If you’re reading this, you already know that a BJJ class can get pretty intense. This means that walking off a BJJ gym floor the minute your session ends is kind of a bad idea. Let’s find out why.
Importance Of Warm-Down Exercises After A BJJ Class
The intensity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires your muscles to be limber, before and after each training session. The goal is to avoid injury on and off the training floor. For this reason, trainers schedule your typical BJJ class in the following way:
- A warm-up session that includes stretching and light exercises gets your blood circulating
- The main class consisting of learning techniques, drilling, and rolling (sparring)
- A warm-down or cool-down session that includes stretching and other exercises
Warming up before exercise gently shifts the heart into gear. The practice also activates and stretches different muscle groups. The result is joints and muscles that are loose and flexible enough to withstand BJJ training. Warm-ups often take the form of stretching and leisurely cardio like skipping or jogging.
Cooling down slows the heart rate gradually, which is better than slamming the brakes on the cardio-vascular system. Cooling down also slows muscle activity in phases, preventing lactic acid buildup and the resultant muscle soreness.
Warm-down exercises can take the form of weight training, either using your body weight or free weights. You could also substitute strength training with light cardio. Lastly, you should wind down your warm down with stretching exercises. Here is a breakdown of a few popular exercises that you can use to cool down after training at a BJJ gym.
1. A Leisurely Jog
An intense BJJ class is a form of anaerobic exercise that pushes the body to its limits. The resulting anaerobic respiration creates a slow burn that lasts long after your BJJ class. It also creates a buildup of lactic acid, which can cause joint and muscle soreness.
Light jogging allows you to enjoy the slow burn of anaerobic exercise without the soreness of lactic acid buildup. Here’s how it works.
Warm down exercises restore full blood circulation to your muscles. Blood reaches your oxygen-starved muscles to deliver the oxygen that muscle cells need to metabolize lactic acid. The happy result is an extended burn that eliminates the likelihood of soreness and stiffness.
2. A Short Walk
A relaxing walk feels good after an intense workout at a BJJ gym. Walking offers the same benefits as the slow jog: It restores circulation to oxygen-starved muscles. A fresh supply of oxygen to these muscles triggers the metabolism of lactic acid.
As a result, you get an extended after-burn without the famously painful buildup of lactic acid.
3. A Light Session On The Treadmill
Most BJJ gyms boast cardio and weight training stations, so go ahead and hop on the treadmill for a few minutes. Set a low speed that lets your heart slow down gradually.
You should know that a cardio wind-down after an intense BJJ class feels great, as your body starts to release dopamine. In other words, you’ll experience what’s commonly known as a runner’s high.
4. Low-Intensity Strength Training
Cool-down sessions can also take the form of strength and resistance exercises. You can use free weights, or your body weight to do strength training. Like light cardio exercises, strength/resistance cool-down routines gradually slow your heart rate.
The exercises also restore circulation to the muscles, which speeds up your after-burn while eliminating lactic acid. Resistance routines incorporate stretching, which protects the muscles from injury. Here are a few basic strength exercises to help you warm down after an intense BJJ session:
- Lifting light weights for a few minutes (don’t use heavy weights)
- A few reps worth of slow pull-ups
- You could also do a few pushups, with a few seconds of rest between each rep
A short Yoga session is an excellent way to stretch most or all the muscles in your body. Some BJJ gyms even have a Yoga instructor on hand to guide you through a short warm-down session. Stretching your muscles restores blood circulation and enhances the ‘burning’ of lactic acid. Stretching also loosens the muscles, preventing injury and cramps.
Besides Yoga, other forms of stretching include:
- Quad stretches: Where you fold your leg back by pulling your foot towards its corresponding glute. Try to touch the heel of your foot to your butt
- Bending forward: This stretches the muscles of the core and back as you slowly bend forward and raise your torso back up
- Forward bend from a sitting position: Sit on an exercise mat, folding one leg such that your foot touches the knee of the straight leg. Bend forward such that your head joins the foot touching the knee. Hold that position for a few seconds before raising the torso
- Knee-to-chest stretches: Lie down flat on the floor and bring your knee to your chest. Repeat this motion and alternate from one leg to the other
There are many more stretching exercises that you can use to wind down your workout session. You can learn more about them at any Evolve MMA gym in Singapore.
Remember To Rehydrate
Here’s an interesting experiment for you: Weigh yourself before you start training. Weigh yourself again after your training session. You should weigh a little less at the second ‘weigh-in’. Much of that difference comes down to the water you lose as you sweat it out.
Rehydrate slowly during and after your warm-down session. Replace what you’ve lost and add a little more on top.
A BJJ Class Has Everything You Need In A Workout
Warming down simply means exercising at a slower pace until your heart rate slows down to a state of rest. There are several upsides to a warm-down session. For starters, cooling down prevents injury to the muscles. The practice protects your cardiovascular system from the shock of going from 100 to zero in a single second.
A well-executed warm-down session also prevents the soreness that comes with lactic acid buildup. It allows you to extend your workout by adding pleasant, laid-back exercises to your BJJ class. What’s not to like?
If you’re in Singapore and thinking about trying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, check us out. We have an excellent BJJ gym, complete with stations for cardio, rolling, and strength training. We’d love to have you, so feel free to stop by one of our complimentary introductory classes.
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