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BJJ Stretching: What Can It Do For Your Game?
Training Brazilian jiu jitsu utilizes every muscle in your body. It taxes your strength and muscle conditioning like very few workouts available to us. Flexibility is one of the most commonly ignored aspect of our fitness and also one of the most important for BJJ. Without even trying, you will find yourself increasing in overall flexibility just from the everyday training on the mats, but this can only take you so far. It's important to implement additional stretching into your training to maximize your BJJ advancement.
Stretching for BJJ is not just for the warmup
Most BJJ schools start their classes with a standard warm up that typically involves some calisthenics and some stretching. This is all well and good, but stretching is even more important for after BJJ class. How many times have you ended an intense training session by sitting against the wall mats chit chatting with your teammates only to be barely able to stand up and walk to the changing room? Your muscles have just undergone an incredible strain and are extremely fatigued. It's the perfect time to work some additional stretching, especially in the large muscles of the legs, hips and back. Hip flexors on the front of our thighs are sometimes some of the most tight muscle groups. When you play a lot of open guard, you are constantly utilizing those hip flexors and ultimately tightening them.
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In the video below, BJJ black belt and yoga guru Sebastian Brosche breaks down a series of stretches that we've all done, but he would argue are not as effective as we think. Part of developing an effective stretching program is to make sure all of your stretches are actually doing what you need them to do.
Stretching will make your technique better
Implementing stretching and increasing your overall flexibility will not only allow you to be more comfortable doing some of those fancy moves like berimbolos and inversions, but it will also help to make your guard more difficult to pass. If you can elongate and rotate the hip and leg muscles better, your opponents will have a great deal of difficulty passing your guard. Lastly being more flexiblity will make your mobility better and help improve all of your transitions from different positions.
Stretching will increase your strength
Stretching has been proven to help increase muscular strength. By increasing the range of motion, you will improve and increase the muscles ability to contract, thereby making it stronger.
Yoga is one of the best ways to incorporate elements of stretching, along with strength and cardio. For more information on the positive benefits that yoga can provide your health and your jiu jitsu, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics on that topic here!
Now that we've seen some stretches that may be overrated and not as effective as we think, Sebastian shows us in the next video his top 5 favorite stretches to help your BJJ. These stretches can be implemented before, during and after training to maximize the benefits of the movements.
These are just a few of the positive benefits that stretching can add to your life. Not only does stretching improve these elements of your game, but stretching will also help you keep moving and able to train longer. Tight, sore muscles are not as effective as loose and supple ones. Stretching can not only help the body ready itself for hard training, but can also help transition from the intense training into the recovery phase.
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