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My Unique "Muscular Tension Release" Method For Tight, Painful Hamstrings, Hips and Low Back

Reading Time: 3 mins. By Matt Cook.

If you struggle with tightness and pain in the hamstrings, hips or low back, then I think there's a good chance my method can help you.

I have used it to eliminate all pain and discomfort from my body, and with all the painful muscular tension gone, I've even become reasonably flexible. In fact, I'm well on my way to doing the splits.

On this home page, I'm going to give you the mini introduction to my full theory of muscular pain, which I present in my "Muscular Tension Manifesto" (click to watch).

You can also click here to get some free exercise videos based on my method here, or by clicking the menu at the top.

Here's my "before after":

From Terrible to Good

My problems with tight, painful muscles began when I was only 18. I endured 13 years of hell (chronic pain), before finding a way to fix it.

Any activity was painful - walking, running, sitting, standing, writing, typing, trying to sleep - you name it.

Although pretty much every muscle ached to some degree, the worst areas were:

  • Behind the knees (lower hamstrings)​
  • Lower back (quadratus lumborum and multifidus)​
  • Hip flexors (illiopsoas, tensor fascia latae, sartorius, rectus femorus)
  • Side of hip (gluteus medius, piriformis)
  • Neck & Shoulders (trapezius, levator scapula, sternocleidomastoid)

Today, that's all fixed, thanks to something the mainstream fails to address. So fixed that I'm now even able to enjoy gymnastics, combat sambo and ballet in Russia, and my fellow students say "he's so flexible!"

So, how can you also rid yourself "chronic muscular tension"?

In a way, it's much easier than you probably expect. However, you do need to unlearn what you have learned.

You've been told all your life, by everyone you trusted, that the key to relieving muscular pain is one word.


Stretching may be the greatest pain relief myth of all time.

For people who are free of painful muscular tension, and already reasonably flexible, stretching is a great way to lengthen muscles for sportive performance. For example, now that I'm pain-free, I'm using stretching to help me get the splits.

But for people with existing muscular tension, stretching a waste of valuable time that could be spent doing something drastically more effective.

Every doctor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, yoga teacher, blogger and "fitness expert" told me endlessly:

"Tight hamstrings? Stretch. Tight hips? Stretch. Tight lower back? Stretch."

I spent years stretching 2-3 hours a day. For absolutely nothing.

I think the reason they advise it, is because they themselves haven't ever experienced extremely stubborn painful muscles. They just know that healthy, flexible people can stretch, so that must be the solution. Very one-dimensional thinking.

So, if not stretching, then what? If you're thinking "strengthening", well you're partially correctly, but not exactly. There's more to it. My girlfriend has never had any muscular pain, and is as flexible as anyone could be, but her muscles are not even remotely strong. No strength to speak of whatsoever.

To really understand how to rid yourself of chronic muscular tension, you need to understand 3 facts about the nature of a muscle, and its connection to your brain.

Fact 1: A typical muscle is made up of hundreds of thousands of “muscle fibers”.

Muscle Fibres

Fact 2: The muscle fibers are divided into groups called "motor units". There are usually a few hundred fibers per motor unit. Each motor unit is connected to your brain by a "motor neuron".

How brain is connected to muscles

Fact 3: Muscular contraction comes from the nervous system, not the muscle itself. If your muscles are tight and painful, it's because your nervous system is keeping your muscles in a constant state of tension.

(And that tension can be very painful).

When you accept Fact 3, the next question is... why? Why would your nervous system keep your muscles in a constant state of tension?

One soviet trainer, Pavel Tsoutsaline, famous for introducing soviet special forces methods to the US, suggested that the nervous system subconsciously keeps the muscles in a shortened length as a defense mechanism, to prevent the muscles going into unfamiliar, unstable, uncoordinated, and ultimately “unsafe” lengths, and therefore “special types of stretching” are required to encourage the nervous system to “feel safe” and let go. 

However, this is only a partial step toward a full understanding of the role of the nervous system (and mind) in Chronic Muscular Tension.

My recovery taught me that there are a multitude of reasons your nervous system will keep muscles permanently contracted, including physical, mental and social reasons. For example:

  • Avoiding the pain of acute physical injuries by “compensating” with bad movement patterns
  • Trying to “force” what you think is “good posture”, for example by constantly pulling your shoulders down and back, holding your neck long and tall, or rotating your pelvis
  • Hiding emotions from other people, for example maintaining a “still” face to hide anger, shame, sadness etc
  • Ignoring fatigue signals from long work hours, or forcing yourself to “keep working” when every fiber of your being is trying to stop
  • Body-wide muscular contractions induced by metaphysical angst, anxiety, rage, depression and so on
  • Mirroring bad movement patterns of a family member, partner or close friend or fitness trainer

No matter what the cause, whenever muscle fibers become tight and painful, you tend to lose your conscious connection with them.

(You could also call this your "neural connection" or your "perceptive connection").

Essentially, the link between your motor cortex and your muscle fibers becomes "dysfunctional" or "inactive".

When you restore the conscious/neural/perceptive connection, tightness and pain instantly disappear.

There is a simple, yet very effective, method to restoring the conscious connection with your muscles.

I want to show you how to do it, though it's not the kind of thing I can convey in a mere article.

That's why I created my "Muscular Tension Manifesto", which you can watch here.

With the method in this video, you can eradicate muscular pain, and even develop good flexibility. After you do so, you'll have super body conscious and posture to last you a lifetime.

In fact, after I first discovered this, I got rid of ~80% of pain in just 10 days. After that, I was happy to call myself cured, even though some hard-to-reach tensions took longer.

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