Injuries are common in BJJ. Most grapplers accept that as a fact of life. However, some injuries tend to be more awkward and uncomfortable than others. a BJJ rib injury certainly qualifies as uncomfortable. That said, it is manageable, depending on severity. A BJJ rib injury is also quite easy to prevent if you train the right way.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tends to expose the weakness of our bodies in ways we never thought possible. The ribcage is a great example. it is the protective cover of some of our most vital organs, yet it is quite prone to grappling induced injuries. A BJJ rib injury is not an uncommon thing. In fact, it is one of the injuries new students get quite often. The ribs are an area that most other athletic disciplines do not really tax. In BJJ, however, a session of the knee on belly drills, and you’ll barely be able to breathe. Get a BJJ rib injury and you’re out for a couple of weeks at least. Not to mention living in total discomfort.
Direct pressure from a training partner is not the only way to get a BJJ rib injury. Sharp twists and turns, also have an impact, especially on the delicate muscles between the ribs. A BJJ rib injury needs to be managed properly or healing is going to be prolonged. Apart from a broken rib, most injuries of this kind require just rest. That is the one thing that seems to be particularly hard for grapplers. However, rolling with injured ribs is definitely not a good idea under any circumstances. That said, you need to make sure you are aware of a BJJ rib injury no matter how small. So the first thing you need to know is all the symptoms of a rib injury. Furthermore, once you heal from it, it’s time to do all you can to make sure your ribcage becomes tougher and more injury-resistant. This is how:
What Are The Symptoms Of A BJJ Rib Injury?
Basically, symptoms regarding rib injuries fall into one of two categories. Either they’re visible or result in some type of uncomfortable feeling. Very often it is both, and that’s as clear a sign as possible to give it a rest. In terms of stuff that you can see, there’s bruising and swelling of the rib area. It can be precisely on top of a rib, or in between two of them. From a discomfort standpoint, pain is the obvious one, often accompanied by tenderness to touch. Muscle strains tend to result in a very specific sensation of deep discomfort, especially painful during certain motions.
A cracked or broken rib is a very serious condition. There is potential for the bone to go toward the inside, piercing a lung, or even reaching the heart. The pain associated with a broken rib is immense, so it’s hard to miss or keep training with one. Furthermore, you’ll have all of the above symptoms appear at the same time. If that’s the case g straight to an ER to get professional medical help. A broken rib with no organ injuries is resolved with rest and pain medication. There’s no cast for your rib cage as it is constantly in motion when breathing. So just take the rest.
Bruised ribs or muscle strains are the usual extents of a BJJ rib injury. While not as serious as fractures, they are extremely painful and uncomfortable conditions. The treatment is the same as before- rest. However, in these situations, there’s the option of pushing through the pain. The smart thing is to stay put.
Prevention Through Exercise:
All of the above information points to the aftermath of a BJJ rib injury. Once you have an injury, you’ll have to rest until it heals. Do not attempt to roll while using painkiller pills or ointments. That’s only going to aggravate the problem. However, BJJ practitioners are not known for their adherence to medical advice, so there are some things that can help you speed up healing. These are mostly exercises that help return the ribcage into normal operating mode.
Exercises For The Intercostal Muscles: These are the muscles located in between the ribs. Given their location, they are quite difficult to train and strengthen. IN terms of rehab from a BJJ rib injury, breathing techniques are the best way to make sure you work the intercostals. Slow and drawn out-breaths are the exercise of choice here. The main role of these muscles is to expand the ribcage. going for near-maximal ribcage expansion by yourself is a great way to give these muscles some exercise time. However, doing any exercise while there’s pain still present means that you’ll probably only make things worse. If you can do it pain-free, then go for at least five sets of 10- 15 breaths.
Training The Obliques: The oblique muscles are in charge of bending and twisting motions of the torso. they are the main protective tissue of the lower ribs, AKA floating ribs. There are plenty of exercises out there that target these muscles. Any crunch variation that goes into diagonal is a great way to hit up the obliques. here are some exercise ideas to help you recover from a BJJ rib injury:
The Elusive Serratus Muscles: These muscles are in charge of protecting the upper ribs. Whenever you reach forward with your arms, these muscles come into play. Anatomically they act as a wrap – they start at the shoulder blades and go all the way around to the front. To strengthen and mobilize these muscles you’ll need to include a reaching motion. Combine it with ha crunching variation and you’ll be all set. Crunches with forwarding reaches are a good example. If you feel you’re not getting enough work, add small weights in each hand. In terms of rehab, though, go for the weight-free option and lots of reps.
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