BJJ is a sport for everyone. Regardless of age, sex, body type or athletic abilities, anyone can find a Jiu-Jitsu game to play. In general terms, there are usually two major game directions in BJJ – top, and bottom. Top players are those that like to pass, put pressure and work without spending too much time on the mats themselves. Bottom players are those that like to work off their back, in any of the numerous guard variations. But, every once in a while, you run into a move or guard, for example, that would fit your game perfectly. The only thing stopping you is the lack of flexibility to use that particular guard. Well, this doesn’t have to be the case. with the help of some BJJ stretches, you can become as flexible in guard as Eddie Bravo.
BJJ stretches are aw ide topic that has been discussed many times. Today, the focus is only on a very specific part of the flexibility game. For a dynamic and hard to pass guard, you need to have flexible hips. The good news for all you brittle rock out there is that hips are highly trainable. Even if you have the tightest pair of hips in the academy, you can become a rubber guard machine. All it takes is a careful selection of specific BJJ stretches. That and dedication.
Similar to grappling, stretching and flexibility require time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend as much time stretching as you do BJJ, But you do need to make it a daily practice, especially when it’s focused, like in our example. For a better guard, you need to be able to open up your hips significantly. Getting more flexible hips is probably the easiest part of the flexibility puzzle. Still, there’s no shortcut, and you’ll have to put the work in. The stiffer you are, the more you’ll need to stretch. With some clever programming and a select few BJJ stretches, though, you’ll be well on your way to play guard like never before!
On the subject of rubber guard, there’s a brand new DVD release by Brandon McCagren. It’s called “Rubber Guard: The Meathook” and will teach you what to do with all your new found flexibility. Check it out!
There are a few essential things you need to know about stretching for Jiu-Jitsu. Namely, simply sitting in a lotus position is not the way forward. For stretching to actually work, you need to know how to program it. This means how often you should do it, how long to hold specific stretches and, of course, which exercises are actually worth your time and effort.
The first thing to know is that there’s no way you can make cold muscles more flexible. Unless your muscles are ready for work, just like with grappling, BJJ stretches are going to be ineffective. So, you could either warm up for stretching or fit your stretching in your workout. Or, to be more precise, after you’re done.
Next up is the one thing everyone gets wrong at the beginning. Instead of just holding without any regard for time, have a system in place. As a rule of thumb, the aim should be to hold BJJ stretches for at least 30 seconds. 90 seconds is the norm you should be shooting for. So, next time you stretch, do it with a timer.
Another important point is how deep to go on stretches. In most cases, people wither go too light or too far. If there’s a lot of pain, you’re doing something wrong. however, if there’s no tension, then there’s no benefit either. make sure you feel tension when you stretch but that you’re not overdoing it. If you keep going too deep, you’ll confuse the body’s protective mechanisms and injuries will surely follow. you should be uncomfortable, but never in pain.
BJJ Stretches For Guard Players
Playing guard requires your hips to be as flexible as a ballerina’s. So, does that mean you should do the same type of training ballerinas do? Not necessarily. In terms of selecting the best BJJ stretches for a better guard, you need to think wide. Ballet, Yoga, PT stretches, mobility drills all have their place. There’s no one specific stretching system that fits BJJ perfectly. However, each has certain exercises that benefit certain grappling aspects.
In our quest for the best BJ stretches for guard players, we came up with 6 exercises. Each of this hits a different area of the hips. When you combine all of these stretches, in the given order, you end up with the perfect routine. As an added bonus, it won’t take more than 20-30 minutes to complete, depending on hold time. You think that this is a lot? next time you manage to retain guard against a top brown belt competitor in your gym, you don’t think so.
1. Baby Pose
This fairly simple stretch comes from Yoga. It is a great way to begin stretching your hips. It is simple and prepares you for more intense stretching later on. You need to be on your back, knees bent, hands holding your feet. Place your palms on the outer edges of your feet. Your soles need to be facing the ceiling. The aim is to pull the knees as close to the mats as possible.
2. Deep Squat
This one is a classic stretch. Actually, this stretch should be done by everyone as it helps with guard passing as well. It is the one stretch every grappler should do. The exercise requires you to stand with your legs hip wide apart. Keep your fingers pointing straight ahead, and squat as deep as you can. The aim of the stretch is to squat deep while keeping the soles of your feet glued to the ground. your knees should also stay in line with your fingers.
3. Standing Wide Split
Do not be afraid of the name of this exercise. You won’t be doing a full split just yet. However, if there was ever an exercise that could help you with splits, it’s this one. Simply stand with your legs as wide apart as comfortable. Feet pointed forward and knees straight, bend forward and touch your arms to the ground. The ultimate goal is to place both your arms on the ground, from fingertips to shoulders. Your head should turn to one side and be flat on the mats as well. Take it slow with this one and progress slowly until you can get into position as described.
4. Butterfly Stretch
Of all the hip related BJJ stretches, this is the one everyone is attempting. It is also the one most people are just half-assing. The stretch itself is simple – sit on the ground and put the soles of your feet together. Try to pull the feet as close to your butt as possible. From there on, the goal is to put your knees falt on the mat on each side, while keeping the feet together. To make the stretch even better, add a forward bend to the mix. If you can touch your forehead on the mat while your knees are flat down on each side, you don’t need this article.
5. Single Leg Pancake
The pancake is an essential gymnastics stretch. However, it is an advanced one that has no place in our routine. Instead, a progression that leads to the pancake makes the cut. It’s also one you probably know, Sit on the ground with one leg extended in front of you. Put the sole of the other foot on the inside of the extended leg’s thigh and keep your knee falt to the ground. The goal is to touch the toes of your extended leg (foot flexed) while bending over it with a straight spine. remember to do the stretch on both sides.
6. The Pigeon Pose
This is another Yoga stretch that’s tailor-made for BJJ. Start off by placing one leg in the mat in front of you. bent the leg 90 degrees at the knee, so that the foot is touching the mats with the outer edge. Extend the other leg as far back as possible, keeping it completely straight. The goal is to touch both your hips to the ground. At first, keep your arms extended and as you get better, aim to put your elbows on the floor in front of you. Once again, the spine stays straight.