Why You Should Stretch Every Day
Take 10 Minutes...Give Your Body Some Love!
Stretching is one the most important elements of health and fitness grapplers tend to ignore even though it is vitally necessary. Because of the grueling nature of our wonderful support, our bodies tend to remain tense and tight which can get worse overtime.
Having tight muscles reduces flexibility which is an essential part of Jiu Jitsu. Being tight can also increase the risk of injuries and shorten our grappling longevity. Because of this, it is important that we all stretch.
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Lack of flexibility severely limits one’s ability to play guards. When playing guard, especially open guards, our legs and hips need to be very mobile and flexible to move in to submissions. For example, having tight hips can limit how well a triangle choke can be locked up. Having tight hamstrings can making guard retention a lot more difficult as well.
Stretching also improves joint mobility a lot. Joint mobility is important for basic grappling movement but also in submission defense. Having very tight shoulders can make defending the kimura a nightmare because the pain will take place way sooner than it should.
Although many of us stretch for a few minutes before Jiu Jitsu class, which is helpful in the short term, it is the stretching outside of that that can really help. Yoga is an excellent method of stretching and is especially useful in Jiu Jitsu because it builds strength and flexibility in a way that can improve the way we roll. Yoga is also great to addition outside of Jiu Jitsu because it can help with muscle and joint recovery. There are numerous YouTube channels that provide yoga lessons of different time periods and difficulty levels that suit everyone.
If you find that you cannot make a yoga class due to time constraints, stretching at home can also be very beneficial. One thing I like to do at night while I’m resting, studying, or watching TV is to spend long periods of time in specific stretching positions. One thing that helps me specifically when doing this so that I do it correctly is I try to time how long I am in each stretch. Another thing I like to do while lifting weight as well is add specific stretches in between sets. Rather than just waiting and doing nothing in between sets, stretch the muscle group you are working on for improved performance and mobility.