Have you ever heard of the Psoas stretch?
Or, better yet, have you ever even heard of the Psoas muscle at all?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t.
Fact: I didn’t even have a clue about this muscle until a few years ago.
The surprising thing is while its the body’s major hip flexor, the Psoas gets very little attention.
But its health is key in preventing pain and aiding in your mobility.
So, in this post I’ll share some ways to make sure you’re exercising the Psoas properly.
This should help keep your body in prime training condition.
My First Tip: it’s pronounced “Soh-As”.
Make Sure The Psoas Is Your Friend, Not Your Foe
I’ve been pretty lucky to have not incurred any major injuries from my training over the years. Except for the times I’ve been in crutches (you can read about it here) as a kid, I’ve been able to stay healthy.
One of the things I attribute to this is I definitely believe in warming up before and after a work out, while also paying attention to what I’m doing. If I’m lifting a loaded barbell I make sure I know what’s going on in my environment.
I know it’s easy to get in a zone. But you must pay attention.
That’s super important.
But how will the Psoas stretch keep you from picking up an injury?
Well, the Psoas muscle pretty much makes every movement that goes with either walking or running happen. This muscle is deep down in your midsection. It contracts and lengthens with each stride you make.
Another thing the Psoas does is help stabilize your other core muscles. Even if you’re just standing around and not being any good to the world your Psoas is hard at work to keep your posture golden.
If you think about it, this is one complex muscle most people have never heard of.
“I Did A Little Experiment This Past Week”
I mentioned to 10 people I know that my lower back had given me some trouble lately. This is the common symptom for a Psoas muscle that needs some attention.
Each time I mentioned my aggravated back I followed it up by explaining why I thought it was the Psoas, and gave a description on just how the muscle actually functions.
To be fair I made sure I chose people with varying degrees of anatomy and fitness knowledge. I wanted to make sure everyone had as much of an equal shot at knowing as the others.
A Summary Of My Findings:
- None of the people I asked had ever of the Psoas muscle (neither the Psoas major nor the Psoas minor).
- Three out of the 10 got annoyed about their being a silent “P” in the name.
- Only one thought it was the V-cut that you get in lower abs.
Keep Yourself Healthy With the Psoas Stretch
If this is such an important muscle then why is it often neglected?
I really wish I had an in-depth answer for you.
It wasn’t until I read Craig Ballantyne’s Bodyweight Manual that I got my first clue about needing to pay more attention to it.
Craig lists this stretch first in his static stretches examples. And it actually took me a while to even start adding it into my routines.
There was a time when I used to have a job that required me to sit at a desk for long periods of times. Little by little my chair seemed to get less and less comfortable.
I tried many solutions—pillows and what not—but nothing really seemed to work until I added the Psoas stretch into my daily life. And, it almost immediately seemed to cure my pain.
Here’s Craig’s Rundown On How To Do This Stretch Correctly:
- Kneel on your right knee and place your left foot 1-2 feet ahead of your right knee.
- You should be in a straight line (similar to the bottom position in a lunge).
- Slowly lean forward until you feel a moderate stretch in the hip flexor area (the front side of leg at the hip level).
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
To get in more benefits from stretching the Psoas you can check out the these videos for an array of exercises that will keep this hip flexor healthy.
What’s Worse Than Being Sidelined By An Injury?
I know that’s a really silly question.
But a beginner to veteran can succumb to injury at any time.
If you train long enough, the wear and tear will eventually take its toll. Luckily, there are precautions we can all take.
Like I said above, I’ve been fortunate for never needing to shelve a work out for a later date. Sure, I’ve had to take an extra recovery day. Yet that’s nothing like having to deal with a nagging pain in the glutes or, worse, the groin.
Now I’ll pass it to you.
Try out the Psoas stretch for a week, and let me know what you think.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below.