Open Up Your Hips to Improve Your BJJ
As we grow older the natural flexibility we had when we were younger begins to diminish. Muscles tighten and tendons shorten over time making us less and less flexible. Depending on the types of activities we do in the day, we can hasten or hamper this gradual decline in flexibility.
As great of an activity as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, it is still an activity that is stressing our muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as well as our joints and limbs in general. The repetitive movements that we use in jiu jitsu can actually do damage and speed up this process of tightening up over time.
Playing guard for instance utilizes the large muscles of the legs and hips. The hip flexors are one of the muscle groups that can get extremely tight, primarily because we are always trying to pull our legs in towards us and keep our knees tight to prevent someone from passing guard, or in an attempt to recover guard once it's been passed.
After a long class of playing open guard, we change, jump in our cars and commute home. The act of repeatedly stressing the hip flexors a certain way and then heading for that long drive home can do a lot to tighten our hips and ultimately impede our progress in jiu jitsu.
The practice of Yoga can actually do a great deal to improve the flexibility and strength of our hips and other muscle groups. Not only does yoga loosen up tight muscles and help stretch out the crucial connective tissue, but also it can serve to strength muscular imbalances that may have gone unnoticed in normal activities.
In the video below, Sebastian Brosche, a BJJ black belt and judo practitioner shares a class specifically designed to open up the hips which are one of the notorious problem areas for jiu jitsu practitioners. Brosche came to yoga after experiencing a near end to his martial arts career with a back injury while doing judo. Through the practice of yoga he was able to strength the injured area while also strengthening all of the surrounding infrastructure.
This process which began as rehabilitation eventually became a program designed for jiu jitsu practitioners to reap the benefits of yoga and keep training longer and harder than they ever could before. Check out the video below!
For more on how to implement Yoga into your schedule, check out Josh Stockman's "Grappling With Yoga" DVD and On Demand instructional. A small investment in yoga each day can yield incalculable benefits over time and you are able to train better, longer, harder, and also resist injury because of increased flexibility and strength in the supporting structures that help us do all those fancy berimbolos.