Sunday, 2 August 2009

BJJ Elbow, Part Two: Training the Extensors

To train my finger extensors (the opposing muscles to gripping) I will be using a set of 'Expand Your Hand Bands' purchased from Ironmind ( 'Expand Your Hand Bands' are a set of rubber bands designed specifically for training the finger extensors and can be used for prehab, rehab and active recovery. They come colour coded and graded in four strengths, from light to heavy, and the set should be suitable for most people.

To begin the exercise, place a band around your closed fingers:

To complete one rep, open your fingers against the resistance of the band:

It's no surprise to me that my finger extensors are weaker on my left side, the side on which I have been experiencing more tendinopathy. I will be doing 3 sets of 12 reps on most days as well as the other strategies I outlined in my previous post on the subject.

Half Guard: Getting Deep

My half guard has come on in leaps and bounds! It used to be one of my worst positions; if someone passed to my half guard I would suffer. I ended up flattened out with someone's shoulder pressing into my face. It was only a matter of time before I was passed.

These past six months or so I've been experimenting more with the X-guard and this has made me feel comfortable getting right underneath my opponent's centre of gravity. I've tried to apply this knowledge to the half guard. Now when someone passes to my half guard I don't let them control my head and neck, I stay on my side and I immediately go straight to the deep half guard. As well as feeling safe from the pass or submissions I also feel offensive from this position. I'm finding that I can consistently sweep people from the half guard now (something I've struggled with before).

Deep half guard seems to suit my body type as I tend to be smaller and more compact than the people I roll with and compete against so it's relatively easy for me to get into this position. I feel like this development has really opened up my game and I'm looking forward to trying more sweeps from the deep half guard.

BJJ Elbow

My elbow tendonitis has flared up again. It started a few months ago and I thought it was almost resolved but it is now back. My tendonitis is at the medial epicondyle (the little finger side) which is the common attachment site for the muscles that flex the fingers and wrist. These are the muscles that tend to get overworked when someone does a lot of gripping, which I tend to do in my work (Sport and Remedial Massage) and leisure time (BJJ, Judo and weights training).

To treat this I will:

  • Try to refrain from activities that aggravate my problem. This will be difficult unless I intend to give up BJJ and work! I will modify the techniques that I use in my work to try to mininise the amount of gripping I do.

  • Ice my elbows to reduce inflammation.
  • Strap my forearms before training and possibly for work. By strapping my forearm two or three centimetres below the elbow I will take some pressure off the common flexor tendon.
  • Receive soft tissue work on my wrist and finger flexors to reduce their tone.
  • Train my wrist and finger extensors (the muscles responsible for the opposite actions) to improve the balance of strength around the these joints.
Hopefully a combination of these methods will help me to manage and resolve this problem.