How to AVOID knee problems in BJJ

Hi guys,

I'll be a blue belt soon and I LOVE BJJ. I'm having recurring neck problems but from what I've seen here knee problems are more common and more debilitating.

I just wanted advice from experienced people here on how to avoid knee problems in the future. I have an elliptical at home. Is stretching the best way? weights? thx for any good advice

knee pads and fish oil imo...

I have a quesiton, quads are the front of the leg, and hamstrings are the back...right???

I found an article and I think its a must read for everyone doing bjj. this well help you out.

espicially read the paragraph at the bottom labbeled...Q: I haven't had an ACL tear. What can I do to avoid it?

avoid the calf crush sub after failed knee bar. that did me in, tore my LCL.

Roll relaxed.

Always warm up, preferable for 10 minutes. A properly warmed up muscle has 30% more stretch capacity than a cold one. THINK ABOUT THAT!!

Try to get stronger in your legs. You can f.ex. try to lift weights maybe 2-3 times a week. Be very careful to work your hamstrings just as much as your quads, because your hamstrings works with your ACL. Many people neglect this muscle and tear their ACL as a result.

This is coming from a guy who has injured his ACL 2-3 times and has had to have surgery once. Btw. I'm still training and having a blast.

I avoid the movement where you're sitting up from the butterfly-position and you rock-forward push yourself up off your knee- that movement to me puts your knee at an awkward angle where any sort of quick motion can tear ligaments. Sadly this a fundamental part of high-level BJJ, but it's just something I've learned to do without. Also do high-repetitions of kettlebell swings as it really strengthens your legs and knee-joint. I used to "pop" my knee all the time but since I started doing kettlebells three times a week, I haven't had a single problem.

what's an open-chain exercise?


what should you replace leg extensions with?

"I'm having recurring neck problems but from what I've seen here knee problems are more common and more debilitating."

Don't ignore neck problems. Sure, knee problems can limit or prevent you from doing BJJ....degenerative disc conditions in your neck can cause a lifetime of chronic, debilitating pain.

cool, thanks

I have had several knee injuries, luckily, only one of them needing surgery.

The problem with me, and perhaps lots of us is the age we started training, our knee joints aren't flexible enough to handle certain stress from different angles, especially when the stress is put on the lower leg. I always avoid positions that allow pressure put directly on my lower leg.

It's the same with my back, I constantly try to always have my spine aligned, never twisted, and i avoid any stacked position, sure it takes away certain aspects of the game, but staying as injury free as possible is much more important to me.

"Don't do leg extensions."

IMO leg extensions with light weights and high reps are ok. You want to isolate the muscle without stessing the joint.

We've had guys get their knees tore up by someone passing their guard (usually someone new and not reallyl careful about their partner). the passer would have the guys foot on his shoulder, and his arm would come underneath & really shove the knee sideways while leaning hard into him. really freaky looking... now I cringe whenever someone gets in that position.

I guess the short story is, if you feel something weird, let it go. Don't fight to stay in one position too long.


i think it would be interesting to poll what knee injuries were a result of direct/purposeful knee trauma, like an overzealously applied heel hook or calf-crush/knee seperator. and which ones were incidental - like from a throw or pivoting wrong while performing a motion not normally related to knee trauma

i know of at least 2 people (one in BJJ and one in Sambo) who tore their ACL's as a result of landing wrong doing leap-frogs during their class warm-ups sessions.

and i also think Dan Henderson tore his ACL after jumping down from the ring ropes while he was celebrity a victory in Pride after the fight was over.

Christian, i would say the majority by far aren't because of a leg/foot sub.

thats kinda disconcerting cuz it means you have to be extra careful while training in all different aspects.

sometimes (from the stories i hear) it just seems like really, really bad luck!

I tore my meniscus by falling back on my bent knee while doing oma plata.

Seriously consider strengthening your legs with resistance exercise, which has been shown to reduce injury and also regularly do some kind of joint mobility exercises. Steve Maxwell's one is reasonably priced and designed with the BJJ practitioner in mind.

Both my ACL tears have been due to total accidents, though I do think the first one may have occured due to the fact that the place I was training at was basically a Mcdojo and didn't teach proper form/pivoting at all (this was doing TKD).

Second one was just a bad series of events where someone was applying a calf crank and my knee slipped on the mat.

I definitely think part of the reason I tore my ACL this time was that I had slacked off on weight training a bit while doing PT for a shoulder injury. Ever since my first injury I had been sure to keep my legs in shape, but I got lazy about it and paid the price.

Also, every major injury I've had has occured on a day when I was feeling a little crappy, and didn't want to go to class, but made myself anyways. I guess the key is to learn the difference between a bad mood where training will make you feel better, or your body telling you it needs a rest.

That said... I pretty much knew from when I started BJJ/MMA that I was going to have injuries and would probably tear my ACL again. It sucks, but it can always happen in any sport...

Tore my LCL and PCL completely in half doing a calf crush 2 months ago. I was doing it the same way I have always done it, but I was not as warmed up as I could have been. 3 weeks ago I had reconstructive knee surgery, including LCL reconstruction, replacing my PCL with cadaver tissue, nerve decompression, and and a scope. Ive done it literally hundreds of times sparring in the past, but I'm NEVER, EVER, EVER, going for a fugging calf crush again.