STRETCHING FOR BJJ CLASS
The importance of warming up and stretching before participating in a BJJ class is a no brainer – or at least it SHOULD be a no brainer. However, many BJJ practitioners warm up / stretch inadequately or do not warm up at all. From making my own mistakes over the years by not properly warming up for class or competing in a tournament, I know that the result can be an injury that takes me away from training.
SHOW UP EARLY FOR BJJ CLASS – PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
It is generally a good idea to show up for BJJ class early so you can prepare mentally and physically for participating. Mental preparation means doing your best to “let go” of whatever might have made your day stressful. Even if you are not completely successful in letting go of stress before class you can rest assured that by the end of class your stress will be greatly reduced if not eliminated.
Physical preparation is as important as being mentally prepared. However, many BJJ students confuse “warm up” and “stretching” as being the same thing. They are not and it is important to know the difference.
BJJ CLASS WARM UP AND STRETCHING EXPLAINED
Most students that come to class early will go off to a corner where they can engage in static stretching before the official BJJ class warm up begins. Very few people realize that static stretching before warming up can actually be detrimental to athletic performance and potentially lead to injuries. The BJJ student should first begin with a warm up that involves movement of the limbs of the body (jumping jacks, hip rotations, etc) followed by dynamic stretching (slow controlled movements through the full range of motion) with very little static stretching (this type of “traditional” stretching is becoming more prevalent at the end of class).
DYNAMIC STRETCHING VS STATIC STRETCHING – THE DIFFERENCE.
Static stretching is exactly as it sounds. It is the “old fashioned” method of stretching where your coach had you hold a position for a count of say 30. The problem with this method of stretching is elongating the muscle in one direction only and the possibility of “over stretching” which can injure the muscle. Stretching should not involve pain.
Dynamic stretching is accomplished with movement of the torso or limbs. Most BJJ instructors have a wide variety of dynamic stretches that are done before they will use any static stretching. Dynamic stretching in a BJJ class will most likely be of a style that is similar to a movement needed for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. Static stretching is not necessarily bad if it done properly and follows a good warm up that involved dynamic stretching. How will you know you have had a good warm up? You should sense a slight increase in heart rate, breathing rate and you might actually break a sweat. I never knew my professor – Tom Dinklage – to let me begin training or stretching until he saw me sweat a little from my warm up – and I thank him for doing that in every BJJ Class!!!!!