Combating Jiu Jitsu Associated Pain through Yoga and Stretching

Combating Jiu Jitsu Associated Pain through Yoga and Stretching

Yoga and stretching may be the most important things you can add to your Brazilian jiu jitsu training regimen.  Yoga and stretching can help you so much by increasing your dexterity, helping your low back and hip pain, and preventing injuries or working through injuries.We all know so many people that train bjj so often and are suffering from low back pain, stiff necks, bad hips, and so many more common pains that are associated with bjj.  The question is, how many people actually do something about it and what do they do?

Two of the most essential things someone can do to have longevity in their bjj is to stretch daily and do yoga 3-4 days per week.  Stretching and yoga can benefit your body and mind in so many ways.  So why yoga and why stretching?  Well both of these exercises have been proven to reduce inflammation, pain, lactic acid, and increase injury recovery time.  All of these are crucial elements to combatting Jiu Jitsu related pain.  When we roll often we put our body in positions that it may not be accustomed too. There are numerous positions in bjj that can make major muscles sore on a daily basis.  The most common areas of the body that see pain are the lower back, the neck area, the shoulders, and the knees. 

There are countless stretches and yoga workouts that you can implement into your day to day regimen that can help you recover, prevent injury and offer you so many benefits that many people often overlook.  Let’s have a look at how stretching can help and how yoga can help.

Stretching for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

It is imperative that you stretch before your bjj training sessions and after.  You should not perform static stretching before you train, but should make it a point to do light and specific stretching.  For instance, prior to training, stretch your groins, neck, low back, hips, and anything you think you are going to use for about 15-20 seconds each. Stretching can benefit you in a multitude of ways.  If you are suffering from some chronic soreness or pain, it can help to mitigate what you are going through, and if you are coming back from an injury it can help to work your way back into hard training.

Stretching is also essential for injury prevention.  People don’t realize that many common injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu could be avoided by the simple act of stretching.  Stretching can help you to reduce inflammation throughout your body and prepare you muscles for a hard work out before training and help them recover after a hard day of training.   Why do you think that all professional athletes stretch before they perform or practice?  Football players, soccer players, basketball players, all of these athletes have stretches that they perform so that when they start to do what they do, their bodies have already begun using the muscle groups. 

So are there specific stretches that we should do before training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?  Well that is an interesting question because all of us have different bjj, we all like using different moves and we all put ourselves in different positions.  There are some universal stretches that we can apply to major muscles.  We would want to stretch our groins, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, shoulders, pecs, forearms, and neck.  These are some of the major muscles that when rolling, we are guaranteed to use.

Yoga for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Yoga may be the best thing you can add to your bjj training regimen, especially if you are frequently rolling or training.  Yoga can help you gain flexibility that you never thought was possible, yoga can also help you get over injuries that you never thought could be cured. Yoga is something that should be practiced regularly at bjj academies.  Much like stretching, yoga can help to prevent injuries, help with recurring pain, soreness, and injuries, and yoga can help you gain the flexibility you might be missing. 

Yoga varies from where you train it; this is because every yoga instructor may show you different poses that help your specific injuries.  Yoga has been proven to help with injury prevention and restoration.  People have been told by doctors that they need surgery or may never be able to train again and they implement a yoga regimen into their life and all of the sudden they no longer need surgery and they are no longer injured.  Are bodies have bizarre limitations that we can learn to overcome.

For example, there was a study done on people who have taken anesthesia and during surgery the surgeons are able to move these patients’ bodies in ways that they could never do if they were not asleep on this medicine.  So what is occurring anatomically?  Well what is happening is the anesthesia is calming the nerves, so there is no lack of flexibility.  There is a common misconception with flexibility, people assume that you are only flexible because your muscles stretch and become accustomed to positions, this is not correct, what happens is your nerves learn to become calm and you develop the ability do things your nerves would not allow you to do.  You are training your nerves.

So what does all of this have to do with yoga?  Well, yoga will teach you how to exceed your bodies previously imposed limitations.  You will learn how to calm your nerves and how to become flexible, reduce inflammation, reduce pain, reduce soreness, and so much more.  For Jiu Jitsu specifically, yoga is one of the best things that anyone can do to promote longevity.  When we train bjj we often think in the moment, we don’t think about where we will be in ten years and how are bodies will acclimate to having rolled for so many years.  We should start doing yoga as soon as we can that way we are able to roll forever.  Check out this video below with BJJ Black Belt, Josh Stockman showing some Yoga poses that are specific for bjj.

If you would like to learn some more Jiu Jitsu specific yoga from Josh Stockman, check out his DVD Grappling with yoga.  This is the best resource you can have to help your body reduce soreness, inflammation, and so many other things that we bjj practitioners deal with on a daily basis. Josh has developed extreme flexibility through Yoga and has a 10-15-minute program to increase your range of motion, making you more maneuverable and less injury-prone. Early in his BJJ/MMA career a neck injury nearly ended his training. Two bulging cervical discs had doctors telling him to give up combat sports. With all other types of exercise causing pain, he resorted to yoga and began to see improvements. Three years later he is rolling better than ever before.

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