A well structured warm up can be the difference between running a submission clinic on the BJJ mats or questioning if you should just hang your Gi up for good, while your guard is passed for the 50th time. Every BJJ athlete understands the importance of warming up before competition or training but still so many BJJ players skip it or just go through the motions. In this article we will explain the best way to warm so every time you step on the mats you are able to perform at your best.
How do you warm up for BJJ?
The best way to warm up for a BJJ competition or training is to implement the RAMP (range of motion, activation, movement preparation, potentiation) method. Perform dynamic stretching (high knees), then calisthenics (push ups), then specific exercises similar to those performed during BJJ and some explosive movements (hip escapes, bridges, sprints).
The RAMP Warm Up for BJJ
The RAMP warmup was designed to get BJJ athletes prepared to move fluidly on the mats and execute techniques correctly. After you perform this warm up you will see a big boost in your range of motion, how responsive and explosive your body is during BJJ competition and training.
The RAMP warmup is made up of the following 4 parts:
R: Range Of Motion
M: Movement Preparation
It is time to explain these 4 areas so all BJJ athletes can fully grasp why this warm up is so powerful and how they can implement it into their training routines.
Range of Motion
The first aspect of the warm up is all about getting your body moving so you feel good and your joints and muscles are comfortable moving through full range of motion. The best way to achieve this state is through dynamic stretching. Studies have shown that dynamic stretching is not only effective at improving BJJ athletes’ mobility but also increases explosiveness and neuromuscular activation.
You can perform a variety of dynamic stretches based on where you experience tightness and where you feel you need extra attention. When stretching for BJJ you should focus on stretching shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, necks and hamstrings.
Once a BJJ athlete feels limber and good moving their body through full range motion it is time to focus on getting their muscles firing optimally. This will allow a BJJ athlete to display their full true power and strength on the tatami.
BJJ players should execute movements that engage their hip, abs, shoulders, back, glutes and quads. If you get these muscles highly responsive before your BJJ training session you should see a big difference in your explosiveness and power.
A key takeaway for this aspect of the warm up is to work the muscle enough that it is alive and ready to work but too much that you end up fatigued and weakened. Calisthenics are usually a great option. BJJ athletes can’t go wrong with push ups, bridges, dive bombers, situps and superman back extensions.
By this stage of the warm up BJJ athletes should feel itching to train, they feel fluid moving through a full range of motion and they feel powerful as their muscles are to act and handle the intensity of training. Now let’s perform some BJJ specific movements.
During this aspect of the warm up you need to undertake exercises that are similar to the movements you will be performing during your BJJ training session. The purpose of the movement preparation phase is get your body comfortable with the specific type of stress it is about to deal with.
If you are training live takedowns during your BJJ session then practicing shooting and sprawls during this phase of the warm up makes sense. These movements will warm up your knees, hips, ankles and quads and get your body ready to perform these movements later in training.
The final phase of the warm up is known as potentiation. This where a BJJ athlete kicks their central nervous system up a gear and wakes up their fast twitch muscle fibres. If you find yourself losing scrambles and getting beaten to a grip or certain position it is likely your fast twitch muscles fibres aren’t firing correctly. Adding this phase to your warm up will make you a more explosive BJJ player.
The best exercises include sprints, forward roll then sprint, tuck jumps, broad jumps, bounding running and bounding broad jumps.
If you are a BJJ athlete who wants to incorporate the Ramp system into their training routine then pick 3 exercises from each section and follow the described order, beginning with ROM and concluding with the potentiation phase. The Ramp warm up system is highly effective for BJJ players, it will have you feeling mobile, strong, fast and explosive on the mats. Remember a warm up is not a conditioning workout. Do not go too hard and end up in a fatigued state, take it easy and use it to enhance your BJJ performance.