Some friends and I have been rolling together for a long time! After good training sessions, we are blown away at how much fun brazilian jiu jitsu still is, and, how we want to do this for as long as we live! Helio Gracie did it into his nineties so its definitely possible. But, it isn’t going to be possible without some preventative maintenance.
A good warm up is very important. The warm ups at Global Jiu Jitsu Academy and RocknRoll BJJ & Fitness for example, include a sit up/core routine, snake moves and animal drills. Sometimes we do a basic stretch before class, but, usually have a very good one after class. This prevents soreness and feeling tight when you wake up the next day!
Always drink plenty of water before training, during training and after training. If your instructor will allow it, the goal is to try to hydrate every 20 minutes during heavy training. I like gatorade during training. I stay hydrated and the sugar keeps my energy levels up. Other trainers laugh at me and say that stuff is all sugar (and they are right) and all I need is water, but it works for me.
Now, there are some things what you will more than likely have to do outside of class. One of those is lifting weights. I don’t mean lifting super heavy so you end up looking like Conan the Barbarian, but just moderate weights. The goal you are shooting for is three sets of 15-20 repetitions of each exercise. This will strengthen your ligaments which will help prevent injury and it give you muscle endurance as well. Also, if you do the higher repetitions, you won’t bulk up. More muscles means it will take more blood to fuel them so you will gas out quicker. Take a look at Brock Lesnar, for example.
Also, very important, is to work out your legs and hips. If you stay around the sport long enough, you will see many training partners have some sort of knee issues. Having experienced this myself, I now work out my legs as much as any other part of my body. I recommend ball squats, lateral movement with bands, leg presses, and anything along the lines of elliptical machines, tread mills, and bicycles. And, back to stretching, if you have loose and flexible hips, that will take a lot of pressure off your knees in some positions.
Lastly, use common sense. Listen to your body! If it is sore, or you are exhausted, take the day off of training, or, however long your body tells you. Unless you are receiving a six plus figure salary for doing jiu jitsu, your body will thank you! And, after all, your goal is to do this the rest of you life.
“Don’t let what you want now get in the way of what you want more.”