Your fingers hurt, don’t they? Finger pain is one of the most common woes of Jiujiteiros worldwide; the aching knuckles and the inability to extend the joints fully, something which can pose problems not only during Jiu Jitsu – but during everyday life as well.
So, how do you save your fingers from the lasting results of abuse? It’s quite difficult to do so, especially if you’re going to train BJJ for a long time. However, there are some things which you can do to minimize the damage taken.
STOP BEING SO STUBBORN!
Let’s make a wild guess: once you get your grips, you find it difficult to let them go, right? Even when your training partner is pulling away with all his might and speed, you just „have to keep your grips“.
Well, there’s the first reason why your fingers are suffering so much. You’re too stubborn! If you continue keeping your grips, even if your training partner(s) keep ripping them off of their Gi over and over again, you’re well on your path to suffer some serious pain several years down the line.
That is to say: if your partner is ripping your grips away, let them go. You can always re-establish your control afterwards.
Naturally, this is true almost exclusively only for your training sessions. If you’re competing, you definitely should try to keep your grips as much as possible… But how will you do that if your fingers are too worn out from training?
Be smart and let it go.
STOP PLAYING SO MUCH SPIDER GUARD
If your BJJ game is based quite a bit on Spider Guard and/or playing De La Riva, then your fingers are more than likely going to have a bad time. All that pulling and tension will almost certainly leave their mark… So you need to change your game a bit!
Yes, we understand that Spider Guard or De La Riva are your skills of choice, and that you enjoy stretching and wrapping your opponents up. But you need to find an alternative – you don’t have to forego your regular game completely, just develop other aspects of it!
Not only will this save your fingers by a substantial margin, but it will turn you into a more complete Jiujiteiro too.
TRAIN NO GI
As a continuation from the previous tip, you should seriously consider training more No Gi as well. Even if you aren’t into playing the same guards as described above, there’s still a lot of gripping action whenever you train and roll in a Gi.
So, to provide your fingers with more, much needed relief, bring on the No Gi sessions a bit more. This will turn you into a more proficient, successful Jiu Jitsu athlete as well; one with a greater skillset at his disposal, as well as the health for executing on them.
TAPE AND STRETCH YOUR FINGERS OUT
If you haven’t been taping your fingers up until now, it’s high time that you start doing this. Not only does it make you look cool, but it also provides actual benefits; it braces your tendons up, so that when the pulling motion does happen – the tension from the tape makes it more difficult for a sprain to occur. For example, watch this video by Stephan Kesting to figure out more on why and how to tape your fingers for BJJ.
And finally, stretch your fingers out after training is finished. Just as „usual“ stretching helps your body recover after a hard training session, so will it help with the process of keeping your fingers as healthy as possible.