What is a Warmup (and why it’s important for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)
BJJ Warm ups are a series of body movements done before starting with your Brazilian jiu jitsu training.
It is actually something that you should not skip prior to training BJJ. Why? Well, it is because this is how you prepare your body for what is coming up ahead.
As we all know, BJJ is a combat sport wherein you have to use different muscles and body parts. Hence, for them to be highly effective you must warm them up.
In addition to that, by doing warm up exercise, you are actually protecting yourself from possible injuries. Lastly, this is something that also improves your overall health and strength if done continuously.
What if you don’t warm up before bjj training?
If you are about to start BJJ training and do not start with any warm up exercises, know that there is a possibility of negative consequences.
Be reminded that BJJ is a combat sport that requires you to have good muscle movement during training. Hence, skipping warm up will put you and your health at risk.
This means, skipping warm up exercise will make you a candidate for muscle pain and injury if you go right straight to training. In addition to that, your overall performance can or may be affected because your flexibility will be limited.
How Should I Warm Up Before BJJ?
Do know that there is no right or wrong way to warm up for BJJ. There are several different types of warm up exercises that you can do before training.
This will depend on what you want to focus on or prioritize for the day. Here are the possible activities that you have:
- Cardio movements
- Mobility movements
- Strength based movements
- BJJ specific movement
Although not limited to those mentioned above, be reminded that there are other options that you can explore. Whatever works best for you should be your go to warm up exercise prior to training or competition.
Moreover, warming up prior to BJJ should not be limited to a certain type of movement series. You can mix and match different movements to create your own in order to achieve full potential.
Cardio Movement Warm Ups
One way to jump start your training is by starting it with your cardio movement warm up exercises. It has been coined after the overall effect it gives the body system.
Hence, cardio movements give your cardiovascular system a pump. This means that your body temperature will gradually rise and your muscles loosen up.
Aside from that, what makes this highly effective is that:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improves blood flow
- Lowers cholesterol
- Strengthens the heart
- Increases stamina
Light Jog / Sprint Intervals
One of the go to cardio movement warm ups that is evident in pretty much all sports are light jog and sprint intervals.
What is great about these workouts is that even if you do them for a short or brief period of time, they work.
Light jog is similar to the normal jog which you can do for several minutes and take a rest.
Meanwhile, sprint intervals is a type of exercise that makes you sprint for a short period of time, while the rest is longer. Thus, allowing you to recover in between the sessions.
Jumping jacks are the total body work that you can do anytime and anywhere. This is a highly effective warm up exercise that can boost your cardiovascular system prior to BJJ training.
Furthermore, jumping jacks are what you consider as plyometric exercises. This means that it is a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise. Therefore, it gives you that full body stretch as well.
Lastly, what makes this warm up exercise so great is that it highly involves the glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, shoulder and abdominal muscles. Thus, making it highly beneficial for BJJ.
Another highly effective warm up is doing the cartwheel. This move involves using your arms and legs to transition to the other side.
Get a better picture of how it is done by watching this video.
Now, we know that not everyone can do this or prefer to do this but know that it has a lot of benefits. If you want to try it, have someone with you and keep practicing.
Well, it is because of the benefits you can gain if done properly and correctly. It improves strength, breathing, and bone health circulation. Moreover, it improves flexibility, balance and coordination.
Another highly effective cardiovascular warm up exercise to do is the mountain climbers. What is so great about this is that it is already a total body exercise that gives you a lot of benefits, namely:
- Core strengthening
- Cardio endurance
Different muscle groups are involved in doing this workout, giving your body that heat you need before BJJ.
Mobility Movement Warm Ups
So what is this mobility movement warming up anyway? Well, you can refer to the term itself, mobility. This type of warm up allows your joints to freely move with the surrounding tissues. Hence, creating smooth movement.
One thing great about mobility movement warm ups is that it gradually increases your flexibility also if you consistently do it before or after your training sessions. As a result, you can expect great sports performance.
Here are the other positive outcome that you can expect from regularly doing your mobility warm up:
- Stress release
- Low intensity but gives you enough build up for high intensity training
- Aids back aches, knee pain, etc.
- Prevents muscle stiffness
Downward dog / Upward Dog
One of the best and highly recommended stretches or mobility warm up is the downward facing dog or the upward facing dog. This allows your back, both lower and upper to get a good stretch. Aside from that, you are always proving your legs and hamstring a nice pull.
Another one to add to your mobility warm up set is your cat/cow stretch. This involves you being on all fours and arching your back. As a result, your upper and lower back will be loosened and relaxed.
Hip Flexor Stretch
In BJJ, we all know that all limbs are being used. One of the best stretches to get you started is your hip flexor stretch.
This gives your hips and muscles great mobility after being done. Moreover, if you continuously do this, know that your flexibility and posture will improve. Aside from that, pain can be prevented or relieved during training.
World’s Greatest Stretch
The world’s greatest stretch wouldn’t be called that if it was not really the best. So why is it called that? Well, this move targets all the major muscles in the body that you actually use on a daily basis.
Hence, it means that by doing this, you are preparing all your muscles for your BJJ training already.
This targets the lower and upper body, making you extremely ready for movement.
Another great movement to do pre training is your bird dog exercise. What is so great about this is it helps you build your core, which plays a big role when it comes to stability. Now, besides that, this move gives you a neutral spine that can relieve and prevent back pain.
Furthermore, this can help prevent injury as you go along training. Lastly, not only does it benefit your core, back and prevent pain, it also promotes proper posture if done consistently.
Strength Based Warm ups
We know that we always mention that BJJ relies highly on technique and not strength. But the thing is, you still have to do a lot of strength based warm up exercises and movements to reach your full potential.
Moreover, by doing these strength based warm ups prior to your BJJ training, you gain a lot of things in the long run.
By doing these, you give your body strength. Moreover, you are already burning calories and building muscles as you do these exercises. More importantly, it lowers your risk of injury and decreases your risk for falls.
Check out some of the strength based exercises that you can do as you read along.
Pull ups if done properly will be highly beneficial to you as an individual and not just a BJJ practitioner. This certain warm up involves you hanging from a pull up bar. From here you will raise and retract back your scapular.
This warms up your shoulder and if done frequently will build more muscle in the back and scapular area.
Do know that in BJJ, you are at risk for injuries because it is a high intensity combat sport. Therefore, strength building is highly recommended.
Push ups are not just for guys. Even women and beginners with not a lot of body strength can do this. Why? It is due to the fact that there are modifications that can be done to benefit anyone.
What is great about push ups are it builds more muscles in your back and shoulders. This then makes you protected from injuries. Aside from that, it helps build balance and posture that can help you in sports and athletic activities.
What Are the BJJ Warm Ups?
BJJ warm up exercises are usually the drills you do prior to the intense part of the training. These exercises mainly focus on movements that will be beneficial on your ground game.
Bjj warm ups are shrimping, reverse shrimping, forward roll, backward roll, and side rolls.
Hence, you can observe that common drills included here are the following:
- Reverse Shrimping
- Forward Roll
- Back Roll
- Side Roll (Granby)
Those mentioned above are the most common ones, but definitely not limited to that. Each and every BJJ school has their own set of BJJ warm ups or drills they ask their students to do.
What is great about these BJJ warm up exercises is that they do not only focus on stretching, raising up your heart rate and so on. These warm up exercises actually have movements that are part of your BJJ core and foundation.
In addition to that, know that these warm ups are the basics that every white belt should start learning. Moreover, These movements are commonly applied during rolling sessions or lessons of the day.
Read along as we go over each of these movements.
The shrimp is an essential drill or warm up to add into your BJJ routine. It does not only give you that warm up you need, it trains you for your upcoming training session.
Moreover, this move is highly essential because it is a fundamental movement in escaping. Aside from that, this will build your “standing up base” practice. Hence, continuous practice and involving it in your warm will benefit you a lot.
So does shrimping work? Well, it involves you pushing your hips backward while in a sideways position.
This is actually most useful when trying to escape from your opponent.
Rarely mentioned or talked about, but still highly effective is the reverse shrimp. To be quite honest, it is something that you do not see often in the warm up sets that you have. But still we recommend that you work on this if you have time.
So what makes reverse shrimp different from the normal shrimp? Well, it is just that you have to turn yourself back in the center.
Watch this video below to get a better understanding of how it works.
Now, the thing is, what is so great about this position is that you get to escape armbars, sweeps from difficult positions, etc. Moreover, as you practice this, you will improve your BJJ skills.
Another common BJJ warm up exercise is the front roll. If you are a white belt, trust me when I say that you should focus on mastering this one. Why?
Well, it will be something that will go with you as your progress in ranks. Furthermore, it is a highly effective move that will give you a lot of opportunities in the mats. Hence, learning and practicing it is highly recommended.
So, what is this forward roll? What benefit does it give you aside from the other warm ups? Well, this move can actually prevent you from getting injured on the mats.
As your opponent tries to throw you over their head, you will use your forward roll to avoid spiking your head on the mat. Thus, preventing your neck from breaking.
Another essential BJJ warm up exercise is the back roll. Now, picture yourself landing on the mats after your opponent does an ankle pick.
From here, you will land on your back with your feet high. Therefore, giving you the opportunity to use a back roll which involves you rolling over your shoulders. From here, you now have the opportunity to escape and face your opponent again.
Great move right? That is why this is highly recommended in adding in your warm up drills.
Side Roll (Granby)
Side roll also coined as Granby roll is one of the best BJJ warm up manoeuvres that you can do. This involves your rolling from shoulder to shoulder to escape your opponent.
This move is great to use as a warm up because it will give you the opportunity to practice escaping from your opponent. This is actually a great way to escape the other person if they are trying to take your back.
What are some other methods of warming up for bjj?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu warm up exercises are totally not rigid. What is so great about this sport is that it gives you variation. Not only is there variation in BJJ movements or attacks, there is also for warm up exercises.
Note that each and every school can be different. However, there are some who like to focus on doing some flow rolling before the actual lesson to prepare their students.
Meanwhile, there are some schools or gyms that like coining together different BJJ movements as a form of drill.
These are both highly effective. Both give the practitioner the warm up they need for the entire training session.
Flow Rolling (light rolling)
One of the common things to do to warm up for your BJJ training is to do some flow rolling. What is flow rolling and how is it different from the normal rolling sessions?
Flow rolling is lighter compared to the regular “sparring” or rolling sessions. This means, you get to practice techniques with your training partner without full defense.
Aside from that, you get to find new positions and develop positions that you find difficulty with. Moreover, if you are injured, this allows your opponent to stay away from your injury mindfully. Lastly, this is also the go to of lower ranks, who want to learn rolling with a higher rank.
There are some gyms that actually skip the entire process of warming up and just go straight ahead to drills. That is totally fine! These drills are actually low in intensity which can also be considered as a warm up exercise.
These movements can be done alone, with a partner or the class dummy. Here are some of the benefits of doing drills:
- Improve BJJ game
- Practice escapes
- Enhances reflexes
- Preparation for explosion in rolling sessions
Frequently Asked Questions
How to warm up for a bjj competition?
In addition to using the above BJJ specific warmups and mobility exercises, we recommend incorporating some activities that raise your heart rate. Here are some of the warm ups that you can do before your competition:
- Interval sprints
Your goal is to get your body ready for explosive and dynamic movements and these warm ups do just that.
Whatever warm up that you do prior to the competition, make sure that you have done it previously already. Even though these are just warm up exercises, you want to make sure that it does not cost you any injury.
Therefore, select a warm up activity you are familiar and comfortable doing.
Why do BJJ tape their fingers?
You have probably noticed that BJJ practitioners have these white tapes wrapped around their fingers during sessions. Although not essential, here are some of the reasons why they use finger tapes:
- Prevents injury
- Stops swollen tendons from pulling away from their natural position
- Reduces pain in fingers
- Build up finger strength
Hope this has been an awesome read! Check out our other posts! Catch you next time!