BJJ Recovery Essentials (especially if you’re over 40)

We all can agree on one thing, BJJ is a tough activity.  If you’re over 40 like me, then your body may bring a lifetime of wear and tear to the mats.  With that being said, it is imperative that you have a strong recovery plan in place so you can stay on the mats!

Here’s my list of BJJ recovery essentials!

Massage – If you can swing the investment, a weekly or biweekly massage is a must.  Massage is ideal for pain relief, getting out stubborn knots, stress relief and overall wellness.

Ice Ice Baby – I like to ice my joints after training.  Ice helps with pain relief, swelling and it feels good.  I also like to use an ice bath for sore fingers.  Simply fill a bowl with ice and water and submerge your hands for 10 – 15 second intervals.  The ice bath is great for swollen or sore fingers especially for gi practitioners.

ice ice baby

Have a Stretching Ritual – Having a daily stretching ritual is important.  Even if it’s just 15 – 20 minutes.  Stretching will relieve sore muscles, improve your range of motion and prevent injury.  Add movements between your stretches so that the exercise begins to imitate grappling.  This will get the blood flowing and loosen tight muscles.  Remember, to stretch you just need a little space and enough discipline to get on the floor and do it.  So go do it!

I’ve had a ton of success with Nic Gregoriades’ “Yoga for Grapplers”.

Epsom Salts – I take a daily epsom salt bath.  They are incredibly relaxing, help with joint pain and inflammation.  Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, epsom salts are rich in both magnesium and sulfate.  Added benefit:  Apparently due to diet and lifestyle our magnesium levels have dropped to half in the past century.  Who knew?  The good news is that studies show your body can absorb magnesium and sulfate from a bath with epsom salts.  According to studies, “Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract.”


Meditation –  I meditate every day, multiple times throughout the day.  Sometimes a meditation can be just a few mindful breaths and other times it can be far more detailed.  If I have a sore joint or injury I like to take things a step further.  I will do a meditation where imagine I have a team of workers fixing my injury.  I will picture in my minds eye a small team of construction workers and engineers all conspiring to fix my injury.  If you’re over 40 you might remember the TV show “Fraggle Rock” from the 80’s.  Do you remember the Dozer’s?  That what I picture.  I know that may sound funny, but I picture the Dozer’s working away fixing my sore joints.  In a 1999 study by Ievleva and Orlick, they compared slow and fast healers, they found that the fast healers:

  • took personal responsibility for healing
  • had high desire and determination
  • had more social support
  • maintained a positive attitude
  • used creative visualization
  • were less fearful of re-injury upon return to full participation



Additional Recovery Tips:

  1. People Putty has become a very important part of my healing and rejuvenation routine.   It is an external injury liniment specifically designed to assist the body in the repair and rebuilding of injured tissue (bone, flesh, or tendons), noticeably accelerating the speed of recovery, especially in sports related injuries.  I use it on tight and sore joints, pain relief and recovery.   I can’t say enough about this amazing product!
  2. Theracane (or some version of it) – The theracane is therapeutic massager used for loosening knots. I find that I can get knots in my neck and back better with a theracane than with real a massage therapist.  It’s really an amazing tool.  These can be purchased online or in retail stores.  (There are cheaper versions at Target and other stores)
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods – Hippocrates said, “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.  Nuts like almonds and walnuts, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.  Try to save the Ibuprofen as a last resort!

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