Are You Ignoring This Important Component?
Having a flexible guard opens up ample opportunities for sweeps and submissions. Certain skills in Jiu-Jitsu are natural and others must be constantly worked on to obtain. Flexibility is a crucial element to have for your Jiu-Jitsu game, but is especially important when using our guard. There are some famous practitioners who have notoriously flexible guards such as BJ Penn and Eddie Bravo.
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Flexibility is sometimes overlooked by athletes regardless of sport. Being limber will cut down on chronic injuries as well as improve our overall range of motion. If being naturally flexible isn’t your thing, setting aside specific time to work on it is a must. This can happen before, after, and even during your Jiu-Jitsu training. When your instructor is showing a move it would be easy to incorporate some stretches into your training.
Here Lachlan Giles demonstrates and describes 5 different stretches to specifically influence guard flexibility. They range from simple to more complex. Most stretches can be modified based on your ability. Lachlan also demonstrates how each stretch is incorporated into your jiu-jitsu game.
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When training flexibility it is important to remember that it isn’t something that you have to over exert yourself to get the most benefits. Running sprints up hills requires maximal output from our bodies, flexibility training should be down with less intensity for longer periods of time. Stretching should only be done until mild discomfort is felt, and then you back off the stretch just a tad. This makes flexibility gains hard to track because they can be very incremental.
Slow and steady is the key to flexibility training. It also helps to make peace with the discomfort that comes from stretching. The isokinetic (without movement) nature of stretching can cause some people to avoid stretching. This is where Dynamic stretching (with movement) can come in handy. Dynamic stretching is great for initial warm-ups because they get the blood flowing to the muscles throughout the body. Dynamic stretches can be found all over Youtube, so do some research and find some that you can incorporate in to your flexibility regime.
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