Jiu-jitsu is hard on the body, plain and simple. Regardless of how intelligent we approach our training, it’s necessary to include other practices to kick on the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the relaxation and growth side of the nervous system that allows us to recover.
While we’ve previously covered a few ways to decrease inflammation to improve your recovery for BJJ, here are a few more ways to feel better before, during, and after training:
Foam Roll/Soft Tissue Release
Massage or foam rolling type work helps to release stagnant areas of tissue. Be sure when doing this type of work to not hold your breath and relax into your exhale, even holding the exhale at the bottom. This should feel relaxing. It isn’t a gritty exercise, and if you approach it this way you won’t receive the necessary benefits.
I am a great responder to ice treatment. For others, this may be too much and actually kick them into a sympathetic dominant state.
How To Make An Ice Bath At Home
A cheap and easy way to make an ice bath is to freeze a bunch of water bottles. I normally do 12 to 15 to get a fairly cold bath. Closer to 20 would make it more frigid.
Or you can find a freezing lake and jump in while wearing you Batman boxers like I did one November day after competing the day before.
Epsom baths are a relaxing way to flood our bodies with magnesium, which helps to lower anxiety, which then leads to a feedback cycle of being in a more parasympathetic or relaxed state.
Utilizing different movements in the pool is a way to challenge the nervous system without pounding the joints. By removing gravity, we help to increase smooth circulation without undue pressure to certain joints, due to biomechanical deficiencies.
There’s some cutting edge work being done by Laird Hamilton along with Marv Marinovich and his disciples of the Sports Science Lab and Speed of Sport. Rafael Dos Anjos and Georges St. Pierre have used much of this as part of their supplementary sports performance work. Check out some it in the video above.
I’ve given you a lot of considerations to tie into your recovery protocol. I advocate trying different ones that call to you. Be diligent and observant in how you feel before and after.
Research is great, but tangible first-hand evidence is always king. Keep a journal of what works for you best, examining your inflammation, mood, and energy levels, among other factors.
Once you find something that works better for you, plug it into your routine regularly and watch your health, training, and performance increase for the better.
I cover more performance training tidbits with my ebook “The Foundations of Movement Autonomy, Vitality, and Performance” that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats!