3 Piriformis Stretches to Ease Your Outer Hip
Not many people think about their piriformis (or know what that is) until they need a Piriformis stretch. When your outer hip aches or is tight, this little guy is often the culprit. Ballerinas know all about it because they engage this muscle to keep their hips turned out for hours at a time. But for those of us who only use it for stabilization, it may surprise us when it needs our attention.
Long sitting days don't help hip tightness, either. We already know sitting for 8 hours a day is terrible for your skeletal-muscular system, but remembering to get up and move around (or having the luxury to do so) is not cut-and-dry.
We encourage you, however, to get movement breaks with a few quick stretches in, both for your lower and upper body. And since we're talking hips, here are three piriformis stretches that should bring some relief. Whether you use your lunch break or do the quick sitting stretch at your desk, self-care will go a long way to improving your hipster way of life.
This figure four stretch from the GB Stretch Courses is great for opening tight hips.
Figure Four Piriformis Stretch
Start laying on your back with knees bent (see video above). Lift one foot atop the opposite knee, then reach through and hold the back of your resting thigh, lifting the foot off the floor. You can deepen the stretch by drawing the lifted knee towards the floor. Oh yeah! Feel all the stress from morning mishaps melt away as you enjoy this stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides to balance out the stretch.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
This is the mildest piriformis stretch here, and you won’t have to wait for a break to do it. Start by sitting in your chair with your back straight and feet on the floor (see image above). Bring one foot to rest on the opposite knee. Increase the stretch by drawing the knee of the lifted foot down towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds before switching legs. This is the perfect stretch for long meetings or spans of time when you need to stay glued to the monitor.
Kneeling Piriformis Stretch (aka the Pigeon)
This one is NOT for beginners. If you're hips are tight, ease in and give yourself a few weeks before attempting this one.
Start in a lunge position with the front leg at a 90-degree angle, and the back leg and top of the back foot also in contact with the floor. Keep your chest upright and support your weight with your hands on the floor beside you. Hint: chairs or stretch blocks can also be used for some extra support.
Now drop your front knee down towards the floor. Be sure to keep your hips in line with one another. For most people, it is easy to lean over to the side and get the knee to the floor. However, this limits the great benefits of the stretch, so keep your hips level and forward as you open up. Try staying here for 30 seconds on each side.
Warning: You may experience improved balance, decreased pain, and compliments on your great posture with long-term use. 😉
Try adding one of these stretches to your lunch break to refresh you for the afternoon. Pairing them with a brisk walk outside will keep your hips unstoppable! Our hips take on a lot, so keeping them mobile and happy is a must-do! If you’re interested in showing your hips even more love, check out the GymnasticBodies Stretch Courses for follow-along videos and plenty of additional exercises for opening up the rest of your hard-working body.