Physiotherapist Dr Lachlan Giles On If Inverting in BJJ Is Bad for You

Physiotherapist Dr Lachlan Giles On If Inverting in BJJ Is Bad for You

If you are planning on training and competing in Jiu-Jitsu well into your 60’s, you maybe should think about long term effects of some of the more acrobatic techniques such as inverting in guard.

Most common wear and tear injuries for grapplers:

The most common grappling long term injuries affect the shoulder, back, knee and neck.

-Shoulder Injuries
The majority of upper body and shoulder injuries in grapplers are caused by the combination of leverage and twisting during competition: Rotator cuff injury, shoulder separation, shoulder dislocation.

-Knee Injuries
The majority of knee injuries in grapplers occur to the ligaments of the knee joint: anterior and posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) injuries.
Elbow Dislocation

-Neck and back Injuries
The cervical vertebrae are often forced into vulnerable positions during many grappling moves, which can result in several types of neck and back injuries: herniated discs, neck Strain, whiplash, cervical fracture.

After years of training many older grapplers can develop arthritis. Aches and pains have become an accepted price that is paid for training.

In an older interview with GracieMag Carlos Gracie Jr. was asked to comment on the long term health effects of acrobatic guards such as Berimbolo or inverting:

“I don’t get this obsession with all of the acrobatic guards. They are efficient, sure. But they’re fleeting. Your body has difficulty understanding them for too long.
I say this from my own experience.
The lumbar region, for example, as strong as it may be, will never be armored against the passage of time.
Jiu-Jitsu is for your whole lifetime, and by that line of reasoning you can rest assured that the basic techniques like the closed guard or this open guard I enjoy doing, will never abandon us. At 70 we’ll still be capable of performing them with plenty of mobility.
That can’t be said of the tornado guard or the berimbolo.”


Lachlan Giles (bronze medal at ADCC 2019) made a very interesting video on inverting in BJJ and if we should be doing it. Outside of his athletic accomplishments, Lachlan is an academic having completed his PhD in 2016. He also works as a physiotherapist.

Lachlan shows the does and don’t of inverting:

Learn the inverted guard and the Tornado made famous by Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, one of the most accomplished grapplers on the planet. He is an ADCC open weight Champion.