There are a lot of things that can advance your game to become a better jiu-jitsu player. These include things in and outside the gym, and it can be directly or indirectly associated with jiu-jitsu. Most things may take a lot of time or cost money, but there is one thing that doesn’t take much time and is free of charge. What is that one thing? STRETCHING!
Being flexible will open so many more opportunities for different moves, and variations to them. For example, look at Keenan Cornelius. One of the reasons he excels is because of his flexibility where he can be in odd positions, and be comfortable in them. People get frustrated from this, and he usually counters off of that to get into a better position.
Stretching will not only give you more options to play with in regard to moves and make your guard very difficult to pass, but it will help reduce your risk for injuries too. It does this by putting your body in proper alignment through decreasing any kind of muscular imbalances you get from over-worked muscles. Being flexible will decrease those aches and pains you get in your joints and muscles, and it will increase your circulation. The better your circulation is, the better your recovery will be!
I can always tell the next day if I didn’t stretch. When I wake up in the morning, my muscles are more stiff and sore than they usually are. If I do stretch on a regular basis, my game and recovery benefits.
You should ALWAYS stretch right after class. It doesn’t take very long at all. Take 10-15 minutes after practice to cool down and stretch. Focus on areas, such as the hips, hamstrings, lower back, neck, chest, and biceps. On your days off, look for a yoga class or DVD to do. Now you can work on your game every day!