The Psoas

This was put together by Lindsey, one of our knowledgeable instructors and private trainers! She has a degree in Kinesiology from UNT and is currently a nursing school student. Want to learn more about a specific muscle group? Send us an email at

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The Psoas

“it is an organ of perception composed of bio-intelligent
tissue that embodies our deepest urge for survival”
-Liz Koch, author of “The Psoas book”

What it the Psoas? 

The psoas is deep-seated core muscle AND a powerful hip flexors that brings torso to the thighs.  This muscle(s) is responsible for holding us upright and allows us to lift our legs in order to walk. A healthily functioning psoas stabilizes the spine and provides support through the trunk, and allows movement to the legs. 

The psoas is a general term, but refers to the combination of two muscles, the iliacus, and the psoas major muscle.

  • Psoas Major is the only deep muscle that connects your spine to your leg. It runs from your lower back through your pelvis, passing to the front of your hip where it attaches to the top of your femur.

  • The iliacus is a flat, triangular muscle that lies deep within your pelvis. It attaches from your pelvis to your thigh bone (femur). Its primary action is to flex and rotate your thigh


What causes a tight psoas?

If you spend a lot of your time sitting at a desk, driving, or repeatedly work these muscles in activities like bicycling, weight-training or sit-ups, the psoas can become short and/or tight.  Common manifestations of a tight psoas: 

  • Lordosis- when you stand up, it pulls the low back vertebrae forward and down toward the femur

  • sore lower back

  • constipation

  • cramping or clenching sensation in the muscles of the upper leg area

  • Poor posture

  • Chest breathing


 Emotional side to the psoas

The psoas runs along the lines of the solar plexus down to the root chakra.  In turn, it can effect a whole lot of aspects in your life, like your confidence, creativity and your entire being.  The psoas is a place we like to dump emotional traumas.  It is deep in the body allowing us to hide from what we don’t want to face.

The psoas responds to the sympathetic nervous system during the flight or fight response in the body.  If your fight/flight is triggered into constant arousal, eventually you lose contact with your inner world leading to anxiety, sadness, fear and constant exhaustion.  It is so important to release some stress daily to keep your psoas healthy and happy! 


What we are going to keep in mind while stretching?

  • Notice how the hips are positioned

    • Actively noticing were your hip are in space, allowing movements to create space within the hip joint and muscle

  • Energetically thinking about the core

    • Think about the psoas lengthen up and down along the torso

  • Just because a muscle is tight, doesn’t mean we neglect strengthening it!

Poses for stretching:

  • Table circles

  • Leg swings forward and back (emphasize back swing)

  • Cross body swings

  • Supportive bridge

    • lifting up a leg putting it on ground, other leg bending into chest

  • Broken bridge

    • rotating legs over one side then the other

  • Low lunge

  • Lizard

    • with back leg lifted

    • internal rotation (baby circles)

  • Warrior 1

  • Side angle

  • Gate

  • Triangle

  • Cat cow with one leg out

  • Half frog

    • knee to chest

    • side

    • chest on ground

  • Tiger

  • Pigeon

  • Frog

  • Cobra

  • Happy baby

Poses for Strengthening:

  • Row flow

  • Psoas Pulses

    • supine, leg out at 45 degrees lateraly

  • Rotates, lift and lowering

  • Hovering table

  • Balancing X

  • Boat

  • Bicycles

  • Leg lifts (supine)

    • be mindful of lower back, ready and active but not engaged

  • Leg lifts (standing)

    • emphasis on the forward movement

  • Good Mornings

  • Jackknifes

  • Cheetah

  • Figure four leg swings