Are you addicted to ground training? If the mat is your second home, invest 3-5 minutes on each training day to properly prepping your shoulder joints. Kimuras, omoplatas and Americanas are unavoidable when practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Even if you have respectful training partners, the shoulder can be susceptible to so many different types of chronic injuries. Although most people are concerned about acute injuries, like a shoulder dislocation or an abrupt tear from a late tap, the truth is that chronic injuries are far more likely to occur. In order to avoid the wide array of chronic shoulder pain or soreness, add the exercises below to your pre-class routine. Think of it as an investment in your BJJ training.
The shoulder joint is actually part of the upper back girdle (comprised of the humerus or arm bone and scapula or shoulder blade). The entire area must be thoroughly warm-up before training.
Pre-BJJ Shoulder Prep Routine
Step 1: Dynamic Flexibility
- Arm Circles, not only loosen up the shoulder joint, but also the trapezius muscles (muscles between the neck and shoulder joint). It stimulates increase blood flow to the joint, which promotes enhanced range of motion.
- Exercise 1 & Tip: Perform 15 seconds of arm circles on each arm and in each direction. Stand on a slight angle when doing the arm circles to achieve a better range of motion. Keep the size of your circle relative to your comfortable range of motion.
Step 2: Scapula Mobility
- The scapula is also referred to as the shoulder blade. Therefore, they serve as a critical support system for the healthy function of the shoulder joint. Since many people have shoulders that round forward (which means the scapulas are not aligned properly for ideal posture), squeezing your shoulder blades together will improve the health of the shoulder joint and your posture. Tightness and restricted
- Exercise 2 and Tip: Using a resistance band, perform 15-20 wide rows. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together. Keep your shoulders down and neck long. This action moves the shoulder blades towards the spine.(illustration taken from WEBMD).
- Exercise 3 & Tip: Hang from a chin up bar. Perform 2-5 movements of raising and lowering your shoulder blades, holding each position for about 1 second. The goal is to learn how to move your shoulder blades in all directions. In doing so, you will be also improve the integration of the tendons and ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint. (pictures taken from Men’s Health Magazine).
Step 3: Static Flexibility
- Static flexibility is when you hold a stretch for a 30 second period of time without movement. It is most useful after you have warmed up and generated sufficient blood flow to an area. Since BJJ requires you to withstand pressure and sometimes strain towards the end of your range of motion, static stretching is very useful. However, most people insert their static stretches as step 1 of a routine, instead of step 3. Static stretches are also more successful when you relax and breath deeply. (pictures taken from PerformLivehealthy.com & fit2surf.com)
- Exercises & Tips: Perform the following stretches for 30 seconds each. Avoid bouncing in the stretch and maintain good alignment of your