How to Avoid Back Pain and Get the Most out of Your Bjj Training. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a safe and healthy form of exercise, but it can also be rough on the body. A common ailment among BJJ students is lower back pain. Back pain in BJJ is usually caused by positions and movements that place stress on the lower back. However, back pain is by no means a certainty in BJJ.
Check out the tips below for advice on preventing and treating this condition.
1) Seek medical attention – First and foremost, all injuries, particularly those involving your back, should be checked out by a doctor. If your pain isn’t debilitating, you’re probably experiencing what is known as “nonspecific” back pain. This type of back pain isn’t attributed to a specific injury or underlying disease, but is instead likely the result of strained muscles or ligaments. Still, the health of your back isn’t something you should take lightly, so it’s always a good idea to seek medical attention at the onset of any type of back discomfort.
2) Change your game – Assuming that you’ve ruled out any serious underlying issues, the next thing you may want to do is evaluate your game. It’s quite possible that your personal BJJ game is contributing your back pain. Are you a fan of the berimbolo and other inverted techniques? Do you continue to fight for armbars from guard even as you’re being stacked? Is your game heavily reliant on explosive shrimping and bridging? All of these things have the potential to cause back pain. Try playing around with positions and techniques that put less of a strain on your back. Not only will this reduce stress on your back, but your overall BJJ game will improve as well.
Stretching and Warm ups
3) Become well versed in your Bjj warm ups. There are hundreds of different warm up drills that will help improve you flexibility and strength. Also these drills will make you more mobile and increase your options on the mat.
4) Supplement your training – There are several things outside of BJJ that you can do to stretch out and strengthen your back, all of which should help prevent and alleviate pain:
I) Improve your core strength – Your core includes your abdominal and back muscles. A weak core and back pain tend to go hand in hand. Making a serious effort to strengthen your core will work wonders for your back pain. Everything from traditional strength training to stability ball work can improve your core strength.
II) Practice yoga – Yoga’s focus on balance, flexibility, and breathing makes it an ideal companion to BJJ. An additional benefit of Yoga is that it tends to help alleviate back pain. Even if you don’t want to join a yoga class, there are plenty of instructional materials online to help get you started. Child’s pose, downward dog, and upward dog are all particularly good poses for back pain. Here is a link to a good stretching video to help you start a practice.
III) Swim – Not only is swimming a great, low-impact exercise, but it’s also useful for alleviating back pain. The backstroke and front crawl are particularly effective for this purpose. In addition to stretching out your back, swimming also causes the body to release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.
You’re bound to experience obstacles over the course of your BJJ journey. However, with a little caution and supplemental exercise, back pain doesn’t have to be one of them!