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  1. #1

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Whats harder on the back- Muay Thai/Grappling??

    So I have some minor slippage in my back- nothing good but nothing crazy, from what Ive read there are guys on here who are ALOT worse off and still training. Basically what I have means strengthening and fitness= good pain free back.

    BJJ is something I did for 6 months and it seemed to strain it a bit- Im curious to know from people out there with back issues if they found muay thai or boxing to be much easier on the lower back than bjj?


    And yeah- I have talked to a PT and a DR and go by what they say- and am looking to hear some personal experiences.

  2. #2
    gregaquaman's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I dont think there is a third person answer for it. I found boxing harder but I dont have your back.

  3. #3

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    All full contact martial arts will strain your back and cause injury if you don't strengthen the supporting muscles enough to take the strain off of your spine. A strong core will do wonders for your spine.
    Prehab for the win.

  4. #4
    It is Fake's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I guess you answered it yourself. Get healthy and train what you want. There are enough horror stories here to make "guessing" or "advice" silly. Do the rehab and then worry about martial arts.

  5. #5

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've had a tweaky back for a long time, and when I was grappling regularly it felt much better due to improved core strength. Lately I haven't been to class as frequently, and sure enough it is starting to act up again. Be safe, don't injure yourself, but grappling was helpful in my case.

  6. #6

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    eeeeyup

    yeah for sure- the less I do the worse it is. thing is im looking for something to get back into. Im an easy going guy, grappling was awesome, muay thai was cool to try but Im kinda looking for what might be best for my body in the long term. Golf. PFFFFFTT!

    Im feeling the boxing because muay thai theres a ton of hyperextension, BJJ put some strain but is definitely better than judo/wrestling which is not an option.

    Well- Im off to strengthen I'm pretty sure I can do whatever I want when im in amazing shape/smart about it. Alot of other people do

  7. #7

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It all depends on what you do and how you do it.

    Here is how it goes for me: I have herniation at L4/L5, L5/s1. I train both bjj and muay thai. For me bjj is worse on my back. Here is why:

    I play guard a lot. Like 99% of the time. I'm trying to break the habit now, but I still find myself there. When you play guard, there is so much curling up to get under the guy, you get stack a lot, etc. That crunching up of my back pushes those discs out farther, causing more pain. Then there are the takedowns, which are like little localized car accidents for your back.

    Now, you could play a more top focused game, and be the one doing the stacking, and probably avoid most of that unpleasantness, but you'll probably still have some trouble. Some gyms train takedowns rarely, so that might not be a problem.

    On the muay thai side of things:

    My back loves muay thai. My herniation causes my hamstrings to be tight, or maybe my tight hamstrings caused my herniation, either way muay thai really loosens up my leg muscles. You have to work up really well obviously, but after 30 minutes or so, I'm feeling very relaxed. There is not getting stacked, nobody is taking your ankle and putting it behind your ear. Also, my particular gym does crazy shitloads of ab work every class. Obviously you have to be careful how you do it, and not overwork, but the regimented strengthening exercises were a great help for me and my back pain.

    Here are the downsides to muay thai. Depending on where your back pain is, clinching could be a problem. Its not for me. Also, if you keep good posture in the clinch you should be okay, but someone WILL be grabbing you by the head/neck and swinging you like a dog with one of those rope bone things.
    Also, there is what I like to call the suck training of muay thai: impact conditioning, where you just stand there and let someone hit you. Now, taking leg kicks probably wont hurt your back, but taking sixty kicks to the abdomen or a bunch of liver punches might make things flare up. But maybe your gym won't focus that much on conditioning.

    Those are my experiences, but they will vary from person to person and gym to gym. My advice is to try a little of each, and do upward facing dog after each workout.

  8. #8

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    ... yeah let me echo what hurr said, unless you're doing alot of clinch i don't see how muay thai can be worse on your back than bjj.

    there's ALOT of twisting of the back and the core in jiu jitsu, not to mention all the folding up and spine disalignment that happens.

    if you're back is hurting, i'd say do muay thai or boxing and not one of the grappling mas.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hurr2323 View Post
    It all depends on what you do and how you do it.

    Here is how it goes for me: I have herniation at L4/L5, L5/s1. I train both bjj and muay thai. For me bjj is worse on my back. Here is why:

    I play guard a lot. Like 99% of the time. I'm trying to break the habit now, but I still find myself there. When you play guard, there is so much curling up to get under the guy, you get stack a lot, etc. That crunching up of my back pushes those discs out farther, causing more pain. Then there are the takedowns, which are like little localized car accidents for your back.

    Now, you could play a more top focused game, and be the one doing the stacking, and probably avoid most of that unpleasantness, but you'll probably still have some trouble. Some gyms train takedowns rarely, so that might not be a problem.

    On the muay thai side of things:

    My back loves muay thai. My herniation causes my hamstrings to be tight, or maybe my tight hamstrings caused my herniation, either way muay thai really loosens up my leg muscles. You have to work up really well obviously, but after 30 minutes or so, I'm feeling very relaxed. There is not getting stacked, nobody is taking your ankle and putting it behind your ear. Also, my particular gym does crazy shitloads of ab work every class. Obviously you have to be careful how you do it, and not overwork, but the regimented strengthening exercises were a great help for me and my back pain.

    Here are the downsides to muay thai. Depending on where your back pain is, clinching could be a problem. Its not for me. Also, if you keep good posture in the clinch you should be okay, but someone WILL be grabbing you by the head/neck and swinging you like a dog with one of those rope bone things.
    Also, there is what I like to call the suck training of muay thai: impact conditioning, where you just stand there and let someone hit you. Now, taking leg kicks probably wont hurt your back, but taking sixty kicks to the abdomen or a bunch of liver punches might make things flare up. But maybe your gym won't focus that much on conditioning.

    Those are my experiences, but they will vary from person to person and gym to gym. My advice is to try a little of each, and do upward facing dog after each workout.


    Helpful post- thanks for sharing those experiences mate! they sound very familiar, Ive tried both arts and been through most of that stuff. If guys like you can train BJJ AND muay thai then I am definitely gonna have a go and train SMART this time.

  10. #10

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    If there is a choise between Boxing and MT i say it deppends on your body type, if you are tall and lanky your boxing won't include too much bobbing and wiving, that put strain on your back. MT because of high kicks, is also hard and the clinch is obviously bad. But i think a striking art will be better anyhow for you.

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