Tutorial #4060


5 min - Tutorial


Learn how the psoas helps you flex at your hip with this quick tutorial by Lesley Powell. She demonstrates how you can get deep into the psoas to help keep the hips level, especially in common movements like walking. She also explains why we tend to compensate rather than use the psoas when it's needed.
What You'll Need: Bolster

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
May 01, 2020
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

Uh, in this tutorial we're going to talk about the psoas, the iliopsoas. Uh, if you go to [inaudible], any time I did a workshop, we talked more about the SOA as being a core muscle and in we did also a embodied, uh, reformer class using the, so as in today we're going to talk more about how the SOS helps flex at the hip. And it is an important muscle in walking in gait and how to get a little bit more specific because a lot of people are hiking their hips up and unleveling the pelvis and not getting into that. So S so the iliacus at edit attaches to the lesser trow canter and it goes across the pubis and comes and shapes back into the ilium. The, so as major, again attaches to the lesser trow Cantor, it comes across and then it, the fibers interdigitate, right? Kind of where that yellow is. I mean, that's really the nurse, but it's kind of more in front.

And then the psoas miner is coming here and sometimes going up there. It was very interesting just lately I went to a anatomy dissection and it was amazing to see how that's, so as really goes over here, it's much, you know, I just kinda thought it was like a little thing, but it's very important to think about. So we're going to have a Noel do a simple exercise and this is from my teacher Irene Dow, and she's gonna come, uh, kneeling on this, um, a bolster and then she's going to come down to her forearms. Now I'm trying to bring in how the psoas is going to be working in gait. It could even be single leg stretch, it could be double leg stretch, but a lot of times people are not using the psoas and they're doing compensation. So I still want her to Archer back a little bit more. There we go.

And it's very subtle. You probably not going to see a lot of movement. We'll show you bad version, but she's going to try to bring one knee forward on the bolster and then release it and then do the other leg. And it's kind of waking up the psoas. How we do engage and lifting our leg up and she's doing a great job. We're going to show you a bad version. Do this side.

So a lot of times people are pulling their hip flexor to get the psoas working or they're changing. Go ahead. They're changing up through here and Ooh, that's what we're gonna. We're trying to make it very specific. So if Nicole Noel comes up to standing in front and remember the lesser toe Cantor is inside here and that iliac is going up through there and then the same attachment is coming up there. I want her to stay lift one leg up and let's see if what's going to happen with her. She's doing good. Let's get up on this leg. And now she's kind of getting more through here.

So what's happening is once she standing, she's elevating that side come a little forward for me. So I'm putting my hands on her to keep her hips level. Before we go to begin, we're going to give that feeling of moving the out's outer, laying into the her bone. And then she's going to be safe from on that left leg and she's going to float that knee forward. That's a better, that's better. So what you should be able to see that this hole I called the pelvic triangle, this hipbone is this should be very squared.

If it's a level. Do you see how that triangle changes? So that's what I want you to think about looking into your practice, whether it's eggs can be single leg stretch or um, does your pelvis on level. In the reformer class, we're going to do a variation of kneeling a dominoes and try to bring that so as action in, and then also bring that so as action in to eventually elephant. So the next tutorial we're going to have is about bringing in about the coordination of these muscle groups for standing, which is the difference between this. A lot of the is exercise. We will call open chain. So politely, a single leg stretch is open chain, double leg stretches, open chain. Where her standing here is close chain on standing and she had to lifted her leg up from her SOA. So it has a little different quality of feeling.

Related Content

Embodied Anatomy: Lower Body

This Video
Psoas, Anatomy, Gait, Alignment

May 01, 2020
Thumbnail image
Lesley Powell
5 min
Balanced Body
Watch Next
Anatomy, Alignment, Gait, Plumbline

May 08, 2020
Thumbnail image
Open and Closed Chain
Lesley Powell
20 min
Balanced Body
Legs, Alignment, Bone Rhythms, Strategies

May 15, 2020
Thumbnail image
Leg Alignment
Lesley Powell
15 min
Balanced Body


Easy to understand Lesley,  and very helpful. Im learning a lot from your anatomy videos, many thanks.  
Love this! Thank you for the focus on the pelvis and psoas, looking forward to the upcoming videos. 
Pam W
1 person likes this.
So clearly taught. I love the demonstrations of "bad version you include in your tutorials. We then know what to watch for AND what to watch out for!
Cheng Z
1 person likes this.
Thank you so, so much.  I think many of us have heard so often that a truly neutral spine and pelvis is the gateway to freedom of movement and supported range, but the search for it is much more complex than just the simple principle.  So grateful for the generosity of true experts on this site.  There can never be too many perspectives shared or too much discussion on this topic imo.  
Thank you for the lecture. Do I understand correctly that you are talking about the psoas major minor and iliacus and their role in the gait? Are you referring to the rectus femoris and the pectineus when you mention  hip flexors that substitute the actions of the psoas? Or are you also referring to the sartorius in that hip flexor role?
 You are mentioning that if one hip is hiked up compensation happens. If one femur is longer than the other that is inevitable. Where can I lean more about these patterns of compensation? 
In the exercise that you are showing the model is up on a bolster that puts her in increased hip flexion and being on a  increases that further.in this position the teacher can see the spine position very well and the alignment of the legs and hips. The movement was hard for me to see but I thought that you were looking for even more hip flexion moving the knees one at a time towards the arms? 

Copycat You have to look at the movement choices a client does with poor gait patterns. Every pattern invites a different phrasing.  how is the client using their stance leg for the swing leg?  When there is weakness in the gluts, how does the client propel forward?  Hip hike? Waddling? Circumduction of swing leg?  Gait is coordination.  I look at what I think is overworking and then try to build the lesson plan increasing the places of lack of strength.  When there is great dynamic change of alignment in gait,  you are going to invite better phrasing of all the muscles of the body.

Hip hike could be a lack of strength of the standing leg or a poor pattern of of lifting the leg.  As for understanding leg length difference, it is very hard.  There are so many factors of design: head of femur head, shape of the pelvis, scoliosis, length of shaft of femur, tibia, foot bones, leg alignment,etc.  The best way to know is an X-ray which I don't have the skills to read as a movement teacher.

The exercise on the bolster is to wake up the psoas.  It is a very tiny movement with your spine in neutral.  If the pelvis is moving, the client is using other muscles to initiate the movement.  
Leslie thank you for your prompt response and apologies for delay in mine I was out of commission. I was trained to evaluate the elements of the gait ( hip hike, hip drop etc) rather than the overall gait. thank you for your suggestion I will look at the overall as well. I was told by an online group client that she had her femur broken and when set by the doctors one is longer. I did suggest measuring in x Ray. She is still young and in the group mat we class we do much that does not involve kneeling or standing so the length difference is not too disturbing. In a private lesson I might elevate the shorter femur. What do you think of that? I understand that the two femur bones may sit differently in the sockets so that may have to be addressed first.
As for the exercise kneeling on the bolster : so I watch the spine and the pelvic stability while the client moves her thigh forward . How many reps? Then check how she lifts one leg standing up watching spine pos and pelvic stability/ hike.
How do I instruct the kneeling exercise?
1-10 of 12

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin