Warming Up Properly for Jiu-Jitsu Class

I’ve seen some discussion about how to warm up for class and thought I’d touch on the subject. Like many fitness questions, there isn’t always one definitive answer for everyone. Also, the answer may vary for the same person on a different day depending on how their body is feeling. At the start of a jiu-jitsu class, there are typically warm-ups before getting into instruction, drills, and rolling. Each instructor runs the class in their own way including which warm-ups and for how long they run.

As a personal trainer, my opinion is to have some type of warm-up before any type of exercise. During the winter months and in the morning, it is even more imperative that you warm-up prior to drills and/or rolling. A lot of the discrepancy is the type of warm-up and if it is related to jiu-jitsu. If someone feels they need extra time to warm up, they can certainly do so on their own time before class. If your body still feels stiff and cold after the class warm-up, then plan for some of your own before class. 

I believe in having a short amount of a general warm-up like jogging to get the body warm at the very beginning. After that is done, then they are jiu-jitsu specific. All of the following warm-ups are movements used in jiu-jitsu, so they not only warm up your joints but are specific to moves you may use during class, drills, and/or rolls. I also add one warm-up movement involving core work since it is so important in jiu-jitsu. My thought is at least they are getting some core work as opposed to none at all for those who don’t do any training outside of class. All of these warm-ups are important for everyone and necessary for beginners. 

Once class begins, I demonstrate the skill for the day and don’t elaborate too much at the start, so the students are not sitting too long getting cold. Once they practice the skill, they are drilling it repeatedly which is like a warm-up even further. If I need to elaborate, then I wait after they drill and add more information and skill to keep the momentum going.

Sometimes we do live drills which is great to do before rolling starts. With all the warm-up, it is unlikely for an injury to happen relating to the body being cold. After live drills and rolling, your body is at its warmest and most limber. The end of class is actually the best time to work on your flexibility for this reason. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.

Once you are doing jiu-jitsu for a while, you learn more about your body’s needs. You may need to do more warm-ups and/or additional types before class. If you are new, then it is imperative to follow the instruction of that class’s warm-up until you learn more about your body. When in doubt, the longer the warm-up the better. We want to get in as much jiu-jitsu as possible, yet also have the body ready for it.


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