Stretches for a Tight Psoas

Your psoas is a large muscle that's attached to vertebrae in your low back on one end and the top of your thigh bone on the other. The psoas, also called the hip flexor, is responsible for flexion in your hip and thigh. A tight psoas muscle can cause problems in your low back and hip area. Performing certain stretches to keep your psoas loose may help you avoid problems.

A woman is doing a forward lunge. (Image: Kane Skennar/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Psoas Syndrome

Psoas syndrome occurs when your psoas muscle becomes shortened or weakened in some way. Sitting for long periods can cause the psoas to tighten up. Psoas syndrome can affect activities such as walking, cycling, running and skating. Symptoms of psoas syndrome include difficulties with hip flexion and posture, low back pain, higher incidence of quadriceps strain and difficulty rising from a seated position.

Lying Down Stretch

Stretching your psoas muscle lying down can be done on the floor, but it works best on the edge of a training table or bed. Lie on your back toward the lower end of a table so that your buttocks is at the edge. Allow one leg to hang off the edge as you grab the other knee with both hands. Pull your knee toward your chest as far as you can and hold this for 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch four times as long as you feel no pain.

Towel or Strap Stretch

A towel stretch is an effective way to stretch your psoas muscle. You can use a regular bath towel or a strap that's roughly the same length. To do the stretch, lie close to the edge of your bed on your stomach. Plant your outside foot on the floor and bend your other leg. Wrap the towel or strap around your bent leg and hold the towel over your shoulder. Pull the towel up toward your shoulder until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Stay propped up on your elbows for best results.

Lunging Stretch

The lunging stretch for your psoas starts with you assuming a standard lunge position. Your front leg is bent to about 90 degrees and your back leg is stretched behind you. Keep your back straight and move forward until you feel a stretch at the front of your hip. Twist your body around toward the side of your front leg if you want to feel more of a stretch.

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