The muscle psoas major and minor

(M. psoas major/ minor)


The M. psoas major and its little brother, the M. psoas minor, are muscles of inner hip muscles and belong to skeletal muscles of lower extremity.
The M. psoas major is divided in two parts, a superficial and a deep one. Together with the M. iliacus, it becomes the M. iliopsoas functionally seen.
The major quadratus lumborum muscle is a multi-joint muscle, because it crosses the sacroiliac joint and joints of lumbus region.
The M. Iliopsoas is the most important muscle for lifting forwards the leg. It makes walking possible, serves bending the trunk forwards, and sit-ups in lying position. Being flexors, they belong to antagonists of Mm glutaei and hamstrings.
The M. psoas minor can only be found among about 50% of human beings and has no important function as single muscle. The muscle radiates with its long tendon into the fascia of the M. psoas major and operates as fascia tensioner.
Flexors can cause back pains in the zone of the lumbar column as far as these are caused by muscles. Sitting a lot, remaining in one position, repeating activities, and missing counter-motions cause a bad strain of the spinal column. The M. iliopsoas is shortened and the pelvis tilts forwards. The tipped over pelvis is compensated by a reinforced hollow back, an increased chest kyphosis (roundback), and an overstretching of neck muscles. This results in bad strains. Back pains caused hereby are good to treat.



M. psoas major



Superficial layer: from 12th thoracic vertebrae to 1st - 4th lumbar vertebrae incl. spinal discs belonging to it

Deep layer: processus costales of 1st to 5th lumbar vertebrae

Base: Trochantor minor of femur

Hip joint: flexion and outside rotation
Spinal column: lateral bending (for unilateral tensioning), bending (reinforcing of lumbar column lordosis) for bilateral tensioning




M. psoas minor


12th thoracic vertebrae and 1st lumbar vertebrae

Base: Arcus iliopectineus and Eminentia iliopubica

Minimal effect while bending the trunk; supports work of the M. iliopsoas






Exercise examples



Hip bending on cable pull (standing position)

Course of motion:

  • Wear a foot weight for this exercise
  • Stand with the back against the cable pull
  • Attach the put-on foot weight to the cable pull
  • Stand stable
  • Hold with one hand on a support for stabilization or place both hands on the hips
  • Knees are slightly bent
  • Tense trunk muscles and pull toes towards the body
  • Move the leg straight foward in slightly bent position
  • Slowly return the leg to vertical position at a hip angle of 45 to 60°


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

Advices fo proof:

  • Avoid taking a swing
  • Mind a slow course of motion
  • Adapt weight to training level
  • Keep tension in upper body


  • Hip bending on abductor/adductor trainer
  • Hip bending in lying position on cable pull
  • Hip bending with Thera-Band


Lateral bending (standing position)

 Seitliche Beuge


Course of motion:

  • Stand beside the lower cable pull
  • The hand, which is closer to the multi-gym, holds the handle
  • The cable should be under tension and produce a resistance for upright position
  • Bend the torso away from the multi-gym
  • Hold arms stretched on the body while bending
  • Range of motion is finished once the free hand is on height of the knees
  • Keep tension of muscles during the whole exercise


  • Exhale while bending laterally the torso
  • Inhale while straightening up the torso

Advices of proof:

  • Control course of motion (not too short or too long)
  • Avoid quick or jerky courses of motion
  • Bend spinal column solely to the sides, do not move forwards or backwards
  • Avoid taking a swing
  • Adapt weight to training level


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


Flexors play an important role for daily activities. While exercising, it should be made sure htat there is no imbalance between hip flexor and hip extensor muscles. Both muscle zones keep the body in balance and support an upright posture.
Use the following equipment to strengthen the M. psoas:




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