Cross Training and Understanding Movement Patterns
Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Wednesdays with Coach Tim :]
This week, let’s take a look at some advice for studying outside of class. This section is featured on Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s very own blue-belt, Veronica G! :]
Wednesdays with Coach Tim: Cross Training
This week, I asked Coach Tim to talk about what sort of exercises I can do off the mat to improve my strength and technique on the mat. In particular, I’m becoming a little obsessed with identifying the main movements in BJJ and how to work those muscles outside the gym and get stronger.
Coach Tim’s Advice:
There are seven major movement patterns that humans utilize: Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend (Hinge at the hip as you would during a deadlift), Twist, and Gait (walking pattern). It is useful to break down the movements in your sport into the movement patterns being utilized; for example, throwing a baseball would be a lunge, followed by a twist, finalized with a push.
Improving movement patterns and techniques in BJJ requires making sure you know how to properly execute these seven movement patterns in a strength & conditioning environment. Then we start to break down our BJJ movements into these movement patterns and start tightening up the mechanics of each pattern and smoothing out the transitions between each pattern.
One of the interesting parts of BJJ is that it relies on many permutations of these combined movement patterns – the tricky part is you often execute these movements with your back braced against the floor (instead of your feet braced against the floor) or you are pushing/pulling/etc. from angles that are foreign to us.
To examine this principal, we’ll look at playing guard. The most important movement pattern for playing guard is the leg press (squat) and being able to re-align your hip so that you can press your opponent with one or both legs at any time (this is the mechanism at play whenever someone talks about being able to “control the distance” from the guard). The main way we do this in BJJ is with the hip-escape: your opponent was in front of you and you could leg press them at will (control the distance and keep your guard safe), as they approach a 90-degree angle to your current position (wherein their spine would be perpendicular to yours), your ability to leg press is diminished. The closer your opponent is to you, the harder it is to simply turn along the floor and get that leg press back in front of you, so we use the hip escape to press against the floor, scoot the pelvis back and then use this newly-found space between you and your opponent to bring at least your heel in between you and the fixed-point your partner is trying to place on you, and voila! You just performed a leg-press that allowed you to prevent the guard pass.
The Take Away:
When you find yourself struggling with a technique, break it down into the movement patterns necessary for the technique, and train exercises off the mat that emphasize those movements. Leg presses, deadlifts, and core work are critical movements for BJJ — and a healthy body!
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