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Exclusive: Rafael Mendes details his training methods for more power and endurance

Rafa against Cobrinha in the black belt featherweight final. Photo: Ivan Trindade / GRACIEMAG
Rafa against Cobrinha in the black belt featherweight final. Photo: Ivan Trindade / GRACIEMAG

Rafael Mendes (AOJ/Atos JJ) took a break in his training routine for the 2015 Worlds and chatted with GRACIEMAG.com. The topic was one of most important aspects of Jiu-Jitsu, not getting tired during a match.

Rafael, one of the most accomplished athletes of his generation, is a fierce advocate of a balanced nutrition and lots of hours of mat time. He is not too keen on pumping iron, for instance. “For the last few years, all my physical conditioning has been on the mat, with different training methods and goals,” reveals Rafael.

The four times world champion listed 5 of his main concepts to gain efficiency and not get tired, while showing a lot of power and endurance.

1. Three-minute rounds

“I do 15 rounds of three minutes each without resting between rounds. The goal is to win all rounds and use a lot of power into them. Short rounds make the match more equal, even against lower ranked opponents, so I have to be fast and powerful to win.”

2. Ten-minute rounds

“I also like to do 6 to 8 rounds of ten minutes without resting. The goal is to reach the submission without resting so I can keep moving. This is the kind of training that increases my endurance.”

3. Specific training of attack positions

“Another thing I do are rounds of 1 minute in 10 different attack situations: side control, mount, back taking without the hooks, etc. All that without resting between the one-minute rounds. The goal is to get the submission each and every time. I do that four times with five minutes of resting between sessions.”

4. Specific training of defense positions

“Same training we use to attack, but now focusing on the defense. The goal is to escape in one minute or less.”

5. “Speed drills”

“I repeat fast positions for short periods with maximum amount of power possible. I like this method of training a lot to improve my guard pass and the attack to the back.”

Here’s Rafael teaching one his defense drills:

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