Often described as the fillet mignon of the human body, the Psoas is essential in hip extension and supporting the back. In fact tight Psoas can often provide the symptoms of lower back pain which is exaggerated by sitting down behind a desk all day.
It is a long muscle that attaches towards the base of the lumber spine and runs over several joints to the top of the leg. Its main function as a hip flexor is to lift the knee towards the chest and create stability in the pelvis.
Today we are going to give some attention to the Psoas by getting the knots out, giving it a stretch and making it feel good! This should release some tension in the lower back and get you ready for the week ahead.
Test / Retest
How upright can we get in the couch stretch?
Firstly we will get to know our own Psoas’. We do this by grabbing a medicine ball and lying on it. Placed between the pelvis and belly button we are looking to freestyle our mobilisation by slowing rolling over the med ball and finding any sticky (aka painful) points and spending a little more time on those areas with the contract / release method. A full description can be found here: Psoas Flossing This can be an ‘interesting’ experience especially if you are particularly tight, but persevere through and spend 10 mins flossing those tricky bits.
Now that we have found the sticky points we can really get to work. Grab a kettle bell and lacrosse ball and lying on your back use the lacrosse ball to get deep into those key sticky points using the kettle ball to add pressure. Make small circles in the area and work laterally over the key areas. Also find a ‘trouble spot’, trap it down with the ball and kettle bell and move your leg to sheer across the tissues. The good thing on this one is that as you are on your back it won’t matter if you pass out in the pain cave!! Psoas Flossing Lacrosse Ball and Kettle Bell
Next we are going to stretch the entire area and open up those hips with an adaptation of our favourite couch stretch. With an upright bar / post / door frame (delete as appropriate) placed against your back in the kneeling position, put one knee level or slightly behind the post and keeping your back flat against the post and reach up with you hands to feel the stretch.
The aim of this is to not hyper extend the back and arch it, but make sure there is no gap between back and post. You should feel the stretch through your thigh and hip flexors. Mobilise in this position for 2 mins each leg using contract / release method to increase your range of motion whilst maintaining that good tight midsection (your butt and abs should be engaged at all times).
Retest: Get into the full couch stretch again and check to see if it is easier to get into the upright position? Have we made change, are we feeling looser?
It is important to look after this area of the body as it takes a huge amount of abuse. As standard you should be spending at least 2 mins each leg in couch stretch at least 3 times per week – that’s 12 mins a week, which is nothing, and could seriously improve performance times and reduce injuries. For KStarrs full Psoas description check out his introduction to Psoas Psoas Overview