The 3 Ways to Use Yoga for BJJ Training
3 Ways To Integrate Yoga And BJJ
It comes as no surprise to many of us who practice BJJ that it is a comprehensive full body workout. No matter your body type, jiu jitsu can be incredibly adaptive to one’s own fitness level. Everything related to jiu jitsu, from warm ups to technical drilling to rolling with a training partner is bound to tax your strength, flexibility, and cardio. Really all it takes is one class to figure this out.
As with any significant activity that taxes and challenges your body, a good recovery program is imperative in order to ensure you maximize all of the great benefits of your BJJ training. Think of it like this: jiu jitsu is physically demanding. Consider it to break down your body over a long period of training. This is not necessarily a bad that. We want to test our physical capabilities and push our bodies hard. But we should also remember a vital part of the training routine should be focused on recovery.
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Yoga as an active recovery tool will provide many benefits to your jiu jitsu training. Anyone who has rolled knows that as you train BJJ you spent a lot of time stretching, pulling, tweaking, and grinding away at your body. The damage inevitably accumulates over time and you may start to experience a range of conditions, from muscle tightness to join and supportive tissue damage.
Adding a 10 to 15 minute Yoga routine daily can really pay off over time and balance your BJJ training. Yoga helps your body to relax by releasing muscle tension and increasing oxygen and blood flow throughout the body. This can go a long way in your life, providing you with amazing health benefits, keeping you calm and elated throughout the day.
With all of that in mind let’s explore 3 ways you can integrate yoga into your BJJ training and how it might benefit you. With a bit of practice you can and will greatly improve your flexibility, endurance, and strength which will help to improve your overall BJJ game.
#1 Warm Up With Yoga
You can easily add a few yoga stretches and poses prior to your BJJ class. Even if your class includes a structured warm up, yoga can help ease you into whatever warm up activities your teacher has planned. By dynamically stretching your muscles you prepare your body for a greater and more intense challenge. Have a few yoga stretches in mind before class and devote 10 to 15 minutes of your time to stretching. This will help you prepare for the physical and mental demand of BJJ.
#2 Yoga While In Class
A great example of working yoga into a class without anyone noticing is how you sit during a lesson or in between rounds. Jiu jitsu taxes our hip flexor muscles right at the top of our thighs which basically connects to the upper body (in very simple terms). Playing guard requires constant tension on these muscles and that can cause a lot of joint tightness. By sitting on your heels and leaning back slightly you will get a good stretch on the front of your thighs as well as the hip flexor area. A little of this practice goes a long way.
Another method is to sit in an “S” position as you are watching the instructor show technique. Give yourself a much needed stretch without stepping off to the side and disrupting class. Keep those muscles warm and get that blood flowing. You will stay limber throughout class which will help your recovery.
#3 Cool Down With Yoga
It should be obvious that yoga is also a great practice for post jiu jitsu training. Not surprisingly, a lot of beginner grapplers will skip this step. But by consciously dedicating 5 to 10 minutes after class for some post jiu jitsu stretching you will benefit greatly in the long term. Adding in simple yoga stretches or poses to the cool down period helps with breathing control and losing any tightness that may be the result of brutal jiu jitsu rolls.
To sum things up, it should not be understated how effective Yoga can be for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Some basic techniques and simple movements will help actively recover your body and keep you on the mats for much longer, and with fewer injuries.