Gut Smash Mobility and Why It's Awesome!

written by: Amanda Mageean

You more than likely you have participated in some sort of mobility routine, or even just foam rolled BUT, have you ever GUT SMASHED? Most would answer no or possibly haven't even heard this term before! So, what is it, exactly? This article will discuss the gut smash, its amazing benefits and how it can help relieve you of back or hip pain!

When we discuss mobility we usually think of the involvement of skin, muscles and joints, but often neglect that the organs and surrounding tissue need to be mobile also. Just like any tissue in the body, abdominal tissue can lose its contractile and elastic properties. When this happens it can lead to mechanical restrictions and can negatively affect the surrounding organs.

Common causes for restricted mobility in the abdomen:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Asthma
  • Poor breathing mechanics
  • Stiff thoracic spine
  • Poor nutrition (past and/or present)
  • Acid reflux or ulcers
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgical scars
  • Illness
  • Poor posture

When we have restrictions in the abdomen, the tissue, organs and surrounding muscles are unable to move freely in their environment causing a chain reaction of issues through the entire body. The result of these limitations can present themselves through:

  • Low back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Muscle or joint issues
  • Bowel problems, and
  • Acid reflux


Do you, or someone you know suffer from low back pain, hip pain or any other issues listed above? If yes, then the GUT SMASH may be an excellent exercise to add into your workout routine!

Basically, the GUT SMASH is effective in breaking up restrictions that we may have in the abdomen. With our organs, musculature and surrounding tissue moving more freely, we will have less stress and pulling on the surrounding muscle and tissue resulting in relief of low back and hip pain, which many people suffer from.

Our body is a chain and works together as one solid unit when all of its parts are working properly, it will run like a well-oiled machine. When there is a disruption in this chain, it is unable to function at its full potential!?


    1. Lay on your stomach over a soft physio ball. Position it between your hipbone and ribcage (eventually you can try different intensities such as a slam ball or volleyball)
    2. Take a deep breath in, hold for a few seconds, and exhale.
    3. As you exhale, relax completely sinking your weight over the ball.
    4. Once relaxed, slowly move around on the ball looking for tight areas in the abdomen.
    5. Start by trying 5 minutes of gut smashing making your goal a 10 minute total GUT SMASH!

NOTE: For those of us with restrictions in the abdomen, you may experience some pain or discomfort as you perform this exercise, however, as you begin to release these restrictions and muscle and tissue are sliding without limitations the aches and pain will begin to diminish.


When you GUT SMASH, you are applying pressure to your entire abdominal musculature, and the tissue surrounding your psoas, iliacus, and iliopsoas. What the heck are these, you ask? Don't worry, you don't have to remember these terms. Just know that they are the key muscles involved with hip and trunk flexion, core stability and posture. These fantastic muscles also influence the way our hips are positioned and how they rotate with movement.

Iliopsoas- this muscle is formed by the iliacus and psoas major, and is one the most powerful muscle of the hip flexor group. It is key in movements such as walking and running. It can also work to flex the trunk at the hip such as in the motion of sitting up in bed from a lying down position.

Many people are tight or weak in the iliopsoas which plays a major role in back and hip pain. This happens because in a seated position, the muscles are short and contracted and the muscle begins to think this is normal. Therefore, the longer you sit at a desk, in the car or on the couch the tighter this muscle will remain.

Performing the gut smash regularly allows the abdominal musculature, iliopsoas, organs and surrounding tissue to move smoothly over one another and as a result, there is less stress and pulling of muscle, tissue and organs within the abdomen, which can relieve the low back and hip pain many people experience.


Timing is key. You may not want to GUT SMASH before any heavy weightlifting session. The last thing we want to do is effect spinal mechanics before we lift!! The optimum time to perform this is AFTER a workout.


The goal of gut smashing is for the abdominal muscles, organs and surrounding tissue to move freely without any restrictions. For many of us, these muscles are limited and tacked down, inhibiting normal body mechanics such as flexion, rotation and stabilization in both the hips and trunk.

By making GUT SMASHING a part of your regular workout routine, your abdominal musculature, organs and tissue will begin to move more smoothly within their environment. Mobility Guru and Strength Coach Kelly Starrett has an interesting way to describe this, but it makes perfect sense!

We want the tissue and musculature to be like filet mignon, not a crispy piece of beef jerky?.

So, after all that, there's just one question left to ask. Would you rather be a crispy piece of beef jerky or filet mignon?

Amanda Mageean


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