Warming up is a pain in the back side. Everyone hates it, many skip it, other just go through the motions and the rest probably do it plain wrong.
Warming up for a weight session is fairly well documented, I’ve written about it myself in the past and I’ve a request to write about it again from a good and respected friend.
But today I want to talk about your martial arts practice. Specifically you BJJ guys.
Warming up for a sport isn’t much different initially to a gym warm up, we need to follow the same basic sequence:
Raise core temperature
Raise heart rate
Encourage full range of motion
Practice specific skill
Get the mind and body firing together
So those few minutes of holding a stretch aint going to cut it.
I’m not saying stretching doesn’t work, I am saying it’s a poor choice for a warm up.
What we need is movement. Stretch dynamically, ie go into the tightness and straight back out, do it multiple times, going deeper each time.
After a few reps we ought to feel the muscle just let go as it awakens and starts to fire. It ought to feel awake and ready to go.
Which is the whole point of warming up in the first place.
The next part of the warm up should be dealing with specific issues the sport brings up.
This is almost never done, unless the instructor is extremely switched on.
What do I mean by dealing with specific issues the sport brings?
Every sport has its particular movements and postures that are repeated more than any other.
For BJJ, it’s essentially the foetal position, curled up, spine and hip flexed.
So we often find BJJ players who have terrible extension. So why not work on that while warming up?
If we only ever strengthen the sporting postures, eventually the body will put it’s breaks on and prevent further progress or it’ll get injured. So spend time opening the hip flexors, extending the spine and retracting the shoulders.
The following video is one of the clips I have filmed to support the upcoming release of the Fighting Back eBook.
It shows the suggested warm up sequence from the book:
Now, if there’s a group of you, you may not all have rollers and bands. So here’s a bonus that only needs a skipping rope and less than 10 minutes:
Of course, if skipping is impractical, skip the skipping and instead run on the spot (get those knees HIGH!) or use star jumps.
The Fighting Back manual is still with my editor having the many spelling errors corrected, but we will be releasing it for purchase this coming Monday.
Be sure you get your copy.