BJJ is Brazilian Jui Jitsu; a sport much popular in Brazil. Not only Brazil but now popular in other countries as well. BJJ is a very demanding yet amazing sport for both; your mental health and your physical health. It keeps you healthy, makes your body flexible, and most importantly, makes you learn self-defense techniques.
BJJ, more than just a sport is actually a Martial Art sport or you can call it Self Defense system. People all around the world have started practicing this sport for plenty of different reasons. Most of the people join it for the purpose of learning self-defense techniques. While others for physical fitness or even stress relief purposes. And then there are also people who join it just for fun, with a passion to explore things.
BJJ Stretching – Overview
The plenty of different positions and techniques taught in the BJJ training make your body super flexible and you can transform your body in so many unconventional ways. Flexibility and stretching, both play an extremely important role in keeping you healthy and injury-free which ensures your long-life training career.
Not only just that, but the BJJ trainers also become experts in grappling while learning self-defense techniques and end up becoming flexible enough to control their opponent. And having a persistent Stretching routine is what makes it all easier to achieve.
Moreover, by having good flexibility developed, the muscles of BJJ trainers start to be more optimal. This reduces any kind of joint stress which they might have experienced in the start, associated with the BJJ movements.
Flexibility vs Stretching – Are these Same?
Although Flexibility and Stretching seem to be no different from each other that’s not the case. Flexibility and Stretching are two different techniques.
Flexibility – It is being able to move your joint for a particular range, unrestricted and without any pain. It is related to the movement of your muscles and connective tissues. More the flexibility, the stronger your muscles are.
Whereas Stretching isn’t directly the flexibility. It is rather an exercise that leads to an increase in the flexibility of your body or muscles.
Flexibility is extremely important when it comes to being passionate about becoming an athlete, a sportsperson, or a bodybuilder. It helps your body move more freely, improves your body posture, muscle coordination, and most importantly, reduces the risk of injuries.
How Does Flexibility Reduce the Risk of Injuries – It is because when your body is used to performing certain exercises with a particular routine, it gets fond of moving or bending that way.
Hence, in case you bend your arm or leg accidentally, or under some pressure, your body would already know the situation and won’t react badly. And you won’t feel much pain because your body is flexible enough to bear the temporary hit.
For a BJJ practitioner, both of these qualities are important. His/her body should be flexible as well as stretchable enough to make it through the hard self-defending exercises. When your opponent forces you into sub-optimal positions, you should be flexible enough to have a good range of your body motion for two main reasons.
- First, that you become a winner.
- And second, that you don’t get yourself injured.
Also Check: The  Best Judo Throws to Get You Started
The Best Stretching Exercises for BJJ
Stretching is what greatly improves your body’s flexibility. There are so many types of stretches such as dynamic, foam rolling and so many other practices which increase your body mobility and flexibility and also increase the range for the motion of your body.
Out of hundreds of different stretching techniques, here are a few very effective and the best ones for the BJJ trainers.
Your hip flexors often get tight either due to excessive sitting or being a beginner for the BJJ training. Your body isn’t fond of the movements or exercises that you practice for BJJ and that is why when you start it as a beginner, your hips would feel tight or a little painful. But do not stop training. You can try different stretching exercises such as Lunge stretch, which is the best in such a case.
This is how you practice lunge stretch.
- Sit in a Lunge position, having one of your knees touching the floor and your leg bent backward in such a way that your top of the foot lies on the floor.
- Keep your upper body as straight as possible. Now put your hand on your hip, take on the pelvis, and rock it backward to get that stretch on the thigh of the knee-down leg.
- Keep your belly tight, your upper body and neck straight, and hold onto this position for 30 seconds.
- If you’ve practiced this enough, then to increase the intensity, reach out to the back foot with your front leg-side arm.
Repeat the steps 2 or 3 times for each of the hips.
Pretzel is basically to make your hips and back flexible.
Here is how you can practice the Pretzel Stretch.
- Lay down straight on the ground with your back and legs being absolutely straight.
- Bend your one knee and bring it over the opposite leg. Now bend the other knee and try bringing the foot of that leg as near to your hip as possible.
- Now reach out to the foot which is towards the hip. Make sure if your right knee is bent, with the foot towards the hip, then your hand reaching the foot must be your left hand.
- Now grip the first bended knee with the opposite hand and you’ll feel a stretch in your legs, through your back.
- Hold onto the position firmly for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the steps 1 to 3 times on both sides.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch also increases your hip flexibility and strengthens your legs. The hamstring muscles are on the back of your thigh and they control your hip and knee movement.
This is how to practice the Hamstring Stretch.
- Lie on the floor straight, with your back straight and legs extended.
- Slowly bring one of your legs up, without any support of your hands. Bend your other knee but make sure your knee of the leg being lifted up does not bend during the process.
- Now lift the leg as much high as your can, until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Hold on to the position for 30 seconds and do it 2 to 3 times on each leg.
NOTE: It might be difficult to lift up your leg while keeping it absolutely straight. For convenience, you can use a belt or strap. Tie up your foot with the strap or belt, and hold the other end in your hand keeping it very straight and tight. Then lift up the leg.
Crossover Glute Stretch
As the name suggests, it is a stretch related to crossed-over legs. This stretch plays a vital role in making you able to weave with your legs.
Here is how you practice the Crossover Glute Stretch.
- Lie down on the mat with your back straight.
- Now lift one of your legs with the knee a little bent, and cross over the opposite leg on it. The ankle of the crossed leg must be placed on the thigh of the opposite leg.
- Now slowly and gently, raise up the non-crossed leg until you feel a stretch in your back and side hip. Stay firm on the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the steps 1 to 3 times on each side.
Other than just having your legs, thighs, and hips flexible, it is also very important to have a flexible upper body that includes your shoulders and T-spine area. Prayer stretch is the kind of stretch that helps you loosen up your upper body.
- To start up with the prayer stretch, you need to have a chair or table in front of you in order to keep your shoulder level above your lower body.
- Now place both of your elbows onto the table with a grip. Transform your hands into punches and bring them closer.
- Bend down your head and bring it between your arms. Now push your chest towards your elbows. You’ll feel a stretch in your T-spine area and shoulders.
- Hold onto the stretch for about 30 minutes and repeat 2 to 3 times.
Check more: A Complete Guide for the Judo Exercises
What Are the Benefits of Stretching?
Stretching for physical fitness is very important. But even more important than that, is the Stretching-consistent routines for the BJJ trainers or practitioners. Here are the 5 most important health benefits that stretching has.
Improves Body Posture
Tight muscles are what make a poor posture. Usually, the tight muscles of the shoulders, chest, and hip cause a poor posture. And especially, if you’re a BJJ trainer, it’s totally unacceptable to have a poor posture. So, Stretching helps a BJJ trainer with a straight body posture along with so many other benefits as well.
It won’t be wrong to say that Flexibility is what makes up a BJJ expert. And Stretching is what improves your body flexibility. Stretching helps your joints move freely for a wider range and prevents the joints from losing their range of motion.
Decreases Back Pain
In case you feel pain in your back due to hard BJJ training, or especially if you’re a beginner, you may experience back pain. But that should not stop you from practicing further. You should start up your stretching routine and make your body used, to the BJJ training techniques.
A great benefit of Stretching: prevents your body from having injuries. This is because when your body practices stretching every day, it becomes flexible enough to deal with mild bending of your muscles, knees and other body parts. Your muscles get to have an increased range of motion and prevent you from injuries.
Makes Your Muscles Strong
Stretching helps you relieve your muscles. When you keep practicing the Stretching techniques, your body tissues and muscles eventually become strong.
What is the Suitable Timing of Stretching for BJJ?
Stretching should be performed as often as possible. There could be two types of stretching; Active Stretching and Passive Stretching.
Active Stretching – Active stretches are when you practice stretching techniques without the use of any external force.
Passive Stretching – In passive stretching, you make use of some external force to practice stretching techniques.
It is recommended to practice active stretching in the morning as most of the exercises and yoga are done in the morning.
While passive stretching could be practiced before bed or in the post-workout period. It is suggested not to practice passive stretching before any heavy physical activity. This is because it is known to reduce your ability to give maximum force output.
Why Do I Need to Stretch for BJJ?
You need to have a good stretching practice routine because Stretching and Flexibility are what BJJ demands. It helps you learn most of the BJJ techniques without having too much difficulty with your body movements. Because before you start stretching, your muscles are tight. They need space and effort for their motion and stretching is what helps them do that.
Moreover, stretching reduces the risk of injuries during your BJJ training and safely allows you to learn a greater arsenal of techniques.
A person who is consistent in his stretching routine has plenty of benefits while practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It not only improves your performance to a great extent but also keeps you physically fit and healthy.
Stretching is the best thing you can practice to gain flexibility, in order to become a good BJJ trainer. Regular stretching proves to be super helpful when you enter the hard training sessions for BJJ. Also, it not only reduces the risk of injuries but also helps you recover from injuries and sore muscles much faster.
A General Opinion – it is recommended to:
- Practice stretching two times a day if you want to maintain your flexibility.
- Practice stretching three times a day if you want to further enhance your flexibility.