Flexibility is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some people are born more flexible than others but fortunately, we can all practice and improve our flexibility. It's always a good idea to work on your stretches after a light warm up before you begin training.
Think of flexibility like strength training. While working out and being incredibly strong isn’t necessary for BJJ it certainly helps level up your game. Flexibility training is very similar to strength training, it won’t make or break your game but it will certainly give you an edge.
This stretch targets your groin and hip region. This is a great beginner stretch that isn't too difficult. Sit on the ground, straighten your legs out and remember to straighten your spine for proper posture. While you grab and hold your ankles slowly press your knees downwards with your elbows.
Lying Spinal Stretch
This stretch will give your spine more flexibility and make you more limber. Start out by lying on your back with your arms stretched out to your left and right side. Left your legs to the sky, fold it over to the right side of your body. This stretch will aide in your spinal flexibility and will come in handy when people try to stack you while they are on your guard.
This is a counter pose to a forward bend. The bridge is a good beginner's yoga stretch that helps you build additional flexibility in your back. Lie down on your back and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Press firmly on to your feet and lift your butt off the ground. Interlace your hands together press the fists down to the floor. This stretch also helps improve your bridging during rolling sessions.
Leg Cradle Stretch
Lower back injuries and pain are very common in jiu-jitsu fighters. The leg cradle stretch is great for stretching out your lower back. Perform this stretch laying down on your back, straighten out your legs and slowly lift your knee and grab it. Gently pull your left knee to your chest and hold steady for about a minute then return it to the starting position.
Standing and Reaching Hamstring Stretch
Stand up tall and bend forwards from the hips, reaching for your toes with your hands. The goal is to keep your legs straight and your back as flat as possible. Don't worry if you can't reach your feet with your hands just rest them as far down on your legs as possible.
While improving your flexibility won't win you any tournaments it will make your jiu-jitsu game stronger. Integrate these stretches into your training regime and you will notice improvements over time!