Engage Your Hips For Better Mobility In BJJ
There are some hip mobility exercises you can do standing. These will obviously target our hip, but the balance challenges it places on the support leg are just as instrumental as the “main leg” we’re mobilizing..
For most of these, we will be using end range isometrics from the standing position. This is like the Functional Range Conditioning based work I’ve covered before. If that doesn’t ring a bell, I’ll explain the rationale along with the usage of irradiation to get the most neural drive for your mobility training. For those acquainted, feel free to skip ahead.
Functional Range Conditioning
For the uninitiated, the movements we’ll be covering are built around Functional Range Conditioning developed by Canadian sport chiropractor Andreo Spina. In a nutshell, his work in this context centers around increasing joint range of motion (ROM) by using controlled articular rotations (CARs) of the join that is likened to oiling an engine.
Another prominent component of this philosophy is to use end range isometric contraction to communicate to the nervous system — and ultimately muscle — that it’s safe to access that ROM. This teaches the body that it’s safe to move into those ROM.
First, we will share a technique that is crucial in helping to train mobility in the body.
Feet firmly planted
Big toes especially pushing down
Feel all four corners of your feet
Arms at sides with 30 degrees abduction with either a fist or completely open palm as wide as you can make it
Screw feet into the ground
Squeeze butt and tighten abdomen in towards spine on your exhale
Seek to tighten hands as much as possible with each out breath and create as much down force with your feet into the ground as much as possible
Be sure when bringing tension to the outer extremities that you’re keeping a lengthened contractionThe feet should still feel wide
Do 5 breaths with 5-second pauses at bottom of exhale
Ramp up intensity with each breath all the way to 100 percent
Completely relax to shake out the tension
Do at least one more set before beginning mobility work
What “Tight” Hip Flexors May Actually Represent
Many times we feel the incessant need to stretch our hip flexors, quadriceps, and “front line” because they feel tight from Western culture and associated sitting. Plus, grappling puts us into a lot of forward flexed positions.
But many of us find that even with this incessant stretching, the hip flexors and “front line” still feel tight. What actually needs to be done in these cases is what I’m sharing today: strengthening this area at the end range.
This active contraction at end range will create more control of our ranges of motion and will actually make the hip flexors feel less tight because you’ve gotten a “grip” on them i.e. neuromuscular control.
Position yourself with outside hip flexed with inside leg and hand supporting near the wall
Hold outside knee up towards chest with outside hand
Going to our end range we hold knee in place and then we let go using an active contraction to keep the knee driven up
The standing leg pushes down with extra awareness brought to the big toe pushing into the ground
This helps straighten the leg and ground through all four corners of the foot
You should feel your butt engage