Some Injury Prevention tips for Training
My least favorite part of BJJ is injuries. I’ve had several in my career from wrestling and jiu-jitsu. I used to think i was too cool to worry much about them. I was young and honestly recovered very fast. But, they stack up quickly unfortunately. These lessons forced me to learn how to prevent injuries. I’ve done lots of research and have talked to various professionals on injury prevention.
The typical way we warm up/stretch
I have written before on the importance of stretching and how do it properly. Honestly, it was a pretty brief description and guide on stretching. I could go on much longer on techniques and guidance. The warm up is very vital to injury prevention. The problem with Jiu-jitsu and Martial Arts is that it’s so fun we just want to start training right away even before we warm up or stretch. I see people show up and stretch for maybe five minutes and jump right into a flow roll. That flow roll often lasts about 2 minutes before it escalates into full blown war. Than of course more people get injured because they did not warm up first. Whether it is a small nagging injury or a serious one.
The way we should warm up/stretch
“Start slow and work your way up.” That’s the principle you should live by in training. Start with a basic warm up and some active stretching (which you can revert to my prior article about). Jogging, jump rope, shadow boxing, squats, jumping jacks, lunges, etc. Start from head to toe. Roll your neck and shoulders out all the way down to rolling your ankles out. Small, slow movements into larger more faster movements. Roll your neck out out slowly and gradually increase the speed and motion. Follow this protocol with your arms, hands, fingers, back, hips, knees, and ankles. If you haven’t prepared your body to go through something it’s quite possible that your body will fail.
Knowing your limits
“The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” Hunter s. Thompson.
Sometimes no matter how much warming up and stretching you do you still get injured. In combat and physical sports these things are bound to happen. If you know your limits physically and know your practice partner well you can prevent some of these injuries. Knowing your body’s limits takes time. It can be tricky learning where your “limits” are. But, just as warming up starting slow and working your way up is a good direction on how to find those “limits.” Sometimes this can be as simple as practicing with people your size. Pride has gotten the best of me before here. I once tried to throw someone who was 80lbs heavier than me. It kinda worked but i also dislocated my knee at the same time. I knew my limits and should of abided by them. Choose your partners wisely and don’t be too prideful. Don’t be afraid to tap early and tap often.
Avoid dangerous positions
Avoiding dangerous positions is something that can be tough to do. In Martial Arts you need to practice and train from every position and situation that may arrive. Some of those positions are compromising to our body. You should tread lightly in positions that are dangerous to our knees, shoulders, elbows, necks, and joints. It takes time to recognize which positions are dangerous. This is why it’s good to work with someone who is high level in these positions. It’s an instructors job to explain the danger in certain positions and show you the defense or escape route out of it. Try to avoid these positions when working with beginner Martial Artist.
Make your Martial Arts journey sustainable
Injuries will happen. Whether small injuries or more serious ones they will happen unfortunately. Its part of the game. The more time you spend warming up, stretching, practicing with similar size partners, and training with instructors the longer your journey will be. When injuries do arise spend your due diligence rehabbing that injury. This will make you enjoy a lifetime of Jiu-jitsu rather than a short time.