Flex for Jiu Jitsu

Posted on: 20 November 2017

Competing in Brazilian jiu jitsu can be taxing on the body. As a ground based grappling martial art with Judo throws from the standing position, you will often experience high levels of pressure and force on your body, particularly the joints. Because of this it is not uncommon for practitioners to experience joint swelling and displaced vertebrae. This can combated by enhancing your overall muscular strength, but also by working closely with a physiotherapist or chiropractor during your period of recovery. For those new to competitive jiu jitsu, this guide will provide an overview of some of the supplementary practices you can do to protect one of the most important areas of your body, the spine.

Strength Training

Frequent strength training is the first step towards developing a solid musculoskeletal structure. Through training with free weights and bodyweight exercises, you can create balances in the muscles which help with overall stability. Having good muscular balance helps to prevent things like slipped discs, which often occur when stress or strain is put onto a vertebrae from a particular direction. If the muscles are pulling away from the joint with equal amounts of force, then like a tentpole which uses guy ropes to hold it up, the muscles can reduce the likelihood of joint and vertebral displacement. As jiu jitsu practitioners need to maintain both strength and flexibility, keeping the number of reps to less than six, with a two to three minute rest between sets works well, as it reduces hypertrophy (the growth in size of a muscle).

Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Support

Should you find that you are suffering with pain in either your back or in a muscle/joint in another part of the body, then a trip to a physiotherapist or chiropractor might be in order. They will be able to provide deep tissue massage to relieve tension that often results in muscular pain. They may also be able to realign slipped vertebrae which will allow them to heal faster without causing swelling and irritation. This kind of treatment is also good for those with scar tissue, as deep tissue massage can break this down and increase flexibility which gives the joints and muscles a greater range of motion, minimising the risk of sudden strains and tears.


Stretching is something that should be done on a regular basis. Using dynamic stretches prior to training will provide increased elasticity. These are done by performing movements such as squats and lunges, beginning slowly with a reduced range of movement, and increasing the motion over a number of reps as the muscles warm up. Static stretches should then be held after a workout to increase the length of the muscle and how far they can stretch.