3 Reasons You Should Train at a Lower Intensity

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

I have been reevaluating the way I train in an effort to maximize health, wellness and skill acquisition. With my primary goal of training being to improve my technical ability, I believe that the majority of my rolls should take place in the 50-75% range of physical effort.

Here are the top 3 reasons why:

#1- Increased Learning

Learning is about exploration. We must have a sincere relationship to our experiences so as to derive a proper understanding of their meaning in the context of our over-arching journey. The faster one moves during training, the less opportunities there are to discern the events of a roll.

The slower you go, the more you see.

#2- Improved Technical Abilities

Training at this pace removes our greatest obstacle to technical development:

Relying on physical strength to compensate for technical weakness

Once we no longer rely on our physical attributes, we are forced to rely on the strength of positions. Working from functionally strong postures in which we can apply the appropriate force without unnecessary strain, we force ourselves to stay in the domains of functional strength, as we no longer leave strong postures for many of the sport-related, weaker positions (ex. going inverted).

#3- Living According to a Chosen Ideal

When we train at this pace and stay within functionally strong postures, we make a contract with ourselves which supersedes the events of the roll.

Our egos easily get engaged when training with a peer or a superior. A healthy sense of pride is what has allowed us to develop as we have, but too much can rob us of the benefits of Jiu Jitsu. Attending to this principle ensures that in moments when ego strikes, we will yield position and preserve our health rather than fighting tooth and nail at the cost of such health (again, the example of going inverted).

As a result, we will fail now more than we ever. And we will fail because we are pursuing something greater. This failure serves us far more than traditional success. We will learn more, become more, and we will learn to resist our weaker temptations.

Risking being seen as foolish or “losing” in the eyes of others, while living according to an ideal of your conscious choosing, is a muscle we would all do well to strengthen.

How to do this

The best metric is our breath. When we have to breathe through our mouth rather than our nose, it is because we have a high demand for oxygen as a result of inefficiency in movement. Our mouths should only open during training to praise or instruct, not to breath.


This is something that has worked for me. Try it on for yourself and see if it fits.

As to the many “going inverted” references recently, this is a habit I am desperately trying to remove from my own game. It is a crutch I have relied on for too long, and I am no longer willing to make the sacrifices of health for the “successes” while rolling.

Happy training!

Later this week, Part 2 of this series will explore long term benefits of training at this intensity.

If you want to read Chris’s latest book on personal development, check it out here.

If you would like to be coached by Chris personally, click here.

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