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Standing Psoas Stretch Variations

with Muscle activations and adjustments

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standing with knee to chest. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

In the lying psoas stretch you hug one knee while lying supine. The other leg is straight, on the floor, and the same side hand reaches away from the foot. This stretches the psoas of the straight leg.

You could do a version of this psoas stretch while standing.

Standing Psoas Stretch | Standing Psoas Stretch Variations

Standing psoas stretch

To do a standing psoas stretch, hug one knee to the chest while standing.

You'll be stretching the psoas of the standing leg. The more you hug the knee to the chest, and in the process, tip your pelvis rearwards, the greater the stretch of the standing leg psoas.

Setting up the standing leg

Since you are stretching the psoas of the standing leg, it can pay to pay attention to that leg.

I'd suggest starting with the foot of the standing leg pointing straight ahead.

That being said, you can try this stretch with foot turned out to varying degrees.

Have your standing knee straight.

Setting up the pelvis, spine and ribcage

Try to activate your pelvic floor muscles and if it isn't already, then flatten your lumbar curve.

To flattern your lumbar curve, work at tilting your pelvis backwards. In other words, drop your sacrum and/or pull up on your pubic bone and/or sitting bones.

From there, reach upwards with your ribs and the supporting leg arm.

standing psoas stretch Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

Note that leg rotation, because of where the psoas attaches to the femur, doesn't affect the psoas that much. And so as mentioned, you can try this stretch with your standing foot pointing straight ahead or with it turned out.

standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

Push back on your inner thigh

To help anchor the bottom end of the psoas, push the inner thigh of your standing leg rearwards, as described in standing psoas stretch.

Double Psoas Standing Stretch variations

When stretching the psoas of both legs at the same time, you can try varying the distance between feet to vary the affect on the psoas.

Rather than hugging a knee to the chest to stretch the psoas of the opposite leg, in these "dual leg standing psoas stretches" you can work at simply tilting the pelvis backwards to flatten the lumbar spine and from there reach your ribs up.

While leg rotation may not affect your psoas in this double psoas stretch, moving the legs inwards or outwards can.

So in addition doing this psoas stretch with feet hip width apart, you can also try it with feet together, and also with feet wider apart. The sequence of actions is pretty much the same.

standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

A Slight Lunge to Stretch Your Psoas

Another standing psoas stretching variation is to step one leg back slightly. With the back heel lifted and the back knee straight and pointing down, press the back foot strongly into the floor, as if trying to dig your forefoot in.

You can adjust your hip position from square and level, but when pushing the foot down, keep your pelvis stationary in whatever position you find comfortable for your hips.

standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

Prior to pressing the foot down:

After all of these actions are done, then try pushing down through the back foot.

Here, the further you move the leg back, the deeper the stretch. This is assuming you keep your spine upright and can keep the lumbar spine flat.

Since rotation doesn't affect the psoas that much (in terms of stretching) you could also do this pose with the back foot turned out and foot flat on the floor.

standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
standing psoas stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

You could also play with widening the feet side to side (or making your stance more narrow.)

Some final notes on stretching your psoas while standing

In all cases, when playing around, notice the changes in tension (or feeling) from variation to variation. The more you do this, you may find that you begin to intuitively select and use the best position for you.

Also note, if your psoas gets tight all the time, and not just from exercise, you've probably got a problem. If that's the case, you need to look at finding the problem and fixing that. And that's one reason, for learning to feel and control your body as well as understand it. It gives you the tools to isolate a problem (find it) and fix it.


The Standing Psoas Stretch

The Reclining Psoas Stretch

More Hip Flexor Stretches

Counter Psoas Stretches with Glute Stretches

Published: 2020 08 03
Updated: 2021 01 29
Clearly defined poses, exercises and stretches for improving stability, body awareness and flexibility.
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