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Today I would like to talk about the psoas (pronounced so-az) muscle. The psoas is one of the longest muscles in the body and it is the only muscle that connects the upper body and the lower body.
The psoas, also known as the hip flexors, also control your balance and your ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk, and stretch. That is a lot of responsibility for a muscle that you probably have never heard of before.
But that’s not all. The hip flexors are also connected to your emotional well-being.
I would like to share some information about the hip flexors with you today so you can understand their importance in your daily life and why you should stop ignoring them and start exercising them regularly. I won’t talk about the exercises today, since I there is a much more knowledgeable person who has put together a program to unlock your hip flexors. I reviewed that program here, and highly recommend it!
So today, just some information about the psoas muscles and their many important functions in the body.
Let’s get started!
The Human Body
Here’s the thing: we don’t spend enough time thinking about our hip flexors. We might notice that they get tight if we sit a lot, but then we get up and walk around and they feel a little better, and we forget about them. Well, that’s not good enough. We need to give them the attention they deserve.
You see, if we disregard all the traits like height, weight, and skin color, we are all left with the human body, and everyone’s body, without the aforementioned traits, looks and functions the same. Sure, those functions are complex and trying to understand the myriad of functions the body does in nearly incomprehensible, but when we dig deeper, and break the functions down a little, they become easier to understand.
For example, we know when the biceps muscle contracts, the arm is flexed. Simple enough, but there is quite a bit more going on as the antagonist muscle, the tricep is extended. So we need to contract the triceps muscle to get the arm to extend. And there are other muscles involved such as synergist and fixator muscles. So it is a little more complex than we initially thought.
And also, how do we send energy to the muscles to get them to contract?
So something as simple as a bicep curl has a lot going on behind the scenes.
And some parts of the body impact the overall human body more than others. As important as our arms are, our shoulders are more complex and more important, as they move the arms around. But it could be said that the hips are the most important part of the human body.
Think about it. If you break an arm or a leg, you can still get up and move around. It won’t be easy, but you could do it. If you break one of the three bones in the hip area or tear a hip flexor, it would be impossible to move. The hips contain all the body’s movement, and ultimately it’s power.
Hip Flexor Anatomy
There are three bones in the human body that have fused together to form the hipbone. The hip joint is the joint between the femur and the hipbone and this joint has the primary function of supporting the weight of the body while we are standing, walking, or running. The hip joints are the single most important part for us retaining our balance. The pelvic inclination angle, which controls our posture, is mostly adjusted at the hips.
Also in this area of the hips, are 15 muscles that play an important role in the functioning of the hips and surrounding bones.
Remember that muscles are attached to bones and are used to move the bones, which in turn allow us to move and function in the ways we want to move and function. Simple, yet complex.
The 15 muscles in this are can be divided into four groups: the gluteal group, the lateral rotator group, the abductor/adductor group, and the iliopsoas group.
Very simply, the gluteal group controls hip extension, the lateral rotator group controls lateral and medial rotation of the hips, and the abductor/adductor group controls the outward and inward movement of the femur. The iliopsoas group does the opposite of the gluteal group and is responsible for hip flexion.
All four groups are responsible for certain movements in the hip area, but one group, the iliopsoas group, has a few more responsibilities that cannot be ignored.
Let’s take a closer look.
The Psoas Muscle
The psoas originates to the side and toward the front of the 12th thoracic vertebrae and each of the lumbar vertebrae. It moves through the pelvis without attaching to the bone and inserts (or connects) with a tendon to the top of the femur.
You can see from the picture how many origins it has on the spine, allowing it to stabilize the spine.
The psoas muscle is located deep in your hip and is responsible for flexing the hip and bending the trunk. Think about how often you bend your trunk and flex your hip compared to how often you think about the psoas (or hip flexor) muscle.
This muscle also stabilizes the spine and assists in rotating the femur outward and adducting the femur (moving towards the mid line of the body). The anatomy of the psoas makes it a critical component in postural alignment, movement, and well-being.
Also, since the psoas connects the spine to the legs, what you do with your legs will affect your spine without you even realizing that it is happening. THe psoas is the only muscle in the human body that connects the upper and the lower body together and its importance extends to the nerve complex and the energy systems that run throughout your body.
The psoas also provides diagonal support in the trunk which creates a shelf for the organs in the abdominal region, allowing the blood vessels, nerves, and organs to function safely while we move. A healthy functioning psoas provides the most important connection between the upper and lower body.
Think of tent tie-downs. That is what the psoas muscle is. If all is well, the tent stays in place and functions properly. If just one of the tie-downs is loose or comes undone, then there is trouble. The same can be said for the psoas. As long as it is functioning properly, all is well. But once the original structure of the psoas is compromised, there is trouble.
Seems unfair that this muscle does all this work, and we don’t even give it a thought.
But there is more.
The Sympathetic Nervous System
Without getting into too much detail, there is a direct connection between the psoas muscle and your sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When the two are functioning together appropriately, you are able to call on them in times of danger for survival. They will work together to elicit the proper fight or flight response when danger is presented to us.
These two systems will cause us to go into the fetal position if need be. Or we will kick out at something, or run away. When the psoas is functioning correctly, it will help us stay safe during a panic situation.
When the function of the psoas muscle is compromised, our ability to react appropriately in a panic situation may be delayed. Any delay could have negative consequences.
Just one more reason to look after the psoas muscle.
Sitting and the Psoas
The tightness we feel comes from the backward tilt of the hips and exercising the core and legs at the end of the day isn’t going to help since sitting for extended period of time shortens the muscles and the exercises we usually choose (crunches, sit-ups, and exercise that flex the hips) do not work at extending the muscles. It only makes the problem worse, or causes other muscles to be over-worked to compensate for the shortened hip flexors.
We still need to go to work and we still need to sit, but we should be aware of changing our sitting position once in a while, or standing up and working once in a while.
Other Psoas Functions
The psoas is involved in so many more factors of your daily life, that it would take a book to explain it all.
Suffice it to say that there is a direct connection between your hip flexors and your sex life, your hip flexors and you ability to increase your power and performance in any sport, your hip flexors and fat storage, your hip flexors and your posture (and hence if you look fat), your hip flexors and your emotions, your hip flexors and your energy level, and so much more!
I have read the manual that comes with the Unlock You Hip Flexor program, and it is, literally, life changing. The information contained in this book, which I have just previewed here today, will allow you to have a different life than you have now.
If that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. Unlocking your hip flexors will change your life!
So there you have it.
The hip flexors are probably the most overlooked muscle in the body. We rarely think about them, unless they are tightened up from sitting for a long time. Let’s be better at looking after this vital muscle in the future, so we can live a long, pain-free life.
Please remember that my suggestions are just that – my suggestions. I am not a doctor and you should always follow your doctor’s advice about anything to do with your well-being.
That being said, I have used this Unlock You Hip Flexor program, and it has made a world of difference.
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!