How to Stretch Your Most Neglected Core Muscle
By Tanner Garrity

One of our favorite follows on Instagram is James Moore (@jamesmoorewellness), who routinely posts instructive videos on how to release pain in your legs, back or neck. He’s got a dedicated psoas stretch, too, thank goodness. You’ll need a wall and something soft — a folded yoga mat or gardener’s pad — to protect your knees.

With your chest facing outward/the floor, kneel down as close to the base of a wall as possible. Then shimmy your feet up the wall behind you (if you can!), to make sure you’re in the best possible position for the stretch. Finally, push up from the floor, squaring your shoulders, so your back and lower half form an angle with the wall. Hold this pose for 15 seconds at a time. Repeat three times.

A number of users in Moore’s comments called this particular move “life saving.” Indeed — at the very least, it’s low back saving. But as the psoas has long been nicknamed the “fight or flight muscle” (that’s to say, it contracts anytime the body experiences an intense emotional response), you might literally feel lighter after giving it the time of day.

Try This Stretch

For those who prefer a concrete tool, try the PSO-RITE, an invention by former college football linebacker Mac Mollohan. It’s just a one-pound hunk of plastic, shaped like football goalposts, with two knobs on either end. On the bottom there are grips to hold it in place against the floor, and grooves for you to hold it against your body. PSO-RITE designed the thing to have the firmness of a masseuse’s elbow, and they nailed it.

While it may seem counterintuitive to address back pain from the front, keep in mind that psoas is a deep core muscle. The best way to activate it is to press into it through the abdominal wall. Some methods for using it:

  • Lay on your back with the PSO-RITE placed between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your pelvis, pushing each side of the tool into your core and breathing along slowly.
  • Once you feel comfortable, you can place the PSO-RITE flat on the floor and lie prone atop it, winging your arms up toward your face and resting your head against the ground.
  • If you leave a bruise you’re going too hard. Hold that second position for a minute at most, breathing all the while, before slowly rising back to a sitting position.
  • Head here for a video tutorial. Follow this link to buy one on Amazon.
Try This Tool
Our goal here is simple:
to help you live a more adventurous,
eventful and engaging life.