Review: GSP Rushfit - Good for BJJ?
Words by Jerry Finkelstein
This review is coming to you from an average, everyday athlete, just like many of you. I don’t have any specific background or designation in personal training or kinesiology, so I will be able to give you the perspective of a BJJ guy who is in solid athletic shape and is always looking for some sort of physical boost.
When I first heard of the GSP Rushfit series, the first thing that came into mind was, “Okay, looks like someone wants to make some coin with some strategic brand marketing.” However, it was unfair to prejudge with that kind of attitude. George St. Pierre is a respectable athlete and a standup guy in general. Throughout his career he has shown the public that he relates himself with quality. So when we decided to examine and review the Rushfit system, we resolved to drop all preconceived notions about the attempt at an infomercial-esque fitness DVD, and we went ahead and gave it our most rigorous test.
The DVDs come in a very sharp-looking boxset, and each of the 6 DVD packs comes with 1 specifically themed DVD. The boxes are labeled as follows:
• Explosive power training
• Strength & endurance workout
• Full body strength & conditioning
• Fight conditioning workout
• Abdominal strength & core conditioning
• Bonus workouts
The DVDs could have been sold in a smaller, more environmentally friendly box, but I guess in the spirit of maximizing the perceived value of the set, they opted for a large, marketing friendly format. Nevertheless, I think that the set organizes the DVD's quite well in a clear and easy to navigate way.
At first, I was doing all the exercises at a rather leisurely pace and it didn’t really work me as hard as I had expected. But after I started concentrating more on following the workout guide (provided with the package) that outlines your goals depending on your age and weight, things began to make sense and I began to feel the results. The harder I pushed, the more sore I became day after day.
The basic goal of Rushfit is to do as many reps of the given exercises as possible within the allotted time. The movements are constantly changing and you will get a full body workout, which, for BJJ is very important since you utilize your entire body. There are no individual muscle workouts. So that is the first good sign that Rushfit is the real deal and can assist you with your BJJ training.
I won’t list every exercise mentioned, however there are many movements that BJJ practitioners will find useful. For one, the use of the 'Turkish get-up' is great for improving your technical stand-up and since its mixed into a routine with many other movements, you will surely gas, as long as you push yourself.
There is also a training calendar that accompanies the DVDs. The calendar is divided into three levels; beginner, intermediate and advanced. The difference between the schedules is not the exercises themselves, but the increase in workload. So by the time you reach the advanced chart, you will be training with the video two times per day. But if you’re finishing the 8-week Rushfit routine on advanced (and you’re pushing yourself to your max) then you will have stellar results in both looks and conditioning.
One huge benefit for the BJJ practitioner is also the fact that the lead trainer in the video, Erik Owings, is not just some muscled fitness guru, but a black belt under Renzo Gracie and has been training with George St. Pierre since his first fight with BJ Penn back in '06. So the composition of the program has many jiu-jitsu-inspired elements, since Erik Owings is the one who actually designed the program and he is the trainer who guides you through form and practical application throughout the video.
(below) GSP doing the 'Turkish get-up'
- The video helps to motivate you to constantly push yourself. It does feel like you are working out with other people including GSP, who also struggles through many of the exercises because he uses a heavier than average weight. He tends to swap to a lower weight in the middle of the exercise and does grunt now and then with small complaining comments. Whether it’s natural or not, it does give you a certain level of comfort.
- The package also comes with a small diet guide. The guide is basic, but its purpose is to let people know what they can and can't do in relation to their nutrition. Rushfit is clearly designed for anyone, athlete or couch potato. There are many BJJ practitioners out there that still need clarification on diet, so even the basic guidelines can improve one’s lifestyle.
- It does work, but you just have to stay focused and follow their instructions and you must push yourself to the max during every exercise. Try doing as many reps as quickly as you can with proper form.
- It’s not a purely BJJ targeted training routine. So there are many movements that will make you stronger (as long as you keep raising the weights and reps as time goes on) but it won’t help you with a specific technique. Likewise, there are many movements that do help with specific BJJ movements.
- By the time you reach the advanced routine, you will find that the time commitment doubles and will cut into other parts of your life, especially if you train BJJ often. So if you do purchase Rushfit, and reach the advanced level, you will have to tweak the routine to whatever fits your schedule.
- This is not really a con, but it is a negative that comes with every video. As much as the video tries to motivate you, it may not be enough simply because of the nature of the medium, and beginning to slack can be easy. So make sure that you are either very motivated to stick to their program or have a friend join you and you guys can do it together.
When it comes to BJJ athletes, it is very clear that this video is in fact helpful, and I would recommend it specifically those who want to take their general fitness to the next level across the board; for the folks who want to have that edge when rolling against higher belts; those who want to get that bit of improvement that will make the difference in a close match. As your level progresses in BJJ, especially if you compete, you will see that you will need more intense BJJ specific exercises than this in order to maintain your game. But until then, I can definitely say that Rushfit can help you improve your overall fitness level drastically.
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