BJJ Poll: If Your Natural Weight is Between Two BJJ Competition Weight Divisions, Do You Bulk Up or Cut Weight?

by Caleb on March 13, 2010

If you have ever competed in BJJ tournaments, you have had to make a decision about cutting weight. This week at the FightWorks Podcast Headquarters in San Diego, we received the following email from Europe:

When I started in Brazilian jiu-jitsu I weighed 170, now I weigh 145(with the gi) and look much better. I like to be the weak guy in the gym so I can beat bigger dudes with my technique. Now I started competing and I never know which weight class suits me better.
People normally recommend to cut weight. I know I can cut to 139 but maybe I’ll be too skinny(I’m 5’9″ tall). The other option would be to increase my muscular mass to get to 152. Maybe what I prefer and what is better for me differ. I’m sure many of the listeners have the same problem. What should we do?

So I thought we would ask the Mighty 600,000 what they do! Let us know by voting in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments section!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

tren long March 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I personally like to do about 4 tournaments a year just to make sure I keep weight off in general. Once I retired from kayak racing I blew up to 245 pounds. now I compete quarterly at 200 pounds and 195 at pan ams and I find it keeps me where I should be weight wise.

Jarred March 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Cutting from 145 to 139 (6 pounds) is a relatively simple cut if you have a decent idea of what you are doing (look online for info on cutting weight if no one at your academy is familiar with the correct way to cut). Alternatively, putting on 7 pounds of muscle (~5% of his body weight) is not going to be easy (putting on 7 pounds of fat is another story…). That being said, you will always find guys at tournaments that are used to cutting crazy amounts of weight (there is a former state champion wrestler at our school that cuts 15-20 pounds from 185-190 to 170) and there is nothing you can do to control that aspect. Find the weight class in which you feel most comfortable and don’t worry about the other guys.

Jarred March 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Not to be discouraging, but one other thing I found that is particularly relevant to this question:

“Researchers from the Netherlands, for example, found that men with a “solid” build gained more muscle than men with a “slender” build following a 12-week weight-training program. Although fat-free mass increased in both groups, the slender guys gained only 0.7 pounds (0.3 kilograms) versus 3.5 pounds (1.6 kilograms) in the solid group.”

(Here is the study: Van Etten, L.M., Verstappen, F.T., & Westerterp, K.R. (1994). Effect of body build on weight-training-induced adaptations in body composition and muscular strength. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26, 515-521)

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