STRETCHING YOUR ILIOPSOAS: MAKING ABS REACT BETTER TO EXERCISE
This muscle group lies on both sides of the front of the hips and attaches along the lower vertebrae of the spine behind the stomach region.
Why does this function make it an important muscle group when you are training your abdominals? The primary function of the psoas major muscles is ﬂ exion of the thigh at the hip. The psoas can assist the extension of the lower spine thereby increasing the curve in the lower back. Thus, sit-ups cause back pain for many people with tight hip ﬂ exors.
During the sit-up motion, the psoas muscle is vigorously active during the last 60 degrees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The psoas also plays a signiﬁ cant role in maintaining our upright posture when we are standing. Also, the hip ﬂ exors assist in lifting our legs out to the side, away from our body, and strongly come into play during running, sprinting, and jogging. This group is made up of very strong muscles that inhibit your range of motion when you do any form of abdominal exercises, including the crunch or reverse crunch.
If these muscles are not stretched out properly, you will not beneﬁ t completely from your abdominal workout, and most likely, the effort will be fruitless because most of the muscles working will be your psoas muscles, rather than your abdominal wall. Having tight or less ﬂ exible hip ﬂ exors can set you up for future injuries to your back muscles and spine by further tightening up a muscle group that pulls the spine forward, causing deep irritation and a weaker midsection.
Why Does This Occur?
The key movement of the psoas is to maintain alignment of the body and the spine, keeping the body upright. When you are standing and sitting, this muscle group is constantly being used, until you lie ﬂ at on your back.
Not moving around enough causes the muscles to stiffen and become less supple with each growing day. Our modern lifestyle contributes to our stiff backs and weak abdominals due to the lack of proper use of these groups. We develop chronically tight hip ﬂ exors from our poor postural habits throughout the day.
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