Flexibility is super super super important in a sport like Judo. Being flexible will help you not only escape a ton of throws and ground work moves, but also help you avoid injury.
few years ago I was at a Nic Gregoriades seminar and for the first 30 minutes he went over the importance of being mobile in ALL areas of your body. Neck , spine, shoulders, hips, back, knees etc so that you can avoid as much injury as possible when doing Judo and BJJ.
And I 100% agree with him.
As humans we suffer from a strength and conditioning principle called ‘reversibility.’ This principle means that if we don’t use it, we LOSE it. For example if I never turn my head to the left, over time my body will stop activating those muscles needed to turn my head left and I will be unable to turn left (yes just like derek zoolander).
This is why it is so important to take each joint through a FULL range of motion every single day, especially our hips and shoulders. Do you know that most lower back, groin, knee and ankle injuries comes because of a tightness in the hip area?
Also do you know that a lot of pec, shoulder, elbow, wrist and upper back pain come from a tightness in the shoulders?
Well that’s the truth of it. If you go to the physio saying you have lower back or knee pain I guarantee that the first joint they will look at is your hips, and they’ll be looking to see how mobile your hips are.
Same with your shoulders. If you have a sore neck or shoulder the first thing they will look at is how mobile your shoulder capsule is and how tight your shoulder muscles are.
So the moral of the story is to take your joints through their FULL Range of motion each and everyday because if you don’t USE the range that you have, you WILL lose it….and once you have lost your range of motion, injuries start to pile up, especially in a sport like Judo.
Full body routine to do everyday
Here is a short but great morning yoga routine you can do each and every morning. You can do this as soon as you get out of bed or straight after your morning shower.The girl in the video is very flexible but don’t push yourself too hard, just got nice and slow and focus on your breathing.
After doing this routine you can stay for an extra few more minutes and focus on any of your tight areas.
Free flexibility for BJJ video by BJJ Wizard Ryan Hall
In this video below BJJ purple belt (now black belt) Ryan Hall takes us through a awesome stretching regime for BJJ athletes. But let’s be honest flexibility for BJJ, baseball, water polo OR Judo, it’s all the same and we need it big time. Ryan’s video is a long one but covers some great stuff.
Unique Shoulder stretches by Eric Wong
In the following video although the audio sucks, Eric Wong takes us through some really good shoulder stretches to release stress in the upper body. The first 2 are good but the third one in this video is so awesome!! This video is a promo for his Shoulder Flexibility solution released in 2015.
Stretches focusing on your hips
This next video is from Eric’s Hip Flexibility solution package. I honestly swear by this package and you can see my review for it here. This package really helped my hip mobility after I tore my adductor tendon a few years ago. This stretch is basic but at around the 3:23 mark Eric begins rotating the outstretched leg. Which helps remove scar tissue from the joint (also known as voodoo flossing.) Check it out below.
Finger, wrist, thumb and forearm stretches for Judoka – these are a must watch
Below are some really great Finger and Forearm exercises by Kit Laughlin, this video is so so so good, and it is a real gem to find something like this online:
All in all you NEED to be flexible AND mobile to avoid injury and I have found that regular stretching, foam rolling as well as the elastic band and voodoo flossing style stretches in Eric Wong’s programs to be really beneficial for me and my Judo.
To help you stay injury free I encourage you to:
- Stretch after every Judo session.
- The day after make sure you stretch focussing on areas that are tighter than others
- Work on correcting all muscle imbalances
- Listen to your body, if it hurts and is screaming for a day off then have a day off!
- Look after yourself and rather than resisting every attack your opponent throws at you, relax, go with the flow, and let them throw you
- Never stop stretching