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The Absolute Best Hip Stretch for Jiujitsu

Couch Stretch Cover Image

If I could choose only one stretch for jiujitsu forever, it would be the Couch Stretch. 


I learned this movement from the great Kelly Starrett in his book Becoming a Supple Leopard. 


Kelly describes the Couch Stretch as his "favourite hip opener, and probably his most famous technique in the Movement & Mobility arsenal."


Why The Couch Stretch Is Important for Jiujitsu

People spend a lot of time sitting down, working at a desk, hunched over their phone or just relaxing on the couch after work. 


This sitting position shortens and tightens your hip flexors. 


What are hip flexors?

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles responsible for flexing the hip, bringing your knee close to your chest. 


Having strong and robust hip flexors will improve your posture and are essential for pelvic muscular balance.

Image Source: physiopedia.com

The problem of modern living tightening your hip flexors is exacerbated in jiujitsu, especially for guard players. 


When you're playing guard, one of the essential guiding principles of guard is to keep your knees to your chest. 


Spending so much time in a hunched position, with a rounded back and knees to your chest, shortens your hip flexors and creates havoc on your hips, posture and lumbar. 


The Couch Stretch is the solution to this problem. It lengthens, stretches, and restores hip flexor function. 


How To Perform the Couch Stretch

One remarkable thing about the Couch Stretch is its multiple progressions, which increase the difficulty. 


Today, I will focus on the first 4 variations and provide some key details you need to know. 


Start with variation 1 and progress through the levels when you're ready. 

Variation 1: Start on your hands and knees against a wall and place your leg up against the wall with your knee in the corner. Squeeze your glutes and drive your hip down into the mat.

Variation 2: Step your other leg into a lunge position, keeping either one or both hands on the mat before you.

Variation 3: Maintaining the squeeze on your glutes, come up into the full couch position. Ensure you continue squeezing your glutes and brace your core by keeping your rib cage in and down. Avoid the 'banana back'.

Variation 4: Maintaining the squeeze of your glutes, drive your hip down into the mat and pulse forward and back, touching end range and returning to the starting position. This is an excellent exercise to add to your repertoire before you train jiujitsu; I recommend completing 3 sets of 10 reps on each side. 

Even More Couch Stretch 

If it isn't already obvious, I love the Couch Stretch. 


I recommend you implement it into your warm-ups (variation 4), your cool-downs after you train (variation 1-3), or as part of your daily mobility practice (variation 1-4). 


Check out the BJJ Move training program to unlock and strengthen your hips, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your movement on the mats.


Here are some more resources and instructions to help you along your Couch Stretch Journey:



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