Once you get deep into training Brazilian jiu jitsu you realize that being on the mats is only part of training BJJ. We also have to work on our strength and conditioning, diet, recovery and mobility. As I prepared for my very first tournament at blue belt in 2013, I used Joel Jamieson’s BioForce HRV system to monitor my physical readiness and his book, Ultimate MMA Conditioning to learn how to train as smart as I possibly could. With so many components to training, it’s easy to burn out and having the tools to monitor my physical state and plan my training was key.
Since then, Jamieson, who has been the strength and conditioning coach for MMA stars like One FC World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, UFC Champion Demetrious Johnson and UFC fighter Tim Boetch, has continued to evolve as a coach and he has continued to produce content so athletes and coaches all over the world can benefit from his work. For four days only, from February 20-24, 2017, he will offer enrolment to 8 Weeks Out University, a continuing education platform for athletes and coaches worldwide to stay on the cutting edge of athletic performance theories and techniques. This review will focus on one of the courses offered in 2017, The Fundamentals of Movement presented by Dr. Gerry Ramogida. I received access to this platform for free for 2017 because of my previous purchase of educational content, MDME Training by Eva Twardokens, from Bioforce Project.
According to the course description I received in an email describing the new 8 Weeks Out University platform, Dr. Gerry Ramogida is a chiropractor and physical therapist. He’s not just some dork in the park with a ponytail playing touch butt with Conor McGregor.
“He’s worked with hundreds of Olympians (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012) and other world-class athletes from the NFL, hockey, cycling, karate, soccer, and more. Since 2002 he’s been with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks organization—earning a Superbowl ring in 2014.
Not only as Gerry worked with some amazing athletes, he’s also learned from some of the world’s best coaches including track legend Dan Pfaff, ART (active release technique) founder Mike Leahy, NFL Coach Pete Carroll, and dozens more.”
Dr. Ramogida was actually a guest on Joel Jamieson’s podcast if you’d like to check it out here.
I do work with women in BJJ and strength and conditioning but it’s something that has happened after years of my own training, trial and error, and research. For me, it’s a hobby; I work full-time as a tax auditor. Still, with a little extra effort, I was able to follow along and really learn from these videos. The content could have been pretty boring to watch but the doctor’s presentation style was engaging throughout.
The series is broken down into various parts of the anatomy: foot, knee, hip, back and shoulder. For each there is an anatomy lesson, a tutorial on how to assess function and then a segment which provides specific exercises to eliminate common dysfunction and promote optimal mobility. To make it easier for the uneducated, like me, I would like to see a split screen with diagrams, as I’ve seen in other 8 Weeks Out videos when charts or bullet points were used to explain concepts. I have to actually see the ligaments and muscles for all of the new terminology to sink in.
For me, the value in a program is the ability to apply its concepts immediately and I have been able to do that. Everyone who trains BJJ has nagging injuries. I was able to formulate a plan right away with this course and I truly believe that others watching will have the same experience. It’s important to remember that not everyone cares about your health and performance as much as you do so it’s up to you to educate yourself about how your body works and what you can do to optimize it. Fundamentals of Movement, I feel, is a crucial tool for doing so.
How This Program Helped Me
I have a protuding disc in L5 and a bulging disc in L4. This injury originated during shoveling two years ago (a twisting movement), healed, reappeared when a white belt very forcefully armdragged me unexpectedly during a flow roll (twisting again) and then developed fully at Masters Worlds Jiu Jitsu Tournament in 2015 after having someone in a triangle for four minutes in one match and then being on the bottom for five minutes in the next match, trying to escape.
Since September 2015, my physical therapy has been aimed at strengthening my core, not increasing my mobility and I have not improved. Dr. Ramogida stated several times in this program that restrictions in the foot, knee, hips and back can lead to the low back taking the brunt of the twisting work and result in injury. After assessing myself, I can see several areas of restriction throughout my body so I am going to focus on improving my mobility with the exercises prescribed.
Receiving this course was perfect timing because I had just completed my RAD Mobility Level 1 certification so in addition to these mobility exercises, I can do a lot of the soft tisssue work on my own using RAD’s line of self-myofascial release products. One option I would have liked with this program is downloadable PDFs displaying the exercises to make them easier to remember. I only have a Blackberry with no data so I can’t play the videos at the gym and follow along. Alternatively, the ability to download to my tablet or access offline would be great.
Overall, I loved this program. I’ve watched several parts multiple times and will continue to do so. I highly recommend this course to coaches and athletes.
Sign up for 8 Weeks Out University to access all four (with four more on the way) HD original series here for an annual fee of $197USD.
Course #1: Buddy Morris — How To Build A Bulletproof Athlete: The Proven Step-by-Step Physical Preparation System For American Football and Beyond
Course #2 – Gerry Ramogida — Unlock Your Athlete’s Full Potential: Trade-Secrets For Assessing and Treating The Body From The Ground Up
Course #3 – Zack McCarley and Patrick Castelli — Freak Strength: How To Safely Prepare, Execute, and Troubleshoot Strongman-Style Training Programs
Course #4: Joel Jamieson — Effective Team Conditioning: The Proven Formula to Develop Game-Winning Conditioning Programs for Teams of All Levels.
Courses 5-8 are still in production. Membership to 8 Weeks Out University includes all 8 courses from some of the world’s top experts throughout 2017.
We’ve all heard about Invisible Jiu Jitsu and you may have even seen the Rickson Gracie documentary, Choke (check out his mobility at 22:10), where Rickson focuses on breathing and flexibility, basically keeping his body supple and functional. If you think about it, mobility is a part of that invisible jiu jitsu we talk about and probably one of the most overlooked components in our complementary strength and conditioning routines. We do a lot of movement drills in our warm ups but not enough to really accomplish what is necessary. The Fundamentals of Movement is that missing link we’ve been searching for. Remember, functional mobility will not only help you survive the grind of training, it will also help you to defend submissions!
I’ve broken down the whole program for you.
This video goes into a lot of detail, as you would expect, about the structure of the foot. It precisely describes the type of dysfunctions a person can have in the foot that will affect the rest of the body and do things like throw off gait, balance, impair explosiveness and cause issues with the low back.
In this segment, the doctor shows us each part of the foot on an athlete but I think I’d like to see a screen split with a model foot displaying the ligaments, muscles and joints so I could better visualize the individual parts he was talking about. I know that always helps me when I go to the doctor regarding a particular injury of my own. A diagram in the written portion of the lesson might be useful, alternatively.
Evaluation of the Foot: 12:19
Now that we know the individual components of the foot and their contribution to movement, we can evaluate the actual movement of an individual’s foot to see whether or not it’s restricted. I liked how this segment covered ideal mobility for each portion of the foot and explained the way it interacts with the leg in footstrike.
In jiu jitsu, we rely upon the mobility of our feet a great deal, especially our toes and dorsiflexion. The shorter the ground contact time, the greater the performance. So if your foot can’t dorsiflex properly, about 15-20 degrees, you need to work on that. You can see the importance of functional toe mobility (at about 3:10) in the video below where Ricky Lundell breaks down Mendes vs Cobrinha at the 2012 Pan Ams.
Exercises for the foot: 21:11
As I watched this segment I tried the exercises and they actually feel really good. I could feel a little rush around my ankles and shins as I got them moving and with the doctor’s guidance I was able to evaluate whether I had any restrictions. The exercises gradually increased in the level of movement and the doctor explained something that was personally interesting to me because I have a couple of disc issues in L4/L5, which was if your feet and ankles aren’t mobile and you’re rotating your body, the rotation has to come from somewhere and in a dysfunctional body, that rotation will happen in the low back. So lower extremity mobility is crucial for all sports.
The exercises were simple enough to incorporate into my pre-BJJ class mobility warm up. The write-up of this segment provided instructions for each exercise that was simple enough to copy and paste into a word document and take along with me to the gym but I do like photos and would prefer a downloadable PDF.
By the time I reached this segment, I got into the groove of learning with all of these new anatomy terms. Instead of watching the video first and letting it fly over my head, I read the write up first so I could get used to the terminology. Again, I really would like to see an anatomical diagram in these write ups so I can better visualize what I’m reading. Even as I watched the video, I couldn’t really visualize the internal apparatus simply by watching him feel around the knees so I had a tab open with a Googled knee anatomy diagram as he went through all of the moving parts.
Evaluation of the Knee: 5:57
Moving up the leg, this segment continues explaining the importance of assessing the body as a whole and considering how each joint and it’s connecting parts affect other parts of the body. One of the focus points was tibial rotation due to its effect on foot and hip movement in relation to the knee.
Exercises for the Knee: 6:00
The exercises for the knee build upon and are consistent with the exercises prescribed for the foot. The doctor had Coach Kendall demonstrate a leg swing that is much more precise than the one I’ve used and have seen others using; it promotes improved function for the foot, knee and hip.
The segment also provides a full body mobility exercise that many of the previously shown drills are derived from. Med Ball Big Circles were demonstrated previously on the 8 Weeks Out website by Coach Kendal Yonomoto, author of The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf. Check out the movement here at 3:26.
Again with this segment, I chose to look up diagrams on Google for the anatomy of the hips, pelvis and legs while I watched so I could follow along and see exactly what the doctor was decribing and understand the movement and function of each. So far this series has made me realize how little I know about my own body overall.
An Evaluation of the Hip: 11:42
In this segment, tests were shown to evaluate mobility of the leg in relation to the hip from the front, back and side. One of my goals in watching this video series is to help myself to heal from a protuding and bulging disc so I would have liked, if it’s even possible, to have alternative tests so I could test my own mobility. I wasn’t clear as to whether an active test on my part would be as revealing as a passive evaluation done by someone else, however knowing what healthy function looks like was very helpful regardless.
Exercises for the Hip: 13:49
The exercises in this video are designed to allow you to use your hips to extend properly and take advantage of generate maximum explosive movement generated by the glutes. One of the points Dr. stressed in this video is the value of perfect form over increased weight.
“If they can’t do it with weight, start with body weight. There’s no point in doing an exercise wrong and ingraining faulty movement patterns to have them feel like they’ve accomplished the exercise incorrectly, there’s no benefit to that.”
You can see in this video with Eddie Bravo, the benefits of highly mobile hips, knees and ankles. He begins with the Irish Collar, and then switches to the rubber guard, which is generally regarded as an attribute-based guard because having flexible hips is crucial. You’ll also see in this video how Eddie’s hip and lower extremity flexibility allows him to slip into mount from a failed omoplata attempt.
The back is what I was most interested in since I’ve been having back issues in various forms for several years now. What’s interesting is the number of restrictions that are not in the lower back that cause lower back pain. The ankles, the knees, the hips and now the thorasic spine. All along I’ve been working to strengthen my core, which is already strong, instead of focusing on mobility in areas that are likely the cause of my problem. A detailed explanation of the musculature and its affect on rotation and stabililty was provided in this segment.
“If the thoracic spine becomes restricted, the body compensates by producing rotation from somewhere else (typically the lumbar spine or SI joints). This can be a cause of recurrent low back or SI joint pain.”
Assessment of the Back: 6:31
In this segment, the doctor tested the rotation of the thorasic spine in the seated and prone position and offered options for assisting the patient develop more range of motion.
Exercises for the Back: 4:37
Thoracolumbar junction exercises to promote better range and control of rotation.
Anatomy of the Shoulder: 7:18
The shoulder has a very complex anatomy with connections to the arm, back and chest. I had to repeat this segment a couple of times and then read the write up with some anatomy photos I found on Google and I still forget most of it. Regardless, it gave me a good idea overall of what’s going on under the skin and it’s available to view as many times as it takes.
An Evaluation of the Shoulder: 12:01
The shoulder is capable of a wide range of motion and because it is so complex, there are a variety of factors that can affect mobility. This segment gave an overview of activities that are affected by restriction or imbalance in several different structures and recommended that potential issues be referred out to professionals that can rehab the athlete.
In doing these exercises I realized that my shoulder was restricted and I hadn’t noticed. I had actually been experiencing pain in the other shoulder after applying and receiving head and arm chokes in recent classes, but not enough to see someone. Now I can focus on some soft tissue work and exercise to loosen up the restrictions and prevent future injury.
Exercises for the Shoulder: 4:27
Exercises are provided in this segment for strengthening the shoulder joint with and without the assistance of a coach but due to the complexity, the doctor recommends that athletes be referred to a trusted professional if there are restrictions.
I hope I’ve answered all of your questions about The Fundamentals of Movement. Be sure to “Like” 8 Weeks Out on Facebook and follow them on YouTube and Twitter. Joel frequently provides free, quality content so you don’t want to miss out. Also, browse his online store; there you’ll find essential tools that will take your training to the next level.
Sign up for 8 Weeks Out University to access all four (with four more on the way) HD original series here for an annual fee of $197USD from February 20 – 24, 2017 only! After that, registration will not be open again til Spring/Summer.