Hip Stretches and Piriformis Stretches
Stretching Exercises and Flexibility Exercises

Here are some hip stretches and piriformis stretches. The piriformis is a small muscle in the back of the hip that is underneath the buttocks (gluteus maximus).

The sciatic nerve runs right underneath the piriformis muscle. When the piriformis is tight, it may slightly compress the sciatic nerve. And when the piriformis is tight it will limit the mobility of the hip.

Many lower back exercise programs include stretching exercises for the piriformis. The hip has a close relationship to the lower back. When the hip is stiff, more pressure is placed on the lower back.

Here are a few flexibility exercises for the piriformis muscle.

Figure 4 Cross Leg Stretch

Starting Position: Lie on your back, and cross your right foot over your left knee.

Form: Use your left knee to push your right hip towards your chest. Use your hands to pull your right leg towards your chest.

Hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing and repeating on the other side.

Personal Trainer Tips: You should feel a stretch in the back of the hip that is crossed over your knee.

This is a great stretch for the piriformis and hips.

piriformis stretches

Knee to Opposite Shoulder Stretch

In addition to crossing one knee over to stretch the piriformis, you can also bring your knee up towards your opposite shoulder to stretch this hip muscle.

Starting Position: Lie on your back and bring your right knee up and pointing towards your left shoulder.

Form: Use your left hand to gently press your right knee down towards your left shoulder.

Personal Trainer Tips: Move in a slow and controlled manner. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then switch to the other side.

piriformis stretches

Modified Pigeon Pose Hip Stretch

The pigeon pose is a popular yoga pose that stretches the hips and piriformis. In the full pigeon pose the back leg goes straight back in a split position. Here's the modified stretch.

Starting Position: Sit with your right leg bent in front of you and your knee at 90 degrees. Allow your left leg to remain comfortable at your side.

Form: Slowly lean forward until you feel a good stretch in your right hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then release the stretch.

Personal Trainer Tips: You can do this stretch on a bench or standing.

piriformis stretches

Review of Hip and Piriformis Stretches

Above are just 3 piriformis stretches. The piriformis can be stretched in many different ways. To stretch the piriformis cross one leg over the other and then move your thigh towards your chest.

It is important to do hip stretches and flexibility exercises for the piriformis muscle.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT

Return to Stretching Exercises from Piriformis Stretches

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