Flexibility and mobility, why are both important for BJJ?

What is the difference between flexibility and mobility, why are both important for BJJ?

Knowing the difference between flexibility and mobility (and understanding why both are important) can bring your Jiu Jitsu game to the next level! 

Mobility is related to the joints and their ability to move actively through their full range of motion. Think of lifting your leg in the air to a 90-degree angle and bringing it back down again. That’s active mobility. Mobility is what your joints can do without the help of your hands ('look mom! No hands!'). A lot of Jiu Jitsu mobility is moving the joints through their natural range of motion as you train.

Flexibility is a muscle’s ability to lengthen, and usually with help of hands or a prop (body weight, belt, blocks, wall, etc). Think of flexibly as being more relaxed stretches.

Why are both important?: To have good mobility, you need good flexibility.

A simple way to test the difference between flexibility and mobility is to raise your knee towards your chest. Your hip mobility is defined by how far your knee travels without assistance. 

Now, place your hands on the knee and actively pull it closer to your chest. This shows your flexibility. 

Joint mobility: If you have poor mobility, you may find active movements difficult to complete without discomfort or limitations. If you have good joint mobility, in training you can make your guard harder to pass and your attacks more effective by having your joints move optimally and freely.

Muscle flexibility:  Flexible muscles improve movement of joints and that's why flexibility is an important component of mobility. It's difficult to move a joint if the muscles and tissues surrounding it are too tight. Simple as that.

Make sure to increase both flexibility and mobility to ensure you are moving optimally for your BJJ game. 

On a side note, having efficient flexibility and mobility can also decrease BJJ injuries. Injuries can occur if something is tight and pushed too far - this why flexibility is important. Injuries can also occur if the tissues surrounding joints are weak, causing them to become tired and creating opportunity for injury - this is why mobility is important. 

So make sure you are working on both your mobility and flexibility to bring your Jiu Jitsu movement to the next level!

To find the balance of both worlds, make sure to sign up for our free hip class!

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