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Do you know what the psoas muscle is? Today, I’m walking you through what this muscle does for the body, the possible problems you may have with this muscle, and how you can strengthen it.
In this article:
- Psoas Muscle Is Important for Stability, Movement, and Flexibility
- What Is the Psoas Muscle?
- Why Do You Want to Maintain a Healthy Psoas?
- What Creates Psoas Muscle Problems?
- The Best Psoas Muscle Fix: Improving Flexibility and Strength
How to Fix Psoas Muscle Problems
Psoas Muscle Is Important for Stability, Movement, and Flexibility
The psoas muscle is an important part of the hip flexors. Your body needs this muscle for flexibility, movement, and stability. It is important to keep it healthy but one or both sides can often become tight or weak. So, what is the best psoas muscle fix to correct these issues? Let me tell you here.
What Is the Psoas Muscle?
Before I talk about the ways to help fix psoas muscle issues, let me first briefly discuss what it is. The psoas muscle (pronounced "SO-as") is part of a group of muscles called the hip flexors. The hip flexor muscles connect your hips to your upper body. They allow you to bend forward and flex at the hips.
The psoas itself is a very large muscle. It attaches to the lower vertebrae of your lumbar spine, moves down through your pelvis, and connects to your femur. Your body needs this muscle for flexibility and movement of the hips, back, pelvis, and legs. It also helps stabilize the spine and pelvis.
Why Do You Want to Maintain a Healthy Psoas?
When the psoas is out of balance, weak, or tight, it can cause many problems, and these include the following:
What Creates Psoas Muscle Problems?
Many people have a problem with their psoas muscle, either it is too tight or too weak. It can also be tight on one side and loose on the other, causing asymmetry. Primarily, this happens because of two trigger points.
- Spending much of your time sitting - Sitting all day is a major reason for psoas issues.
- Doing repetitive exercises that use the psoas like sit-ups - Doing a lot of sit-ups without doing the reverse extension movement to release things can lead to asymmetry with the psoas.
If your psoas is already out of balance, fixing it comes down to improving the flexibility and strength of this important muscle.
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The Best Psoas Muscle Fix: Improving Flexibility and Strength
To get your psoas muscle back to a healthy place, you need to determine if you have a weak or tight psoas or a combination. In the video, I gave a step-by-step demonstration of how to do the exercises and stretches. You'll need the help of a friend.
First, we test for tightness.
Step 1: Testing for a Tight Psoas Muscle
Follow these steps to test for tightness.
- Lie on your stomach, face down.
- Keeping your legs straight, raise your left leg into the air as far as it will go. Have your partner keep track of how far you can raise it.
- Repeat with the right leg.
Which leg couldn't rise up as high? That is the leg with a tight psoas. Because a tight psoas can cause hip and back pain due to asymmetry, you'll want to fix it and balance things out. So, how do you perform psoas stretch?
Step 2: Stretching a Tight Psoas Muscle
You have two options for stretching the side of the body that has a tight psoas muscle.
- Lie face up on the side of a couch or bed. Allow your tight leg to fall off the side. Keep your knee straight, and stretch your leg down toward the ground as far as you can. Release, and then stretch again. Repeat this several times.
- Lie on your back, facing up. Put a foam roller underneath your tight leg, right under the glute. Bend your other knee while positioning your foot flat on the ground. Make sure the tight leg is straight, and let it fall and stretch towards the floor. You should feel it through the hip. Continue stretching this way for about two minutes.
After stretching the psoas, whatever side is tightest, it is now time to check for weakness on both sides.
Step 3: Checking the Strength of the Psoas Muscle
Here's how to test to see if this muscle is weak:
- Lie on your back and bend one knee.
- Have your partner press against your knee while you try to pull it towards you, flexing at the hip. Do your best to resist them pushing your knee away from you.
- Repeat on the other side.
Which side was weaker and less able to resist? If one side of your psoas is weak, it can throw everything off balance. So, you'll want to strengthen the weaker side.
Step 4: Strengthening a Weak Psoas Muscle
To strengthen the psoas, you have two options.
- This technique stimulates the psoas on the good side. Lie flat on your back, and have your partner press down into the abdomen on the strong side (not the weak side). They should massage the muscles there, right above the hip and belt area. It may be a little tender. Do that for a few minutes.
- This is another technique to try—stimulating the opposite muscle on the weak leg. On the weak leg, massage the glute which is on the opposite side of the body as the psoas. Lie on your stomach, and have your partner press into the glute, massaging the area with pressure.
After doing either of these techniques, try testing the weak psoas again. It should now feel stronger, and the symptoms should get better.
You can repeat the tests, stretches, and exercises listed above as needed to help this important psoas muscle get healthy. They help with flexibility and strength issues, restoring balance, symmetry, and stability to your hips, pelvis, spine, and the whole body. Give these strategies a try, and experience psoas muscle pain relief yourself!
What other psoas muscle exercises have you tried? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.