Hip flexors: What is Psoas Major?


Psoas major is one of the main hip flexors and is significantly important to many conditions activities such as lower back pain, walking and running. The psoas major is also the largest muscle and one of the deepest muscles in the lower back. It is also associated with another muscle caused illiacus.

Where is the Psoas Major?

The Psoas muscle spirals from the last joint in the thoracic spine down all the joints in the lower back and attaches to the pelvis. The muscle essential connects the mid and lower back to the pelvis and hip joint this is what makes it so important and different from the other hip flexors in the body. As the Psoas muscle attaches to all the discs in your lower back if you have any inflammation of damage to this area the psoas will often go into spasm as a result.


What does the Psoas major do?

The function of Psoas major is primarily as hip flexor and therefore it allows you to lift your leg upwards to the body. However due to the spiral nature of the psoas muscle there are several different movements that it has been associated with these include, stabilising the lower back and hip, controlling the curve or lordosis of your spine, enabling you to bring your leg up towards your hip.
Psoas is often considered a stabiliser of the lower back helping to balance your body weight evenly in movements for both bending forward and to the side. It also works to support the lumber spine in allowing you to stand. Furthermore it also stabilised the femoral head so the ball in the ball and socket part of the hip. some speculate that it controls the lordosis or curve in your lower back. The psoas muscles will be working when you do a sit up action regardless if your knees are straight or bent.

Examples of movements assisted by Psoas Major:

As the psoas is a major stabiliser it is often difficult to use it in pure isolation and so it will also be working on many other movements as well as just to maintain your posture whether you are sitting or standing.

• Sit ups
• Walking
• Running
• Cycling
• Knee lift drills
• Movements of the lumbar spine (lower back)

Symptoms of Psoas Muscle:

So what happens when there is a problem with your Psoas muscle for example tightness or overstrain: The vast attachments of Psoas means that it is often overused as it is able to compensate and help out many other different muscles. Therefore it is very prone to go into protective spasm itself.

• Pain in front of the hip/ top of your thigh
• Pain the may radiate into your groin or feel deep in your stomach
• A pulling sensation when you bring your leg up to your body
• Clicking/catching of the hip
• Pain in your lower back
• Shorten stride pattern


Psoas Stretch



You want to focus on the stretch and make sure you get them as deep as possible so that you feel the stretch through the front of your hip. We want to work on stretching and strengthening your hip flexors. I would do 25 lunges on each side before switching to the other side.




Hip bridges


You can do this bodyweight exercise to strengthen your glutes and hamstring, it will help to stabiles your pelvis. If you do them with one leg if you want this will make them stronger or just stick to lifting your whole pelvis up. You want to aim to start with reps of 10 and go up in 5 as you progress. I would do 3 sets in total. You can add weight later on if you would like to.

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