What your Judo Strength & Conditioning Should Look Like

It is very important that the workouts you are completing in the gym are beneficial to improving your overall Judo game. If you are completing a strength program that isn't written for Judo you will find that your success on the mat will be somewhat limited!

Put simply, if you want success on the mat you MUST train like a Judoka. Not a body builder and not a power lifter; But a JUDO player. I have been working in the strength and fitness for over 9 years and have been an international competitor for 11 years and I have looked at what a Judoka needs in the gym in order to improve and strengthen your Judo game.

These vital elements include:

Forearm strength and endurance:

The stronger your forearm muscles and fingers are, the stronger your grip will be. You must have a high lactic acid buffer in your forearms to prevent your forearms blowing out mid-way through the fight.

By including forearm and finger strengthening exercises into your strength program you will improve the strength and lactic acid buffer of your forearms resulting in you being able to grip fight harder, for longer.


Your muscles need to be able to recover quickly between short bursts of heavy resistance, such as a huge Ura Nage or Harai goshi attempt.

Upper body Speed:

Exercises such as becnh press and medicine ball throws are great ways to build upper body speed and explosiveness.

Lower body power:

The speed and power generated by your entry is crucial to the overall success of the throw. Lower body strength and power exercises such as squats and box jumps are essential in all strength programs for Judoka.


Co-ordination is a huge part of Judo. You must be able to know where your body is positioned in order to attack, defend and adjust techniques quickly. By regularly following a strength program you will develop a better mind/body connection which will increase your overall co-ordination.

Upper body strength and power:

Upper body strength helps regardless of what ability level yo are. If you have a strong back, you will be able to pull your opponents off balance easier and if you have strong chest, shoulders and triceps you will be able to create a strong and powerful reaction from your opponent.

Rotational strength:

It is crucial that all Judokas have rotational strength to finish throws and drive through any resistance you may encounter from your opponents defence. Exercises such as barbell twists, spartan bench press and Russian twists are great too build up your rotational core strength.

Core strength:

Core strength is essential for a number of reasons. These include protecting your spine from injury, transferring strength from lower body to upper body, as well as assisting your balance.

Back strength:

Back strength is crucial in order to stay upright and fight with great posture. A strong back will stop your opponent pulling your head down as well as assist you in pulling your opponent off balance.

Hip power:

Hip power is vital when defending throws. In addition to defence, your hips will assist you in generating a lot of power when throwing and escaping pins.

Joint stability:

By strengthening the muscles around the joint you will actually be protecting each joint which will result in sustaining fewer injuries.


Balance is a fundamental aspect of Judo. Judo was designed to be a game of unbalancing your opponent using a variety of techniques. Therefore it is essential that balance is always a part of any serious Judokas training.


Strength training for Judo includes over 20 years of knowledge in both the strength and fitness industry as well as international compeition experience. Following a strength program written specifically FOR Judo will put get you on track to performing stronger, faster and better Judo on the mat!

>> Start improving your Judo with 'Judo specific gym programs' <<

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