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Neck pain from Jiu Jitsu (causes and how to fix ) :)

A few muscle groups which really get sore and overworked during Jiu Jitsu training are the  Suboccipitals. Let’s take a look at why that is, and which movements cause it.   Check out this quick read and gain a better understanding of why this might cause you pain from all the training.

Jiu Jitsu is a detail oriented game, quick observation of the moment is key. Observation done with the whole body, involves many fine movements of the small muscles in the back of the neck. There are many, let us discuss the Suboccipitals which  Originate at the C-1 and C-2 Spinous and transverse processes.  They are the deepest muscles of the posterior neck. They are involved in stabilizing the axis and atlas, and creating intrinsic movements such as rocking, and tilting of the head.  Other movements such as rotating the head to the same side, and laterally flexing the head to the same side are also relevant .

Here is another  interesting thing about one of the  muscles called the Rectus Capitis Posterior minor. It  attaches not only to the occiput , but also to the dura mater, the connective tissue that surrounds the spinal cord. Because of this connection, if the muscles are overworked they may cause headaches by disrupting normal cerebrospinal fluid fluctuations and hence the functioning of the vertebral artery and sub occipital nerve.

In Conclusion, one may see that constant playing guard, or head pressure along with many other movements  will cause much tension to these muscle groups. This will affect  other parts of the neck and back  which will for certain cause a ripple effect.

A Suggestion: Get a Theracane, which is a self help tool which may be ordered on amazon, it is easy to use and may greatly reduce tension through correct pressure placement in a small area . Also, use a lacrosse ball on various parts of the spine.

Stay Safe and train smart,

Until Next time ,

Stan with Wetek Massage Therapy and Personal Training

AN ATHLETIC APPROACH TO FOOD

Constant high intense training is fun and rewarding, however it comes with a price, and without proper nutrition this could mean many things. While training hard our body uses stored glycogen for fuel, however in order to replenish it and keep going is tricky. While our Roman Gladiator ancestors might have eaten hearts of Lions believing it will give them strength, nowadays we might have to look at nutrient density a little more closely.

Here are some quick and efficient tips:

Lets look at 3 types of situations  :

    1. You train moderate daily, not competing at an event:                                                                   In this case eating Complex carbohydrates, Protein , healthy fats and fiber foods with every meal would be ideal. Calorie in vs out, adjust accordingly.  In order for your body to replenish its depleted storage of fuel in the form of glycogen, it needs the right type, and one may use fiber foods to help aid digestion, however, be careful not to overdo fiber as that can slow down the digestion process. Keep a balance and use common sense.
    2. Week before an event:                                                                                                              You might want to taper down the amount of food you eat ,as your training is being tapered down prior to the event and you do not want to avoid exercise weight gain. You might still gain weight, however some of it might be water, and having extra water in your system might be a good thing, especially if one will be competing in a hot or humid condition, and/or one will be sweating a lot. For every gram of Glycogen, your body stores 2.6 Grams of water. However, if you are cutting , one may need to get rid of that extra weight, which can be done, however we suggest starting the cutting down phase much earlier as it will be easier for the body to adjust to the weight and the strength will not be decreased since this was done gradually with the right type of nutrition.
    3. The Day before Competition :                                                                                                   You might want to consider increasing your carbohydrate intake , since the entire week prior you were mindful of them, or however long you were getting ready according to your own diet schedule. This will ensure that your glycogen (fuel) source is more replenished and your body can store more after the cut phase .Now is a good time to eat more fruits such as bananas, peaches, cantaloupe,watermelon,along with vegetables 🌶 such as sweet potatoes and Broccoli 🥦. Try to include protein and fat with each meal, and snack on dried fruits in moderation. Examples of good fats include : Flaxseed oils as salad dressing along with cold water fish such as Salmon , halibut, haddock, and mackerel. Such fish will satisfy both the protein and fat needs the evening before the race. Skip the pasta party.Lastly, reduce dietary fiber to allow for easier digestion of foods in preparation for the next day’s race/event.

Note: This is a delicate matter and can get complicated as we all vary in goals, metabolism etc, this is just an over view to get your brain thinking in the right direction. Consulting a dietician would be ideal with the right type of research . 🙂

Hope this helped, stay tuned for more and please share to help us grow.

Until Next time friends,

Stan with Wetek Massage Therapy and Private Personal Training.

Food for Fuel

We all want results from exercise, however many people do not optimize their nutrition properly for maximum results. Our body likes to use carbohydrates for fuel, in order to restore the Glycogen levels of the muscles which are often depleted due to exercise. After exercise this chemical gets depleted in our body, this gives us energy, and whenever we exercise our body uses it for fuel. Immediately , after exercise is the most optimal time to replenish it, there is about a one hour window which we have where the body will replenish and make the best gains. However, many times there is often confusion about what foods to ingest to accomplish this.

Proteins and fats will help you build muscle in moderate amounts, however they will not help with restoring glycogen the same efficient way that complex carbohydrates will (such as Yams, brown rice, quinoa, Cus Cus, Buck Wheat, Barly, and sugars found in Bananas ).

Incorporating these in your diet
(google complex carbohydrates for variety) in the correct amount especially after a work out to replenish the lost glycogen will help with restoring energy and quick recovery.  Furthermore,  eating the above mentioned along with solid clean protein foods post workout and upon waking up for breakfast will produce great results.

Keep in mind, the inability to do so will and can hinder performance.

Frames: Kimoras:Americanas: Improve your Range of motion

Frames, Kimoras and Americana’s: Improve these positions with Range of motion: Kindly Please read until the end !

Often I hear something like this “ If I only had better range of motion in my shoulder’s, I would not tap so quickly “.
Also, “ If It was not for my shoulder , neck and back pain, I would have held that frame”

When training Jiu Jitsu, it is very common from all the pulling, pushing and lifting from many angles to create many muscle imbalances, tightness in the neck, and the rotator cuff along with many other muscles really places a stress on our muscular system, and because its all connected, the joints in the middle suffer.

While the problem may take some work to identify, most likely if we address the rotator cuff and the neck, this could help pain relief and increase performance.

Lets quickly look at why?

Rotator cuff muscles :
Supraspinatus: Action: Abduct the shoulder (Moves arm away from the body), stabilizes the humerus. Example of Jiu Jitsu Technique: Making a grip and breaking posture

Infraspinatus: Action: Laterally rotate the shoulder , Adduct the shoulder ,stabilize the head of the humerus in glenoid cavity ……Example of Jiu Jitsu Technique: Collar drags, or any kind of Drags
Teres Minor: Action :Laterally rotate the shoulder, adduct the shoulder, stabilize the head of humerus in glenoid cavity Example of Jiu Jitsu Technique: any kind of elbow escape, framing to hide elbows
Subscapularis: Action: Medially rotate the shoulder……..Example of Jiu Jitsu Technique: forward rolls, shoulder pressure (medial rotation of the shoulder)

These are just some of the examples of the actions , however any time you are framing, pulling, pushing or dragging , the rotator cuff muscles are involved . The rotator cuff assists other larger muscles , which means its all connected and damage in the rotator cuff may cause tension elsewhere.,
Try to look up “ Myofascial release and stretching exercises for the rotator cuff” :
This might not be a quick fix, as many other factors are involved, however this could help if done right, slowly and from a trained professional. Also, if caught early enough, you might save yourself from future serious injury.

Until next time ,
Stan with Wetek Massage Therapy and Personal Training AKA Dr.Jiu Jitsu

Half Guard Muscle imbalances!

Jiu Jitsu Half Guard Muscle Imbalances :

IF you are a Jiu Jitsu practitioner , at one point or another seeing the Half Guard is something very common. Although not everyone prefers this guard, for those that do, and do not , I highly believe this Article will come in handy.

Playing Half Guard most common Muscles involved :

Hamstrings on the bottom Leg are in constant Tension from hooking your partner.

The Shin on the bottom leg is constantly in Tension due to you pointing your toes to the floor in order to not allow the partners leg to escape.

Adductors (inner thighs of the bottom leg are in constant tension from squeezing and hooking your partners leg in an attempt to not allow them to move around.

The Glutes , IT Band, TFL and Lateral Gastrocnemius of the top leg (Knee Shield ) are in constant tension in order to not allow the partner to collapse your knee and smash .

Lastly , The frame is always attempting to be up, whether its the inside collar grip or hands on biceps and shoulder, you may find yourself in a protracted state with your spine bending forward in an attempt to keep your hips back.

These frames we create put a great deal of tension on the rotator cuff , Latissimus Dorsi, Delts and Chest , which could lead to joint pain in various areas due to the tension one must maintain for prolonged period of time.

Lastly, there are many more muscles which are involved, however I chose to address these for now, as they are large muscle groups and easily identified. If one starts to address these (
use stretching and myofascial release techniques daily), you may begin to notice more ease while being in these positions and maintaining them as well.

Pick the side which you find yourself in the most, stretch those muscle groups and look for tightness with a baseball or foam roller , seeing a massage therapist might also be a good idea. Then, look at the muscles of the unused side, and perform isolated strength exercises for them.

Once you do this and feel it improving, throw in whole body exercises to even out the force produced.

In Short, not addressing these areas will lead to your body becoming lop sided in its strength and the ability to create force efficiently, it would be like making your car look super cool, but not changing the oil regularly, eventually it will start to break down.

Thanks for reading ! Please stay tuned for more and if you enjoy, share to help us grow!

Much Love,
Dr. Jiu Jitsu AKA Week Massage and Personal Training


Core circuit for Jiu Jitsu to create better Leverage !!

Ab workout for Jiu Jitsu
While training Jiu Jitsu there is no doubt one may realize quickly that the core plays a vital role. Which means being able to to have quality control of it may enhance your ability to create movement and leverage. Here I will briefly give you a overview of how to work it and why :
Instead of just doing a variety of sit ups 
(which are beneficial in their own way), think about this for a second:

The core consists of the : 1: Lumbo pelvic hip complex, 2: Thoracic Spine, 3:Cervical Spine:

Movements it may create : Flex the spine , Brace the spine, Rotate and bend the spine, and stabilize and anti rotate the spine:

Lets now think of how we can use exercises to perform these movements :
I advise you to think of one or two exercises which perform these movements , that way you number one won’t get bored ; will be hitting it from a variety of angles ; develop greater control which will allow better posture and mobility in different planes.

Now lets look at some of the exercises:

1.Flex the spine: V Shape sit up

2. Brace the spine: A plank while focusing on pointing tailbone down and feeling the abs engaged the entire time.

3.Rotate and bend the spine: Woodchops -high to low, and low to high. Focus on control and fluid movements with full range of motion.

4 Bend the spine: Spine bends and single arm dumbbell carries : Focus on keeping hips and shoulder’s square and lined up while Bracing the spine as you walk, feel the weight shift with every step and rotate the spine.

5.Anti rotate: Plank position and perform a row with the other hand, as you do so notice that the row will want to pull you down, as this begins to happen resist with your opposite side for 
ANTI Rotation .

There you have it, thinking about it like this will allow you to train smarter and develop more power. Feel free to include as many exercises as you would like, just try to keep good form and work with full range of motion while focusing on deep breathing from the diaphragm .

Thanks again for reading and hopefully this helps. Please kindly share this to help us grow and leave any comments/suggestions

The Injury Cycle and Jiu Jitsu

The Injury Cycle and Jiu Jitsu
We love to train, however often times it comes with a price which takes a toll on our bodies.
To be specific, once we over work a certain muscle through repetitive movement in any sport or activity, a few things occur.
Number one 1: Once a muscle has been over worked, it hinders the ability of that muscle’s antagonist to function. (Reciprocal Inhibition)
Example: Jiu Jitsu: Playing guard we are constantly performing hip flexion, which makes the psoas have increased neural drive (over active). Its antagonist, the Gluteus Maximus will now have decreased neural drive (underactive). This will lead to my next point Synergistic Dominance …
In the above example, we can see that now since the Glute Max is underactive, the body will try to adjust to still get the movement done. Which is called Synergistic dominance, in this case the hamstrings (which are the synergists and the erector spinae which are the stabilizers, and the piriformis which is the neutralizers will substitute and become over active ( Synergistic Dominance) Which now leads to decreased neuromuscular control, and altered joint kinematics. This now results in abnormal, joint movements, and proprioception, which affects posture and our center of gravity. The body will once again try to realign itself, however by doing so it will place stress onto other groups which is undue.

Look at it this way: if you read so far, thank you.
In my mind it would be like this.
Imagine a work place, where everyone has a job to do. In this work place, some people are doing way more then others, which decreases the performance of that company. (Reciprocal inhibition)
Now since the company is doing worse, others try to help who are not qualified for the job, but try to get the job done however they know how, which ends up being not the best since they are not in their field. (Synergistic dominance)
This leads to poor structure and function of the company as a whole, and places undue stress on the boss and the people up top. Which means everyone suffers in the end, including the consumers, etc as it goes down the chain of command. (Altered Joint Kinematics)
What you could do?
After every session, wherever you feel tightness and pressure, stretch and foam roll those spots, this will help keep the muscles more limber and prevent this whole thing from happening. Of course, it goes much deeper than this, I chose to use this as a prime example for Jiu Jitsu, there are many others. However, the good news is that this rule of stretching and releasing the tissue will forever remain.

Thank you for reading,
Stan with Wetek Personal Training and Massage Therapy

The affect of Jiu Jitsu on Soft Tissue

Chronic and Acute Pain:
Chronic dysfunction is something which is very tricky. You see, dear audience: Acute Dysfunction may be identified sooner then Chronic. When one injures themselves stepping off of a curb for example, and twists their ankle, the pain is immediate and noticeable. Chronic is not so much, a postural Chronic dysfunction may take some time to show up.

In Jiu Jitsu one chronic problem we may see is the neck and upper shoulders be in constant spasm due to the locomotion which occurs while we roll, and since grappling arts use much of the head as a source of direction and a torpedo one may say, then all the assisting neck and shoulder muscles such as the flexors and extensors, along with the rotators will get shortened. This is a problem , since the effect of this can be seen by causing pain since muscles pull on bones. However, what makes this even worse is the fact that we use our necks to rotate our heads all day long, whether it is on the job behind a desk, or a manual labor endeavor.

This manual labor places much stress on the muscles of and surrounding the neck, which are already aggravated along with a lasting effect on the rest of the surrounding and supporting groups. Over time, this will cause serious discomfort , which may lead to strains , adhesions and tears if left untreated.

Please invest in a lacrosse ball, and use this ball along with a Thera cane on the areas which are tender after training , along with gentle neck stretches and shoulder stretches. This will safe you in the long run.

Use your Core

In many sports, daily life, and much so in Jiu Jitsu being able to have control of our core is essential to healthy living, optimal performance and a healthy spine. The core consists of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) . This is where the body’s center of gravity is located and where all movement begins. When training , there is one common denominator: injuries are abundant -from muscle tears, to overstressed ligaments , tendons, and of course stress fractures. The reason many times could be from not maintaining a strong base of special exercises for not only the muscles , but also for increasing ligament and tendon hypertrophy. Therefore, focusing on special small exercises to build up strength in the tendons and ligaments, will help prevent injuries, increase your overall lifts, and allow the tendons and ligaments to support the musculature growth and handle the overload caused by constant lifting. Lastly, building up your core with specific progressive exercises (plank, plank on ball, medicine ball wall throw, single arm dumbbell chest press with rotation on physio ball ). This will insure your core stays strong, which will allow your body to handle everything else.

In closing, doing these things in combination with myofascial release on the muscles worked after, and throughout the week for at least 45 seconds to a minute on the tender areas multiple times, will ensure that your musculature /nervous system as its all connected stays supple and pliable , allowing it to adapt, grow and not tighten up which will lead to optimal performance once again, and avoid injury in the long run.

Make your routine fun! Include stretching, Myofascial release, and progressive training , working small body parts with drop sets, partials , super sets will greatly improve your performance, and can be done multiple times a week with high repetitions/lower weight, without over taxing the nervous system .

Train smart, train hard, stay ready and motivated.

Until next time friends,

Wetek Personal training and Massage Therapy Staff

Jiu Jitsu : How pulling/gripping effects your posture and how to fix

A huge part of training Jiu Jitsu is learning how and when to make grips. We use these grips to off balance our partner in order to execute a technique. However, through constant gripping and pulling , many muscles get worked. Primarily these muscles tend to be the same ones we often use throughout the day. The action of Pulling effects the rotator cuff, which if over worked effects the neck, shoulders and upper back, and leads to discomfort. This in turn leads to posture distortions and may through off your own balance . When combined with daily life, the chores and tasks we already find ourselves performing, this overload could cause permanent damage, if not addressed. .
Good news is , there is a simple thing we recommend , after training , do not leave the mat! Right after training, take a baseball or a lacrosse ball, and lay on the floor on your back. Find the tender areas in the back, upper neck or shoulders. Finding these will not be too difficult, all you should do is place the ball on the floor, and lay on the areas of the upper back and shoulders. Wherever you feel a tender spot, stay on that area for 1-2 minutes and allow the tenderness to melt away slowly. while doing so focus on taking a 2 second inhale, hold for 2 seconds, and exhale for 2 seconds. Doing this regularly will allow you to feel better in training and make your grips strong . The reason is because this will allow the muscles which are always getting worked from gripping and pulling, to unwind and relax, that way they may be strong and pliable for next training and not over tighten , which will make it so they do not create additional stress on your bones and joints.

Thank You for reading and please stay tuned for more .