Tips for Making BJJ Prehab a New Habit in Your Weekly Routine

We know prehab is important for injury prevention in BJJ… but how do you make prehab a habit in your weekly routine? We give you some tips on how. Read on…

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Tips for Making BJJ Prehab a New Habit in Your Weekly Routine​

We all know how hard it is to create good habits, and how easy it is to create bad ones. And when we think about a “good habit”, we never associate it with something fun. If it was fun, we wouldn’t have to spend so much energy making a habit of it. We’d just do it, as often as possible. Because it’s fun. 

No, good habits are usually made from good-for-you but boring, maybe slightly painful, activities, like brushing your teeth, going to the gym, or making your bed. So you’re probably thinking, “How am I supposed to make BJJ Prehab a regular habit, if I can’t even make my bed every morning?” 

We get it. That’s why we’re giving you some easy tips to help you make prehab a habit:

Find your bigger reason​

It’s hard to form a habit when your only reason is that it’s good for you. You have to find a deeper reason, one that resonates only with you. For example, it’s much easier to get up early every morning and go for a run when your reason is that you’re fighting a high risk of diabetes. That’s a pretty serious reason, and one that is far more motivating than wanting to lose a couple pounds. 

With BJJ Prehab, your bigger reason could be that you have a tournament coming up, and you always seem to hurt yourself as the intensity of your training increases. And maybe your work relies on you being physically able to do something – maybe you’re a doctor or a construction worker – and your risk of injury not only threatens your jiu jitsu journey, but your livelihood, too.

Set a goal to make prehab a habit​

Habits are also easier to form when you have a predefined and specific goal. To go back to the morning run example, just losing “some” weight is not specific enough. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow or you’ve already done enough. Then your habit becomes unraveled. Instead, a more defined and specific goal may be to lose five pounds in thirty days. With a limited time to accomplish this, you have to get up and run. By the end of the month, even if you reached your goal, you find yourself continuing to get up early. Why? Because you’ve already formed a habit of it. 

With BJJ Prehab, your goal might be to strengthen your shoulders because they always seem to get hurt. Good goal, but not specific enough. Instead, aim to strengthen your shoulders enough to do 20 uninterrupted push-ups by the end of the month. With that goal in mind, you’ll be more motivated to complete your BJJ Prehab exercises. And you might even work on some additional strength training!

Establish a set time and place​

One of the best things about BJJ Prehab is that it can be done any time, anywhere. This is awesome for those who have crazy schedules. However, it’s hard to create a habit of something when you don’t have a regular time and place in which you do it. Again, let’s take the running example. If you try to fit it in wherever and whenever, it becomes easier to put it off or make an excuse to not do it. Initially, you put it off until later in the day, when you can go to the gym. Then when you’ve waited too long and the gym is closed, you put it off until tomorrow, or the weekend. 

In order to make BJJ Prehab into a habit, it’s best to establish a set time and place to do your workouts. Maybe it’s right when you wake up in the morning, on the floor beside your bed. Or maybe it’s at the academy in the half an hour before class starts. So, instead of sitting in your car swiping right on Tinder, you can pump out a prehab session on the mat. Whenever and whenever you can do it, make that wherever and whenever consistent throughout the week and it’ll be a lot easier to make it into a habit.

Track your progress​

Now, let’s say you’ve found your bigger reason, you’ve set your goal, and you’ve already established a set time and place. In order to continually reinforce that habit each and every day, you need to track your progress. 

The easiest way to do this is to have a calendar mounted somewhere and cross off each day that you successfully complete your daily BJJ Prehab programming. This should be somewhere in a high traffic area, such as your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or locker. This gives you a visual reminder and allows you a sense of accomplishment when you’ve successfully marked off every day that week. Another way to track your progress is to keep a journal with you, in which you can write down your bigger reason and goals. That way you keep a running account of your BJJ Prehab workouts and how much closer you are to achieving your goal. 

Create reminders​

Of course your calendar and/or journal serve as visual reminders. But some of us – myself included – need additional reminders. This is especially the case in the initial days and weeks of habit formation. Set a daily alarm just for your BJJ Prehab workout. Stick post-it notes on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror and inside your locker. Lay out your exercise bands and foam roller in the middle of the floor to make it harder to overlook when you get up in the morning.

Find a BJJ Prehab buddy​

There’s no better motivator to do something than having someone to do it with, and knowing he/she is counting on you to be there. There is a ton of literature out there that show having a “workout buddy” dramatically improves a person’s consistency. 

Just because BJJ Prehab allows you to do your prehab in the comfort of your own home, without needing to have anyone else there, doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe your set time and place is at the gym, before your main workout, where you already have a workout buddy. Recruit him or her to come 10-20 minutes early and do some prehab with you. That way, you help make your prehab workout into a habit and you help introduce your friend to the benefits of prehab. 

Whether you have your own habit-forming tactics, or you utilize the tips provided here, there’s no arguing that if you make BJJ Prehab into just as much of a habit as brushing your teeth, you’re guaranteed to reap the benefits.

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.