Remastered: Raphael Abi-Rihan’s training routine for BJJ competitors

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Raphael Abi-Rihan controla o braço de Filipe Jerry na campanha rumo ao ouro no Brasileiro de Jiu-Jitsu 2009. Foto por Gustavo Aragão.

Raphael Abi-Rihan controls Filipe Jerry’s arm on his way to gold at the 2009 Brazilian Nationals. Gustavo Aragão.

[First published in 2012.]

Coming up on the 10th of March, the Copa Jacques Lemans Jiu-Jitsu tournament will go down in Pilares, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Vincenzo Cittadino-promoted event is sponsored by timepiece manufacturer Jacques Lemans and will be covered by

Besides featuring contests for all belt groups, there will be the added draw of paying out cash prizes for the winners of the blue belt to black belt absolute divisions and three supermatches, each with one Brazilian national champion and one police special forces representative.

  • Pedro Silveira (Sinho) vs. Fabrício Batista (Rio Fight)
  • Raphael Abi-Rihan (Abi-Rihan) vs. Renato Oliveira (Rio Fight)
  • Submission grappling: Félix Mau-Mau (Carlson Gracie/BOPE) vs. Leandro Bad (Sinho)

Pleased with the call-up, black belt Raphael Abi-Rihan has been having a successful time of juggling training with his various projects (newfound paternal duties, restructuring his academy, a training camp for visiting Turkish students with his partner Igor Silva, organizing events…).

“My weekly work routine is really intense and goes from Monday to Saturday, since besides the nine groups we have at the academy, I work around six hours per day on physical activities outside the realm of Jiu-Jitsu,” says Abi-Rihan.

At’s request, the 2009 Brazilian national champion lays out a routine optimized for Jiu-Jitsu training.



“I have the privilege of being able to rely on a large group of students and nine black belts — the Abi-Rihan Jiu-Jitsu family — to help me with technical support, and I feel teaching is part of training for competition. I train Jiu-Jitsu four times a week, including technical, stamina, standing and training for fun.


“I determine which are my most advanced Jiu-Jitsu groups and pick a day of the week to train with each of them. On one day, I train technique with my Masters group at 7:30 in the morning. On another day, I do stamina training with my ‘sauna routine,’ which is at 12:30 pm with my ‘psycho’ group. Those are my students who are better equipped physically. On another day, I train standing and on the ground with the 8:30 pm group, which is fuller and has students of all levels. On Saturday, I go to the academy like a student; it’s the day I’m more laid back in training.


“I do physical conditioning three or four times a week, divided into: basic muscle workout, power lifting, Jiu-Jitsu-specific pulling exercises, and functional training. I prioritize my workouts according to what’s going on at the time. At the moment I’m doing more basic muscular and functional workouts. As a competition nears, I make a priority of competition-specific exercises and power lifting.


“I balance my diet across three categories: Health, War, and Party. The fact that my wife is a nutritionist helps me keep the three angles balanced. It works like this: At the end and beginning of the year, it’s party time. Starting now, it’s more health and less party. And closer to the big championships, it’s lots of health, war, and no partying whatsoever. The key word is ‘balance.’

* “Health equates to eating well on a day-to-day basis, keeping a balanced diet from Monday to Friday to keep weight under control and the immune system working strong. It’s a teacher’s obligation to always be in good health.

* “War equates to hard training-specific supplements and diet. The fighter should be a war-ready machine.

* “Party is a glass of wine with the wife and beer with friends while celebrating something or watching Brazilians fighting in the UFC. After all, the Jiu-Jitsu working man is human too.


“This is my routine: I work an average of 50 hours per week, am a father and take care of my family, train with my students, and I compete because I love it. I don’t know if I’ll always be coming up with good results — I’ll do what I can. But I already consider myself to be victorious in my career because of the LIFESTYLE I lead today, thanks to my FAMILY and JIU-JITSU.”

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