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Overactive TFL in Jiu Jitsu and tight Piriformis

The TFL is responsible for Flexing the Hip, Medially rotating the hip, and Abducting the hip. It attaches to the Iliotibial tract along with the Gluteus Maximus.

The Iliotibial tract is a superficial sheet of fasciae with vertical fibers that run along the lateral thigh. It runs along the lateral thigh , its wide and dense and funnels into a strong cable along the side of the knee, before inserting into the outside of the knee.

The TFL and some portion of the Gluteus Maximus attach to the Iliotibuial tract.
Knowing how close these muscles are to each other and how connected they are, also knowing their actions alows us to understand that all the guard plating and hip movement creates and overactivity in these muscles, which place stress on the tendons, bones and joints.

This leads to :

opposite muscle groups being weakened
Muscle strains /sprains’
Muscle fatigue
Decreased performance and energy in the surrounding muscle junctions

This also leads to a tight Piriformis, since this muscle is deep to the Gluteus Maximus. This could in turn affect the sacrum and the pelvis since this is one of the attachment sites for the Piriformis.

If this starts happening, Jiu Jitsu training will be not pleasant since we so heavily rely on these muscles and constant activation in order to perform the movements required for our performance.

Therefore, using muscle release techniques on these areas, along with proper stretching, mobility drills and breathing will allow one to train longer and stronger..

Until next time,.

Stan with Wetek Massage therapy and Private Personal Training, AKA Dr.Jiu Jitsu

Feet Flaten out (Eversion) in Jiu Jitsu:

Feet Flaten out (Eversion) in Jiu Jitsu:
Training Jiu Jitsu requires many meticulous movements of the various joints of the body.
One common thing which is seen in many practitioners are the feet flattening out. This could happen for many reason’s. One reason which is worth looking at are certain muscles being over worked due to them always having to be active in order to maneuver your training partner.

Lets take a closer look.
The Peroneals which are located on the outside of the shin bone are engaged very often due to us using our (hooks). This causes much tightness in them, which in turn t pull on joints, as well as the lateral Gastrocnemius. The underactive muscles would be the medial gastrocnemius, the anterior tibias and posterior tibialis.

These 3 muscles would not be able to eccentrically control the arch of the foot going down to the floor, and this could cause overuse of the foot.

The joints which would be involved in this imbalance are the tibiotalar (aka Talus) and subtalar joint aka “ the body’s steering wheel).

In Conclusiuon, I hope one can see that from the constant usage of these joints and muscles, the gait becomes hindered and leads to problems up the kinetic chain . Pain in the knee’s, hips and lower back could be some of the results.

Tips: Look up these muscles being mentioned above, try to stretch and apply direct pressure to the point in the muscles which are tender for a few minutes before and after training (
you will know which one it is once you feel it), and try to do some strengthening exercises for the underachieve ones ( example: calf raises with feet turned out to target the medial calves ).

Oh, and don’t forget to stretch the Soleus muscle which gets much work while using your feet, freeing up these muscles will help develop better control of the joints and unlock restrictions.
Many falls especially as we age come from unstable and stiff calves.
One fall, there goes your training 🙁
Stan Pogrebinsky with Wetek Massage Therapy and Private Personal Training AKA Dr. Jiu Jitsu

Repetitive Strain Injury and Jiu Jitsu

Oftentimes our bodies hurt from training and overuse of certain muscle groups. I hear quite often people mentioning that their hands and wrists hurt, they also sit behind a desk and type for many hours daily etc.

Doctors told these individuals that they might need surgery and all the x-rays do not show anything wrong specifically and they are not sure if surgery will even help! However, there is something called RSI (Repetitive strain injury).

This can affect anyone performing daily movements. In the case of the wrists, this individual types a LOT. I also know that in my dojo of Jiu Jitsu practitioners many people work in field which require a great deal of typing and dexterous work involving repetitive motions of the wrists and elbows . These motions are controlled by many muscle groups which connect up to our neck and shoulder areas, through these areas many nerves pass, which means correct smooth blood flow help’s these nerves fire correctly and allow for coordinated and efficient movement. If a Jiu Jitsu practitioner who uses GRIPS quite a bit, also has this kind of job, the beating which these muscles and nerves will take can result in many other unwanted aches and pains.

This is just a warning to try and stretch your forearms and fingers , along with soaking your hands in Epsom salt for pain relief. Also, a Therecane would be a great tool to order off of Amazon. This cane with a hook can help you while sitting in one spot with pain in the neck and shoulder area. Just hold one tender spot for 1 minute a few times, and experience better blood flow.

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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


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