By Mark Zuber, D.C.
This is the first of a series of articles contributed by Mark Zuber D.C. Mark is a practicing chiropractor in Plano, TX. He actively treats athletes in many sports, including mixed martial arts. He has been training in the martial arts for over 10 years and has focused on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past 5 years. His office combines chiropractic, myofascial release techniques, occupational therapy, massage therapy and kinesiotaping. The office website is www.planopmr.com
Stay on the Mat! Prevent Injuries!
Recovery in athletics, particularly in MMA/BJJ, is an often-ignored component to training. There are many theories, forums and books on every aspect of MMA, save for recovery. By utilizing the techniques and strategies outlined in these articles, a martial artist will be able to train more often, get injured less and just feel better in general. As an athlete ages, it becomes of even more importance. Randy Couture has stated this time and time again. Plus, a martial artist can not evolve if he or she can not stay on the mat! By monitoring recovery, athletes will be better able to train more often, more regularly, and with more intensity. The injury prevention techniques shown in this book will also lead to increased muscle flexibility, core strength and balance. BJJ induced injuries are numerous and can involve nearly every body part. Sometimes, these injuries are caused by impact or a body part caught improperly. Other times, an injury occurs because someone didn’t tap! This is not our focus. A larger percentage of BJJ injuries are actually caused from overuse, and are largely preventable. How does BJJ cause overuse?! Almost all sports create imbalances due to their repetitive nature. This leads to overall tightness in muscles and across joints. Just watch an over-30 BJJer get out of a car after a tournament to get an idea of what I am talking about. Some sports like tennis cause lateral imbalances where one side is stronger than the other, while some like swimming cause imbalances from front to back. Ours just so happens to do both! Preventing or eliminating these imbalances leads to fewer injuries and increased well-being. Learning to detect and monitor your body for signs of impending imbalances is just as critical to a martial artist as awareness of your environment and sensitivity to MMA moves. The techniques shown in this book will help you not only identify these weaknesses, but help you stop them before they turn into an injury that keeps you out of training.
The Over-30 Crowd
As an athlete ages, his body starts changing. His or her hormone levels drop, he gets more sore from exercise and it lasts longer than when he was younger. Some athletes compensate by working out less. Other athletes stop all together as work, family, etc. get involved. BJJ is one sport that does not force an athlete to stop. In fact, it can be done well into the later years, just ask Helio Gracie! Realizing that a large percentage of BJJers aren’t interested in taking more days off, this articles’s focus is to allow the over 30 crowd to continue training at that high level, only smarter! By paying better attention to recovery, an older (and wiser) athlete can compensate for these age-related changes and compete with the young guns. For the younger crowd reading this, it is never too early to start learning how to care for yourself, and it will be all the easier for you to continue these principles as you move into the “wiser crowd”. FOR THE RECORD, THE NUTRITION TECHNIQUES YOU LEARN FROM RUDOG ARE CRITICAL TO IMPROVING YOUR RECOVERY!
This text is written based on my experience as a chiropractor who treats athletes of all kinds, and my experiences as a BJJ practitioner. In my office, we have utilized these techniques for over 10 years to improve sports performance and help our patients achieve their potential. By applying common protocols we use in my practice, I have seen a great number of BJJers not only lower injury rates, but roll more frequently and with more intensity. A large percentage of guys who come see me present with the same set of issues, leading me to conclude that BJJ causes certain repetitive motion injuries in most people. The routines I have showed them are very effective at correcting a good many of these issues, preventing injury. Other common issues I address with my athletes include improper advice regarding nutrition (no issues with RUDOG), hydration, lifting techniques, etc. Results After spending several years treating BJJers, I would say the group utilizing the materials in this book are much better overall. They have fewer aches and pains, they recover from injuries much faster, and they don’t seem to get the accumulated repetitive motion injuries that athletes who ignore this advice do. A simple way to verify this is to check out the number of training partners “out due to injury” at any particular school. The percentages are high! By lowering these numbers, the entire school benefits.