building up leg strength as it is. Adding a jump after a full squat contributes to that explosive power you’ll need to take someone down or to slip your legs into mount.

Get ready here, because you’re going to be tapping into your cardio reserves.

From standing position, keep your feet about shoulder width apart. Bend your knees to 90 degrees (or lower if you can), lowering your bottom and keeping your back straight. When you make your way up, straightening your knees, jump into the air. Repeat this, going up and down. Try to jump from and land on the same spot, maintaining control and good form.

Jumping Squats 1

Again, don’t worry too much about where to keep your hands – you can place them on the back of your head or swing them when you jump. Try launching off of your toes if you want to work your calves.

Jumping Squats 2

3. Running Lunges

This is just like the first exercise of lunges, except you’re jumping in the air to switch your feet, instead of doing so from the original standing position. This exercise is also helpful in the explosives department.

So place one foot in front of the other, bend your knee and switch mid air by bringing that front foot back and bringing your back foot forward. You might have your hands behaving like they do when you run – with the momentum, this will probably feel the most natural anyway. For the feet switch, you don’t have to do as quite an Irish jig as Eliot, but it can help.

Try not to get sloppy; if you’re tired you might end up all over the place. If you keep control here, you’ll be in control when it counts – on the mat, court, gridiron, or elsewhere. Running Lunges

Hopefully these simple leg exercises will Never neglect your legs!

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