Massage in BJJ

MassageAs anyone who has read the about me section of the blog will quickly realise is that I’m not a young BJJ minion. This isn’t helped by the fact I never act my age and as a result tend to pick up a range of training niggles, aches and pains! So I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick blog about my approach to massage in BJJ.

Foam Rollers
Ok first a disclaimer – I don’t use my foam roller as often as a should. But when I do remember I tend to use them for two main reasons:-

  1. Warm Up – If I have a specifically niggly tight bit before training or more specifically I’ve found it useful before competition especially when mat space is tight.
  2. Cool Down – This is when I mainly remember to use it. To complement my stretching and generally get things massage.

When I do remember to use one it takes much longer for any niggle to get noticable and I need to see a professional less. Plus when I do it makes his life slightly easier as there are less problem bits!

There is loads of resources on the internet re using a foam roller but I leave you with two. My hubby has written a good article re using a foam roller for your back and thoracic region and this pictogram somes up some of the common exercises beautifully!

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin. I was advised to try sliding cupping (where you move the cups around) after having issues with my iliotibial band as a more effective alternative than rolling on it. So I went and bought my own home set. Apparently its great for fascia release as sliding cupping is supposed to break up stagnation in the fascia below the skin (which massage can do as well) which in turn make things feel better! I’ve had mixed opinion for people more knowledgable than me regarding if it work.

My personal experience is that it didn’t harm me and I think it helped a little as I could reach parts that I struggled to with my foam roller and also it was painful when thing were bad so at least I could achieve some sort of massage on it. Here is a more detailed article regarding some of the benefits that have been observed.

Bring in a Professional
First things first, check that you are actually seeing a professional! There are a lot of people out and about doing sports massage with a whole host of different qualifications and experience. If someone can’t tell you their qualifications and background then obviously that’s an immediate red flag. Spend a bit of time checking them out before booking and spending your money. Also ask for recommendations. I’ll be honest I’m a bit cheeky as I have some pre-existing problems that I know pretty well as well as being a coach and sports science graduate (in my past life). So I do have a habit of seeing what how they diagnose me as a bit of a 101 test!

My current professional pain inflictor (I mean go to massage bod!) of choice (Karl) is a qualified Sports Therapist. He can do a whole host of thing including postural assessment, taping, acupuncture and lots of evil (but highly effective) massage. He can explain what he does way better than I can and always explain what he’s actually do to you and why. He trains BJJ at Stealth BJJ in Manchester so understand what we put our bodies through, has a fabulous professional manner and more importantly gets the job done. Plus he can cope when I turn evil purple minion on him, squirm and make random noises lol!. If you are in the Manchester area do check out Transform Sports Therapy.

The first thing about Sports Massage as I’ve implied is that it isn’t the most relaxing thing you’re going to do. It does hurt – not horrifically but in that finding tender spots you didn’t know you had kind of way. At the end of the day though it’s always better to get rid of the sore bits than have a nice soft massage where you don’t feel much better afterwards as you still have load of problems  and niggles still!

Karl gets called in for two main reasons. It’s either my rehab i.e. after competition and / or when something hurts. Or its basic maintenance because I want to stay in one piece and on the mat. The maintenance sessions are the hardest to remember as when things feel good a massage is the last thing on your mind so it does tend to be when I start to get a niggle or if I’m really good I plan them in on the run up to major competitions or events.

Massage isn’t the only trick that’s used to keep my in one piece. I’ve had both acupuncture to compliment my massage and other treatments and I regularly go and see a chiropractor but more about those in another blog. I hope you’ve found some useful information in this blog. Let me know what you get up to keep yourself rolling, especially any DIY tips!

9 thoughts on “Massage in BJJ

  1. I’ve said this before, but somewhat strangely given my favoured sport, I really hate being touched. I did go see a physio a while back for a groin injury, but that massage was so painful (and I have my doubts if it actually helped) that it put me off even further. So I don’t think I could ever bring myself to get a massage in future.

    Foam rollers sound more intriguing, I see them being used quite a lot and presumably that’s easy to do solo. My main problem there is laziness: I know from experience that if it isn’t directly incorporated into BJJ (e.g., in the warm-up) I’m not going to do it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is no getting around massage hurting but I have had really positive results with it (quicker healing, reduced injury rate).

      Foam rollers are a good DIY option but I am lazy and forget to use them as often as I should. The main times I remember is as a cool down (whilst chatting to peeps) or at home whilst watching TV. Borrow one from a friend or the random one that’s always in the gym and see how it feels for you.


      1. I don’t mind the pain, it’s the somebody touching me I don’t like. 😉

        If my girlfriend ever learned massage, that would work, but anybody else, I’d be far too uncomfortable. There is often a foam roller lying around in the gym and I tend to arrive before the students, so I’ll have to try and force myself to use it. During cool down or open mat is a good idea, I’ll try that. 🙂


      2. Hope it works for you! If not then I’m sure a massage training course could be a potentially romantic gift for your girlfriend lol!


      3. Ha – don’t think she’d be too impressed by that! Massage training course for me, maybe. 😉

        I have a book somewhere, which I should probably pick up again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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