Two muscles that I speak about all the time are the Psoas and the Piriformis, both which function to keep your upper body and sacrum stable and upright on top of your legs. They also function to rotate your hips and when out of balance cause severe lower back, Sacro-Iliac and sciatic pain.
Your Psoas muscle is very strong and runs from your lumbar spine down through the front of your npelvis to attach to the top inside of your femur. It functions to rotate your hip and keep your lumbar curve strong, stable and flexible.
Tightness usually occurs on one side due to a repetitive imbalance in a daily movement pattern like sitting, driving, sweeping, golf swinging etc. but when tight it pulls strongly on the thigh bone to lift the leg in the hip socket causing the apparent shortening of the leg. This imbalance moves up through the spine to cause the shoulder on the opposite side to compensate.
A tight Psoas will also pull the lumbar spine to cause hyperextension of the vertebrae and impingement of nerves in that area particularly the very large sciatic nerve.
Serious long term Psoas tightness may also cause scoliosis.
To restore length and balance to a tight Psoas perform the following exercise on your AeroPilates machine
Sit sideways on the Reformer platform in a mermaid position. Inhale reach up and over towards the head end of the machine as you push away from the foot bar with your hand. Exhale and return to the front. Repeat this 10 times on each side
Mermaid with a twist
Sit sideways on the Reformer platform in a mermaid position. Inhale reach up and over towards the head end of the machine as you push away from the foot bar with your hand. Once your arm is fully extended twist your torso and place the other hand on the foot bar, perform 3 little push outs and return to the front. Repeat this 10 times on each side.
Kneel on your reformer with one foot on the floor and the other knee on the platform holding on to the foot bar with both hands
Inhale and push away with the bent leg feeling the stretch in the hip flexor, exhale and return. Repeat this 10 times on each leg
Eves lunge with a side bend
Inhale and push away with the bent leg feeling the stretch in the hip flexor, From here extend the outside arm to the side and reach up and over performing a side bend, exhale and return. Repeat this 10 times on each leg
Add a slight rotation
The Piriformis muscle is equally strong and runs from the tail bone out to the side to attach to the top of the femur. It’s job is to stabilize the sacrum and it shares with the Psoas to rotate the hip. When tight and inflamed it pulls the sacrum forward of the pelvis on that side affecting the lower back and in severe cases can create sacro-ileac pain and sciatica.
On your AeroPilates reformer, Piriformis stretch daily will keep your hips and lower back stable, flexible and pain free.
Sit on your AeroPilates platform as close to the foot bar as you can and place both feet on the bar. Straighten both legs and place the right ankle on the left knee. Inhale and as you exhale bend your left knee to feel the gentle stretch deep in your hip joint. Repeat 6 times increasing the stretch on each repetition and then change legs.