Psoas function is a topic of considerable relevance in sports and clinical science. However, the literature on psoas function is not sufficiently consistent. Questions are, amongst others, if during hip flexion the psoas always has the same function as the iliacus, and if the psoas affects the hip more than the lumbar spine. In the present study, 17 healthy women, 20-40 years, performed the active straight leg raise (ASLR), with the right or the left leg ("Side"), and without or with weight added above the ankle ("Condition"). Electromyographic (EMG) activity of psoas and iliacus were recorded with fine-wire electrodes, and of rectus femoris and adductor longus with surface electrodes, all on the right side. Movements of the leg were recorded with active markers and a camera system. During ASLR, the iliacus, rectus femoris, adductor longus and psoas were active ipsilaterally, but psoas was also active contralaterally. All muscles started to contract before movement onset, the iliacus, rectus femoris, and adductor longus largely at the same time, before the psoas. There was no significant difference between the amplitude or time of onset of ipsilateral and contralateral psoas EMG activity, nor was there a significant interaction between Side and Condition for the psoas. Although ipsilateral psoas activity is consistent with the psoas being a hip flexor, contralateral activity is not. The most simplest explanation of the pattern found is that the psoas is bilaterally recruited to stabilize the lumbar spine, probably in the frontal plane. © 2010 The Author(s).