So, your muscles hurt, don’t they? Of course they’re sore, after you decided to put into action that 3 and a half hours per day, 6 days per week BJJ training schedule… Even though you haven’t been training regularly for a whole year prior to that.
Anyways, what can you do in order to alleviate that soreness? Well, a couple of things.
ARE YOU TRAINING TOO MUCH?
First of all, if the soreness is constant and reappears all the time, ask yourself if you began training too much, too soon.
Why? Because that long-lasting pain and stiffness that you feel in your muscles – also called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – could be a result of not being used to the intensity of training. So, if you’ve suddenly ramped up the amount of training sessions, time spent rolling and/or drilling techniques, of strength training… It may be that your muscles are, essentially, shocked way too much in order to adapt properly.
Beware of that! Slowly increase your training intensity, getting it to a level that you feel your body can comfortably endure, instead of going all out immediately.
STILL SORE? STRETCH AND GET IN A LIGHT WORKOUT.
Okay, if you’ve gotten your training intensity to a reasonable level but you still have the occasional muscle soreness, then no problem! There are plenty of options you have at your disposal.
The most obvious one is passive stretching. Even though there are studies, pointing that it doesn’t significantly decrease soreness, a lot of athletes swear by stretching and the positive effects it has on the speed at which their bodies recover.
Give stretching a shot, and not just immediately after training; but whenever you’re feeling stiff and achy, and you’ll probably feel a lot better than before!
Another great thing for reducing DOMS, that you can also combine with passive stretching is doing a light workout.
Whether it’s just a flow-roll session, a Yoga session, or a brief jog in the park… Getting in a small workout will, due to increased blood flow, leave your muscles less sore than they were before.
MASSAGE OR SELF-MASSAGE
Massage is another great option at your disposal, especially if the soreness is „concentrated“ in a few muscle groups and not in your whole body.
And while professional massage can be a bit expensive, you can also resort to massaging yourself – with simple tools, such as through using a ball and a wall to press deeply into those aching muscles and alleviate the pain you feel in them.
Give it a shot! You’ll be amazed at how excruciatingly great it feels.
ALTERNATING COLD AND HOT SHOWERS
Cold showers don’t just leave you feeling as if you’re a badass viking – but they also lead to numerous health benefits, such as a stronger immune system and lower stress levels… And guess what – to decreased muscle soreness as well; which happens with the increase of your blood flow, as blood goes towards the internal organs in order to protect them from the cold.
When alternating cold showers with the hot ones, which open the blood vessels and yet again flush your entire body with blood, you get a combination which is bound to leave you feeling less sore than you were beforehand!
BUT, WHAT ABOUT PAINKILLERS?
If you’ve done everything else and the soreness is still there, you may be thinking of painkillers. Just make sure to:
1) Consult with your doctor; it doesn’t matter if it’s an over the counter painkiller. Ask your doctor what they think about the dosage and the frequency you should be taking them with.
2) Don’t take them often. Too many grapplers become attached to the notion of having to take the painkillers daily, which can be extremely dangerous for their health.
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