It took me such a long time to find what gets me into the zone and fully prepared to compete. There’s so many different opinions out there, some will recommend you to only stretch, while others will say you should warm up and sweat a lot to get the blood flowing.

Others will say no warm up is the best way because and I quote “Have you ever seen a lion warm up before he hunts?” *sigh*

lioness hunting a zebra Jiu jitsu legacy

Examples of Warm Up before BJJ Competition

Let’s look at some examples, let’s take Nicholas Meregali.

He takes his warm ups super seriously. Doing leg drags, toreadas, drilling take-down and  guard passes all and all while getting himself pumped before his fight. He does that before each tournament and we can clearly see that this routine helps him to bring out his best.

But does that mean you should do that as well? No. because not all athletes are the same.

The concept I’m trying to point out is the ROUTINE

bjj warm up for competition jiu jitsu legacy

Routine BJJ Warm Ups

Routines quiet our minds, if you structure a warm up routine specific for yourself it will keep you focused on yourself and furthermore it will keep you focused on the exact feeling and thoughts you want to have before competing.

The worst thing to do is to start focusing on “what if” scenarios, or about your opponent.

The more you can “drill” this warm up routine, the more it will become a “routine” and by that the more comfortable it will feel.

lapel grip bjj Jiu Jitsu Legcy

So let’s breakdown what makes an ideal warm up:

Number 1: Mobility drills and breathing

I recommend dynamic stretching than static stretching. Aka doing yoga flow, or 2-3 sets of mobility drills to get the blood flowing (you can search YouTube for good mobility drills for athletes).  I’m not recommending doing static stretching aka standing in one place and stretch a specific body part, because that can even hurt your performance.

I personally use yoga for bjj as a warm up flow. They have 5-10 minutes flow of movement to get the heart rate a little bit high and feeling loose while focusing on your breathing, which is a very important part of your warm up.

While you’re doing your mobility / yoga flow try to focus on your breathing through the movements. In through your nose out through your mouth. That simple. 

Don’t think about anything else. Focus on your movement and your breathing. 

Keep it moving keep it flowing 

Number 2: Specific bjj drills

Now that you’re a bit warmed up you should preferably do a bit of drilling with a friend. Nothing too hard. Drill easy movements at first like leg drags, toreadas, knee slides, armbars etc. then you can add a flow roll  just to transition between movements. Most of the tournaments have a warm up area. 

But what about tournaments that don’t have a warm up area? Most of the time you can still drill on the floor, but if you really don’t have a space, then drill some grip fighting, single legs and arm drags just so you get the same feeling like in training.

The focus should be on flowing not on heart rate and sweating. Which bring us to the next point and the most important one

Number 3: Having fun!

Nothing more nothing less, during the warm up and after you finished your warm up! For some people, hearing music will make it more enjoyable. For me personally, I see Kevin Hart comedy shows after I did my warm up, just to keep a good vibe going on (he always cracks a smile on my face). You can talk with your friends, or see funny YouTube videos. Anything that will get your mind in a good and happy state and not serious.

The main idea is to make it feel natural.I want you to think of your warm up same as you do in your academy. During your class most you do your warm up (running, drilling , etc), than you drill techniques and then you start rolling. You build the intensity step by step so you should do the same before you compete.

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Now the last step is sitting and writing down:

  • What mobility / yoga drill you’ll do?
  • What specific drill you’ll do?
  • How you’ll make it fun for yourself?

Do you have your own routine? What’s your favorite song to hear before you fight?