These 5 Stretches Will Improve Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu does not necessarily favor the flexible, but having good flexibility is not a bad thing to have for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some people are born flexible, while others are not. It is good practice to work on your flexibility stretches after a light warm up and before your actual Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.
Weight training is not necessary to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but having a bit more strength or explosiveness in certain scenarios could get you out of a bad situation. In the same respect, having good flexibility could get you out of tight spots, literally.
This stretch will improve your flexibility in the groin and hip region. The actual stretch is not too difficult. Simply sit on the ground, straighten your legs out in front of you, and straighten your spine for proper posture. Now grab your ankles, and bend your legs while pulling your ankles toward your pelvis. When the bottoms of your feet touch, see how much closer you can pull your feet inward before it becomes uncomfortable. Now, grab and hold your ankles and rest your right and left elbows on the right and left knees, respectively. Slowly, begin to press your knees down with the downward pressure of your elbows.
LYING HALF SPINAL TWIST
To give your spine more flexibility and make it more limber, try this stretch. Start out by lying on your back with your arms stretched out to your left and right side and legs together. Now lift your left leg to the sky, and fold it over to the right side of your body. Grab your left calf with your right hand and slide your right foot up closer to your shoulder. Keep your shoulders on the mat, and turn your head, looking to the left. Repeat this for both legs, for 10 to 20 seconds. This stretch will help your spinal flexibility, while also opening your chest up, getting oxygen to the lungs.
NECK AND TORSO
This is a great stretch for your traps and neck. Simply, lie on your back with your arms to your sides. As you inhale, lift your feet off the floor, raising your feet to the sky 90 degrees. Continue to move your feet backward, above your head, until your toes are touching the ground and your back is perpendicular to the ground. Feel free to use your hands as support for your lower back. Support your back on the tops of your shoulders. After about a minute, gently return your legs back to the starting position.
LEG CRADLE STRETCH
This is a great stretch for your lower back. Perform this stretch by lying down on your back and straightening your legs out in front of you. Lift your left knee and grab it with your left hand, while your right hand grabs your left ankle. Gently pull your left knee to your chest. Your left ankle will trail slightly behind, eventually leveling out to your knee level. Hold steady for about a minute and return your leg to the floor. Perform the same stretch on your right leg.
YES and NO’S
These stretches are more of exercise routines on your neck than actual stretches. They will help strengthen the neck’s surrounding muscles. For Yes’s, start by lying flat on your back. Lift your head about an inch off the mat. Now, touch your chin to your chest, then lower your head to the starting position, completing one repetition. Repeat for 20-30 times. For No’s, start by lying flat on your back. Lift your head about an inch off the mat. Now, turn your head to the left, and then to the right to complete one repetition. Repeat this about 20-30 times.
Remember: Keep your head about an inch off above the mat when you lower it and don’t let it touch!
With these 5 stretches, your body will become more flexible, and muscles will be made stronger to perform the twists and turns the come with practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.