8 Best Exercises for Training the Psoas Muscle

Lower-body workouts usually focus on big muscles like the quads and glutes. But it’s vital to also strengthen smaller muscles like the psoas for stability. Psoas exercises target this hip flexor, enhancing stability for heavy lifts like squats and improving overall strength for activities like running and jumping.

Many weightlifters aren’t sure how to work the psoas, so we’ll cover what it is and the best exercises to strengthen it in this article.

What Is The Psoas Muscle?

The psoas muscle, called the iliopsoas, is a big muscle in your belly. It’s made up of two muscles: the psoas major and the iliacus. These muscles start from your lower spine and pelvis and attach to your thigh bone. They help bend your hip, like lifting your knee up.

The psoas is important for lots of things you do every day, like walking, sitting, and standing. It also helps you breathe. Keeping it strong and flexible is key. When it gets tight or weak from sitting a lot or doing certain exercises too much, it can cause hip discomfort or lower back pain. Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen your psoas can help.

Why You Should Care About the Psoas

The psoas muscle is important because it can cause various issues if it’s weak or tight. It connects the spine to the femur, and when it’s not in good shape, it can lead to rounded spine and lower back pain. Tightness in the psoas can also result in pelvic pain, poor posture, and affect digestion and stress levels.

Injury to the psoas, known as psoas syndrome, can cause lower back pain, buttock pain, difficulty standing, and pain in the groin or leg. Those who do intense plyometric or jumping exercises are at higher risk.

If you have persistent pain in these areas, it’s essential to see a doctor. If clients complain of such pain and stretching or strengthening exercises don’t help, they should also seek medical advice.

While addressing the psoas is important, it’s not the sole solution. Other corrective exercises for lower back pain should be considered. Additionally, understanding anterior pelvic tilt, often caused by tight hip and gluteus muscles, is beneficial.

Learn more: Best Ab Stimulators

8 Best Psoas Muscle Exercises

Exercises for Training the Psoas Muscle

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the best exercises for your psoas muscles:

1. Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your shins vertical and aligned with ankles and knees.
  3. Tilt your pelvis slightly towards your ribs and engage your abs.
  4. Push your feet into the floor, lifting your hips up while squeezing your glutes.
  5. Hold briefly at the top, then lower back down.
  6. Repeat for desired sets and reps.

2. Hip-Focused Cat-Cow

  1. Get on your hands and knees with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Inhale, arch your back like a cat, pulling hips towards abs.
  3. Exhale, round your back like a cow, pulling pelvis towards the floor.
  4. Repeat for desired sets and reps or duration.

3. Camel Pose

  1. Kneel with knees hip-distance apart and shins on the floor.
  2. Place hands on the back of your pelvis with fingers pointing down.
  3. Lean back, tucking your chin slightly.
  4. Push your pelvis forward, keeping thighs vertical over knees.
  5. Hold for desired time.

4. Side-Lying Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Lie on your left side with knees bent.
  2. Grab your right ankle and gently pull foot towards hips, tucking pelvis.
  3. Feel the stretch in your right hip flexor and quads.
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

5. Marching In Place

  1. Stand with core braced.
  2. Lift right knee to hip height, hold briefly.
  3. Return right leg down.
  4. Repeat with left leg.
  5. Continue for desired sets and reps.

6. Frankensteins

  1. Stand with core braced.
  2. Extend left arm forward at shoulder height and step with left foot.
  3. Kick right foot towards left hand, keeping leg straight.
  4. Repeat on other side.
  5. Continue for desired sets and reps.

7. Hanging Leg (Or Knee) Raise

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with feet off the floor.
  2. Squeeze abs, raise knees towards chest.
  3. Lower legs back down with control.
  4. Repeat for desired sets and reps.

8. Boat Pose

  1. Lie face up on the floor.
  2. Lift legs to a 45-degree angle with torso.
  3. Extend arms forward by your sides.
  4. Hold for desired duration.

Remember to focus on proper form and listen to your body. Start with a few reps and sets, gradually increasing as you get stronger.

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