What is the Deep Front Line?

The Deep Front Line (DFL) is a term used to describe the relationship of the myofascia between our front and back.  Tom Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, has explained that this “train” of muscles and tissue link our toes to our neck anchored by many bony points while passing over organs.

The deep tissue muscular fascia includes (Goldstein, 2020):

  • Tibialis Posterior
  • Popliteus
  • Posterior intermuscular septum
  • Adductors magnus, brevis, longus
  • Pectineus
  • Illiacus
  • Psoas
  • Posterior Diaphragm
  • Scaleni
  • Infra and Supra-Hyoids
The muscles of the DFL are slow-twitch muscle fibers.  Which means lots of red tissue, lots of mitochondria and lots of myoglobin.  In other words, lots of Oxygen.  It’s no wonder why this group of muscles strengthens our stability and helps to increase our endurance.
So like anything else, if you want to perform at the top of your game, then you must go deep within yourself.

What ailments come from issues of the DFL?

Being a major component of posture, there are certain issues that may arise when the DFL is weakened, injured, or compensated.  These include, but are not limited to (Goldstein, 2020):

  • anterior pelvic tilt
  • lumbar alignment
  • breathing restriction
  • temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • high and fallen arch patterns

When the DFL has an issue, most of your body will be influenced.  These influences are not always obvious at first.  By the time most of you are coming for treatment it is for low back pain, radiating hip pain, TMJ issues or neck pain.  By this time, there will be a group of myofascia involved. It is most probable that the first signs were too subtle to notice.

How does the DFL assist me?

The lines of the deep front line are shown in the image above to highlight how the movement occurs through the body.  In the side view of the line, Myers shows us that the myofascial tissues of the diaphragm, the pericardium and the pleura (tissue of the lungs) are incorporated.  It shows how contracted scalenes in the neck may pull on the tissue surrounding the ribs and lesson the pull of the diaphragm during inhalation.  Shortness of breath is a symptom of DFL compensation.

An issue may not arise from the top though. It may begin from the arch of your foot or your pelvis.  How many of you enjoy those tender psoas points when palpated, or find the illiacus such a treat?  Probably none of you.  With all of the side-to-side, leg here, leg ther, lay on your front, now your back movements going throughout the treatment, it may be a bit confusing as to what we are treating.

Well, that of course depends on a lot of variables, but to keep it simple, we are working our way through the planes of your body to find the culprit(s) of your ailment.  There is rarely just one little spot. Being that the tissues all work together, we need to help all of the affected group.

For example, the pink circles on the photo show where the psoas in located.  This important muscle
is worked on from the front of the body, but it’s attachment points are along the spine and the femur.  there are branches of nerves that pass through it making it very sensitive and it works closely with the quadratus lumborum (QL) in the back and the illiacus in the pelvis.


You know that Active Release you help us with when you lay on your side and the “drawing you bow” movement? That’s us working on the QL and if your body lets us in, we soon move to the illiacus.  These muscles are close friends of psoas and require to all be worked to acquire positive results.

As you can gather, the DFL influences the quality of movement you will achieve.  While I love to promote yoga for opening the body, pilates is a real winner here when you want to strengthen and balance the deep core.  Together the two exercise modalities can increase you stability and movement while expanding your breathing space.

If you’re like me and love your weights, that’s good too.  As a myofascial trains practitioner I suggest full-body workouts such as squats to strengthen the entire trains and notice where your weak links are.  For example, do your hips shift to one side during your squat?

Overall, whether you are experiencing issues in your jaw, your back, or your feet, an assessment into the DFL is probaby a good place to start.

 “Good Posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control.”

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