Foam Rolling for Hip Health

Lately I’ve been having a lot of aching pain in my right knee. I thought I had injured it, maybe waited too long to tap to a heel hook, or hurt it drilling take downs. It would start aching, I would dial back the intensity on the mats, it would get better, then as soon as I started ramping up the intensity it would start aching again. A few nights back I woke up in the middle of the night with my knee, quad and hip aching so bad that I couldn’t get back to sleep.

I had talked to some guys in class about this, and a couple of them had similar issues at one point in their training. The general consensus was that the issue may not be in the knee, but rather in the IT Band and/or tightness in the hips. Recommendations included using foam rollers and looking up Kelly Starrett mobility videos.

So I looked up some vids, bought a foam roller, took a night off of jiu jitsu and worked on loosening up my hips and quads.

I started with this routine:

I worked my way through this video as well:

I will have to say that foam rolling is more torturous than it looks. Using the foam roller to dig into the nooks and crannies of my hip, and then rolling along the quad and IT Band I found many sore spots, which I lingered on with the roller to try to unbind the muscles there. After doing this for a while I certainly felt more mobility in my hip, my leg felt loose (and tired oddly), and my knee actually did feel better. I think my knee may have been aggravated from tight hips and quads, which may have been pulling on my knee causing problems. I can’t say for sure if that’s the case, because I’m too stubborn to go see a doctor, but that explanation seems to fit based on my experience with foam rolling.

There are a variety of foam rollers on the market, but I used a simple one:

Foam Roller

Gaiam Restore Compact Foam Roller

I was also recommended to watch this video:

Kelly Starrett

Tune Up Fitness, Treat While You Train – Kelly Starrett

I’ve also heard good things about this book, it’s next on my list to read:

Becoming a Supple Leopard

Becoming a Supple Leopard – Kelly Starrett

I’m going to take a couple more days off of training and work on some hip mobility using the foam roller and some of Starrett’s other hip mobility stretches. It’s pretty common to hear that mobility work is important for any athletic activity, and it’s certainly going to be part of my regular routine.