Soften Tight Hips & Relieve Low Back Pain

Many of the training tips I share center around optimization and increasing components of fitness. We should always be striving forward with what Carol Dweck defines as a “growth mindset”. But as many of us in the BJJ community can attest to, sometimes it’s a game of managing the aches and pains. In the long run, we don’t want to stay stuck in this “maintenance” — or even worse “hanging on” — phase of training, but it’s inevitable at times.

This is why it’s important to address these troublesome aches head-on so that you’re not “hanging on” to train another day, but can instead thrive on the mats.

Low Back Pain & Tight Hips

Here, I’ll be sharing a group of exercises that will be a catch-all to help you through a tough area that affects athletes of all levels and most people in Western culture: chronic low back pain and tight hips. This is good for chronic pain and acute flareups.

My goal is to share these exercises in hopes we can quickly move you out of the “maintenance” and “hanging on” phases of training and get you back towards your potential, rooted in growth mindset.

Use of the Foam Roller

The research is mixed with foam rolling and self soft tissue “myofascial” release. Here, I’m looking at it from the following perspective: Your body is in PAIN and isn’t functioning optimally, nor do you FEEL as if it can operate at its best.

In my own personal experience and with countless others I’ve worked with, the following exercises either work effectively at reestablishing a more positive connection with our bodies. This then allows us to work with more growth based maneuvers such as these hip protocols I’ve covered before.

Exercise 1

In this first exercise, we’re targeting the lower back. Aim to get one side at a time and do much of the “releasing work” on your exhale breath. Tie this into an oblique smash as I cover in the video.

Exercise 2

Here, we target the hip flexors and quadriceps with the foam roller. Much of the time, tight hips on this front side of the body will be the direct cause of the low back pain. So be sure to target this area and assess how it impacts your low back pain.

Exercise 3

In this one, we’re targeting a smaller area of the hip by using a ball. This allows us to dig into the tissue more because of the smaller surface area. The focus should be targeting the hip socket where the butt ties in into and where it wraps to the front of the hip.

Final Considerations

As I spoke of in the video, foam rolling is something that’s about FEEL. Tie it in before or after training, but more than anything, seek to develop more of a relationship with your body. This is where you can begin to troubleshoot problems before they begin and can keep your supplementary training focused on growth instead of maintenance.

I cover more performance training tidbits at that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats


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