**This informative article is written by Matthew Gibble (Colorado Registered Massage Therapist), Feedback Sports Road Racing team member, and owner of Raining Faith Massage who we are very happy to have as a new team sponsor in 2010. Yes, that is Matthew showing example stretches towards the bottom of the article.**
It’s that time of the year when many cyclists are getting increased time on the bike in preparation for races which are just a few months away. If you’ve taken a break or are significantly increasing the length of your rides the body requires a little time to adjust to that flexed trunk and hip position we maintain while riding. Quite often a rider will feel the urge to get up out of the saddle and try to stretch the low back to gain some comfort. You know the stretch, it’s the one where you’re pulling your abdomen toward the bars and stem.
The muscle that is affected is actually two muscles, the Iliacus and the Psoas. Sometimes they are lumped together and called Iliopsoas. Few people know about them until they have the kind of pain where they can’t quite stand up straight or have a “kink” in their back.
The Psoas is located on the front of the spine, specifically the lumbar vertebrae L1-L5. The Iliacus fills an area called the iliac fossa which lies in the pelvis. The two muscles converge to attach to the femur which makes them primarily hip flexors. They also perform some other minute movements of the hip as well as maintaining that curve in our low back called the lordotic curve; essentially pulling the spine toward the front of the body.