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  • Writer's pictureWill Foden

Always a white belt

The sport that will keep on giving well into your 40s. From a physical perspective it ticks all of the boxes:

-Power -Strength -Flexibility -Mobility -Coordination -Endurance The list goes on, but BJJ has taught me a lot more from a psychological stand point: - Problem solving - Strategy - Tactics - Performing under pressure - Humbleness - Anti depressive - Succeeding - Being efficient - Community / tribe When participating in any sport there are four primary objectives: -To improve performance -To stay injury free. - Enjoyment - Winning/ learning Brazilian Ju-Jitsu has no age limit and neither does your training and performance. you can carry on performing well with the right training protocol and recovery program. something you need to figure out is what you are training for. Are you training for mastery or are you aiming to compete? Competition is a true mark of a man or a roll model figure in a household. This isn’t just meant for BJJ but in life to, aiming to be the best you can be will reflect on you as a person and how you bring your children up, work and carry yourself through your day to day. The trade off is that competition will put you in the firing line. From the ages of 20-35 its a staple for any sport in my eyes as how can you truly test your skills if its not being tested under pressure? From a mastery standpoint this is where the all the best parts of Jujitsu are found. This sport is a journey, from an emotional and physical point a view. The skills needed to train will always keep you on your toes and it also gives you a aim of improving each time you get on the mat. This is a similar mantra I use for the gym. You will never complete Jujitsu or the gym. But you can leave your mark, be the best you can be and always improve that extra 1%. The phrase "take one step closer" comes to mind when I discuss this sport for people who have never tried it. Now let’s talk how to keep you training along side BJJ. The more preventative and strength exercises that you can perform, the less likely you are to get injured as well as improve your recovery and quality of life off the mat. The principles are the same, we aim to be fitter, faster and stronger but with a more specific element to increasing mobility and stability in the end ranges of the movement. What staples will I need to stay strong? The aim for any program is to increase strength from a full body overview. During Jujitsu, you are going to use every muscle in your body ranging from the muscles in your legs to your back. Here are my top 6 pound for pound most important exercises that you should use in a workout routine to stay strong and prevent injury: Deadlift (Hex bar or rack pull) - People are always scared of ‘hurting their back’. Your back is built to be strong and more so, your glute’s are there to protect your back and these need to be trained to keep to improving hip strength as well as improving the ability to produce power. These lifts train every muscle in your body and done correctly will improve your BJJ performance. Goblet Squat- Any Squat movement should be a staple in any program. Using multiple joints as well as increasing full body strength a squat is a must in any program. One note, aim to hit FULL range. In Jujitsu your body is susceptible to being in ranges that are not normal. if your were to train in a smaller range then this may inhibit your performance. Weighted Lunge/Step up- During a fight you are never really in a stable position. You are mainly using one leg or one arm more than the other. So we need to train this. This will help with stabilising your hips as well as improving over all lower body strength. Inverted Rows- Shoulder stability is incredibly important when its come to BJJ for performing attacks or escaping arm bars. Being able to withstand submissions and get yourself in a better position are all important. As well as this, we seem to live in an office based world, weak back muscles are highly common. Inverted rows will help prevent this and can target all the muscles in your back using different hand positions. Press ups- Press ups done properly will aid upper body strength as well as reduce shoulder injury. I see these BUTCHERED all the time, this isn’t just a dangerous its a lack of discipline. Three main points to a perfect press up: -Elbows IN, imagine there’s a piece of paper in your armpits so you don’t let your elbows drop out -Chin, chest and thighs to the floor- full depth will mean that you are loading the movement in the most efficient manner. -Tensing your glute’s will keep your core tight and not let your hips drop. -Simple, effective and you can do them anywhere! Loaded Carry's Your core is related to all the muscle around your spine not just your ‘six pack’. Loaded carries are very effective for true core development as well as being one of the most versatile lifts in the gym and can be used for anything from conditioning, strength or even a warm up. Whether you are wanting to build muscle, lose fat or get stronger, loaded carries will increase your overall performance. Three main types of carries to train your whole core: Zurcher carry- Carry a heavy ball at chest height for distance. This will load your abs and teach you about bracing. It will also train you to breath whilst under pressure. Suitcase carry- Hold a KB or a dumbbell with one hand and walk without leaning. This will mainly train the muscle on the side of your core like your oblique’s for example. Farmers- Carry two dumbbell’s in two hands. This will place massive strain on the core as well as test your grip and shoulder strength. Again a very effective way to load your whole body whilst moving (similarly to BJJ) Recovery There are 3 main pillars that need to be addressed when recovering from training as well as every day life: 1-Nutrition- For most people being fuelled to fight or train is of paramount importance. Being able to train with intensity will mean you need gas in the tank to be able to perform at your best. But more importantly staying HYDRATED is of massive significance when training. Adding a hydration tablet before or after training as well as having 1-2L of water for every hour you train will help.

-Sleep- There is no better way to recover then getting a good nights sleep. Muscle recovery, waste product removal as well as growing all happen when your asleep. Getting less then 7 hours of sleep can decrease performance and focus during training and work. Aim for 9 hours, get 8 and not below 7 if you can. 3- Mobility- Being mobile is the key to longevity in BJJ. I would recommend you go to 1 yoga class per week. Many people assume that they will stretch all the time but in my experience life gets in the way. By going to a class you will actually make time for it and you will have someone pushing you to get more nimble! I know this is a lot a information to take in. But simple programming and consistency will take your physical game to a new level whilst maintaining your performance into later life.

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