Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Flexibility
It is no secret that Jiu Jitsu training can be punishing on the body. Ever heard the joke “welcome to jiu jitsu, I hope you like ibuprofen”?
After years of BJJ training day in day out the miles can add up and all of those little injuries can cumulate. As the body tries to protect itself we often find our muscle tightening and jiu jitsu flexibility reduced.
Jiu Jitsu training alone is not inherently bad for your flexibility, it has been my experience that it is the lack of maintenance work, we as Jiu Jitsu practitioners can be lazy about, that culminate into poor flexibility, stiffness and often pain.
It does not have to be this way, after 3 surgeries (full hip replacement and a neck fusion) I was forced to focus on maintaining good mobility if I was to continue training Jiu Jitsu. In doing so I have found a lot of the pain and lack of flexibility experienced after Jiu Jitsu training, prior to surgeries, have been managed better or reduce by following a simple 10-15 minute stretching routine after class.
Today, we share 4 easy stretches that will improve your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:
1) Butterfly Stretch: Improve your hip flexibility
In general Jiu Jitsu training heavily uses the hip flexors and groin. Especially as a guard player I found these muscles take a beating and can get super tight. After seeing several physic’s I for lower back pain they actually told me this was coming from super tight hip flexors pull on the lower back and actually had little to do with the back.
This is a easy stretch that will help improve your flexibility in jiu jitsu training in the groin and hip region.
2) Lying Half Spinal Twist: Improve your lower back flexibility
As mentioned we often experience lower back pain after Jiu jItsu training. In particular during our BJJ training we often find out spines mis aligned as a part of a pressure pass for example. If we are stiff or tight here this is where we can be prone to injury.
Tip: Add a weighted plate on your thigh as you rotate and point the knee to the floor. You can also hold onto something with the opposite hand. I like to use the base of a square rack but you can find what ever is available. This will fix the knee and opposite hand in position to extend the stretch a little further.
This is one of my favorite stretches to help improve your Jiu Jitsu flexibility in this area as it focuses on opening up the glutes, hip flexors and lower back all in one shot.
3) Neck and Torso Stretch: Improve your neck and upper back flexibility
This is a great stretch for your traps and neck and perfect for helping stay flexible while inverting. It is no secret that our necks take a beating during BJJ training. It is important to open up the spine and keep good stability in this area as over time poor flexibility and posture add wear on the vertebrae causing a whole world of hurt.
Tip: to get a little extra stretch lock your legs straight as you invert them over your head. This will extend the stretch across the traps, lower back and even into the hamstrings.
4) Leg Cradle Stretch: Improve your Glute flexibility
As mentioned jiu jItsu training can tighten not just the hip flexors but the glutes which is a contributing factor to lower back pain. With this stretch you can help increase your Jiu Jitsu flexibility to help limit lower back pain. You can complete the stretch standing or seated lying. If completed standing this will also help improve your stability and balance.
We have found with these 4 stretches done after training for just 10-15 minutes, the body has become more flexible and has helped to perform the twists and turns the come with training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Note: We are not medical professions, these are just some of the stretches that have help us. We have used these in consultation with physical therapist and are not designed to treat any serious medical condition. If you have an injury you should always consult a medical professional to see if these are right for you.