Advanced Jiu Jitsu Strength

Advanced Jiu Jitsu Strength

September 20, 2020

"All You Need is Technique..."

This Might Be the Biggest Lie in Jiu Jitsu

Strength Plays a Huge Role in Jiu-Jitsu Performance, If You Have The Right Plan of Attack

Advanced Jiu Jitsu
Address challenges, obstacles, etc

You’ve tried the gym, rowers, kettlebells, even running and roadwork, but your plan off the mats just lacks focus. You do a little bit of everything to accomplish nothing.

That’s because strength, like any other athletic quality or technique on the mats, takes time to develop, time where you specifically work on JUST your strength.

The problem is, most programs or videos online only cover a few well-intentioned exercises. Maybe they even provide you with great information on form and technique, but you have little idea on how to make progress with it. You sit and ask yourself: How much weight do I add? When do I do it? How often? Sound familiar?

These are the questions I have answered and what I developed here. Advanced Jiu Jitsu Strength has detailed information and a clear program you can follow at your gym, from your phone.

It is what I developed after years of working with Jiu Jitsu Athletes of all levels and finding that there’s a common denominator between everyone:

Strength… If you have it, you’re less likely to be injured from the day-to-day, and you’re more likely to be executing your technique properly.

Strength isn’t gained by circuits that resemble “king of hill” or a group of fresh guy’s coming into to spar with you every two minutes either; it takes time and dedication to training on the right program to build, and push past plateaus.

If you don’t have it, you know what I’m talking about.

To build real strength, you need to work with loads (or an “intensity”) that’s high enough to spark adaptation. You then need to repeat that at an optimal frequency to keep the progress going. These principles are well established in nearly every other sport and applied with great effect in sister sports like MMA, Wrestling and Boxing, but jiu jitsu always falls behind.

JIU JITSU STRENGTH assumes you have some familiarity with the gym and is the program to help you meaningfully drive up numbers.

I also know you’re going to be training jiu jitsu while you run this program, and that’s exactly how it was designed. It was designed with the person who trains 3-5x per week in mind, and accounts for the recovery necessary from such efforts.

What I found was, no matter the level of competitor, every athlete had one thing in common:

You’ve never been able to acquire any appreciable strength in your life, and certainly not anything that translates to the mats.

Any quality worth developing takes focus; just like any technique you’re trying to put together on the mats, you need to devote specific time to strength– especially if you’ve never done a serious lifting program before.

Any quality worth acquiring takes time, and if you can put together 3 solid months, you can make a world of difference in your strength on the mats, your base, and begin to change your body comp for real.

How Do you Do that?

To build real strength, you need to work with loads (or an “intensity”) that’s high enough to spark adaptation. You then need to repeat that at an optimal frequency to keep the progress going. These principles are well established in nearly every other sport and applied with great effect in sister sports like MMA, Wrestling and Boxing, but jiu jitsu always falls behind.

The problem with a lot of protocols you may have used in the past is that you simply weren’t doing the right amount of work, or making it hard enough. Maybe you were making the biggest mistake of all– not working with heavy enough loads and minding a very important parameter of training — REST times.

I love kettlebells, and we use them a lot at my gym, but swings and Turkish Get-Ups just aren’t going to get you strong the way you need to be.

You do too much work:

AJJS was developed by working with real athletes of all ages and levels in jiu jitsu. In doing so, I found that there was an optimal training frequency– and if you go over that, you’re just spinning your wheels and get nowhere.

A hard jiu jitsu class is like a mini-strength session of its own. It takes its own toll, and this program accounts for that. It’s the lifting program for the guy who trains jiu jitsu- not the lifter who wants to dabble in jiu jitsu.


Have you been training a while and feeling like, although you’re getting better, you’re feeling weaker? Like you’re just losing a little too much strength and vitality? That’s a natural thing as we age if we don’t do something about it.

The body needs a certain intensity to maintain (or gain) strength and size

In structuring a strength program to have lasting effect, you need to make sure you

Lack of strength is a high predictor of injury, studies show again and again. This is that baseline strength– and much more– that you need.

You train with some of the best; at some gyms, the best in the world, and these guys are strong, I understand that. I own a gym sandwiched between two of the best jiu jitsu schools in the world, right in the heart of NYC- Marcelo Garcia and Renzo Gracie. Every day, jiu jitsu athletes come in my gym to work on their strength and conditioning. Above all else, do you know what it is that they’re lacking?


The fact is, most of you will find ways of improving your endurance, just through being on the mats and working through intelligent drills. But jiu jitsu is a random, chaotic art that calls for strength, but never in the same way.

How do you balance that?

You do it in the gym, with the right program.

How many of you have gotten to a certain place in jiu jitsu?

You can go years, many belts and tournament medals without doing anything besides what you do on the mats, and boom– you’re suddenly feeling the effects of years of training.

Strength training, particularly with weights, is what will keep you from feeling like you’re “withering”

Strength training gets you to the same place in a month, and you never can get past that. Maybe you weren’t even sure you were doing things correctly.


Introduce Mark

Mark DiSalvo is a New York City based strength and conditioning coach and owner of DiSalvo Performance Training. Mark understands the level of strength required for top competitors in jiu jitsu, as he has prepared athletes for some of the biggest events in the world, including EBI, Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds, IBJJF World Championship, and Spyder Korea.

His gym is located in New York City in the jiu jitsu epicenter of the United States: a block from Renzo Gracie and 3 blocks from Marcelo Garcia Academy, where he himself has trained since 2014.


He specializes in work with grapplers and works with some of the highest level athletes in the sport at all belt levels

Introduce the Program

List Benefits

I can’t think of one person who hasn’t told me that their base on the mats improved from doing this program. Harder to sweep, better balance, smoother passing– these are all things that a perfect execution can help greatly with. It’s been a bonus when they’re longtime training partners have come and told me the same.

The lifting and exercises you’ll do here promote a great awareness of overall balance and base, and it translates heavily to the mats.


Strength has many connotations and interpretations for many people, but to REALLY build strength, you need to make the whole unit stronger, not just one aspect of it.

For years, the best minds in sports performance understand that optimal performance is like a pyramid. At the base of that pyramid is your strength and aerobic ability. As you rise up, you get into the more specialized skills of sport, and finer aspects of performance, but it’s that base that keeps you going and developing. This program builds that base.

People with that strong base of the pyramid are always the stronger, faster, and more durable athletes.

Not only that, you simply build a stronger you, with carefully chosen exercises for the jiu jitsu athlete and the rigors of the sport. I took into account the greatest areas of need, Build a stronger you

When you are stronger, everything is easier on the mats. Your techniques go off without a hitch, you’re harder to move around, and you move through all your positions with greater confidence. More important than any of these though: you’re more durable. Durable people train longer and get better faster.

Learn how to really lift

I took time on many exercises to give you the simplest breakdowns I could of common, yet effective exercises. This comes after years of working with athletes, non-strength athletes, and complete first timers, and are some of my simplest cues for an effective workout. All in video form.

The skills and schemes you learn here can be born out and applied to a lifetime of healthy, safe and strong lifting.

Better Posture

The enemy of the jiu jitsu athlete is poor posture; whether on the mats or every day life. Bad posture leads to poor performance on the mats, and nagging pain. This program directly addresses that fact with carefully chosen exercises. It’s among my primary goals to make sure your posture is well taken care of, and all exercises chosen accordingly.

Here’s What People are Saying About This Course:

I’ve been training jiu-jitsu for 10+ years and am currently a brown belt. I’m also an avid snowboarder and wannabe surfer. I met Mark through jiu-jitsu, but like a lot of people I meet through jiu-jitsu I had no idea what he did in the “real world”. One day I randomly came across a blog he had written about training for jiu jitsu and I found myself very interested in a lot of what he was saying.
I had stopped strength training regularly because I had become bored of it and didn’t really know how to properly train to compliment the activities I wanted to pursue. But now that I was in my mid 30s I was starting to come back around on the idea that it was probably something I needed to help avoid injury and to maximize my potential and longevity in all my sports. So after reading the blog I reached out to Mark.
He shared some basic info about his philosophy and send me an evaluation / goal sheet to fill out and then we met for an evaluation / consultation. I really appreciated his ability to understand my goals and objectives and be able to speak about how he would specifically tailor a program to meet those needs while also satisfying the my own unique personal circumstances (i.e. my work, personal schedule and budget).
I have been working with Mark consistently for 2 years now and have seen very positive results every step of the way. I had some lingering injuries and weaknesses when I first started training with Mark that he addressed right away and I noticed I got stronger in those weaker areas and some of my aches and pains began to wane.
After working out some of those imbalances and weaknesses he was able to start building up my overall strength for jiu-jitsu as well as my other seasonal activities. I started to notice my isometric strength gains very quickly on the mats. My top pressure became much stronger (I had several training partners make comments to me about it) and defensively I became much more effective at being able to maintain frames and escape from certain positions. My recovery times also improved and I was able to train more frequently without feeling as run down or fatigued. His hands on approach and constant check ins have allowed that to continue.
He was able to shift gears to seasonal activities I participate in such as snowboarding and make sure that my legs were well conditions for the multiple snowboard trips I take each year. This year I did an entirely foot powered snowboard tour in the Wyoming backcountry that entailed about 20 miles of hiking at 9,000 foot elevations and I felt strong the entire time. I’ve always felt very confident recommending Mark to other people and have connected him with several of my friends ranging from highly competitive jiu-jitsu athletes to “regular” people who want to stay strong and all of them have told me about the positive results they’ve experienced. I’m very excited to continue my work with Mark and would recommend him to anyone looking to stay strong and maximize their physical potential.

Leigh Cohen – Business owner, father and Marcelo Garcia Brown Belt


I meet Mark at the academy as a student, (he was taking my class now I am his student, haha!). Someone told me that he does amazing work as a strength coach, so I went to him to check it out. I loved it! I have work with Mark for almost a half a year now and it’s been amazing so far. 

 My goal has always been to try to increase my performance on the mats, and building my body to be progressively stronger, so I can continue to get more out of my training [jiu jitsu], improve in competitions, and fix my body. 

 I could feel that after a few weeks my body was reacting with more power and endurance on the mats. It was really good feeling! 

Major Black Belt Titles:  

  • UAEJJF World Pro Masters Champion (2019) 
  • 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2018) 
  • 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2018/2017) 
  • 1st Place IBJJF No-Gi Pan Championship (2018/2015) 
  • Top 10 in the 2018 IBJJF Overall Pound for Pound Rankings 
  • Kasai Pro, Multiple time Fight 2 Win Superfight Winner

Marcos Tinoco, Marcelo Garcia Black Belt, instructor