Injury can have a debilitating effect on the BJJ practitioner. We’ll be going over the most common BJJ injuries, high-risk positions, and how to stay safe when training. Certain parts of our bodies are more prone to injury while grappling compared to others. If you’re aware of the risk, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain and time on the sidelines. The advice below will help you identify when you’re at risk and how to make the right decisions. 

The Dichotomy Of BJJ Injuries

The interesting thing about BJJ injuries is that they will happen, no matter how hard you try and prevent them. In fact, the more you look out for one, the more chances you have of getting either it or a different injury. That said, going all out without any thought to injury prevention is obviously not the smart way to train. A curious dichotomy, as you can see. 

The first thing to accept si that training Jiu Jitsu means you’ll be injured at some point. let’s face it, training any sport pretty much guarantees it. The only thing that really matters is not getting a devastating injury that requires surgeries and the likes. All the minor ones will be a nuisance but are to be expected. 

That said, given the nature of the sport, some injuries are more “specific” to grappling than others. they have to do with certain body parts that are under quite the strain when we roll. Knowing that will help you prevent major injuries from happening, and it will allow you to train BJJ deep into old age. After all, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

while most of the advice you usually run into, the likes of warm-up before training, stretch afterward and/or lift weights to make sure your tendons are strong are good, you also have to be aware of the risks. Mobility and strength training can only provide you so much “injury-proofing”. Not knowing where the potential dangers for BJJ injuries lie will render any prehab training you’re doing useless if you’re not careful. 

The two body parts that are most prone to injuries in grappling are the neck and knees. That said, the injuries to both of them can vary in type and intensity. The neck is prone to both joint and muscle injuries. Needless, to say, injuring the spine (joint injuries) of the neck can be really dangerous.  

The knee, on the other hand, is mostly prone to joint injuries, with tendons being another weak point under certain circumstances. however, the nature of the knee joint means a lot of different soft tissues within the joint can be injured, making knee BJJ injuries quite complicated and difficult to deal with. Obviously, focusing on prevention si much better than figuring recovery out. 

BJJ Neck Injuries: Risk Situations And Prevention 

BJJ injuries to the neck are something specific to grappling arts. When it comes to Jiu Jitsu, though, they’re really quite frequent and have to do a lot with the positioning and exchanges on the ground. Playing off our backs (i.e.the guard) means that getting in inverted positions is pretty much a give. When those inversions are forced (think of the stack positions) the neck is at risk of both muscular and joint injuries.  

2 Worst BJJ Injuries - Neck Injuries | Jiu Jitsu legacy

The trap muscle is quite a big muscle that extends from the upper back towards the base of the skull. It goes or the back and sides of the neck as well, mandi s the one muscle that gets injured inJiu Jitsu quite often. Strains and small tears are the norm, but putting too much stress on it and not letting it recover fully can turn trap muscle BJJ injuries into chronic issues that never go away. 

Joint injuries to the neck are serious and mostly come in the form of disc hernias. They’re, not something to be taken lightly and will manifest with pain and tingling in the arm, extending anywhere from the shoulder to the tips of the fingers. 

Strengthening your neck, or more precisely, your trapezius muscle will do wonders for preventing BJJ injuries to this sensitive body part. All kinds of neck exercises can be done, whether bodyweight, with bands, doing wrestler’s bridges, etc. The idea is to strengthen the muscle but also keep a certain level of mobility as well. Shrugs and pulls work great too.

When it comes to positioning, you can’t always escape stacks. You can, however, tilt or twist the neck slightly taking pressure off areas that might cause risks. Of course, going into inversions if your neck is a troublesome spot is not advisable. Crossface pressure, headlock chokes, or posting with the head might also cause or aggravate neck injuries so make sure you steer clear of them

BJJ Knee Injuries: Risk Situations And Prevention 

Knee injuries are amongst the most common BJJ injuries that can put you away for a significant amount of time. They tend to stick and become chronic if you’re not careful, and will definitely interfere with your everyday life because of the simple fact that we use our legs for walking around.

Injuring a knee in grappling can happen in any of a number of ways. From badly applied leg locks, through guard attacks gone wrong, and of course, flying submissions executed in a sloppy manner. However, nothing will destroy knees more than takedowns go wrong, jumping guard, or the misfortune of other people crashing into you while training. 

The parts of the knee that mark most BJJ injuries are usually the soft tissues in the form of ligaments. The collateral ligaments that are on the outside of the joint on both sides are often the main victims. Luckily even a complete tear can be dealt with quite quickly. Injuring the cruciate ligaments (inside the joint), on the other hand, means surgery and long recovery without exceptions. 

The menisci, or cartilages acting as cushions between the thigh and shinbone area so tissues that can sustain damage in Jiu Jitsu. There are two of them, and inuring them almost always means surgery, which can be arthroscopic or full-blown knee surgery. 

2 Worst BJJ Injuries - Knee Injuries | Jiu Jitsu legacy

Strengthening your knees to withstand most BJJ injuries requires strengthening the muscles, and more importantly, the tendons around the knee. You don’t have to build huge muscles on your legs, but you do need them to be strong at different angles. isometric exercises, combined with slow-moving concentric/eccentric ones, whether bodyweight or with free weights are your best bet for developing strong knees. 

In terms of proper positioning to escape most BJJ knee injuries to the knees, there is no fool-proof plan. You can always look out for your posture and your leg placement when standing, trying to avoid damage by takedowns. From the bottom, tapping out early to leg locks, particularly those applied by someone who doesn’t know them too much is a given.

Playing things like rubber guard and going for buggy chokes is also off the table, give that there’s really no dumber way to get a knee injury than by causing it yourself. Mat awareness in terms of others crashing into you (or you into others) also comes a long way when it comes to preventing BJJ injuries to the knee joints.


BJJ injuries are no joke. training with one is possible but does require training in a special and highly restrictive fashion. Being aware of the most common injuries like those to the neck and knees, and doing everything you can to minimize the risks is what training smart is all about. Stay safe!