BJJ is a combat sport and as such, everyone practicing it is acutely aware that injuries can and will happen; but what recovery practices are best to minimize the risk? Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective methods of recovery that athletes use on a regular basis and how those practices can help keep you training BJJ for as long as possible, and as much as possible.
Active Recovery For BJJ
Active recovery is something that all athletes employ in a variety of ways and Jiu-Jitsu competitors are no exception. For a lot of people, active recovery can be as simple as going to a regular class but rolling at a much lighter and more measured pace than you would normally. This is something that John Danaher is known for championing as a method of keeping his athletes on the mat seven days a week. Alternatively, swimming and yoga are great activities for stretching out the muscles and ensuring that you can recover quickly after a hard day’s work in training.
This is absolutely vital for working out knots in muscular tissue and can even help on a smaller scale when dealing with things like DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle-Soreness). While a qualified masseuse can work wonders with the human body and a good one is worth every penny they charge, there’s several cheaper options for those on a budget. Instead, a foam roller or massage ball can help any competitor to work out the muscle soreness themselves rather than having to pay a professional. Or, as a midway point between the two there are several vibrating massage guns on the market that can provide much more intense pressure than manually working the muscle. This isn’t as effective as having someone do it for you of course, but it’s definitely better than nothing and might be all you’d need for more minor issues.
Extreme temperature changes can help the body recover much faster than it would at a more normal temperature, and this works in either direction. The benefits of heat are well known and even amateur competitors can attest to the relaxation benefits of a nice hot bath after training. If you’ve got access to one, a sauna can provide the same benefits over a smaller timeframe and without needing to use a ton of your own water. On the other side of the scale, Cryotherapy can take the form of an ice bath or a cold sauna and the incredibly cold temperatures can reduce the level of muscle soreness while also limiting the inflammation response.
Nutrition And Sleep
These two things are the absolute fundamental necessities of recovery, whether that be for BJJ or any other physical activity on the planet. The oft-cited metaphor is that our bodies are like vehicles and you cannot expect a high-performance vehicle to run well on terrible fuel. Likewise, sleep is the time that our body performs it’s own maintenance internally and without an adequate amount, it’s like expecting your vehicle to run for decades without ever actually servicing it fully. Sleep is relatively straightforward (no less than 6 hours and aim for 8) but nutrition is much more complex and certainly too big a topic to condense into a paragraph, so it’s worth heading out and finding your own sources on how to optimize your diet for recovery.
There are several different ways to improve your recovery as a BJJ practitioner and it’s possible to keep in good physical shape even on a limited budget. if you can manage to keep your diet and sleep schedule in top condition while also engaging in active recovery, using a local sauna, and investing in some simple massage equipment, then you can make sure you have the ability to stay on the mats seven days a week for years to come.