Quad and Psoas Stretches

Many people ask me for good leg stretches, particularly for the hip flexors. Here are some of my favorite quad and psoas stretches.

Standing Quad Stretch

The goal is to drop the knee further down toward the ground while leaning back.

Side-Lying Quad/Psoas Stretch

If possible, secure the forward foot against an immovable object (like a wall) to lock the pelvis and prevent you from sliding around on the floor. Have your partner stretch you in two different planes as depicted in the photos.

Dynamic Psoas Stretch

Try to extend the length of the lunge (by inching the front foot forward) over several repetitions.

Ballistic Psoas Stretch

Float up and down, then gradually speed up the movement. You can use a chair for support.

4-Stage Static Psoas Stretch

The above sequence of photos displays the stretching of all 4 functions of the psoas major muscle which include hip flexion, external rotation, (ipsi)lateral flexion, and trunk flexion. To stretch, simply do the opposite.

To enhance the stretch even further:
a) Take advantage of a process known as reciprocal inhibition and flex the antagonists or opposite muscles (i.e., the glutes). Basically, by squeezing your butt (the hip extensor) you’ll decrease activity to the psoas (the hip flexor) and you’ll be able to stretch further.

b) By extending the arm on the same side as the lengthened hip flexor, you exert a greater stretch on the anterior fascial chain.

For more examples of quad and psoas stretches, check out my Stretch for Strength video presentation.

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