The iliopsoas is our most powerful hip flexor and key to lots of tasks from Olympic lifts to every day activities like walking and running. As well as its role as an importance hip flexor it also provide stability to the lower back.
The Psoas muscle originates from the lumbar (lower) spine to joints the Iliacus muscle at the pelvis and attaches at the top of the femur (thigh bone).
Weakness in the iliopsoas causes decreased ability to flex the hip joint, as well as difficulty bringing the trunk forward when preparing to rise up from a seated position or walk up an incline. If you are a runner, it decreases your stride pattern.
If you are a weightlifting when you are in a deep squat the hips are flexed and the trunk is forward. With weak iliopsoas muscles you will have difficulty getting into this position, which means you lose out on potential power you can create in this area. So, you may not make gains you would like in the lift. Iliopsoas weakness also causes instability at the squat portion of these lifts, which can cause discomfort to the athlete.
How to strengthen your Iliosoas!
The psoas march is a great exercises for people who need to strengthen their hip flexors and improve lumbopelvic control. This exercise can help people recovering from psoas strains or low back pain. As well as those looking to improve squat technique or have a feeling of “tight” hip flexors which is often caused by weak muscles become tense.
Toe Tap Exercise
This is a great exercise for lumbar-pelvic and eccentric hip flexor control.
Step 1: Lie on your back with your arms alongside your hips. Lift your legs up and bend your knees so they are right over your hips and your shins are parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Contract your belly to pull your navel to your spine. Slowly lower your right foot and leg to “tap” the floor. Keep the 90-degree bend in the knee as you lower. Return the right leg to the start and repeat with the left leg.
Step 3: Alternate for 30 to 60 seconds. One set is sufficient.
Hip flexor Stretch – Deep lunge with side bend