Choosing To Train Or Rest When Injured

Flickr/ Creative Commons: MakMachismo

I’ve been asked about training with an injury and I’m sharing what I practice myself. Everyone has different reasons for training, so the answer may vary depending on your goals, lifestyle, and priorities. The answer will also vary depending on the injury. Someone who doesn’t compete will not hold jiu-jitsu as a top priority, therefore healing their body needs to be first and foremost. Also, other factors to consider include your job and daily responsibilities. The health of your body is very important to be able to continue to do jiu-jitsu as long as possible, whether or not you are an athlete.

I’m a big advocate of doing whatever you can while injured if it is at all possible. Obviously, there are some injuries where that is not the case or at least it isn’t at the beginning of the injury. I spoke about doing strength and flexibility work in my last article which can help prevent injuries from happening. There are those random ones that happen during rolls, yet many injuries develop from overuse. The first step is taking care of your body, so you don’t have to deal with an injury. By doing so, you’ll have to be aware of the techniques you use most often. For example, I’ll have pain in my knee if I don’t take care of the tight muscles on my left thigh. Using a rubber guard often has a motion where those muscles will get tight which alters the position of the joint over time. This scenario will happen anywhere on the body with repetitive movement even if it doesn’t involve jiu-jitsu. I’ve witnessed people with injuries from using a computer too often. The repetition doesn’t have to involve sports or be dynamic.

If you do get injured, make certain you rest whatever body part is injured. At the same time do what you can by working around it. Even if you can’t do jiu-jitsu, you often can do some type of strength training to improve your jiu-jitsu in the meantime. You can also watch plenty of jiu-jitsu videos or watch the class you normally attend. You don’t want to come back too soon and reinjure yourself. I know it can be difficult to stay away from jiu-jitsu, yet coming back too soon often leads to more total time out of the gym. If you are out for 2 weeks and come back not completely healed, it is more likely you will get reinjured. When you do return, it may be another 2 or more weeks away from training. If you originally waited 3 weeks and were completely healed, then it is actually less time overall. If you are unsure of the healing process, since everyday motions compared to jiu-jitsu feel different, then start with light drilling and go from there.

I once had a pinky finger bend in the opposite direction. Initially, I couldn’t use that hand. Once it healed for everyday use, I did guard passing drills without using that hand. We were currently doing guard passing drills without using our hands to improve leg dexterity. I worked a lot on those drills since it was something I could do while still healing. Sometimes there are just very minor injuries that are bothersome during jiu-jitsu. If something is slightly bothering me, but not injured to a point to have to stop doing jiu-jitsu, I obviously don’t want it to get worse. I change my game according to how my body feels. The example above I gave with my left leg and rubber guard is a perfect example. If I am currently working on that leg and it is feeling tight, I change my game for a time period, so I’m not working on any rubber guard. I feel like it is a win-win because you are healing while being forced to develop your game. If you’re an athlete with a match coming up, then there are other factors to take into account. For everyone else, take care of your body, so you have longevity and happiness with your jiu-jitsu journey.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here