Do You Need Big Biceps for Jiujitsu?

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Is this a stupid question or not? Do you need big biceps for jiujitsu?

Let’s explore.

When faced with thinking about making a decision, one of the oldest tricks in the book to help is to make a pros and cons list.


  • Big biceps look cool.
  • 24 inch pythons brother!
  • T-shirts look better on you.
  • The double bicep pose is a universal sign of awesomeness.
  • Everyone like biceps. Ask your mom.
  • You can crack eggs with them.


  • … much nothing

On the serious side, having bicep strength and size can be helpful. For one, your biceps, if you train properly/adequately, can help you with

  • Clinching
  • Gripping
  • Limb ripping
  • Strangles

Holding an aggressive opponent (with or without strikes) can be very challenging. Arm endurance while applying or defending submissions is also a very desirable feature of your arms.

They can also help you with powering out of armbar attempts, maintaining back control, controlling postures in guard, executing armdrags, and squeezing the life out of a RNC.

If your arms are too big, you may have trouble getting your arm under your opponents chin. Is that a real problem? If you’re adept at applying the strangle, you will get a tap. But if I had to have a smaller/solid arm or a beefier arm on my neck applying a strangle, I would prefer the bigger arm. Why?

  • There is more arm to grab on to defend
  • The arm doesn’t fit under the chin as easy, and
  • Bones are painful! You might get the nervous tap from a smaller but solid arm quicker than a big, smothering bicep arm.

So what do you say? Do you want bigger arms, smaller but strong arms, or somewhere in the middle?

A strong arm showing its biceps muscle illustration

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