The Benefits of Floorwork

Performing a chest roll

Performing a chest roll

We have been practicing Floorwork in the studio for a few years now, and in this short time there has a been a lot of growth and improved understanding about this topic and its utility.

Today I simply want to talk a little bit about its benefits, and why we share it with our students.

First, let us define Floorwork for those of you who may not be familiar. We define Floorwork as activities in which we have many contact points with the floor, usually in a prone, supine, or side lying position. Think of a contemporary dancer or a BJJ practitioner. They both perform Floorwork, sometimes with a partner, sometimes without. It can involve sliding, rolling, supporting, arching, rounding, side bending, and more. Floorwork can also connect to other layers easily such as acrobatics, mid-level or ground movement, and levers such as QDR (or hitchhikers for BJJ).

With all of these connections and possible movements, maybe it is easy for you to see how it can be a great practice, but if you need more convincing, lets talk about some of the tangible benefits.

  1. Less dimensions to manage

This first benefit is possibly the most important. Because we are changing our relationship with gravity, or rather, changing the angle at which it pulls on our bodies, we have more potential to explore positions and patterns we could not manage while standing up. The demands on our strength and mobility are LOW. Paradoxically, the ability to develop our strength and mobility on the floor is HIGH. Less dimensions means more freedom to explore, so explore away!

2. Learning to move core to extremity & extremity to core

This is the basis for athletic movement and control. The transfer of force originating from center or extremity should follow a sequential movement, maximizing power output and movement efficiency. Those who do this well are usually coordinated AND powerful. This, along with #3 can be described as “improved core strength” which is apparently all the rage these days.

3. Spine Health & Mobility

Many of us don’t “visit” the floor anymore, and it shows. Weak and stiff spines wreak havoc on our quality of life and ability to stay supple and athletic. The floor offers a moment of gravitational relief, while allowing so many motions that nourish the tissues surrounding our spine such as arching, side bending, flexing, and rotating. If your spine gives you trouble but you haven’t tried floorwork, don’t pretend you tried everything…I also don’t mean “try” as in 5 minutes. Get GOOD at it, then tell me your back is still in constant pain. A weakling doesn’t walk into the gym, try to deadlift 100lbs, then claim strength training is useless. If you suck at it, there is a lot of value there.

4. Expression

The more you practice, the more you can add a bit of “you” into the mix. Adding a little bit of your own style, background, and expression can be an important piece of the puzzle. There is not enough original expression out there, and also peoples ability to feel comfortable expressing themselves. The more you practice self-expression, the easier it becomes. Benefits in psycho-social/emotional health are obvious here.

5. Low risk

Floorwork has an extremely low barrier to entry. Meaning, if you can’t get on the floor, you might be buried under it. Now, if you have a hard time GETTING to the floor, that is another topic for another day. But, the easier that is, the better your chance of staying ABOVE it. Don’t ever discount the basics in life. Getting down and back up is an essential skill, and we always say “Improve your relationship with the floor”.

So, we have gone through some of the benefits, though not an extensive list. I hope you can see how you, along with BJJ athletes and your grandmother can practice Floorwork with the knowledge that you will improve your quality of life and performance with it. Not sure where to start? Reach out to us and learn more about how you can develop your relationship with the floor…after all, you spend your whole life on it!