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Two Easy Ab Workouts for Jiu Jitsu
Build your core for better BJJ
Determining what muscle group is the most important for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is difficult because different positions and techniques require the use of various muscle groups. Although the legs are probably the most important, the average person has relatively strong legs and may not require extra leg workouts outside of Jiu Jitsu unless they wish to be a successful competition. One muscle group that is extremely vital in Jiu Jitsu and are relatively weaker than they need to be is the abdominal muscles.
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The abdominal muscle group contains four big muscles that function synergistically: rectus abdominis (aka six-pack), the internal and external obliques, and the transverse abdominis. The rectus abdominis is important in flexing the lumbar spine and in breathing while the oblique muscle function mostly for rotation. These movements are vital in Jiu Jitsu and are at the core of good guard playing.
There are not a lot of core workouts that can be done during Jiu Jitsu class or utilized by people who don’t like to lift weights that mimic that abdominal movements used in Jiu Jitsu. However, in our academy, we do two abdominal exercises during class that are extremely challenging to even very strong people and simulate the use of these muscle groups similar to that used in Jiu Jitu.
The first workout is called the butt scoot and is the more challenging of the two. To do this, start seated on the ground in a butterfly guard position with your feet off the ground. It is important not to lean back while in this position. From here, open your arms out wide and start swinging your arms and legs in opposing directions. Start crunching on the side that the arms are swinging to while slightly leaning to the other side and you will notice that side of your rear lift off the ground. Move that butt cheek forward and do the same on the other side. After some practice, you will notice that you are able to scoot forward and that means you are doing it correctly. We typically do this as a down-the-mat drill before technique.
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The next workout that I don’t have a name for is very similar to the one above. This time, we will lie on the ground with our feet up as if you are playing open guard. From here, rock back and forth till your rear lifts of the ground. As your butt lifts, move it out to the side while your arms swing to the opposite side. Again, after some practice you will be able to move down the mat.
These two workouts are both challenging and simulate the needs of effective guard playing. Make sure you add them to your game to improve. Also, for more challenge, you can hold a heavy weight in your hands with either workout.