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Brazilian jiu-jitsu, like any discipline, is constantly evolving. Practitioners are always seeking the next innovation that will give them a competitive edge. Recently, the importance of flexibility has come to the forefront of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world. It was Rickson Gracie who first discovered the potential benefits of improved flexibility in jiu-jitsu. His practice of yoga and ceasing stress led to direct results, helping him become a dominant competitor. Now, anyone interested in Brazilian jiu-jitsu should have their flexibility in mind

 Stretching before training is now only essential for increased flexibility. It is also key to avoiding injury. For optimal results, stretching after training is also advisable. But what specific stretches are best? The most critical areas to work on are the hip flexors and shoulders, as these are the parts of the body most essential to the practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Here are five stretches that can prove especially helpful. 

 Reclined Spinal Twist

This exercise is best performed after training and helps relax the body. It also massages the hips, abdominal muscles, and, of course, the spine. Many jiu-jitsu practitioners also do reclined spinal twists at night before they go to bed. 

 Butterfly Stretch

 This is an age-old classic and for a good reason. It is easy to perform and stretches the inner thighs. The butterfly stretch also allows for an easier opening of the hips, which can be essential in the practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

 Downward Dog

This is perhaps the most famous yoga pose because it is easy to do and extremely beneficial. Not only does it stretch out the calves and hamstrings, but it also contributes to strengthening the shoulders. 

 King Arthur Stretch

This pose can be more painful and challenging than the others on this list, but it is vital for a practitioner of jiu-jitsu because of its effectiveness at stretching that most important part of the body, the hip flexors. For jiu-jitsu success, the hips must be strong and flexible. This stretch, as demanding as it is, will bring significant improvements in performance.

 Warrior I Pose

This stretch is among the most popular for jiu-jitsu practitioners because it works the entire body. In addition to increasing flexibility, it also strengthens the legs and the chest.                   

Remember to pace yourself and take care of your body as you prepare to exercise.