Introduction to Mobility
Adequate joint mobility is essential for sustainable training and high -evel performance. The link above shares great mobility exercises to use before training to focus on the themes I cover today.
Just like other training variables like sport skill work (drilling, situational and live rounds), strength, power, and cardiovascular endurance, mobility is something that must be on the training docket. You are severely limiting your capabilities and longevity if this training variable is left by the wayside.
It’s especially important in a sport such as BJJ because of the infinite amounts of complex body movements. The more range of motion and control you have of your joints (which as you will see below is the essence of mobility), the more feasible the amounts of attack you’ll have as well as defensive options.
It helps to teach breath awareness and mindfulness as a whole, instrumental skill for living a whole life as well as being an elite athletic performer, especially in the grappling arts.
Today we’ll cover two themes of how mobility will benefit your BJJ.
Mobility as a Strength Enhancer
By having a solid base of core stability and strength (two areas that are covered by the sport itself because of the emphasis on lifting and controlling another human body as well as your own), mobility can then become a focus of our training.
This gives our joints a built in protection from injury by increasing the usable amount of range of motion (ROM). Also by having adequate — and even excellent — ROM in a joint, we can exhibit our strength in more ways and in complex movements because we have more range to do so.
By mobility, we are not looking at flexibility. We are referring to the active, neural control of our joints in space throughout its ROM. It’s seen as exhibiting strength through a range of motion.
This is mobility, whereas flexibility involves passively moving a joint through a range of motion, with the use of gravity (think the splits) or an external load.
Mobility work is tremendous at helping you develop a “mind-muscle” connection. As I’ve spoken about in some of my previous work, I advocate strength as a skill and not as might, meaning no “Grrrrrs” and pain faces.
The same goes for mobility. It comes down to practicing mindfulness when performing this style of work. Being aware of the movement and the part of the body it’s being concentrated on while also monitoring this connection with the test of the body is key to integrating this into controlled, conscious movement.
Going Forward with Mobility
Next training session, seek to have these themes in mind. Training is about feel, so seek to feel your breath, your body, and the strength you exhibit in relation to your opponent/partner.
Notice how doing a short mobility routine before training (3 minutes or so) like this one I’ve covered previously yields improvements in your strength capacity. By keeping these focus points, you’ll find some improvements in the quality of your training and rolling. Let me know how it goes!
I cover more performance training tidbits at Mobility Training that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats.