A great way to get more mobility through your hips and reduce back pain is to open up your psoas muscle.
Why should you care about this?
Well, your hip flexors can become really tight as a result of sitting, overdoing certain exercises, or just plain old life. And tight hip flexors can cause all kinds of issues including low back pain.
I’m going to show you an awesome workout recovery exercise – or even just a too-much-sitting-around recovery exercise – that involves a tennis ball and a kettlebell.
This psoas muscle stretch is pretty cool because it relies on outside pressure to get the job done.
Check Out This Nifty Psoas Stretch
The psoas muscle originates in your lumbar spine and comes right up through your hips to meet your iliacus. Together they form the iliopsoas, an important part of your hip flexor complex.
The psoas are a key player when it comes to stabilizing your back and standing, walking, and running.
The first thing we have to do to get into this stretch is to locate your psoas muscle. To do this, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
Next, dig your hand into the side of your lower abdominal wall, just above your hip bone.
Where you can start to feel those abdominals begin, and slightly to the outside of your body, that’s where your psoas is located. It might feel slightly uncomfortable when you press down into it.
Once you’ve found the muscle, take the tennis ball and place it in the little nook above your psoas. As you press down, you should be able to feel the psoas again.
The next step is to add some pressure by putting the kettlebell on top of the ball.
To do that, simply hold the tennis ball in place and put the kettlebell on top so that it is pressing directly down onto the ball. Let it sit there for a moment, holding the kettlebell by the handle to keep it stable.
To deepen the psoas muscle stretch, you can start to move your leg around a little bit: You can straighten the leg, bend the knee and bring it up to the side. You also can squeeze the glute and relax it.
You’re not necessarily moving the ball or kettlebell – rather, by moving your leg around, you’re actually moving the psoas slightly to get in there a little deeper and break up the adhesions around the muscle.
That’s as simple as it needs to be.
You can do this for a couple minutes on one side and then the other.
It’s Not Necessarily Your Back. It’s Your Psoas
A lot of times when we have back pain, it’s due to a tight psoas which is pulling too much on the lower back. This exercise is going to help loosen that up.
Because it’s such a deep muscle, stretching the psoas can be a tough proposition. That’s why we used the tennis ball and kettlebell to open it up and lengthen it.
You will be surprised at how different your hip flexors will feel when you get up to move around. Give it a try!
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.