Balancing Out Bad BJJ Shoulders

The BJJ posture is one of a hunchback. This rounded posture keeps you safe from arm bars and Kimuras but puts the shoulders in a weak position to lift weights and can cause you pain when you try to lift your arms above your head.

BJJ shoulder problems come in many shapes and forms, often from submissions that were cranked on and potentially not tapping in time. That said, one of the biggest contributors to a chronic shoulder issue is the position of your spine.

  • Thorasic Extension: “You Gotta Straighten UP!”

The Problem: We actively hunch when we grapple and the extra hunching we do in our daily activities typing, driving, siting and on our phones. The bones of our spine start to stack in a weak and unhealthy position. This puts your upper arm bone (Humerus) in a bad spot and can start to cause pain at the front of the shoulder even when you are not lifting or rolling.

 The Answer: Doing stretches and mobility movements that put your Upper back (Thorasic Spine) into extension will help to balance out all the hunching. This new found freedom needs to be supported by strengthening the muscles that help keep you in this healthy new posture for the long term.

  • Shoulder Internal Rotation: “You Gotta Open Up!”

The Problem: Most conventional weight training programs consists of movements that provide strength and muscle development of the Chest, Upper Back and Shoulder but cause tightness and restriction that can put you on the path to injury. Tight Pecs and Lats pull your shoulders into an internally rotated position, which can lead to pain at the front of the shoulder.

The Answer: Instead of focusing on just repeating movements you do on the mat in the weightroom, use your time lifting weights to help balance out your shoulders. Ditch the bench press and bicep curls and focus on opening up your chest and shoulders with exercises that recruit the smaller stabilising muscles that will reinforce shoulder stability and good posture.

  • Scapular Retraction & External Rotation: “Shoulders Back & Down.”

The Shoulder Saviours: The muscles we need to strengthen to solve our Shoulder problems are ones that we can’t directly see. Our Rhomboids and Rotator Cuff muscles are hard working little guys that just don’t get the love and attention they need because they are not for show.In order to restore health and strength to our shoulders these are the moves we need to focus on to improve your shoulder health and build up these small but essential muscles:

1.) Scap Swimmer Drill - For Mobility.

2.) Scapular Push Ups – For Warm Up

3.) Ring Rows – To strengthen.

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