BJJ Poll: How Flexible Are You?

Many assume flexibility is increased when you practice martial arts. I mean, don’t all martial arts people sit down in those machines that crank your legs wider and wider so you can kick better? (I kid.)

Flexibility in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a curious thing however. It certainly has a big effect on how one’s BJJ game develops. Lots of folks who favor playing on the bottom seem more inclined to be flexible, and use this in setting up some unique submissions. Ryan Hall‘s early years in competition are a good example.

Similarly, some who are less flexible seem to favor the top passing game.

How about you? How flexible are you? We know that being able to touch one’s toes is not the ultimate measure of flexibility, but a simple indicator we can use in a poll to start the discussion. Let us know what you think in the poll and comments below!

9 Replies to “BJJ Poll: How Flexible Are You?”

  1. This poll is titled incorrectly. There are different movements which judge flexibility in different parts of the body. Touching your toes generally means your back is reasonably flexible. This type of flexibility has very little effect on your guard game unless you play a lot of upside down/turtle guard. Guard is affected more by hip and knee flexibility rubber guard is a prime example of this. As BJJMonkey stated he/she cant touch his/her toes but they can do splits. Meaning BJJMonkey has a flexible groin area this can help on the bottom and top. It makes it easier to keep your guard closed and makes transitions to the mount easier as your legs can open wider than normal thanks to the form of aformentioned flexibility.

    A flexible back does work wonders on top being able to touch your head to the floor while in scarf hold is probably the best control you can get in ANY variation of side control armbars/shoulder locks become christmas presents. Being able to drop your hips straight to the ground while leaving your chest up(think Roger Gracie/Rener Gracie in full mount) makes mount crushing, it’s also great for takedown defense since its what you do everytime you sprawl.

    I personally cant touch my toes but my back is very flexible. I play the top and a lot of turtle guard as a result. My hips are misaligned, just in case anyone was wondering how that works out.

    Good Poll just slightly misleading. If this poll is re-used in some form in the future (ie has your flexiblity increased since you started training BJJ?) consider adding body part spefic options for answers.

  2. I can touch my toes do the splits blah blah. I have been doing karate about 7 years. last couple years i been training bjj and discovered i have freakishly flexible shoulders. when someone aplies the americana on either arm i rarely tap especially if im relaxed. Ive made a point to stretch them so now they’re even more flexible. Its to the point where they hafta raise there hips to crankk it more then my hips just follow and i eventually escape. It’s not quite the same with the kimura they’re pretty normal that way.

  3. I agree with Romeo. I can’t get close to my toes but I can play rubber guard (and sit in full lotus). I think spine and hip flexibility are just as important as hamstrings in Jiu-Jitsu.

  4. I play lots of guard…but am not so flexible. The only reason I can touch my toes is because i have kinda short stubby legs. Conversely one of my training partners is getting pretty darn good at throwing up triangles on people almost at will, but cant touch his toes because of his long legs.

  5. I second what everyone seems to be saying, I’m kind of tall and lanky, and can’t touch my toes. However, I’m very comfortable and mobile while my opponents are trying to stack me up.

    I can’t touch my toes, but there are a lot of other stretches that I can do that folks who can touch their toes cannot. That said, I’ve been trying to work toward reaching my toes for the past couple of years. When I really started working to increasing this, I was informed – when I crossed paths with a personal trainer – that I was overcompensating with my back and my legs weren’t really getting the full benefit of the stretch.

    Great poll.

  6. I trained in ballet and thought I was pretty flexible until I began BJJ. This is a totally different flexibility (especially hips) and muscle memory. I am petite so it’s interesting to read the other replies on this poll, how flexibilty in areas can improve certain positions.

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