Back Pain, Strength Training and Movement.

BJJ and Back Pain.

Considerations for strength and conditioning.

Currently working my way through the SWIS 2018 presentations

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Just finished the presentation by Professor Stu McGill and Brian Carroll.

In the picture you can see a before and after high resolution CT scan for a spine after a SINGLE set of body-weight deadlifts.

Two things to note,

  1. The compression in the disc
  2. The end-plate fractures on the vertebrae themselves. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍


It depends…

In the context of a strength athlete such as a powerlifter, who (if their programming is good) will rest the back for at least 5 days before another heavy session with deadlifts, the damage caused to the structures will have adequate time to heal back stronger.

This creates thicker, stronger structures in the back. Suited for stiffness and heavy loads at a cost of movement and flexibility in the back.

If however, you are someone that either needs a flexible back (inverted guard player) or someone that won’t give the back adequate rest time between heavy sessions with weights (basically anyone who trains BJJ more than once a week); this could either hamper your performance in your particular game style OR leave you open to a serious disc injury.

So a GOOD approach to strength and conditioning is not just about shot-gunning exercises at people; but rather you need to take into account the specifics of that person…

1: Genetics – bone, muscular and nervous system structure.
2: Maximum recovery volumes on training – both on and off the mats.
3: Current and previous injury history

  1. Game style
  2. Rolling age (how long have they been rolling?)
  3. Actual age – all of us over 30 feel the decline in recovery rates.
  4. Lifestyle and work/job demands
  5. Stress levels – lack of sleep, quality of diet, food intolerences, etc
  6. Current mobility and stability levels

I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten…
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Focus your strength and conditioning off the mats in ways that help build a solid foundation to keep you injury free.

So think movement quality and posture.

Once you have and can maintain that, then worry about adding strength and/or muscle BUT be weary of what you are adding in.