- Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 05:17
- Written by Judd Handler
- Hits: 3183
Of the 600+ skeletal muscles in the human body, which one is the most important to stretch?
If I had to choose, I’d stretch the iliopsoas, which is actually comprised of two muscles: the psoas major and ilacus. These two muscles, collectively known as the iliopsoas are very deep abdominal hip flexors.
Fail to stretch the iliopsoas (“so-as” for brevity’s sake) and you’ll end up stooped over. Overly tight psoas puts tension on the lumbar spine, placing severe stress on the lower back.
The usual culprit, sedentary lifestyle, is responsible for a tight psoas. Yes, a tight psoas will make you have a sore ass: the buttocks and psoas work in conjunction when doing leg or hip twists or kicking across your body.
Your psoas is a deep hip flexor, so, say you enjoy aerobics and do a class loaded with knee lifts, that action is hip flexion. You’ll want to make sure you stretch the psoas, which does the opposite effect: hip extension.
An easy psoas stretch: place one knee on the ground (use a pillow or cushion for support) and bring the other leg’s knee directly over the ankle. Lean forward ever so slightly. If you feel an intense stretch, stop here, otherwise, you can reach both arms towards the sky and tilt slightly back for a deeper stretch. Breathe deeply five times. Then switch sides. Repeat two or three times on each side.
A big part to leading a long, pain-free life is keeping your spine strong and flexible. The psoas attaches to the last thoracic vertebra as well as the five lumbar vertebrae. The psoas muscle(s) should be considered a vital core muscle.
Of course it be wise to stretch more than one muscle but considering how deep the psoas lies in the abdominal cavity, and how it effects posture and gait, if there’s was only one muscle you had time to stretch, make it the psoas, so you don’t feel like you got a so’ ass!