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Iliopsoas Stretch

Diagram showing stretch of iliopsoasThe iliopsoas muscle plays an important role in hip flexion and as it attaches to the lumbar spine also plays a role Lumbar spine movement. If it is not working optimally we can see presentations such as hip and lower back pain, so here we provide you with a quick and easy stretch for the iliopsoas muscle.
The iliopsoas muscle is the strongest of the hip flexor muscles and is comprised of 2 muscles, the iliacus and the psoas major muscle. The psoas major muscle originates from the lumbar spine and the iliacus from the iliac fossa of the pelvis, so if there is any change to the function of these muscles we can see presentations such as pain and altered biomechanics in the legs, hips and lower back.

As we all spend probably too much time at the computers or even sitting in our cars these days there is a tendency for this group of muscles to shorten or contract which begins to place an increase stress on the hip joints, SI joints and even the joints of the lower back. Regular stretching is extremely important to maintain a correct length of the muscle and beneficial in regards to reducing risk of hip and lower back aches and pains.

  • To perform this stretch we start kneeling on the ground (its a good idea to have a yoga mat or perform on a soft surface)
  • Place one foot out in front with the knee at roughly 90 degrees
  • Ensure that your hips/pelvis stay aligned with your shoulders facing forward
  • The leg which we will be stretching will be the trailing leg pictured above, so slowly lean onto the front leg allowing the back leg to extend as pictured above.
  • You should feel a stretch at the front of the back leg up around the hip joint, hold this for 20-30 seconds keeping your breathing normal.
  • As the Psoas muscle attaches to the lumbar spine we can progress this stretch to focus more on the lower back by extending slowly through the lower back until you can feel an increase in the intensity of the stretch.
  • Perform on both legs a few times and hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.

If you experience any pain at all during this stretch discontinue immediately!


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