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How Rolling Like A Baby Can Help Your BJJ.

Being able to separate the upper and lower body is an important skill on the mats. Guard passing, sweeps and a lot of other moves require you to point your chest one way and your hips in another direction, which is a specific type of mobility that a lot of people struggle with.

In this video I explain more about the importance of rolling like a baby to help your BJJ and show you a simple way to start ading it to your routine.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

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Feel Better With This 5-Minute Wrist & Shoulder Mobility Routine

Few things take a beating on the mats like our wrists and shoulders. Almost everything you do in BJJ requires the upper body to either transfer force into your opponent or absorb energy from them, placing a lot of stress and tension on these two areas.

Plus, you have to deal with getting thrown and swept. The wrists and shoulders can take some good impacts from flying through the air, which means most of you reading this have or will have some sort of injury to these areas from hitting the deck.

What this all adds up to is a lot of tight, immobile wrists and shoulders. This can show up in a lot of ways, including restricting your movement on the mats and/ or neck/ elbow pain.

All which can detract from your performance and enjoyment. This means you need something to help you keep those areas moving and feeling their best.

In this video I take you through a 5 minute follow-along mobility routine that can help you improve your wrist and shoulder mobility. Try using it 3-5 times a week for the next few weeks and see how a little mobility can go a long way on the mats.

As your training progresses be sure to make time for your strength and mobility training. With routines like this you don’t need to let excuses like “I don’t have time” keep you from doing the things off the mat that will help you perform and feel better on the mat.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

BJJ Strength Training Systems

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What I Learned About Motivation From Baby Z.

When my little boy Z was a baby he was like a ninja crawling around on the ground.

When something caught his eye he would zip over to it to check it out and see what trouble he could cause with it, which always kept his mom and I on our toes.

However, the real problem was that he wouldn’t practice walking.

He could do it, he just had the problem that all toddlers have when learning to walk – it is a slow and cumbersome way to get around at first.

I mean, you can see how from his perspective walking was a disaster. All that falling over and now his mom and I could have time to stop him from making his way to something he shouldn’t be messing with.

Why screw around with that when crawling has been working just fine, thank you very much.

But then one day something happened that completely changed how he saw the world and walking suddenly became worth the trouble. And luckily, I was there to see it because it taught me a valuable lesson as well.

Z and I were hanging out in the backyard when he found a metal rod that that he grabbed and tried to crawl around with. The problem was that he already had something in the other hand and trying to crawl around with both hands full isn’t easy.

Then he tried a different strategy and stood up. He took a couple of steps and it was like a light bulb went off – you could see in his eyes that something had changed.

Standing also makes it easier to work on bikes.

He’d realized that when you walk you can easily carry something in both hands. You can literally double your carrying capacity for weapons or toys or whatever it is that you want to carry.

And this was worth dealing with the pain of the drawbacks of walking. I never saw him crawl again from that moment on. Once the shift had been made he never went back to using it.

That was a powerful lesson for me as well. To be there for that light bulb moment and to see how quickly and dramatically it changed his behavior really drove home the point for me that we have a huge capacity for change…but only if we really buy into why we need to do it.

It is the buy in that changes how you see the efforts and sacrifices you are making. Changing your behaviors without changing how you see those behaviors won’t last.

In Jiu-Jitsu see you see this from people who start out strong but after a few weeks they just can’t find the time and eventually give up. Once the initial motivation wore off they didn’t have the fuel they needed to keep things going.

But that’s the secret, though – that fuel has to come from how you see the world.

For example, most of us brush our teeth because we see the world in a way that motivates us to do it. No one wants bad breath and rotten teeth and so we perform the ritual of brushing our teeth a couple times a day.

However, most people just don’t see the world in a way that motivates them to take care of the rest of their body. Training BJJ or doing some strength and mobility training can be a frustrating pain in the butt, which is how they see it even when forcing themselves to do it.

No wonder most people don’t start or quit within a few months. This goes back to my post on The Importance of Being an Optmist for BJJ…if you don’t think that an activity is going to lead to something good then it is really hard to stick with it.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You see, as humans we have a couple of cool super powers that we need to tap into if we want to live the lives we really want…or at least not quit BJJ.

The first is one I’ve touched on already, which is the ability to change your reality. The story you are telling yourself isn’t “real”, it is just a reflection of how you see the world. You can change that story and, as a result, your reality.

This is how people make lasting changes – they start to tell themselves a story that makes it impossible not to change. If you see yourself as the kind of person who doesn’t make excuses and appreciates how the process of training BJJ will help you then you have no choice but make time for it.

The second super power is the ability to manipulate the future. You can do things now that will pay off down the road, with Jiu-Jitsu and strength training as two of the best examples of this.

Sure, you won’t see results in the first workout or maybe even the first couple of weeks but in 6 months you’ll be a different person. 6 months will come and go either way, but you can do things today that will improve your future self out.

But, like I said, you have to be like Z and find the way of seeing that world that makes these choices self-evident. You can’t see the world the same way and just take on different habits, you have to change your perspective in a way that makes those habits easier to adopt.

And that’s really the hardest part. As a coach I wish I had something to tell you that would flip that switch for you, but the truth finding that switch is part of the journey.

Everyone has to find what motivates them to change but knowing that you can and then looking for the perspective that motivates that change is the first step.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

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5 Essential Glute Bridges to Add to Your BJJ Training

Glute Bridges are a staple of BJJ training because they do such a great job of training an essential mat-specific movement. Being able to bridge and create space is one of the first things you learn and something you keep working on as you advance.

And while we all know and love the regular Glute Bridge, there are a lot of different variations of this movement that we should be using as well. These variations can help shore up weak links with specific applications of the Glute Bridge, like applying joint locks or keeping the knees from getting smashed together.

Below are 5 of my favorite BJJ-specific Glute Bridges that can help you move better on the mats. Pick one that works on a problem you have or area you want to get stronger and then do it 1-2 times a week, doing 2 sets of 5-15 reps. You can add it into your workout or do it as part of a daily movement practice, the important thing is to get the work in.

1 – Val Slide Glute Bridge

We all know that Glute Bridges have a lot of carryover to the mats but something a lot of people don’t realize is the importance of keeping your hamstrings engaged to keep the heels in tight. A lot of people lose joint locks because they extend the knees with the hips, increasing the space and allowing room to escape, which is directly tied to this movement skill.

Using Val Slides under your feet during a Glute Bridge can help reinforce keeping the hamstrings engaged, making it a more BJJ specific movement. BTW, you’ll notice a do 3 good reps followed by 3 bad reps in this video so you can see what happens if you don’t keep the heels in while doing the bridge.

2 – Knee Squeeze Glute Bridge

Another great way to make the Glute Bridge more BJJ specific is to pinch a yoga block between your knees. This not only works the specific skill of keeping a tight squeeze with the knees while extending the hips it also helps keep stress off the lower back by engaging the core more than a normal Glute Bridge.

3 – Hip Band Glute Bridge

Glute Bridges with a band around the knees is another way to spice things up. Since the glutes are also responsible for keeping the knees apart, this one is double trouble for them. Being able to resist someone smashing your knees together while extending the hips helps with controlling space on the bottom, making this another great BJJ specific exercise.

4 – Marching Glute Bridge

Marching Glute Bridge I’d a great way to work on single leg bridge stability. A lot of times we bridge with two legs to create space and then transition to a single leg stand as we use the other leg to control the space we created. A lot of people simply flop back down to the ground when this transition happens which ends up just going them smashed again. Using this movement to work on this BJJ specific skill can help you avoid this problem. Note the Val Slides under my heels for more hamstring activation and stability challenge.

5 – Ramping Isometric Glute Bridge

The Ramping Isometric Glute Bridge is the easiest way to improve raw strength of this essential BJJ specific movement. The a belt around your feet and waist as shown and then do 30 seconds at 50% effort, 30 seconds at 80% effort and then 30 seconds at 100% effort. No rest between the rounds, just ramp up the tension. Do one set to failure and say hello to your glutes, which will be on fire.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson
BJJ Strength Training Systems

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