The Dos and Don’ts of Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu While Injured

by | Aug 11, 2023 | Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Adults, Health and Wellness, Training

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a fun, playful, martial art that’s great for your body and your brain. But it’s also very physically demanding. There will be times when you should modify the moves so you don’t make an injury worse and there will be times when you should avoid the mat altogether. Knowing the difference between those is key. If you’re injured, it’s important to work within your limitations. 

Our motto at Innisfil Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (IBJJ) is safety first. We don’t want you taking any chances with your health so whether you’ve a tricky knee, a bad back, or a sprained ankle, read our training tips so you don’t risk derailing your recovery.

Training tips for injuries


Get approval from your doctor first

We can’t stress this enough. If you have an injury, consult your healthcare provider before heading to the gym. They know your medical history much better than our coaches and will be able to advise you on whether it’s appropriate to exercise.

If you get the all-clear from your doctor, but still have to be mindful of your injury during training, we can help. We offer private sessions so you won’t be thrown into sparring or grappling with the class. In these one-on-one classes, our coaches will modify moves to accommodate your injury and guide you through more gentle techniques until you’ve completely healed. We obviously can’t treat your injury, but we can work around it so you can still train while you recover.

Tell your coach

Please don’t tough it out and come to class pretending nothing’s wrong. Our coaches need to know of any injuries, surgeries, and soreness – not just for your own safety, but for the safety of the whole class. We’re experienced professional coaches, but we’re not mind readers. We need to know of any potential problems ahead of class. 

Tell your training partner

It’s not just Coach that needs to know about your injury. The person you’re training with should also get a heads up. Our BJJ classes might be about fighting, but no-one wants to hurt anyone. Let your training partner know about your injury so they can adjust accordingly. 

Part of being a good training partner is communicating with each other so don’t be afraid to share – our gym is like a family and, like all good families, we support and encourage one another.

Understand your limitations

You’ll often hear fitness people talk about ‘listening’ to your body. It sounds trite, but it’s true. You need to figure out what your body is trying to tell you – especially if it’s ‘ow, stop’ – and work within those limits. Find your range of motion and don’t be tempted to push it. Avoid classes that you know will trigger your injury and be patient. The more you respect your limits, the quicker you’ll heal.


Turn up to the gym with an open wound

It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway – don’t fight if you’ve an open sore. BJJ is a close contact sport and things can get icky fast. The last thing your training partner wants is your wound in their face. Be respectful, wait until you’re healed. 

And you’ll also want to stay home if you’ve anything contagious. If you’re feeling ill, we’d rather you keep your germs to yourself. 

Train with spine or neck injuries

There’s a lot of rolling, grappling and throwing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which means your spine and neck need to be in top shape to fight. If you’ve injuries in this area, sit it out until you’re back on form.

Rush back to class 

I promise you, the gym will still be there when you’ve healed. Recovering from an injury is a waiting game and it takes a lot of patience, particularly if you’ve been bitten by the BJJ bug. 

If that voice in your head starts whispering that maybe you’re ready, it doesn’t hurt that much, or you can just power through, ignore it. It’s not worth it – coming back to class before you’re ready can delay your recovery or, worse, cause more damage.

Mask feeling with painkillers

It’s not uncommon for people to load up on painkillers before class so they can perform the techniques without feeling a thing. That’s a bad strategy. Pain in training is our body’s way of telling us it’s had enough and needs to stop. Painkillers block that signal, making it easy for you to do even more damage to the affected area. 

Ways to continue your training without risking your recovery

If you’ve found your groove in a regular training routine, it’s very hard to put the brakes on. But there are ways to continue your BJJ journey without sacrificing your health. 

At IBJJ we’re happy for injured students to come to class simply to watch. Our sessions aren’t just a blur of activity, we take the time to explain techniques, demonstrate moves, and answer questions so there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved without physically participating.

For those who can fight, we encourage them to frame their injury as a motivator. Training with limitations can help students learn new techniques, identify their weak spots, and become more resilient as they adapt to new ways of engaging with opponents. 

Whether you’re coming back to BJJ after recovering from an injury, or discovering the martial art for the first time, stop by the IBJJ gym and check out our range of classes. Everyone is welcome at our gym, with students ranging from 7 years old to 70. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, it matters where you’re going – and we’ll help you get there. Get in touch today to book a free introductory session and get started on the road to becoming a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master!

Looking for a martial arts studio in Innisfil and the surrounding area? Innisfil Brazilian Jiujitsu offers professional Brazilian Jiujitsu training with a range of BJJ classes for all ages and abilities. Contact our coaches today to get started! 

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Join the fun at your friendly neighbourhood Brazilian Jiujitsu club!

We offer a FREE initial consultation to meet our coaches and get to know our studio with no obligation. If you are interested in a class or have any questions, please fill out the form and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Class attendance is by appointment only.


Innisfil Brazilian Jiujitsu

990 Innisfil Beach Road

Innisfil, ON



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