Martial arts training by it's very nature is physically demanding and, as such, can take quite a toll on your body. With grappling arts such as jiu-jitsu and judo, it's not uncommon for tension to build up, especially in newer practitioners who often fail to relax, which can result in tight muscles in the hands, neck and back region. If you're training for a competition you need to ensure that you are able to compete injury free to allow you to fight to your fullest potential, but also to protect your spine which is where many jiu-jitsu injuries occur. With so many techniques designed to throw opponents and place them in physically uncomfortable positions, it's essential that you are flexible and relaxed and that you have strong core and spinal support.
Support the Spine - Prevention
Developing the muscles that support the spine is imperative for all martial arts and can be done with relative ease using intelligent and efficient training methods. Large compound exercises that force your midsection to work extra hard to stabilise your body are the best way to achieve this and have the added bonus of exercising multiple muscle groups in less than half the time it would take to train them independently. Use deadlifts, front squats and barbell bent over rows to achieve balance and contribute to a stronger back, coupled with dorsal raises at the end of your workout to exhaust the erector spinae. If you want to maintain flexibility and increase strength, aim for three sets of one to five reps, and then stretch each muscle area used in the session for up to 30 seconds.
Foam Roll Your Legs - Maintenance
Your range of flexibility will always fluctuate depending on your age and frequency of training. To maintain the functionality of your muscles, consider using a foam roller for myofascial release on the hamstrings and calves, as these can impact the tightness in your lower back. Muscles are covered in a casing called the fascia that sometimes fails to expand with the muscle pump, which can result in tension and a cramp-like feeling. Myofascial release relaxes and massages deep muscles, reducing the risk of the hamstrings pulling on the lumbar region of the spine and allowing full expansion of the muscle for pain-free training.
Relax and Increase Flexibility - Cure
Having a strong back won't always stop you from hyper-extending and getting injured. Should you find yourself on the wrong end of a throw and in need of some pain relief, there are various forms of massage therapy that can help. Many larger martial art gyms employ their own chiropractors and physiotherapists who are experts in providing various massage treatments, manipulating the deep muscle tissues to relieve tension, increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.