We all love to roll, right? I mean that’s the best part of Jiujitsu for most of us. I know a lot of people like to skip warmup or think of it as unnecessary before the real class. I know I was like that. The older I get though, the more I take warmups seriously. I think of it as a form of skills development for all the basic movements of Jiujitsu, and for getting my body warm and mobile enough so that it doesn’t creak and crackle during class.
There has been a ton of research pointing to warmups being effective in reducing the incidence and likelihood of injury. A good warmup routine will consist of a general warmup and a sports specific warmup. In our case, how we usually run in a circle, do lunges, pushups and bear crawls etc. can be considered a general warmup. Then basic bridging, shrimping etc. can be considered a more BJJ specific warmup.
Anecdotally, I find that my body feels to have a much better range of motion and work better during rolling, if I have had a proper warmup.
Warmups are especially important when you’re training at openmat; most people I know don’t warmup sufficiently during free training. So if you don’t have any other ideas, try the exercises below before you wrestle. It'll only take 5 minutes (only one round of wrestling) and will help alot for when do you start rolling.
I usually like to get my students to do basic partner drills like takedown entries, basic sweeps and basic passing and so on, as a part of the specific warmup. Again if you’re training at openmats, do these with your partner before you guys go at it. Alternatively, you can come up with some of your own drills for movements you want to work on.
The aim is to warm up the muscles that we would likely use during training in a controlled manner. Intensity should be enough for mild sweating without muscle fatigue, I find that 5-10 minutes of these exercises work well to achieve this.
I tend not to include static stretching as part of the warmups and leave it to after class instead. Some studies have shown that there is “statistically non-significant” difference between including or not including static stretching as part of the warmup, in terms of injury prevention. Some research even indicates that it may hinder performance. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, if you feel like it makes you more comfortable and helps you perform better during class, then all the more power to you.
At the moment, I am staying away from heavy loads on my neck as part of the warmup, with simple low resistance neck exercises and I tend to focus a lot on warmups focusing around my upper back and knees, simply because I have issues with them. If you are dealing with any specific issues, please consult an expert like your friendly neighbourhood BJJ physio regarding how you should be warming up, and let your instructor know before class.
Warm up right and happy grappling 😊