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I've been practicing jiu jitsu since last january. its a wonderful sport and i am quite addicted to it. my issue (and it seems to be quite common) is i experience a lot of lower back pain and stiffness after class. i think because there is a lot of flexion involved (hips, spine...) with added pressure from training partners etc... i've been working a lot on my hip flexibility especially piriformis, adductors, hip flexors... this seems to help but still does not fix the problem completely. would love to hear if anyone has had similar experiences and if they've been able to make some breakthroughs.

thanks!

miyao-posture.jpg

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Hello there, @stankanovic. My suggestion is to build up your glutes and back, and the Romanian deadlift is THE exercise to do this. It is one of my personal favourites, too.

I believe that 1.5 times your own bodyweight is a decent goal to shoot for, and done the way this guy demonstrates, the whole posterior chain will get stronger, and the position you show in your post will feel very comfortable. This was the exercise that finally fixed my back pain, and also a very troublesome hamstring injury at another time, too. You will need a barbell, but once a week sessions will be enough.

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1 hour ago, Kit_L said:

Hello there, @stankanovic. My suggestion is to build up your glutes and back, and the Romanian deadlift is THE exercise to do this. It is one of my personal favourites, too.

I believe that 1.5 times your own bodyweight is a decent goal to shoot for, and done the way this guy demonstrates, the whole posterior chain will get stronger, and the position you show in your post will feel very comfortable. This was the exercise that finally fixed my back pain, and also a very troublesome hamstring injury at another time, too. You will need a barbell, but once a week sessions will be enough.

Thanks for the reply Kit! thats very interesting. i've started doing a bit of weightlifting recently and this deadlift variation was really interesting . felt a lot of activation in glutes and hamstring (eccentrically especially) it felt good doing them but i did have very sore and very stiff hamstrings for a week afterwards so wasnt sure if it was best to continue. i'm guessing after the inital DOMS it actually should be easier to lengthen the hamstrings using your techniques? by the way you it be useful to push legs apart or together doing this exercise to try to activate adductors/abductors?

also would you recommend jefferson curls to have a stronger back in flexed positions? of course with very low weights and slow progressions.

sorry to bombard you with questions but i cant think of a better person to ask to be honest. thanks again!

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You are not bombarding: this is what the forum is for. Yes, extreme soreness is the body's first response to this exercise, but you can never recreate this afterwards—just ask any lifter. Because the response from the body is so strong (and you know straightaway the next time you lift that you are stronger) you can never re-duplicate that level of soreness (unless you have a six-months plus layoff, then it all begins again).

Don't worry about pushing legs together or apart: just lift heavier (after a suitable rest, at least a week). This way progress is guaranteed.

Jefferson curls are excellent, too, but do a cycle of the Romanian DLs first (six weeks is good).

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ah just one last question(s*). should i work on some hamstring stretches (with contract release) even with soreness  (eg 2 days after lifitng) or should i wait for soreness to subside before doing them? also would you ever do contract-release before a lifting session to increase ROM or would it  increase risk of injury?

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1 hour ago, stankanovic said:

also would you ever do contract-release before a lifting session to increase ROM or would it  increase risk of injury?

Just don't do it, and not because it's particularly risky. The best warmup for any strength work is the actual exercise you are planning on doing, but with suitable resistance. Do all strong stretching after your Jiu Jitsu or any strength training: the goal of this work is to improve your range of movement for the future, and to embody (be able to use) these incremental improvements in the sport you are training for. All these other activities (like the flexibility and the strength work) are accessories to the main event. In my own case though, my martial arts training became the accessory work. Just be clear about what you are doing each part for.

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2 random additions

 

1) Lachlan Giles is a high level BJJ player and a physiotherapist, so he has some good material on the prerequisites for BJJ:

 

2) I've really struggled with a sore back at BJJ this year, particularly when getting stacked up in guard passes. In my case, its down to poor movement habits. Working from home, I get a lots less incidental movement and my back has tightened up. IMHO, no training makes up for shitty movement habits during the day.

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@Daniel Christensen: That YT video you posted is excellent, and I commented there (in the ST system, we call this the "modified plough" position). Thanks for linking to this here. Definitely this will help the OP @stankanovic. I described an intermediate variation on that video in the 'Comments" section; you may care to check it out.

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Thanks @Kit_L

Having my guard passed is basically being forced involuntarily into the modified plough. Previously, I enjoyed it, but now my body has lost the required mobility, and it's not much fun. Given your resemblance to John Danaher (or vice versa), I'm sure you know this.

I couldn't find the comments you are talking about , so I'm not sure if that's user error at this end. I've got mastering the pancake though, so I can probably work through that and find a few favourite stretches as a start.

 

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@Daniel Christensen This is a copy and paste from the Comments section for that video:

What a lovely analysis! Excellent. The position you are in we call the "modified plough" (in the Yoga plough, as you know, the legs AND the spine are straight so all the bending is happening at C7); we let everything bend, as you do and for the same reasons: you can control the stretch with your feet). A progression for your fans (assuming they are not as loose as you) to get the required suppleness in the whole back line is achieved by resting the feet on a box or something about a foot high – that way there's no strain on the hamstrings or the lower back or the neck and, by bending more at the knees you can control the depth of the end position perfectly. We also recommend all sorts of small movements laterally and further into flexion but under control to make sure that all the spine becomes supple enough to do what you need it to do. And once the feet are on the floor comfortably, then you can walk the feet left or right behind you and introduce a small rotation dimension which will be felt in the lower back and on the side of the neck as well.

If you use the box behind you as recommended, that suppleness will come back fairly quickly. Plan to spend five minutes in the position, feet on the box, and moving the body around. Breathe, and try to relax fully while maintaining control of the end positions.

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Excellent stuff! i'll definitely start working on the modified plough and see how it feels.
also i've been focusing more on my posture and alignement during bjj (head, shoulders and hip all facing the same direction) less twisting and apart from feeling better it's also improved my game as its one of the core principles of bjj. when you're aligned you're strong, breaking that alignement even something as simple as turning your opponents head to one side takes away a lot of their strength and makes them much easier to control
http://podcast.bjjmentalmodels.com/243161/912607-ep-1-alignment

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On 10/21/2020 at 10:47 AM, Daniel Christensen said:

2 random additions

 

1) Lachlan Giles is a high level BJJ player and a physiotherapist, so he has some good material on the prerequisites for BJJ:

 

2) I've really struggled with a sore back at BJJ this year, particularly when getting stacked up in guard passes. In my case, its down to poor movement habits. Working from home, I get a lots less incidental movement and my back has tightened up. IMHO, no training makes up for shitty movement habits during the day.

by the way have a look at this video, just started playing with the idea but have already found it very useful in mantaining alignement in open guard. using your arms as extra support. much harder for opponents to push you around and stack you

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some more thoughts while working on this issue.

I have a suspicion that my issue might be caused by a lack of ability of nutaton of the sacrum causing more strain on the rest of the spine (particularly lumbar)
i've had issues in the past with piriformis syndrome although i havent had problems since (also using stretch therapy methods)
playing around with forward bends i've noticed by focusing on spreading my sit bones apart changes the feeling of the pose a lot, freeing space in my lower back and more sensation in the hamstrings. iìve worked a lot on piriformis and rotators so i think i'm pretty loose in that area now, but perhaps i havent been taking advantage of this added range of motion and need to actively retrain my sacrum/pelvis.
i guess the deadlift are an excellent way to do so.

are there any particular exercises where nutation of the sacrum is ill advised?

@Kit_L

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My suggestion is to not overthink this; nutation is an extremely complex movement; see https://www.elsevier.com/books/movement-stability-and-lumbopelvic-pain/vleeming/978-0-443-10178-6, for example. I worked on this book for six months, on and off, to understand it (and these researchers are the best in the world in this field). 

Getting stronger in the way I suggested above, the Romanian deadlifts and later Jefferson curls will do what you need—because the muscles these exercises work on strengthen the body against any excessive nutation (and much more besides). Being meticulous about form (in the RDL) and starting light (Jefferson curls) is the secret. And it will take months, and perhaps years, before you feel strong enough in this way. In my experience, it's better to simply to the accessory training, including Lachlan's exercise above and my suggestions on how to start it if you are not as loose as he is) and practise your BJJ.

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  • 3 months later...

Great read for me as I've been training Jiu-jitsu for around 1,5 yrs.

I've also had problems in my low back after rolling, ESPECIALLY on days where I did J-curls in the AM, then roll in the PM. So a piece of advice from me is to put J-curls at least a day apart from your rolling sessions.

Something that hasn't been mentioned here is how bridging could help you. So far it has been suggested to strengthen the back in neutral (DL) and in flexion (J-curl), both of which I see huge value in both in terms of BJJ and life. I'd throw bridging work into that mix on BJJ-days. I'd be curious to see how it works for you.

The logic of my comment here is

1) to spread out the flexion-load as much as possible to avoid peak exposures (more-of-the-same, but in a controlled and slow and progressive context)

2) to add extension-load around BJJ practice for variety and "balance" (opposite stimulus in controlled context).

Of course, overdoing anything can hurt you. I personally found this approach very helpful. Let's stay gentle with ourselves!

Peter

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