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36. Effciency Training: Warming up/down properly

Posted Sep 17 2009 11:01pm
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Effciency Training


Firstly an apology for not posting in a while. Since I last posted I’ve been back to America training/on holiday, got and started my dream job and my club has just grown and grown and grown, so I’ve just had no time for posting.

Ok, so back to it and today we’re looking at more efficiency training tips with today’s topic being about - Warming up and down.

Answer me this - Do you warm up and warm down at training?

Most will do some kind of warm up, whether structured into the class but warm downs in my experience are neglected.

There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve an athlete’s level of performance and also accelerate the recovery process needed before training or competing again.

As a result if your coach doesn’t do such things then it’s down to you to make sure you do as it’s an essential part of keeping your body in an efficient state, so here are a few tips:

Tip #1 - Stop static stretching before the class begins!


I’ve trained or visited a good number of clubs now and without fail you always see one or two or twenty people performing static stretches.

Static stretches (Pictured) before training BJJ or Submission Wrestling is bad for you and I’ll tell you why.

If you imagine an elastic/rubber band and you stretch it outwards towards its limit, that is what you’re effectively doing to your muscles by static stretching. If you’re cold, carrying an injury or live in a country with a cool climate (England) then you’re asking for nasty tweaks to the muscle fibres.

Now, imagine the same elastic band once you’d stretched it in a whole host of directions with tiny bursts of pull on the band and now stretching is a much more of viable and productive option.

That’s why I/we use Ginastica Natural movements to warm up and down from training, because it prepares the body for the rigours of a BJJ class and also for loosens the body after the rigours of a BJJ class.

For those who don’t know what Ginastica Natural is please watch the video below:

Using natural movements and drills to warm up - such as Ginastica Natural - as well as things like jogging and flow rolling replicate the effcient ‘warming up’ of the elastic band I mentioned earlier.

Once warm being able to stretch the band further and more dynamically, means you can do more with it like use it to flick at someones ear who is far away.

If on the other hand the band isn’t ‘warm’ if you try stretching it out or using it in a similar fashion and it will either snap or not work as efficiently.

The same goes with your muscles. Try playing a dynamic and adaptive guard when cold or when you’ve spent 10 mins before the session static stretching, you just can’t and even if it only effects the efficiency of your guard by 10%, that is the difference between getting that sweep and not.

Static stretching has its place but should be used after a session when your muscles are fully warm and your body is ready to benefit from the positive effects of the stretch - such as building flexibility and getting rid of lactic acid from your muscles.

BJJ is a dynamic sport and so requires your body to be dynamic. Neglecting or missing warm ups and doing static stretches is like going into a gun fight with a spoon. Well, not as drastic as that but conceptually you’re selling you body short and efficiency wise wont get the most out a session or your training schedule.

Tip #2 - Make sure you do some kind of warm down

Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and that’s why warming up is important. On the other hand warming down is key too, as if you’ve been sat under side control all night stretched out and contorted or stacked up a lot, then doing nothing is only asking for trouble.

We’ve all been there the day after when you lower back is tight or you’ve got a strained neck, because we’ve neglected to warm down - so make sure you do some kind of warm down after each session.

This is where lighter dynamic movements and static stretching come into play and doing both will help to get rid of waste products such as lactic acid and the potential for DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and reduces the level of adrenaline in the blood (a good one, who has been buzzing for hours in bed afterwards? Hands up).


In short try to build more of an emphasis on your warm up and warm down as it will have a direct effect on the efficiency of your training.

It’s not rocket science that having muscles which can react and adapt dynamically will allow you to perform at the higher levels for longer. Or that having muscles that can reduce oxygen debt can help avoid those tweaks we all get from time to time.

If warming down means less aches and pains the day after and a better nights sleep because you’re not hyped up thinking about X-guard variations till 2am, then surely its something we should all pay more attention too.

It’s not glamorous or particularly exciting but if it means you get in a few more rounds or repetitions in each session or you can train a little more consistently or even do more sessions throughout the week, it can only help but develop the technical part of your game.

Warm ups and warm downs - the broccoli and spinach of training. It’s not the roast potatoes and vegetarian substitute (I’m a veggie) of the Sunday roast but it’s key if you want develop your game more quickly and efficiently.

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