One of the keys to longevity and injury prevention in a sport like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is proper mobility and strengthening. If your joints are functioning correctly with a full range of movement, you're less likely to be injured. Simple as that. Here's our top 5 exercises that you can add to your training. As always, shoot for progression and program properly. If there's a movement that is too advanced, progress up to it. Self improvement is the key!
#1 COSSACK SIDE LUNGE WITH KNEE DROP
This exercise is more advanced and you may need to program up to doing a full rep. The low side lunge with knee drop strengthens and increases your mobility of your hips while simultaneously loosening up your hip flexors and knees by doing an internal rotation knee drop. (Video of Cobrinha demonstrating below #2...)
a) Full mobility, but not strong enough for KB? Start with just your body weight. b) No full ROM(range of movement)? Try this:
Once you build up mobility, advance to adding strength.
#2 PISTOL SQUATS
Your knees take a beating in BJJ. By strengthening your legs, you'll build up the surrounding muscles that protect your knee and prevent injuries.
A Judo instructor of mine that trained in Japan said whenever athletes had knee problems, the sensei would make them do a couple hundred bodyweight squats a day. They key here was strengthening the muscles supporting their knees.
Adding in a KB adds weight to increase the difficulty of stabilizing yourself.
a) Not enough strength? Start off with either two leg squat or use a wall/pole for assistance. Another option you can do is to box squat with a single leg until you build up the strength.
This is one of our favorite drills for warming up your shoulder capsules and increasing your shoulder mobility. Begin by lying on your stomach, rotating to your side and move your arms in a swimming motion as you gain ground on the mat. Use before you train as well to warm up.
#4 GRANBY ROLL
Getting comfortable being inverted and improving your lower back and neck mobility is key in BJJ. The best way to learn the granby is to start seated on the mat with your feet facing a wall. Then tuck your neck, roll onto your shoulders, while keeping your feet on the wall. Use your feet to 'walk' you onto your shoulders. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it without a wall as shown below: