Improve Your Breathing In BJJ & Maximize Your Cooldown With This Release

Incorporating a psoas release into your routine may be the missing ingredient in your training regimen. What I share today is a catch-all exercise that may help you with underlying low back pain, anxiety, and is an overall effective tool at downregulating/relaxing after training.

Why Use The Psoas Release?

Lengthening and softening your psoas allows your diaphragm, the muscle responsible for respiration, to expand properly. This allows you to have proper breathing mechanics.

If your psoas is tight, then your diaphragm can’t expand, and as a result, your body will rely on the accessory breathing muscles of the chest to pick up the breathing slack.

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Using the chest creates a more stressed breath while the lower belly abdominal breath through the diaphragm communicates a sense of relaxation to your physiology.

Protocol

  • Place block underneath the rib cage to where it’s in contact with your entire abdomen
  • The key is cuing lower belly breathing through your nose
    Belly pushes into block on inhale
    Belly comes back in towards spine as you relax this musculature and allow it to sink into the block on the exhale
  • You have 3 choices with your arms:
  • 1. Either place them all the way down and relax head
  • 2. Support yourself
  • 3. Can push hands away to get full body extension

Key Notes on the Psoas Release

Your body will want to fight you and breathe through the upper body while keeping the abdominal area tight. It doesn’t like this pressure into the area of the body that houses the vital organs, at least not at first.

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The goal of this exercise is to keep that area supple. Elliot Hulse describes this as breathing into your balls.

It’s an intense description but the lower you can initiate the breath, the more of a relaxed effect it will have on your physiology as a whole!

Final Considerations

If you’re prone to anxiety, short breaths, or tight hips, I advocate using this exercise early in the day, as soon as possible after waking.

Also use it after training, as you will have tightness and activation in your hips and core, as any athlete should. It’s tremendous way to downregulate and bring relaxation into your day.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when using the psoas release. It takes time for the tissue to release but once it does, there will be a huge shift in your performance in many walks of life.

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As always, reach out to me with any questions!

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

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