Written by Pawel Kaczynski. Be sure to check out his website for more great content about BJJ and strength and conditioning: http://pawelkaczynski.com/
Core exercises are an essential element of Jiu-Jitsu training. Core muscles are responsible for keeping your body stable. In normal, everyday situation keeping your posture straight is fair enough. However when it comes to sports you need more than that. In most sports you are putting pressure to your body which makes you go off the balance. Aim of core exercises is to let you sustain full control even in most bizarre positions. Core exercises also protects you from injuries. If your deep muscles works well, they won’t let your joints go the way they shouldn’t go. To sum up you may imagine core muscles as an inner rubber which binds all the skeletal structure. Core exercises make this rubber stronger. This is first article from series of articles how you may improve your sport game, by improving core exercises training. You will be less prone to fell off when skiing, more mobile when playing football and impossible to sweep when doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I am really obsessed with this stuff and regularly invent new core exercises by myself. I promise to take you from ground zero to acrobat level. First two pieces of advice:
- Have some soft ground, such as mat for example. You may fall down more than once and if that happens concrete is not the best choice.
- Practice core exercises barefoot. There are plenty muscles on your feet that will help you and are otherwise excluded.
Choosing the right ball for your core exercises practice
We man like it big. So let it stay this way at least for the beginning. If you have an option take the bigger one. It is easier to grab balance and learn all those fancy maneuvers. Later on you may switch. It won’t be a problem, because you’ll already be pro.
Level 1: Sitting on your balls (no hands!)
Yeah, this is rather common activity, however this time ball is not attached. Try not to touch the ground or the ball (I know it is tempting). If you manage to do so for 30 seconds straight – move on.
Level 2: Knee + hands on the ball
This is easy. You have solid 4-point base here. It shouldn’t take long before you make it.
Level 3: Knees on the ball, hands above all
Try to summon rain or just simply to hold still. If one of those works for at least 30 seconds – move on.
Level 4: Knee + Foot
This is the part where you probably end up with your face on the ground more than you planned. Don’t worry though, once you will succeed.
Level 5 & 6: Change your knee
Now you will start to sweat. First try easier version. Put your hands on the ball and slowly switch the knee. If you manage to do that couple times fluently, it means you got to Level 6! This is no jokes anymore and you will gain insight what Sisyphus was feeling trying to put that rock on the top of a pathway. Try to slide with your body to the standing foot side, so the knee is almost on the center of the ball. After your put your second knee down you will be pushed back to the first knee side. You need to counterbalance that and put your other foot on the ball. Foot will also prevent ball rotation.
Level 7: Standing on the ball
Start from this position. Your knees should be in 1/4 of the ball.
Most of your weight should be put onto knees now. Your hands are grabbing front of the ball so you don’t fall off. Put your foot on the ball on the very end, meanwhile leaning forward. Secure your position with hands.
Try to pull yourself almost to the center of the ball. Your feet however should be still slightly back, not directly in the center. Now slowly lift up your butt and arms. Don’t try to get straight yet or you will end up laying on the ground. Keep your balance by lifting your arms up or down little bit.
Boss Level 8: Squats
If your feeling super comfortable with all the previous stuff, try squatting. Your feet should work to the inside, like you’d be trying to grab a ball with them.