Easy BJJ Exercises to Do While at Work

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time is terrible for your posture and your jiu jitsu. Here are some easy BJJ exercises you can do at work to stay in top form.

easy bjj exercises

Easy BJJ Exercises to Do While at Work

In today’s modern age, many of us sit for extended periods of time, whether it be in school, in an office, or in our own home. In the grand scheme of human development, this is a bizarre and unnatural phenomenon. Early humans were perpetually active – hunting, gathering, and just always on the move. Civilization brought a more sedentary life, which brought with it a plethora of physical health problems. Our bodies were simply not meant to sit long periods of time without movement. Period. We can’t change the demands of our modern existence, but we can certainly mitigate the impact.

Poor work posture habits​

Often, not only are we sitting, but we are also slumped over. Our shoulders are hunched forward and our head hanging down toward a computer screen or a mobile phone. Not only is this generally bad for your health, it wreaks havoc on our posture. It develops tightness in our muscles and spinal column, and dramatically affects our mobility and balance.

Then after eight plus hours of this, we clock out and head to jiu-jitsu class. Even if we are diligent about doing our BJJ Prehab routines, we’ve just spent a large chunk of the waking day regressing, before jumping into one of the most physically demanding activities we could possibly do. This sets us up for a BJJ-related injury. Although it was manifested on the jiu-jitsu mat, it was actually rooted in our prior inactivity. 

Logically, you might think “Okay, well I’ll just move more during work.” But you can’t just tell your boss or professor, “Hey, I have to get up and move around, because all this sitting is bad for my health.” Well… you can, but it may not go over very well. If you try it, let us know how it went for you. 

3 General Tips

So, what can you do in order to alleviate the effects of sitting too long at your desk? Here are a few tips from the experts at BJJ Prehab, as well as Mike Pellegrino’s top three BJJ Prehab exercises to do while at work, to help you counteract the effects of sitting and slumping over, and just generally feel better. 

1. Move around

As much as possible, get up from your desk and move around. Go to the break room for water or a cup of coffee. Visit your coworker’s desk to talk about your project, rather than sending off a string of emails to someone just across the room. Not only will this get the blood flowing back into your lower extremities and allow you to stretch your legs and spine, but it will also help you get your mental juices flowing if you find yourself in a mental block regarding work issues.

2. Be aware of your posture

Good posture is everything. But it’s hard to be aware of your posture every waking second, especially when you’re deeply absorbed into whatever you’re working on. So, set yourself friendly posture adjustment reminders, such as notes on your desk or computer screen, or even scheduled pings from your smart watch or phone, for those more technologically savvy folks out there.

3. Elevate your work station

Address one of the major causes of poor posture: having the focus of your attention down below your shoulder level. Raise your work station sufficiently and you’ll find your spine will naturally straighten and your neck will align in a more comfortable position. There are specially-made desks or computer platforms for this. If you don’t want to spend that much money, you can give those dusty old unused encyclopedias a new purpose in life.  

3 BJJ Prehab Exercises at Work

In addition to the above general tips, there are also a few great BJJ Prehab exercises you can do to keep moving and alleviate postural discomfort, without even leaving your desk area. These three easy BJJ exercises are incredibly simple but they go a long way towards keeping you healthy and living a pain-free life!

1. Tricep Stretch

The Tripcep Stretch is a flexibility exercise for your shoulders and elbow, and a great prehab movement while you’re at work. To begin, stand up tall, raise one arm alongside your head, with your forearm relaxed down behind you. Grab the elbow of that arm with your other hand, and pull toward you as comfortably as you can. You should feel a stretch in your shoulder and armpit. Relax and breathe into the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat on the other side. 

2. Shoulder Series (elevation, depression, retraction and protection)

The Shoulder Series is a four-part upper body exercise working the muscles of your shoulder. Standing tall, the first movement is “elevation”; raising both your arms up in front of you to shoulder height and back down, repeating at a steady pace for 10 seconds. 

The second movement is “depression”; with your arms about shoulder height, hands in line with your shoulders, stretch them forward and bring them back to your chest, at a steady pace for 10 seconds. 

The third exercise is “retraction”; with your arms stretched out in front of you about shoulder height, imagine you’re holding a wheel and turn your hands as far as they can go on both sides, repeating at a steady pace for 10 seconds. 

The fourth movement is “protection”; begin by bringing your hands together, your arms bent, hands at your chest, then stretch them up over your head and bring them back down, repeating until the end of your 45-second time limit for this exercise.

3. Prone Press Ups

Press Ups are a mobility exercise for your spine and lower back. To begin, lay on your stomach on the ground, your hands planted on the floor on either side of you, more or less in line with your shoulders. Keeping your back relaxed the entire time, you will press up with your arms as high as you comfortably can, trying to keep your hips connected with the floor, then lower back down. Repeat for 15 seconds at a steady pace. 

Heather Raftery is an Atos black belt, freelance writer and social scientist (BA in Journalism and Anthropology, MA in International Studies). She has written for FloGrappling, Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Fighters Market and BJJ Prehab.