It is the subject of BJJ warm-ups once again. This time, we’re going to look at it from a slightly different angle though. What is the best way to actually warm up for Jiu-JItu? Is it stretching, calisthenics or going straight into drills or flows? Let’s check each of them out and see if we can optimize BJJ warm-ups.
When we talk about BJJ warm-ups, people usually like to thread around the subject or avoid it completely. Much like with the actual BJJ warm-ups, in fact. Understandably, when you have the option of rolling live and learning joint snapping moves, jumping jacks aren’t high on your list of priorities. That said, deep down we all know that we absolutely have to warm up before training Jiu-Jitsu. What we cannot do is skip warming up completely. Another thing we should look to avoid is being too one-dimensional with our BJJ warm-ups.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is unique in the demands it imposes on those training it. When you grapple, you’re going to get into weird body positions, your heart rate is going to go up, and you’ll be using all your muscles at some point. These things are unavoidable. now, think of running, where your legs do all of the work. Could you use a runner’s warm up to get into the groove fro BJJ? On a different note, flexibility also plays a huge role in Jiu-Jitsu, but deep yoga stretches are never a good idea for a warm up.
The “Boring” BJJ Warm Up
In terms of standards that apply to BJJ warm-ups across the world, the truth is there are none. Every academy has its own preferred method of warming up. In most cases, the majority of people (including instructors) just like to go for a 10-minute warm-up and jump straight into techniques and/or drills. When it is an open mat session, people generally skip the warm-up altogether, claiming they’ll flow roll the first couple of rounds. A minute later it’s more intense than an EBI final.
In terms of exercises, the BJJ warm-ups “classics” go into one of two directions. The first is the basic run around the gym, Judo-style drills. A lazier version is going for jumping jacks and calisthenics to get you going. The next part is usually the same, with some mobility and/or stretching to loosen everything up. This is not a bad warm-up system when done right. That means doing it for about 20 minutes with the appropriate vigor and focus. Standing there doing circles with your forearms is not an effective way to get ready for war.
Another approach is the competitor’s way of warming up. This includes sprints, multiple rounds of numerous repetitions of push-ups, jumps, squats, burpees etc. It is more of a Crossfit circuit training than a warm-up for BJJ. It most certainly won’t help you in any way apart from opening up injury opportunities. To that extent, half an hour of Yoga poses is also a great way to injure yourself. Despite how flexible you might feel, Yoga should not be the sole focus of a warm-up intended to get you ready to grapple.
A Few Specific BJJ Warm-Ups
It is not uncommon for people to get bored from the standard BJJ warm-ups and attempt to make them more specific to the sport, and in turn, more entertaining. While practicing movement that is highly specific to the sport is a legitimate warm-up option, overdoing it is not.
Specific Jiu-JItsu drills have their place in the warm-up hierarchy. They could actually be a pretty good warm up even by themselves. Solo drills, in particular, are an interesting way to warm up. Even better, you could switch them up every week or so, skipping the boredom. Partner drills are also cool but tread with caution. Working with a partner means you both need to have the same tempo, which is not always the case. Let’s look at some BJJ warm-ups that are a great option when you get bored with the standard “run and stretch” routine.
The top option to warm up for Jiu-Jitsu is performing specific drills. To be more precise, specific movement drills. There’s no rocket science here and these could be a warm-up on their own or follow a more traditional sequence. What you need to remember is to be careful not to go into more demanding moves from the start. Start with easy moves, like shrimping and bridging. Make sure to go for enough reps as well, so that you’re both loose and warmed up as you progress with the moves.
Switch it up every few weeks. there are countless options you can do here. Only shrimping variation are numerous enough for a warm up. Animal crawls, break falls, tumbling, jumps… the opportunities are countless.
This is a great way to prepare for the specific subject of the class. This is something that is hugely popular at 10th Planet. the idea is to go for a scenario in which you do a pass, for example, after which your partner escapes side control, opening up a path for you to go into another specific move and so on. It is an awesome way to warm up, given that you know how to pace yourself.
The Effects Of Doing 10Th Planet Warm-Ups For A Year
The trouble here is, that these type of warm-up routine is only good for advanced classes. You can’t ask new students to hit up chains of moves as a warmup. On the plus side, advanced students can use these style of BJJ warm-ups to prepare a competition game plan. That means each class, you warm up with the preferred strategies for competition, organized into realistic scenarios.
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Fun & Games
In kids classes, this is the preferred way to warm up. Going for games which include BJJ specific movements is not a bad idea for an adult class warm-up routine as well. The advantage of games is that they include the whole class at once, making them both fast and effective. Furthermore, a good selection of games means you’ll be ready for the demands of grappling.
As with drills, the opportunities here are endless. Everything, from wheelbarrow races, through a partner, carries to explosive work is a good fit, depending on goals. An added benefit is that games strengthen the team spirit and raise competitiveness in students at the same time. Plus, it is never boring to play a game as a warm-up!
There’s no way that we can exclude flow rolling as a legitimate way to warm up for BJJ. After all, it is as specific as a BJJ warm-up can get. The trouble is that very few people actually know how to “roll light”. As far as advanced BJJ warm-ups go, flow rolling is at the very top. People below purple belt shouldn’t even think about it. Furthermore, it is not advisable for competitors, unless they’re really good at flowing to warm up like this. Competitors are battle-minded and always looking for an advantage which goes against the nature of flow rolling.
Creating The Perfect Hybrid
The trouble with BJJ specific drills is that they’re not for everyone, especially not for new students. People that still have no idea how to shrimp shouldn’t attempt to breakfall into a handstand and similar movements. It won’t be fun, they might get injured and they most certainly won’t warm up. On the other hand, the traditional way of warming up is boring, people often slack and it is not specific to the sport.
The best way to go about a BJJ warm-up is to tailor one for yourself. The problem with this approach is that it might not fit everyone else. If you’re the instructor you can still push through with it, but it is not a smart thing to do. If you’re a student though, you’ll only be able to do it on open mat sessions.
So, apart from allowing everyone to warm up for themselves (like Dnahaer does), the best idea is to build a hybrid of the best. For a beginners class, stick to solo drills and perfect movement. Lots of reps mean that people are going to be perfectly prepared for class. Advanced only classes, on the other hand, can benefit from technical scenarios or even flow rolling.
When teaching a mixed class, the best way is to combine everything together. Loosen everyone up with some running or jumping, not more than 5 minutes. Go for drills next and then split people into two groups. From there, apply beginner/advanced warm-up routines and you’ll be done in 20 minutes with everyone ready for the day’s class.