The psoas is one of your hip flexor muscles. It essentially connects your femur, or upper leg bone, to your spine. It can be a major contributor to lower back pain and hip pain. The psoas is chronically tight in many of us and often just stretching isn’t enough to find release. This very simple exercise is effective at restoring length and relaxation to your overly tight psoa muscles!
Setting The Stage For Psoas Control
This is a bodyweight exercise. You don’t need any equipment, just enough space to lay down. Start by laying down on your back. Bring your knees up so they’re pointing at the ceiling. Keep your feet about hip-width apart. You should be comfortable.
We’re going to learn to control our psoas a little before we move into the exercise. Do this by pushing your lower back into the ground. You should feel your abs contract and your belly hollow a little as your back pushes into the floor. Once your back touches the floor, hold it there for a couple of seconds and then slowly release back to neutral.
While releasing back to neutral, make sure to move very slowly and very smoothly. Really pay attention and feel the muscles working to control the movement. This is a very important step in controlling those muscles. Once you’re comfortable with this step you can move onto step 2. Don’t rush it. If you need more time learning to flatten your back, take it.
The Psoas Release Exercise
Now that you’ve learned to flatten your back we can move to the exercise itself. Start by gently flattening your back to the ground like before. Once you get there, continue to hold the position as you slowly lift your right leg. Start with a very small movement. Only an inch or two is a good starting point. If you’re lower back starts to lift off the floor, either use less range of motion or go back to practicing flattening your back.
Hold the lift for a couple of seconds at the top and then slowly lower your leg back to the floor. As before, make sure to pay lots of attention to the muscles working as you release. Now do the other side!
When you first start with this exercise do only one or two reps on each side. This exercise can really challenge your psoas so it’s important to not be overzealous! As you get better at this movement you can further challenge yourself by first using more range of motion with your leg bent. As that becomes easier, start lifting your leg with less bend.
In a relatively short time, you’ll gain tons more strength and mobility through your hips and lower back. It’s also likely you’ll see a reduction or elimination of pain in those areas as well.