As you know, I’m a big advocate for daily stretching. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t take some time and do a full body stretch.
Sometimes it might be a short, 20-minute stretch. Sometimes, I go much longer.
Why do I feel it’s so important to have a daily stretching ritual?
If you are a regular BJJ student or martial artist, you are always pushing your body to its limits.
This is especially true with BJJ, as it uses the entire body. Just from the simple,”I need to get through my day,” daily stretching is imperative.
Think about it. What feels better? Sitting at home the day after your training and feeling tight, stiff and sore, or getting on the floor and stretching?
For me, moving my body again and stretching helps provide relief to sore and stiff muscles. In addition, daily stretching will help improve your overall flexibility.
I’ve found that when I am consistent with my stretching, I am noticeably improving my flexibility. When I take a few days off, I notice an immediate difference. So consistency is the key.
When you are constructing a stretching ritual, you want to be flexible in your approach. In other words, do what feels right that day.
If you need to stretch one part more or less than others, then let that be your guide.
I like to work my entire body into the stretch (lower / upper / spine in both directions / neck / limbs, joints, etc.) But do what feels right for you.
To keep it interesting, I like to be creative with my stretches.
Sometimes I will use the wall to stretch. Other times, I will use a belt or a partner.
In this video I show stretches using a simple Muay Thai pad. I like the Muay Thai pad, as the straps provide a nice point of leverage when I don’t have a partner to aid me.
Think of stretching in three categories: 1. Pre-rolling, 2. Post-rolling, 3. Recovery.
Pre-rolling is the 15-20 minutes you spend warming up your muscles and joints before you do live rolling with a resisting partner.
Rolling 100% cold isn’t a great idea. I recommend spending some time transitioning your body into 100% live rolling.
Post-rolling means you are spending 15-20 minutes stretching at the end of an open mat. This is an invaluable time to grab onto to get great results.
Think about it. Your muscles are warm and limber and you’re feeling pretty loose from rolling. Use that time to actively stretch your entire body.
I do this in the form of movement and mobility stretching. This can range from rolling / inverting / stretching my entire body as I move about the floor.
Remember Rickson Gracie in “Choke” when he moved his body on the beach and did the yoga breathing? That’s exactly what I mean.
The third area is recovery stretching. This is the time off the mats when you’re at home or work. (yes you should find “mini-moments” to stretch at work).
Remember, you have demanded a lot of your body in your BJJ training. Now it’s time for you to take care of your body!
This to me is about building a relationship with this amazing vehicle you have: your body.
I tell myself after I train, “Thank you body for serving me so well in my training. How may I take care of you?”
As we age, our body begins to speak to us, sometimes in the form of sore, achy muscles.
We need to listen to our body and give it exactly what it needs. That may be a epsom salt bath, massage, daily stretching, etc.
Don’t treat your body like a cheap, one-night stand. You have to woo her and take care of her and treat her with respect. Otherwise there won’t be a second date!
Remember, stretching requires two things: the discipline to get your butt down on the floor and the discipline to do something! There’s no real secret other than doing it. The best part is your body will reward you with loose, flexible muscles that are able to do far more on and off the mats!