If you practice jiu jitsu and aren’t doing a stretching routine, you’re making a critical error with your training. By not stretching regularly, you’re risking severe injuries that won’t only halt your training, but permanently affect your health.
That is why we’ve detailed two of the best BJJ stretching routines that you should add to your training right now. Check out the descriptions, along with the reasons you should stretch daily and body parts you should target.
Why do I Need to Stretch for BJJ?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a physically demanding martial art. In order to perform the techniques with fluidity, your body needs to have a good level of mobility.
That’s why it is imperative that you adopt a good BJJ stretching routine that you do before every training session. It’s not only going to lower your risk of injury and improve your performance, but also your overall quality of life.
You’ll be able to continue doing what you love with little to no pain, along with tasks in your daily life.
Is BJJ Supposed To Be Painful?
BJJ is called “a arte suave” (the gentle art), but anyone that’s trained knows this isn’t exactly true. The techniques were designed to be done effortlessly using timing and leverage, but the training can be brutal.
Your body gets pushed and pulled in unnatural positions that put immense stress on your body. Leaving you feeling like you got hit by a truck the next day.
This is why you must make stretching a daily routine. It will better prepare your body for the stress jiu jitsu puts on it.
Mobility vs. Flexibility for Jiu Jitsu
In the jiu jitsu community, many practitioners often debate if mobility or flexibility is more important. Let’s go over both and tell you which is more important for jiu jitsu.
Flexibility is where you’re able to lengthen your muscles past their range of motions. Grapplers that have good flexibility are able to use this to their advantage.
Allowing them to do everything from having a great guard game, more submission setups, and the ability to escape bad positions.
Mobility is where your joint can move actively through a range of motion. Not just how far a muscle is able to stretch out, but how far the joint moves within the joint capsule.
For jiu jitsu, this could be movements like angling your hips for armbars or being able to lock in a triangle.
Which is More Important?
When it comes to importance for jiu jitsu, mobility is far more important for your longevity. It’s cool to be bendy and beneficial if you’re a guard player, but mobility is critical for your overall health.
Flexibility will fade, but mobility is something you will have to work to maintain. This is why mobility is more important than flexibility.
Joints and Muscles You Should Stretch for BJJ
When doing your BJJ stretching routine, there are certain joints and muscles that you should focus on. Remember to focus on all the muscles and joints listed below when going through your BJJ stretches.
Hip mobility is crucial for practicing jiu jitsu and being able to execute most of the movements. Tight hips are also the cause for many injuries, so you need to take the time to stretch your hips daily.
- Erector Spinae
What are the Best BJJ Stretching Routines for Recovery?
If you need help finding a stretching routine for jiu jitsu, we got you covered. Here are two stretching routines created by Joe DeFranco that are great for BJJ.
Lower Body (Limber 11)
The first routine we’ll break down is the Limber 11, which is 11 stretches that can be done in five minutes. To do this routine, you’re going to need a foam roller and a lacrosse ball.
For each stretch using these pieces of equipment, you’re going to do 10-15 reps or 30 seconds for each stretch.
IT Band Roll Out: Stretch 1 is the IT band roll out, where you sit on your side with the foam roller under you. Roll out slowly to work out any painful trigger points.
Inner Thigh Roll Out: For stretch 2, put the foam roller at a 45-degree angle under your inner thigh in a sprawl position. Thoroughly roll out each inner abductor thoroughly.
Lacrosse Ball Glute Stretch: The glute stretch with the lacrosse ball is used as a form of myofascial release therapy. Place the ball under one of your glutes in a sitting position and cross your leg over the other. Doing this stretch will open up your glutes and help with lower back pain and tightness.
Bent Knee Iron Cross: Start on your back in a brunch position with your legs up and your arms stretched to the side, palms down. Keep your knees/feet together and drop them to the side as you look the opposite direction. This movement will give your lumbar a nice stretch.
Roll Over To V-Sit: Roll back to try and touch your toes next to your head and come back to a v-sit. Everything from your lower back and inner groin will get a good stretch from doing this movement.
Rocking Frog Stretch: Sit in a frog position with the inside of your feet and knees on the ground. Rock back, hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat at least ten times.
Fire Hydrants: This is a great stretch for hip mobility. On your hands and knees, lift one knee up and rotate it in a controlled clockwise and counterclockwise motion.
Mountain Climbers: Many do this movement for cardio, but here, it’s to improve your hip mobility. Bring one knee to your elbow to stretch out your glute and hip, then quickly switch knees.
Cossack Squats: Start in a wide stance with your feet double the width of your shoulders with your feet pointed out. Slide to one side and straighten your leg out with your toes to the ceiling. Switch sides and do at least 10-20 reps.
Seated Cross Leg Stretch: Sit on a chair or bench and cross one leg over your other leg. Take your forearm and push down on your knee as you lean forward to stretch out your groin and hip flexor.
Hip Flexor Stretch with Bench: Get into a lunge position with one leg on a bench and drop your knee to the ground. Activate your hip flexor by putting one hand on the ground and coming back up to a neutral spine.
Upper Body (Simple 6)
The Simple 6 is an upper body stretch routine you can do before training. You’ll need a foam roller to perform this stretching routine.
Thoracic Spine Roll: Place your foam roller at the top of your thoracic spine and slowly roll it down to the middle of your spine. After ten reps, slightly turn on your side and roll out that side and the other for ten more reps each.
Side Rolls: Lay on your side and roll out down your lat muscle and back up to your armpit for ten reps.
Shoulder Capsule Stretch: Without the foam roller, lay on your side and place your shoulder on the mat at a 90-degree angle. Slowly, try to bring your hand to the mat to stretch out your shoulder tendons.
Pec Stretch With Band/Belt: Stretch your pec at a 45 degree by holding a band in one hand and holding onto a standing object with the other. If you don’t have a band, you can use your BJJ belt.
Static Lat Stretch: To stretch out your lat, use the side of a bench rack or doorway. Grab onto the object and lean back to put tension on your lat.
Wide Grip Band Stretch: Grab onto a band or your belt with a wide grip and lift it over your head and bring it back. This stretch will open up all the upper body muscles that you use in jiu jitsu.
Frequency and Timing of Stretching for BJJ
The frequency and timing of stretching for BJJ should be done before every training session. You should dedicate 5-10 minutes before every jiu jitsu class to prepare your body for the rolling.
Making stretching a routine before training will activate your muscles and lower your risk of injury. Along with pre-training stretching, you should also consider implementing passive stretching after training as a cool down and increase flexibility.
Stretching for BJJ is a must if you want to improve your mobility, train pain free, and stay on the mat. Try out these two great BJJ stretching routines to prepare for training, and you’ll see immediate positive differences. You’ll be on the mat training for many years to come.