Psoas Exercises to Help Keep Back Pain at Bay

Doing psoas exercises regularly can help keep your back pain at bay. 

The psoas muscle is a deep core stabilizing muscle that also acts as an important postural muscle. 

It is important for our posture because it's tendons connect in both the lumbar spine wrapping around to our hip joint in the front. 

When the psoas muscle is tight it pulls us forward, causing us to stoop at the waist. 

This action can cause us a big pain in the back over time!

Psoas Exercises using Pilates Principles

pilates bridge with leg lift image

The Pilates Bridge is a wonderful exercise to not only stabilize the pelvis and psoas muscle group, but it also helps to stretch and open the muscle at the hip joint.

Doing this exercise with a leg lift is even more challenging as it causes you to keep the hips lifted balanced on one leg.

Begin the exercise lying on your back with knees bent and feet directly under your knees.  Exhale as you lift the hips as shown.

Keeping the hips lifted and level transfer weight into one leg as you raise the other leg up, then exhale as you lower and lift it up to 4 times.

See more good psoas stretches from this page.

psoas exercise doing squat image

Squat with Arm Raise is a good exercise for si joint and pelvis as it helps to strengthen all the deeper muscles of the hips and buttocks.

As shown in the picture stand with your feet shoulder width apart, use a chair behind you for support if you need it.

Reach your bottom for the chair as you sit back over your heels, simultaneously reach your arms up at a high diagonal until you feel a big stretch up the front of your abdomen.

Repeat for 6-10 repetitions trying to hold the squat for 10 seconds or 2-3 breath cycles.

Tips:  Keep your knees aligned over your toes, poke your bottom out as your chest comes forward.  Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in to protect your back, keep your chest wide open as you raise your arms.

pilates spine twist image

The Pilates Spine Twist is an important psoas exercise because it stabilizes the pelvis while simultaneously stretching across the front side of the hip where the psoas muscle attaches.

Do this exercise standing as shown so you are able to open and stretch the psoas more.

Keeping the hips stable or facing forward inhale as you rotate the head, chest, and ribs to one side, then exhale to come back to front.

Repeat for 4-6 repetitions to each side, adding a pulse as you turn to get more rotation.

pilates crisscross exercise image

The Pilates Crisscross exercise is a good way to work the psoas muscle, it acts as a stabilizer and as a hip flexor, as you can see in the picture.  

The oblique muscles are very active through the sides at the waist.

Begin lying on your back with knees bent up and supporting the head with elbows wide.

Inhale as you extend one leg away and then exhale as you lift the chest and twist from the ribs and waist bringing your elbow towards the opposite knee.

Repeat this exercise for 4-6 repetitions each side or to fatigue.

pilates side kicks image

The Pilates Front and Back Side Kicks are a one of the best psoas exercises because the muscle acts as a stabilizer and aids with hip flexion while stretching the psoas as you reach to the back.

Lying on your side, as shown, with your hips and shoulders stacked over each other.  Begin swinging the leg forward flexing the hip and then exhale as you reach behind the bottom leg stretching and opening the psoas muscle.

Keep the abdominals very tight to stabilize the hips as you swing the leg forward and back.

Repeat for 6-8 repetitions on each side.

Leave psoas exercises and find out more ways Pilates Exercises can help your hips and lower back pain here.

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