How To Be Less Sore After Jiu-Jitsu

Do you get really sore the day after Jiu-Jitsu training?

You might have been racing through drills and winning every roll yesterday and now, you can’t even roll off of your bed.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before. 

People get sore if it’s their first time training. It can also happen when you come back to train after a long lay-off from BJJ.

Unfortunately, even if you train within your limits, you’re going to be sore here and there. You cannot prevent soreness from BJJ completely. However, what you can do is limit the pain you feel and take actions to accelerate recovery.

In this MMAWhisperer guide to being less sore after Jiu-Jitsu workouts, you’ll learn:

  • Tips for reducing soreness after Jiu-Jitsu training
  • Good warm-up and cool-down exercises for Jiu-Jitsu
  • Whether or not you should train while sore
  • A easy-to-follow post-training routine

Let’s proceed!

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10 Tips For Reducing Soreness After Jiu-Jitsu Training

how to be less sore after jiu jitsu workouts

1. Move A Little After Class

After your first training session in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you might not feel sore right away.

Then you doze off on your bed and once you wake up, all the pain starts to make itself well-known to your body.

Try not to immediately rest or sleep after training Jiu-Jitsu or after an intense workout.

A great tip for Jiu-Jitsu is to get some light movement in after you train before fully resting.

This could involve walking home instead of driving after training or moving a few steps inside your house.

We also suggest trying a light Yoga flow for BJJ as it’s really good for the body. It can even help with your flexibility which is a must in Jiu-Jitsu.

Movement promotes blood flow which keeps your muscles packed with the nutrients it needs to be in good condition.

This can help reduce pain by a huge margin and may be useful as a cool down if you tend to feel nauseous after Jiu-Jitsu.

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2. Take Warm-Ups And Cool-Downs Seriously

warm ups to prevent soreness in jiu-jitsu

Speaking of movement, have you been doing your warm-up and cool-down exercises properly?

Warm-up exercises prepare your muscles and joints for the intense training ahead. On the other hand, cool-down exercises help your body stay at ease in a regulated manner. 

Calisthenics for BJJ is a good way to get warmed up.

Here’s a quick Jiu-Jitsu calisthenics warm-up to get you going:

  • 5-10 minute jog
  • 30 secs. jumping jack
  • 30 secs. Four-points base
  • Shrimping
  • Reverse shrimping
  • Forward roll
  • Backward roll
  • Sideways shoulder rolls
  • Cartwheels

Coaches often create their own routines so you don’t have to follow these. Just make sure that you are doing your warm-ups with just as much attention as the training itself.

While Jiu-Jitsu can get you in shape, additional movement training is helpful around the board, especially for reducing soreness.

As for the cool-down exercises, these are mostly stretching activities. For Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, focus on stretching out the bones in these areas:

  • Spine
  • Ankle
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists
  • Hips

3. Avoid Taking Painkillers

One of the reasons why you feel sore after a good day at the BJJ academy is that your muscles are inflamed.

The common reaction here would be to grab anti-inflammatories like pills or even ointments to ease the pain.

We suggest you avoid doing this for one important reason – your body needs to adapt naturally. Anti-inflammatories only provide short-term relief, after all. 

If your body goes through soreness without any aid from anti-inflammatories, you’ll gradually notice that its effects will lessen over time. 

Additionally, it is always possible to have an adverse reaction to anti-inflammatory drugs.

4. Don’t Neglect Conditioning Training

lift weights to prevent soreness in jiu-jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu might rely heavily on techniques but that doesn’t mean that strength isn’t required.

Strength training doesn’t just make you more physically capable when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu.

It can also make your body more capable of withstanding heavier amounts of force. 

This means your muscles will be less sore even after hard BJJ training as well.

Avoid Overdoing It In The Weight Room as well

Although strength training is vital, be sure to give yourself complete days off as well, because lifting weights can also make you sore and cause overtraining.

Don’t Skip Flexibility Training

Increasing your flexibility is also often overlooked in becoming better at Jiu-Jitsu. 

Some professional fighters take up Yoga or Gymnastics which helps with their flexibility.

The same with training your muscles, increasing your flexibility pays off as it makes your body more capable of being extended in certain positions, thus decreasing soreness.

Additionally, if you improve your cardio for Jiu-Jitsu, you can prevent the soreness associated with being out of aerobic shape.

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5. Train Consistently

If you take even a week off of Jiu-Jitsu, it’s very likely that your body will be sore once you come back. 

I like to say this is your body’s way of punishing you for avoiding Jiu-Jitsu.

All jokes aside, the body reacts to changes in your activity in many ways. 

If you remain inactive for quite a while, it will need to readjust itself once you begin living a more active lifestyle. This is why it’s important that you train as consistently as possible.

If you’ll be out of town for a week, you don’t necessarily have to find a BJJ academy where you’re headed. You can keep up with the activities by jogging or by lifting weights in the gym.

6. Tap Early

tap early to be less sore in jiu-jitsu

Tapping early isn’t a tip you need to follow in competition. 

However, when you’re inside the gym, leave your ego at the door and tap early.

Even if it’s a person who’s less experienced than you, tap out.

Some people tend to avoid tapping in training either because they’re trying to build their resistance to submissions, or they simply don’t feel the need to.

If you don’t tap out, your sparring partner is going to squeeze that submission tighter and tighter, which causes unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints.

7. Take A Cold Shower After Training

After a hard training session, your body feels all beat up. You probably trained more than you could take. We’ve all been there. 

A game changer in your pain management arsenal could be cold showers. 

Cold showers are great for pain relief because they cause the blood vessels to constrict, which decreases blood flow, promoting an anti-inflammatory response in your body. 

This is precisely what your body needs when it’s recovering. 

Some scientific studies showed the effectiveness of cold water immersion therapy in reducing soreness. 

However, in my personal experience, you don’t need a complicated cold water immersion protocol to enjoy the benefits. A nice cold shower can help you recover from a strenuous BJJ session.

I tested this after open mats, competition, and training sessions of 2+ hours. The results have always been positive.

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Get in the shower.
  2. Make the water slightly cold.
  3. Get half of your body in the water and start breathing in and out calmly. 
  4. Once you adjust to the intensity, make the water colder.
  5. Keep breathing in a controlled manner.
  6. At this point, you should put your whole body in the water, and the water should be as cold as you can tolerate.
  7. Stay there and count until 50 while you still breathe slowly.
  8. After that, stop the water and get out of the shower. 

Finally, If you have enough energy go for some light stretching afterward. 

This simple protocol can give you instant pain relief if you feel sore after BJJ.

8. Deep Tissue Sports Massage

Sports massage is a fantastic way to recover from BJJ training. 

For this reason, if you can afford it, we suggest you get regular massages until your body doesn’t feel sore after training anymore.

Your back and neck muscles can get pretty tense after a week of intense Jiu-Jitsu training. With all that muscle tension, your range of motion is limited.

 Add some lactic acid to the mix, and you’ll be feeling pain for a while even if you stop training.

Sports massage is an effective recovery method because it works deep into the muscle and connective tissues to promote healing and reduce pain.

Basically, it helps you by increasing blood flow and helping you release lactic acid. That’s why after a good sports massage they recommend you take lots of water.

Water will help you eliminate the waste produced in your body due to intense training. 

Sports massage from a good therapist could range between $100 and $150 per hour. It is a pricey option but is worth every penny.

If you can’t afford to get a message regularly, try to do it only when you reach your limits to help you recover faster. 

9. Try Foam Rolling Or Massage Guns

If sports massage isn’t an option. Foam rolling reduces soreness, improves recovery, and increases mobility.

It works by getting the body in a relaxed state to release muscle tension and flush out lactic acid. 

Of course, it’s not as effective as a sports massage, but self-massage with a foam roller is inexpensive to release the tension.

How to use a foam roller to be less sore after BJJ

An in-between solution is using a massage gun. The massage gun looks like a drill and is used to apply pressure to the muscles, similar to how a massage therapist would use their hands. 

The gun massage guns are between $100 and $200 price range. 

10. Adjust your training intensity

The best BJJ training intensity is different for each individual. 

There are so many variables that it’s impossible to give you the right intensity formula. 

This is why, if you want to get the most out of your training, you should train with the right amount of intensity. 

The best way to monitor your training intensity is by measuring your soreness after BJJ sessions. 

An easy way to do this is using a simple pain scale from 1-10. It would help if you never reached level 10 several times a week.

If you’ve been trying several items from the list and still feel sore after BJJ. Something is fundamentally wrong with the way you’re training.

You shouldn’t go to 100% in every session. That’s an easy way to get injured, begin sore all the time, and eventually quit BJJ.

Keep training intensity moderate while you build up your endurance, muscle density, and technique. Sometimes less is more in Jiu-Jitsu. 

Can I Train Jiu-Jitsu While My Body Is Sore?

The answer to whether you should train while you are sore depends entirely on you and what you think your body is capable of.

If the soreness is to the point where you can’t move certain parts of your body properly, you might want to take a day or two off.

Pushing through excessive soreness over and over can also result in more serious injuries too.

Additionally, training with extremely sore muscles will force your body to use other parts just to get techniques done. Obviously, the last thing you’d want is learning techniques the wrong way.

If the soreness is light and you don’t feel any immense pain, you should go ahead and proceed with training.

Of course, don’t forget to train lightly as you wouldn’t want to overdo it.

How To Be Less Sore After Jiu-Jitsu Work Outs – Final Word

You can’t completely avoid being sore after training Jiu-Jitsu as it’s the body’s natural response to fatigue and exhaustion.

Still, the least you can do is follow the tips above so that the soreness remains at a minimum so you can train more consistently.

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