The main muscle that is targeted when doing core strengthening exercises is the psoas muscle. Several other muscles are also strengthened when the psoas is activated, but the main target is the deepest muscle in the body; the psoas.
Most people understand the importance of stretching before and after strenuous exercise, but how do you stretch the psoas? The psoas’ actions are subtle, and so are most of the stretches that affect it. This article will teach you how to do one of the best psoas stretches there is.
The Side Bend Lunge is a great stretch that affects several areas including the psoas. It is simple to do, and can be done by just about everyone, the only limitation is an injury or other body obstacle.
Start in a lunge with your right foot forward and left knee on the floor behind you. Use a pad for your knee as needed. Keep your right knee over the right ankle as you move your left leg back as far as is comfortably possible. Place your hands or finger tips on the floor near your front foot. You can also use something like a block under your hands for convenience.
Take time to get comfortable in lunge before activating the psoas. You can do this by allowing the areas the lunge naturally stretch to warm up. Relaxing in lunge by allowing your hips to release down will increase the stretch. Ideally you would stretch both sides like this before doing the side bend.
After the muscles in lunge have warmed up a little you can press your upper body up with your hands on your knee. You may need to shorten your stance slightly, but keep it as long as you comfortably can for the best psoas stretch.
Next, bring your upper body to an upright position with your left arm overhead. Place your right hand on your hip or thigh for stability as you lean over to the right. Keep your body long and reach long through your left side and arm to help keep your torso elongated. Place a chair on your right side for support if balance is difficult.
Activate your right thigh with an external rotation. You do this by moving the front of the thigh toward the left. This is a subtle and powerful action to increases and insure the psoas stretch.
Arch your back to further activate the psoas stretch while continuing to lengthen through your torso. This may be difficult, but even a small movement will greatly benefit the stretch.
This technique stretches the psoas on the left side. Repeat on the other side to stretch the right psoas.
You can find dozens of other stretches for the psoas in my book: Yoga for the Posas which is available on amazon.com.