Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is an intense full-bod workout. As a sport, it can improve your overall physique and strength, but is particularly effective in helping you build a core of steel. Back pain is a common ailment, but there are many exercises and drills used in BJJ that promote and help to maintain a healthy, strong back.
Your core is an extremely powerful part of your body. If you are strengthening your core you’ll see rapid improvement in physical condition, strength, stability, balance and general back health. You’ll notice a marked improvement in physical ability across other sports you may do, and also be well on the way to those desired washboard abs. By training exercises taught in BJJ, your back pain can be relieved as well as reaping all the other benefits.
Drop on the deck and rock like a banana…?
A good exercise to start with are pulses known as banana rocks. Banana rocks work the entire length of your body’s core, and are much harder work than this description will suggest. To do a dish rock, you being by lying on your back flat on the floor. From here, lift you feet about 8 inches off the ground, and roll your shoulders forward arching your upper back. Your body shape should resemble a stretched out ‘U’ shape, with only your lower back and rear touching the floor. This shape is called a banana, for obvious reasons. From here stretch your arms back and extend your legs until you are straight. Feel the stretch? Excellent, now comes the rock.
Begin to rock using your lower back as an axis, bringing your legs up and arms down, then legs down and arms up. Imagine a seesaw, this is what you want to achieve. During the exercise the only parts of you that can touch the ground is your back and your butt, keep legs and arms raised at all time. Try rocking for 30 seconds to start off with, I guarantee you will feel the burn.
The dish rock can also be flipped on to its front, with you facing down and rocking that way. This concentrates more on the lower back that the full core, so don’t forget to mix it up!
Next up is stacking. This is a lower back exercise, not to be confused with falling flat on your face, that’s the other kind of stacking. The exercise is slightly different, with the aim of lying flat on your back on the mat, and touching your toes to the floor behind your head. Sounds impossible I know, but stacking is fantastic for strengthening and loosening your back, relieving pain and improving flexibility.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to fully stack it on your first try, so there’s some baby steps you can take to begin to improve your stacking skills. Simply lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest, then rock on a central axis, forward then back, left and then right. This process will begin loosening your lower back, and start the basis of the flexibility required to properly stack it. This almost therapeutic motion helps iron out back pain and leave you feeling fresh and ready to go.
Raise the bar…
The last exercise to touch on it abdominal/back raises. This one is the double whammy, working both the abs and the lower back at the same time. The easiest way to look at this, is to imagine a seal lying flat then raising its self up to balance a ball on its nose or catch a fish.
Lie on your front with your arms fully extended out, then lift your upper body from the ground using only the lower back, with the aim of reaching an angle between 45 and 70 degrees. These are also known as ‘Supermans’ as when you lift up, you’ll look like superman flying.
By bringing these simple exercises into your routine, core strength will improve and back pain will be a thing of the past!
Come down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.
All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL! As well as our 30 minute Fast Fitness program for FREE!