While practicing techniques and strategies in BJJ is very important, a key factor to BJJ training are the warm-up drills before any session, especially when preparing for a match. The main objective behind warming up before training is to prevent injuries and prepare the body for this highly demanding sport. There are plenty of exercises to choose from, but here are 9 essential BJJ warm-up drills that everyone should incorporate into their routine, followed by a simple warm-up program that includes the exercises mentioned below.
9 Essential BJJ Warm-up Drills
Squats are one of the most essential warm-up drills in BJJ since they activate pretty much all of the lower-body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. All of these muscles are heavily utilized in takedowns, guard passing, and sweeps. By incorporating squats you can increase the blood flow into these muscles, which prevents injuries and enhances your overall performance while training. They are also a great mobility and strength exercise, as well as a great warm-up for your knees.
Planks are also excellent BJJ warm-up drills since they engage the core muscles including the abs, hips, and back. These are essential for maintaining stability during movements such as twisting, bridging, and grappling. The core is also very important for maintaining control of your opponents. Adding these into your routine can help you gain core-strength and activate the muscles to reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance on the mat.
Tabata push-ups are high-intensity exercises. They improve overall upper-body strength and endurance since they target all of the “push” muscles which are the triceps, shoulders, and chest. They are done in the following way: you have 20 seconds of push-ups and 10 seconds of rest where you try to do as many push-ups as you can in the 20 seconds. Repeat that for 6-8 sets and you get an amazing warm-up drill for BJJ, as practicing them can help you in framing against your opponent.
Shoulder shrugs are essential because they help to mobilize and activate the upper-back and shoulder muscles, which are crucial for executing takedowns, throws and guard passing. They also improve shoulder joint stability and mobility and therefore make you less prone to shoulder injuries which are unfortunately quite a common occurrence in the sport.
Jumping jacks are a part of many professional athletes’ warm-up routines. That in itself proves the practicality of this exercise. They are simple, yet they get the blood flowing very well while also increasing the heart rate to get you going. They are also very good for loosening the body and warming up the ankles, knees, hips, and even the shoulder joints. Jumping Jacks are all-in-one warm-up drills and they are definitely worth adding in to a routine for BJJ.
While it may sound simple, Arm circles are effective exercises that also improve shoulder mobility and flexibility. If you are not familiar with them, they involve rotating the arms in a circular motion which activates and loosens your arms and shoulders. You can also do these with one arm or both arms at the same time. Having flexible shoulders is critical for defending submissions such as kimuras and triangles and also help prevent injury to the area.
Solo Triangle Chokes
As the name suggests, these are Triangle Chokes that do not require a training partner. These will also develop muscle memory as well as flexibility and endurance while performing this submission, and should give you a better understanding of how to counter your opponent’s triangles. They are essential because the Triangle Choke is very powerful and is useful in many different situations. It can be executed from the mount and both the guard and half-guard. Be sure to warm up your hips and legs, as this submission requires good hip and leg mobility. A strong core will also help in doing these, because a triangle involves significant core-engagement to control your opponent.
Forward, Backward, and Sideways Rolls
Rolls are one of the more important BJJ drills that form part of most warm-up routines because they are useful for a variety of different reasons. They stretch the spine, the neck, and pretty much the entirety of the back muscles. They are a great flexibility movement and if perfected they can be quite useful in escaping various submissions. With perfect timing, these can also improve your position significantly and change the tide of the battle in scrambles. To do these you need to move your body in the according direction (depending on your position or while in training depending on the type of roll you are performing) while simultaneously kicking your legs over your head. The more you do them the more explosive you will become when rolling in any direction.
The shrimp drill mimics the hip movement which is used in escapes. Doing these regularly strengthens the muscles used in the escapes and improves the skill and muscle memory of this specific movement. It is one of the most important BJJ drills and the exercise should be implemented as part of any warm-up routine. It involves sliding the hips away from your opponent while lying on your back. These are also doable by beginners which means it is useful for everyone. Once you get good at them you can try changing up the pace to make them more difficult.
BJJ Warm-up Drills Routine
All of these are very useful in no specific order, and when combined with intense training, proper technique, and impeccable willpower, they can level up your performance tremendously. Combine this warm-up routine with some nice stretching and you are ready for action:
Squats: 10 reps for 3 sets with 10 seconds rest
Plank: For 2 minutes, for 1 set
Tabata Push-ups: For 20 seconds, for 8 sets with 10 seconds rest
Shoulder Shrugs: 10 reps for 3 sets with 5 seconds rest
Jumping Jacks: 25 reps for 4 sets with 15 seconds rest
Arm circles: 15 reps for 2 sets (forward and backward) with 5 seconds rest
Solo triangles: 10 reps for 1 set
Forward, Backward and Sideways rolls: 2 reps for 3 sets (1 of each) with 10 seconds rest
Shrimping: 5 reps for 2 sets with 10 seconds rest
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