Let’s face it, injuries are bound to happen in this sport. You may run into an asshole who cranks your arm the wrong way or that tries to do some kind of flying move and lands on your knee wrong. Or you may be an older practitioner whose body takes a little time to recover. BJJ injuries are not fun to deal with, but it is necessary to know how to prevent them.
It’s a good idea to account for it but there are many ways you can work behind the scenes to prevent them from happening in the first place. You never have to get ready for something you are always preparing for.
Most Common Injuries in BJJ
There are many ways to find yourself on the list of being injured when training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The fact about martial arts is that it can be tough on the body and you run the risk of getting hurt along the way, especially when you are rolling with someone who may take those training sessions a bit too seriously. Here are some common injuries in Brazilian jiu-jitsu:
- Knee Injuries
- Elbow Injury
- Ankle Injury
- Shoulder Injury
- Cauliflower Ear
- Back Pain
Practicing jiu-jitsu comes with some risk factors just like most things that involve strength training or combat sports. It is just part of what we signed up for. Knowing that, accept the risk factors that are on the table and try everything in your power to not end up at a doctor’s office.
Acknowledging that it is a possibility and that you are not invincible goes a long way in not only preventing injury but maintaining those nagging ones. Nagging injuries are probably the worst ones to have to deal with but in this post, we will point you in a direction to help alleviate some of those pains that may occur.
Avoiding BJJ Injuries Starts With Proper Stretching
Simple stretching or even basic yoga poses will be game-changing to keep you fresh and loose enough to avoid injuries that can keep you off the mats for an extended period of time. From personal experience, we suffer from having very tight hip flexors from sitting all day at a desk. Every so often during the workday, I may be sure to stand up touch my toes, and hold lunge poses to open up my hips.
Adding a real yoga routine is not in our cards at the moment so we just look up great poses that we can do that are recommended by ‘YogaForBJJ‘. Yoga is a common practice that is done by most advanced athletes but even novice athletes can benefit from adding a simple routine to what they are currently doing.
There are only positive side effects to adding yoga and proper stretching to your training. Not only will you be able to stay away from being injured when you take the practice seriously but you may also progress way faster.
When you are nimble and able to move in ways other people cannot you are inching toward advanced athletes’ territory.
Prevent injury by adding a 5-minute routine to what you already do. BJJ-related injuries are no fun to deal with and can even discourage you from continuing on with the sport. We want to see you continue moving forward on your journey and it starts with taking care of your body properly.
If you have not made an investment in one yet, get yourself a foam roller. They are small and compact enough to seriously store anywhere and while you are at it you should probably go for a massage gun as well. These two items (in our book) should be in everyone’s house regardless if you train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or not.
Lift Weights to Help Prevent Injuries
Just because you train Brazilian jiu-jitsu does not mean you should skip the gym entirely. The serious athletes of the world (basketball players, football players, even tennis players) all lift weights in tandem of their sport-specific training, Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes should be doing the same.
We are serious about getting to the point where we can train this martial art full-time and we understand that avoiding common injuries (that can be entirely avoided) is the name of the game. BJJ injuries (listed above) tend to be ones that linger for long periods of time. A serious injury does occur when you we are not taking the proper steps to prepare ourselves for what we are about to put our bodies through.
At the current time, we lift weights between 2 -3 times per week and train Brazilian jiu-jitsu about 4 -5 times. We do not go into the gym to ego lift. We work our muscles in a way that will result in making our movement in our sport more dynamic and explosive so we can compete with some of the best people in our weight class.
Personal Care with Hydration and Supplementation
With Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, Hydration is a must. It should go without words there. You need to be dialed in with nutrition if you want to keep yourself at peak shape to not only compete at high levels but also prevent injuries from occurring.
Drinking a gallon of water and maybe even throwing in some electrolytes is the route you can go here. Drinking a gallon can be a hard task, especially if you are starting from zero. This is no rush, if you cannot drink a whole gallon start with three 24oz glasses a day. Morning, lunch, and night and you will be ok.
You sweat a lot in this sport and dehydration is not fun to deal with.
If you haven’t supplemented before it will become a part of your routine when adopting this new warrior lifestyle. Protein powders, vitamin D, magnesium glycinate, boron, fadogia agrestis with tongkat ali, and pre-training supplements from Matfuel are what we use to keep our bodies running. Nothing we take (from our knowledge) is a banned substance. While we try to avoid these at all costs, many people that train at the highest levels do use them.
If you have the capability of doing so, get your blood work done to see where you are lacking in regard to your supplementation. Through our own blood work process we discovered that we have high cholesterol and a lower-than-average level of testosterone for someone our age. This gave us the ammo to dial in a game plan with people who knew how to supplement properly so we could train longer and with more efficiency and energy.
Your body is a machine and it needs to be taken care of while you put it under this kind of stress. We have an article about the best supplements that any grappler could be taking, be sure to check that out.
Sauna and Cold Plunge Sessions
To prevent more injuries from occurring you need to take your post-workout recovery seriously especially if you are getting up there in age. Adding a routine to spend some time in the sauna and adding cold water exposure is a great way to get the most out of your body.
We know quite a few grapplers who have taken cold plunging seriously and have a device in their homes. If you are on the fence of doing so check out the reviews we have written on all the top products in the market.
Whether you are a BJJ athlete, hobbyist, or enjoy spending time doing other recreational sports, spending time in a sauna and time in a plunge tub could seriously boost performance and recovery times. Spending just 20 minutes in a sauna can relieve stress, relax muscles, soothe aches, flush out toxins, and improve cardiovascular performance.
A regular dry sauna does the job here. If you have a local gym you go to that has an infrared sauna even better!
Tap Early & Often
This goes without saying. The goal is to get you to stick with the sport and soak up all the benefits without having injuries hold you back from reaching your goals.
TAP EARLY AND OFTEN. Once again, it is never worth it to risk serious injuries. If there is nothing on the line (you’re not competing for a world title) you should be making sure you tap out when the time calls. Do not let your ego get in the way of your BJJ training, you will end up beating yourself up for doing it in the long run.
A very popular submission in today’s game are heel hooks. Popularized by many at this point, heel hooks are common submissions that people will go after even while training. If you get caught in one, for the sake of your knees, please tap. An ACL tear or a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear is in your near future if you do not do so. A knee injury could set you back some time and knee injuries tend to take a toll on you mentally even after you have gone through the healing process. If you have not already received an ad from them, you should check out anaconda knee sleeves. We wear this thing almost everywhere. It looks cool and does the job, could not recommend a better knee sleeve.
Getting hurt on the mats can be a depressing thing. We all want to be in tip-top shape but do not want to be set back in our training. Do not let spazzy training partners or a wild scramble take you out for months at a time. The first time we were hurt all we wanted to do was punch a wall and scream. The items listed above are just some ways we can help and make it easier to come back better than before.
It is important to state that if the injury is serious enough please be sure to consult a medical professional. The things laid out in this blog are mainly for muscle and joint soreness, something serious like neck injuries or possibly low-back should be taken up with a doctor if the pain is unbearable!