Mobility for BJJ

As a jiu-jitsu athlete, your performance isn’t just determined by your knowledge of techniques, positions, or tactics. Your physical attributes significantly influence it; among them, mobility is a cornerstone.

Why is Mobility Important?

Mobility is the capacity to move your joints freely through their entire range of motion. From executing an effective shrimp to playing (or playing against) a high-level guard, it plays a vital role in performing the technical movements in BJJ. Without sufficient mobility, you may struggle to execute particular moves, reduce your offensive and defensive effectiveness, and increase your risk of injury.

Where is Mobility most needed?

General mobility is the goal, but there are some standout areas for new and experienced BJJ players to focus on. These include:

  1. Hip Mobility: The hips are involved in virtually every BJJ move, from guard retention to creating leverage for submissions. Good hip mobility allows you to use your legs more effectively in both offensive and defensive scenarios.
  2. Shoulder Mobility: With many BJJ techniques involving shoulder movements, it’s essential to have good shoulder mobility to prevent injuries and ensure your techniques are as effective as possible.
  3. Spine Mobility: Having a flexible and strong spine allows you to move fluidly, especially when applying and escaping from submissions.

Improving Mobility

Improving your mobility takes time and consistent effort, but it is worth the payoff. Some strategies you can consider as you plan your approach:

  1. Dedicated Mobility Workouts: Include mobility exercises in your training regimen. Use a combination of dynamic stretches, static stretches, and mobility drills that have high transferability to BJJ.
  2. Active Rest Days: On rest days, focus on active recovery, incorporating light mobility exercises.
  3. Pre- and Post-Training Mobility Routines: Perform dynamic stretches to prepare your body for movement before you train. Post-training, use static stretches to aid recovery and increase flexibility.
  4. Yoga and Pilates: Both practices can improve your overall mobility, flexibility, and body awareness, all of which can benefit your BJJ performance.

Introductory Mobility Sessions

Now that you understand the importance of mobility in BJJ and strategies to improve it, here are some beginner-friendly, 10-20 minute mobility sessions you can incorporate into your routine:

  1. Hip Mobility Session:
    • Butterfly Stretch: 2 sets of 30 seconds
    • Pigeon Pose: 2 sets of 30 seconds each side
    • Deep Squat Hold: 2 sets of 30 seconds
  2. Shoulder Mobility Session:
    • Arm Circles: 2 sets of 30 seconds each direction
    • Doorway Stretch: 2 sets of 30 seconds
    • Thread the Needle Pose: 2 sets of 30 seconds each side
  3. Spine Mobility Session:
    • Cat-Camel Stretch: 2 sets of 30 seconds
    • Child’s Pose: 2 sets of 30 seconds
    • Sphinx Pose: 2 sets of 30 seconds

As you progress, you can adjust these sessions by adding time, additional sets, more advanced movement variations, etc.

Remember, as with anything, consistency is key to improving your mobility. As you incorporate these exercises into your routine, listen to your body, and seek professional guidance if needed. As you continue your BJJ journey, enhancing your mobility will empower you to perform at your best and reduce the risk of injuries. Embrace the journey, and let your mobility guide you to your BJJ goals.