Increase BJJ Strength & Hip Mobility with this Fundamental Movement

BJJ hip mobility is of paramount importance for all levels of BJJ athlete - high level competitors and weekly grinders alike. Other than head positioning, hip positioning is one of the most instrumental areas in controlling a roll. If you can control your hips - their movement, pressure, balance, etc - you can always reign your body in.

If an opponent grabs your arm you can move your hips to a position that creates solid posture by bringing your arm closer to your body by bringing your hips closer to your arm. If they grab your head to break you down in say the front headlock you can align your hips beneath your head so as to keep a powerful spine, capable of extending and exploding the hips. This same movement is also instrumental in pinning leg entries and trekking your own way through the guard and eventually controlling your opponents upper body.

I will look at those above scenarios in a separate entry some other time. The main focus today is to examine the cossack squat and its role in developing hip strength, mobility, and stability for BJJ. It's one of the most bang for you buck exercises and I advocate performing it as often as possible. It has a host of positive effects on our physiology that I will look at below and is a broad ranging movement because of its ability to build not only stability and strength, but to increase our mobility and flexibility.

Below I will cover some universal cues for most movements and will then look at specific cues for this exercise.

Universal Cues

Navel in tight

Ribs locked down

Shoulders down


Wide horse stance

Feet point out

Chest up, elbows tight

Drive knees out

Rock weight to one leg in lateral direction

Drive knee over foot

As this occurs straighten other leg bringing toes to shin

helps mobility of hips but this also strengthens and stabilizes!

Positive Effects on Physiology

Besides the general increases in hip stability, strength, and mobility, this exercise has some tremendous specific benefits to our system. For one it builds active control of our limbs in space while keeping a strong center of gravity, something that is essential for BJJ. Cossack squats helps increase ankle dorsiflexion by strengthening the tibialis anterior on the front of our shin. This allows us to actively engage our shin muscles so we can our bring toes toward the shin. This movement of the lower leg is essential in being able to crease strong hooks that you can use as tools for kuzushi and sweeps. Having more dorsiflexion also helps our wrestling directly because dorsiflexion is the indicator of our squat depth. The deeper you can squat and get low, the more effective your wrestling will be. It's physics and biomechanics! It also has positive upstream effects on your knee and hip health.

will translate to our wrestling and being able to actively use our foot as a hook

Some Final Thoughts

I like to do anywhere between 6 and 10 reps at a time. Remember it's about active control and constant awareness to your positioning. Weight is not the goal! Quality of movement is always our paramount theme! Add this to throughout your day and not just in your before and after training routine. You will see strong gains in your hips that aren't limited to strength alone! Let me know how this goes!

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