Iliopsoas Complex – Functional Anatomy

The Iliopsoas Complex, or Deep Abdominals, are a set of muscle son the back wall of the abdomen. They primarily flex the hip but also help with later flexion of the trunk. There are many studies that vary in their explanation of how they work, especially when they are trigger point laden. They seem to adjust tension based on many factors, including

Each of these posts has its own post explaining origin, insertion, and function as well as anomalies.

The psoas major and iliacus muscles combine as they cross the pubic bone into the iliopsoas muscle.

The psoas minor often absent.

Lateral view of psoas major and psoas minor showing:

  • posterior section attaching to transverse processes of L1-L5
  • anterior section attaching to bodies of T12-L4
  • bend of iliopsoas over the pubic bone and femoral head when standing.

Effective relief starts with an understanding of the anatomy.

About the coloring of the illustrations…

This muscle is highly variable based on race, gender and even varies from side to side in the same person. You can learn more in this post on the anatomy of psoas minor.

Effective relief starts with an understanding of the anatomy.

About the coloring of the illustrations…

This muscle is seldom illustrated to show both sections, which attach on different vertebrae and wedge the iliohypogastric complex between them. Learn more in this post about psoas major.

Effective relief starts with an understanding of the anatomy.

About the coloring of the illustrations…

This is the simplest, most direct hip flexor. Learn more in this post about the iliacus muscle.


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.


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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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