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The Iliacus muscle

(M. iliacus)


The Iliacus muscle is a skeletal muscle and belongs to the inner hip muscles. It originates in the Fossa iliaca and goes to the femur and is based on the Trochanter minor here. Because of its route, it fulfills following functions in the hip: bending, drawing up, and outside rotating of thigh. Furthermore, a pelvis tilting can be caused by tensioning it.

When the muscle is contracting too much, a hyperlordosis can be caused, a so-called hollow back. This bad posture is a protrusion of abdominal part resulting in a shifting of thorax behind the body axis.This is the only way to keep upright posture.

The Iliacus muscle combines with the Psoas major muscle to become the Iliopsoas, which is based in a common point on the femur. The Iliopsoas is one of the most important muscles for pelvis stabilization. It is a typical muscle for runners and plays an important role for gymnastics as well. It makes lifting forwards the leg - walking and running - possible and accomplishes sit-ups in lying position and bending forward the trunk in standing position.

Hip flexors are antagonists of the Glutaeus maximus/medius and the hamstring, the whole chain of extensor muscles.



M. iliacus

(The Iliacus muscle)



Fossa iliaca


Trochanter minor



Flexion, adduction, and outside rotation of the femur in the hip, pelvis tilting = lordosis of the lumbar column




Exercise examples



Lowering the leg



Course of motion:

  • Lay down in back position on a gymnastics mat for this exercise
  • Place both hands under the lower back for supporting lumbar column
  • Bring closed/stretched legs into a vertical position (soles of foot show towards the ceiling)
  • Draw up toes towards the body
  • Then lower slowly stretched legs downwards
  • Tense actively abdominals and back muscles
  • Push lower back into the mat (avoid making a hollow back)
  • Just before heels touch the floor, you start counter motion upwards


  • Inhale while lowering the legs
  • Exhale while lifting

Advices of proof:

  • Angle between torso and legs is not smaller than 90°
  • Mind a slow course of motion
  • Motion comes from abdominal and hip flexor muscles
  • Push lower back on the mat and keep tension during the whole exercise
  • Place head down to reduce tension in neck muscles


  • Bring legs forwards/downwards from the bent position
  • Lower and lift legs alternately
  • Increase in intensity by using ankle weights
  • Place hands on the sides of the body (demands more effort in abs and back)



Hip flexion on the cable pull (standing position)

Course of motion:

  • Wear an ankle weight for this exercise
  • Stand with back towards the low cable pull
  • Attach the worn ankle weight on the cable pull
  • Stand stable
  • Hold with one hand on a support for stabilization or place both hands in hips
  • Knees are slightly bent
  • Tense trunk muscles and draw up toes towards the body
  • Move the leg straight forward in slightly bent position
  • Return slowly the leg to vertical position at a hip angle of 45-60°


  • Inhale while bending the hip
  • Exhale while stretching the hip

Advices of proof:

  • Avoid taking a swing
  • Mind a slow course of motion
  • Adjust weight to training level
  • Keep tension in the torso


  • Hip flexion on the hip pendular
  • Hip flexion on the cable pull in lying position
  • Hip flexion with the Thera-Band


Lateral bending (standing position)

 Seitliche Beuge


Course of motion:

  • Stand on the side of the low cable
  • The hand, which is closer to the multi-gym, holds the handle
  • Cable should be tensed in upright position and produce resistance
  • Bend torso far away from the multi-gym
  • Keep arms stretched on the body during bending motion
  • Range of motion is finished once the free hand is on height of the knee
  • Keep tension in muscles during the whole exercise


  • Exhale while lateral bending of the torso
  • Inhale while straightening up the torso

Advices of proof:

  • Control range of motion (not too short or too long)
  • Avoid jerky or quick course of motion
  • Bend vertebral column only to the side, not forward or backward
  • Avoid taking a swing
  • Adjust weight to training level


  • With barbell bar placed on the neck
  • With dumbbell in neutral grip (hand without dumbbell is in the air or on the waist)
  • With Kettlebell in standing position
  • In lying position (with or without fixation of legs)


Hip flexors and the iliacus muscle play an important role for daily motions. While exercising, please mind that there isn't any dysbalance produced between hip flexor and hip extension muscles. Both muscles keep the body in balance and support an upright posture.
Use the following training equipment for strengthening the M. iliacus:




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