Review – Phil Daru’s GROUND CONTROL BJJ Strength & Mobility Workout

So I actually bought this program as I wanted to work on my strength and conditioning on the mats and get ready to compete.  

Here is my review of the program and whether it is worth the price. 

First off ….Here is PROOF that I actually purchased Ground Control.

General Overview

GROUND CONTROL is training and mobility geared for BJJ athletes created by American Top Team head strength and conditioning coach, Phil Daru. Phil works with many of the world’s top MMA & BJJ athletes such as Dustin Poirier, Tyron Woodley, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Gezary Matuda & Antonio Carlos Jr.

BJJ Specific Strength Training – Isometric Strength Training for BJJ Specific modalities, postures and grips. No need to wonder what do in the gym to get stronger for BJJ. GROUND CONTROL lays out the roadmap to getting stronger for Jiu Jitsu.

Posterior Chain – Addresses the muscles (glutes,hamstrings, back muscles, traps and deltoids) that motor you to being a better grappler. Often overlooked and neglected, if you work these chain of muscles you see your results improve on the mats.

Mobility Training – This is not just stretching but working on your bodies range of motion in positions and situations geared for BJJ training. Injuries can occur when you are stretched and contorted in a range of motion that you body is not used to. With the GROUND CONTROL you will work specific mobility routines that will allow you be more resilient to injuries on the mat.

Ground Control is a 3 Month Program (12 Weeks)

In GROUND CONTROL you will learn:

  •  The most important physical attributes to beat the BIGGER Guy
  • Strategies to gain superior levels of isometric strength to CONTROL your opponent
  • How to develop elite athleticism crucial in lower belts as Athleticism and Takedown Training often lead to Winning in Competition
  • How to develop your anaerobic lactic threshold – Have the gas tank to keep motoring in your sparring sessions and in Competition.
  • BJJ specific mobilization techniques to minimize injury
  • How to NOT overtrain and feel exhausted in your day to day life. Train Smarter!

Month 1 (Weeks 1-4)

Month 1 is all about increasing muscle endurance, vo2 max, generating a higher aerobic capacity and getting ready for Month 2 & 3 (where the workout really takes off)

In this phase you will be working on a lot of reps, learning how to do the exercises correctly and increasing the functional range of your joint mobility and movements.

Added to that there will be additional emphasis on strength progressions and cardio.

Month 2 (Weeks 5-8)

Month 2 will focus on working with heavier loads, more resistance and strain under heavier weight.  There will be more emphasis on Compound lifts that will have a high transfer ability to BJJ

There will also be a focus on core and trunk stability and strength. This will help you retain guard better in BJJ.

Month 3 (Weeks 9 – 12)

Month 3 will focus on strength AND speed of movement. ie explosiveness.  Month 3 will also focus on total card conditioning so that if you take a fight or competition during Month 3 you will be ready!

Phil calls month 3 “Strength Speed / Speed Strength” and he also talks about the velocity curve (explosiveness). Also by Month 3 you will have an increased lactic capacity and threshold which will correspond to having better cardio on the mats.

The Verdict

So I will start with my opinion and say Yes it is worth buying.



Simple there are very few (if at all) BJJ specific strength and conditioning programs available online for the masses.  Sure there are a ton of workout and strength programs, apps, books etc that will make you stronger in general like 5×5, 531 suns, StrongLifts, Simple & Sinister Kettlebell but none geared for the unique cardio, strength and explosiveness required in BJJ.

Or you could be an elite competitor who is working with world class trainers but Ground Control is BJJ specific training from a top coach that is available to you. If you were to price out the program over the 12 week period, it’s like paying $2-3 dollars per training session. 

Winning in the Scrambles


I’m already a month in and feel more robust when training.  My top pressure is better and most importantly for me I feel like I can regain & retain guard better and stay in my half guard / closed guard games longer as my core and hip, glutes and legs feel stronger.

If I do get stuck in a bad position I feel like the scrambles don’t tire me as much as they did before.  My training partners who were crushing me before I feel like I’m giving them more problems now.

More FUN in the Gym

 I’m having more fun in the gym because I have a plan and a course of action of what to do.  Before I started training in Ground Control, I would just go to the gym and do whatever I felt like without a real plan.

Maybe a good analogy would be would you try and learn Jiu Jitsu from youtube without any real plan or instruction?  Then why would you do the same in the gym?

Actually Sore Again From Working Out

There are a lot of  exercises I don’t normally do but have been doing and it’s getting me more sore than usual when hitting the gym.  

I feel like getting stronger as well even though I’m doing less weight than before.  

For example I was regularly benching 225 around 5-8 reps but I have been doing a different variation that is listed in the program and I’m barely getting 135 up.

Great Cardio Conditioning As Well

Ton of great tabata style conditioning drills are included as well.


Ground Control Program Pros

  •   BJJ SPECIFIC TRAINING – Literally a proven BJJ specific strength and conditioning program done for you. Laid out with everything you need from warm ups, exercises, reps, weight percentages, and a huge exercise database with VIDEO explanations for each warmup and exercise in the plan.
  •  12 WEEK PROGRAM PLAN – The program is 3 months (12 weeks) however the program is only 3 days a week.  Any grappler will have 3 days a week to spare to get stronger and in better conditioning for Jiu Jitsu.
  •  GET STRONGER, FASTER & EXPLOSIVE – Targets Strength, Speed and Explosiveness. Month 1 is Cardio with Strength, Month 2 is focused on Strength and Maximum Resistance with Core Stability and Month 3 is about Explosive Power.
  •  GET MOBILITY – Includes BJJ specific Mobility exercises as well.
  •  PREVENT INJURIES – Should also be called “INJURY CONTROL” – There is a big emphasis on counter movements for each major exercise as to prevent injuries and counteract muscle imbalances.
  •  ONLY 3 DAYS A WEEK LESS THAN 45 MINUTES EACH WORKOUT – Only 3 Days out of the Week is Needed for the Program.  This is not all day every day. Plus the workouts can be done in less than 45 minutes.

Ground Control Program Cons

  • The lack of an app that you can use at the gym is a huge miss.  This is an awesome program and it would easily be 5 stars if they included an app with each days program, the ability to record your PRs, and gauge your progress.
  • You will need to pre plan your workouts at the gym and familiarize yourself with the Warmups and Exercises.  Ground Control will tell you what exercises to do, reps and the weight progression but you may not know the exercise or how to perform it correctly so you will need to have videos ready on your phone (youtube,etc) to watch at the gym.  The workout plan is on a PDF so you will need to organize your daily workouts so that your can have everything needed to perform the routines. Again an app would of been perfect for this!
  • You will need to be able to measure your heart rate, have access to certain equipment like battle ropes, box jumps and maybe not care if someone films you at your gym and puts you on GymF*ckery on Instagram because you will be going full out haha!



Ground control has a HUUUGE exercise video database (but I can’t show it all …sorry you will have to trust me on this)

The database covers the following:

  • Plyometrics
  • Joint Integrity and Injury Prevention
  • Strength
  • Auxiliary Movements
  • Strongman (Big Strength)
  • Prehab
  • Core
  • Stretches/Activation
  • Speed/Power
  • Gait

Click Here to Check Out GROUND CONTROL

Check back here often as I will personally update my progress and thoughts on the program as I work through the 3 months.

2 thoughts on “Review – Phil Daru’s GROUND CONTROL BJJ Strength & Mobility Workout”

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for the review.
    I’m interested in buying this program, would you share the necessary equipment please?
    Many thanks

  2. Great article! Very thorough. Thank you for sharing. Would you mind sharing a list of the equipment that is required to follow his program? I have a garage gym and I don’t want to purchase the program and find out I have to buy more equipment or get a gym membership. Thank you.

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