We've all gassed before. Things are going along fine and all of a sudden, you are completely out of energy and can't do anything but lie on the mat like a dead fish. Jiu-Jitsu requires great cardiovascular conditioning and many jiu-jitsu fighters run or bike as part of their training. This strengthens the heart and improves its ability to pump blood through the body. It also improves the capacity of your lungs, another critical part of the cardiovascular system. As the entire system becomes stronger, your heart beats slower and moves more blood per beat.

Your blood carries oxygen, and the more blood your heart moves the more oxygen it can deliver to your muscles. This is important because oxygen is the catalyst in a complex bio chemical reaction that converts the stored chemical energy in our muscles into energy that can be used to create movement. It's important to do your aerobic training and build your cardiovascular health, but you also need to train to improve your anaerobic capacity.

Many times during grappling we are working so hard that even with good cardiovascular conditioning we can't keep up with our muscle's demand for oxygen. When this happens we enter a different mode of energy production, called anaerobic, or without oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is very inefficient and is usually associated with short high intensity bursts of activity, up to about 2 minutes in length. You may be fighting a submission and using every ounce of strength. At this point you will slip into an anaerobic state. Anaerobic energy production leads to rapid fatigue because of the quick build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Interval training will improve your anaerobic capacity and your ability to tolerate the lactic acid.

If you want to add interval training to your current cardio workouts, try using a ratio of 1 second of activity followed by 3 seconds of rest. If you want to use running, head to the local track. Warm up for 5-10 minutes before starting. Now sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds and then slow jog for 30 seconds. Do this for 5 reps and then increase the sprinting time to 20 seconds and the jogging time to 60 seconds. Do another 5 reps and then repeat the first set. After a few weeks you can change the ratio to 1 second of activity followed by 2 seconds of rest.

You should add anaerobic exercise to your workouts 1 or 2 times per week on days that you are not already doing cardio.