Look, chances are that we probably don’t have to tell you about how important it is to stay as injury-free as possible in BJJ – especially when your knees are considered. For, once the tendons or the ligaments in your knee snap, it’s not just that you’ll stay out of training for weeks, sometimes months on end; but it’s also about being much more susceptible to additional injuries down the road!
In other words, you must invest time into knee injury prevention. Let’s take a look at five great strengthening and stability squat-based exercises that you can do for your knees, using a BOSU ball.
YOUR KNEES NEED YOU TO START OUT CAREFULLY
The BOSU ball is a fantastic piece of training equipment for your knees. However, it can be pretty intimidating to start using it at first! Just by stepping on it and feeling all that wiggling about, you might feel inclined to keep it in a corner for the time being.
Fortunately, you can ease yourself into using the BOSU ball; and, after some time, you will be able to progress to more demanding knee-strengthening exercises. In the end of ends, you didn’t start doing gogoplatas before learning how to hip escape, did you?
Take a look at the video below, for example. Doctor Heineck shows that you can first flip the ball upside-down, standing on it with the help of a chair to keep you stable. Then, just gently move side to side. This way, you will gain initial confidence as well as increase the mobility in your ankle. After you get comfortable doing this and you can keep yourself stable without the help of a chair, you can start doing squats.
Just skip to 3:56 and 7:00 to see how to execute both exercises:
INCREASE THE INTENSITY WITH BODYWEIGHT SQUATS
Once you’re pretty comfortable with doing bodyweight squats on the flipped-over BOSU ball, then is the time to start doing them on a more challenging, more wiggly side of it.
Make sure to stand with your feet around hip-width apart and to engage your core as you squat. You’ll find that your stability is challenged even more than the case was beforehand; and so your knees will reap more benefits!
You can set micro-progressions in this case as well, thus making your path to bulletproof knees safer yet again. Watch the video below and see how you can start out with your hands extended in front of you, then placing them behind your head; and then slowing down the speed you squat at:
NEW LEVELS UNLOCKED: ADDING WEIGHT – AND FIGHTING FOR GRIPS!
Taking the squats one step further is doing them with additional weight. And while there are many ways you can do this (by adding a weighted vest or doing it with a barbell), it may be best to use a dumbell; grabbing a weight that you can manage with both of your hands, squat up and down with ease.
In order to err on the safe side, try doing this progression on the „flipped-over“ side first, as seen on the video below. Only after you’ve confidently gotten this variation down, start squatting on the other side.
Also, pay attention to how you can use the BOSU ball for getting your knee stability to an even higher, BJJ-specific level! As you stand on it, have your partner in front of you and begin engaging in some simple grip-fighting with them. You’ll soon find out that this simple exercise will make you sweat (and laugh) like not many exercises did before. Plus, your knees will thank you for it!
BJJ black belt Felipe Cavalcante:
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