Written by Matt D’Aquino, a multiple Australian and Oceania Champion and a 2008 Beijing Judo Olympian. He has been studying Judo for over 23 years. He is a 3rd Degree Black belt and a black belt in BJJ. Matt is also known worldwide for his excellent website Beyondgrappling.com .
I was talking to Jonas Gaversjo from www.judo4life.com and he was talking about groin, knee and ankle injuries usually stem from tightness in the hip and the hip capsule. Jonas told me that most people who suffer from groin and knee injuries almost always have tightness in the muscles surrounding the hips.
In order to fix these lower limb injuries you don’t just address the knee or the ankle injury, but instead address the hip tightness itself. Once the hip becomes more mobile then your groin, knee and ankle won’t need to take on any additional stress and therefore won’t cause you any grief. Obviously if you have a high impact injury on a joint then hip flexibility won’t matter too much.
Why do you need hip flexibility?
Have you ever fought a Judoka who launches you constantly with Uchimata? How about those guys that you know it is coming but they throw you anyway simply because they are more flexible than you?
How about those BJJ guys who are flexible in the hips they can put their foot wherever they want? They are so annoying to fight. Having flexible hips assists in injury prevention of the groin, lower back, knees, ankles and will also help avoid muscle strains in the quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, abductors and adductors.
We have all seen the photo (above) of Douillet throwing Shinohara (or not throwing) with Uchimata, even though these guys are both 120+ kg the flexibility in the hips, groin and hamstrings is remarkable. This sort of hip mobility will benefit you greatly as a Judoka.
Here is what you can do to increase hip mobility:
In the videos below we see Eric Wong from the www.Hipflexibilitysolution.com demonstrating some really quick and easy hip mobility exercises you can add into your weekly program that can help release the tightness in your hip socket.
The first video shows a cool movement i have never seen before but Eric talks about how this first movement will help strengthen your glutes as well as release the quads and hip flexor tightness.
And this next video is a technique i do when i am watching TV or standing around having a chat at training. In this video Eric talks about cleaning out the joint which means making the joint roll as smoothly as possible because over the years stuff gets stuck in the joint capsule which makes the joint not run as smoothly as it should. After doing this movement a few times a week you will already start to feel like your hip socket is smoother and your mobility will have increased.
These 3 stretches I use every single time I finish training as I feel like I get the most results from them.