I want to get more flexible for BJJ. I'm intending on stretching 3 times (or more) a day, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds.

I've read that it's good to strengthen the muscles while you stretch them to avoid overstretching. I already have strong legs because I used to do both weighted and bodyweight squats. At the moment, the only exercise I do for my legs is 800m, 2k and 4k runs - is that going to be adequate strengthening?

And is three times a day excessive (/dangerous)?


1 Answer 1


For the stretching, pick up Tom Kurz' Scientific Stretching. It addresses your questions. Three times a day may or may not be excessive; it depends on how you do it. You might get more mileage out of doing yoga a few times a week and developing a home routine.

Running is not strength training unless it is sprints. 800 meters is way too long for strength work; if you want strength do deadlifts and squats and pull-ups and dips. I find Romanian deadlifts quite useful for simultaneously strengthening and stretching the hamstrings, for instance.

Make sure you do plenty of counter-movements to the BJJ work: opening the hips and shoulders to reverse the curled-up posture common for most groundwork. This article is a good overview:

When you’re in guard, attacking from the side mount, back and many of the other positions, your body is in a contracted state.

The upper back is often rounded as you are holding onto your opponent, the hip flexors and psoas are usually tightened because the knees are tucked up towards the chest, and as for the neck and shoulders – well if you’ve been training for any length of time you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.This excessive contraction is even more pronouced in the primary defensive postures, like the turtle postion. (Interestingly, the ageing process is also characterised by contraction – this is why old people start to hunch over.)

Regular practise of the various asanas and vinyasas is the best remedy I’ve found for this imbalanced state, due to their twofold effect of lengthening and opening the body.

  • I'm looking into yoga classes around my area. If I do have to keep to my stretching routine, would I have to utilise progressive overload on bodyweight squats to get the strengthening to counteract overstretching or can I just do say 15-20 squats and leave it at that (my max for one set is probably about 80 at a struggle)
    – Dan
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 8:41
  • @Dan Over time, any unchanging exercise will stop being a strength stimulus. A once-a-week or once-every-two-weeks barbell squat/RDL/pull-up/dip session should be plenty challenging. If you just pick one, I'd make it the barbell RDL (particularly if your hamstrings are tight) or barbell squat. Commented May 24, 2013 at 12:36

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