Q & A: Advise for Lengthening and Strengthening The Psoas?

Published by Liz Koch on May 17, 2006 in Question of the Month

Q: I came to your book after several months of slowly working thru a “back problem.” Taking yoga and continuing to peel the onion of my various muscular problems, I am finally left with (I assume) symptoms of a shortened psoas.

The area of symptoms that I have left (the psoas) ONLY responds to constructive rest position. While I have become pain free, my last goal eludes me, and that is being able to lift things and move to my fullest (like hard mountain bike riding, tennis, racquetball, etc) without suffering painful tightening of the psoas afterward.

I am obviously not successfully lengthening, much less strengthening the psoas. My back feels as susceptible to spasm from heavy use as before. I am confused and frustrated.

A: I recommend staying away biking riding and “muscle dominate” (see Core Awareness book for more information) exercises/fitness until the psoas is completely healed. It doesn’t have to take long, but it does take a whole new approach to movement. It is not a weak psoas but an exhausted psoas that may be causing you pain.

Play with skeletal alignment. The psoas can only stay “released” when it does not have to work like a ligament. So, first make skeletal alignment your priority. Each and every way explore the question: “where is my pelvis right now,” making your belly core the first connection before any movement.

Whenever sitting, ask your self “Am I sitting slightly in front of my sits bones?” walking; notice if you are pushing by grabbing the next step or letting go and pushing away from behind. In other words, make skeletal awareness your goal. Live in your core; move, breath, love from your core. Only from a dynamic supple core can strong dynamic movement explode!

Posted on February 3rd, 2008 | Permalink

I am totally convinced that I have had life long issues with the psoas muscle. I am now 65 years old and as I said, convinced this is the issue. I have now have two hip implants and serious pain in the groin.(was there prior to hip replacements) The pain is sharp and occurs when I trip, cough, sneeze, bump into something – clearly connected to a “startle” response. I also cannot lift either foot more than 6 inches off the floor. I have recently started physical therapy but am concerned because the therapist is attempting actual manipulation of the muscle itself which in reading your article is not a good idea. I am also doing some exercises using pilate balls and stretch bands made of rubber. These I believe will help in strengthening the thigh, hip and back muscles but I don’t know where to go from here. How do I find someone who knows about the psoas and how to really help? My whole body structure has been affected by this. My pelvis is tilted, I have scoliosis and sponylolithesis at L5/S1 and I believe all are a result of this condition.

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