Increasing Flexibility – 3 Essential Stretches For BJJ

Increasing flexibility is an important component of enhancing athletic performance. Not only does it to speed recovery time from injuries and sore muscles but it also prevents the risk of potential injuries.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) movements force the body to stretch in ways that are uncommon in daily life, leading to increased flexibility in areas that aren’t usually targeted by traditional stretching exercises. This is why BJJ is an excellent path to increasing flexibility all on it’s own. However, starting from a point of inflexibility can cause limitations in BJJ as the sport demands a high degree of flexibility in order to perform a wide range of techniques, both defensive and offensive.

These three stretches below focus on certain areas, so for example, if you find that your hips are limiting you whilst training because they’re a bit stiff, then the Butterfly Stretch is a perfect way for you to loosen those hips and achieve quick results.

How to Stretch Your Hips

Butterfly Stretch –  One of the most important body parts for any grappler are the hips, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the hips are used in every position. From closed guard to arm bars, having strong and flexible hips helps a significant amount. Having more flexible hips will help with both keeping and passing guard, as well as hip escapes and submission defence.

This is a simple, yet very effective hip stretch. You begin by putting the soles of your feet together, bringing them towards your groin and try to get your knees as flat to the floor as possible. Then flap your knees and legs like a butterfly flaps its wings. Over time you will be able to reach your knees further and further to the floor, eventually being able to sit with your knees on the floor, with hips fully flexed. 

How to Stretch Your Legs

Hurdlers Stretch – Used by Bruce Lee to help keep his flexibility intact, the Hurdler’s Stretch is a great stretch for not only the legs, but for the arms too. Sit down on the floor, stretch one leg in front and try to reach your foot with your hands. If you can do that, then try to bring your head to your knee also. Swap legs, and repeat.

How to Stretch Your Shoulders and Arms

Overhead Shoulder Stretch – Bring your arm behind your head and grab your elbow with your other hand to bring your arm as far down your back as you can. If you can, try to bring your other hand behind your back and connect both hands for a more intense stretch. Do on both sides and repeat.

This move stretches your arms and shoulders the most, but the back also. The overhead shoulder stretch is a great way to increase flexibility in those areas. This leads to being able to hold a late defensive position when stuck in kimuras, omoplatas and americanas for longer.

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Lucy Wynne

Twenty-one, from Stoke-on-Trent now living in Manchester. I'm an avid writer, music lover and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) enthusiast. I began training BJJ in Southampton when at university, and I've trained ever since. #OSS