3 Exercises You Must Be Doing For A Deep Piriformis Stretch

Lower back pain is quite common and it can affect your performance at the gym or in daily life activities. While this may not be the primary suspect but still the constriction of the piriformis muscle leads to lower back pain.

piriformis stretch

What is Piriformis?

It’s actually a very small slim muscle, located just behind the gluteus maximus, connecting your spine to the top of the femur. Needless to say, as small it is, it’s also difficult to get because the largest muscle in your body is in front of it.

piriformis stretch

With the help of piriformis, you are able to move your hip, upper leg and foot outwards from the body. Also, this muscle covers the sciatic nerve which is the largest in your body, running from lower back and down towards the legs.

piriformis stretch

In some people, this sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle and it might get pinched in some way, causing pain. This condition is known as Sciatica. As a result of it, you’ll have a problem moving your hip and legs. And when more pressure is put on the sciatic nerve, it can cause numbness, tingling and even severe pain that can last from several minutes to hours. This pain usually runs from the lower back, towards the hip, buttocks, and legs. You’ll have difficulties sitting or changing position.

Exercises For a Deep Piriformis Stretch

Here are 3 very effective exercises that will give you a deep piriformis stretch and help you get rid of the pain.

1. Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch

This exercise helps to stretch the muscles that are required for rotating your hip outwards.

How to Perform?

  • To begin, lie on your back and bend your left knee.
  • Now, using the right hand, pull your knee towards the right side.
  • Make sure your back is on the ground throughout.
  • This way, you’ll be able to feel the stretch in hip and buttocks.
  • Maintain this position for 30 seconds at least and repeat 3-5 times. Switch sides and do the same.
  • Repeat this thrice in a day.

2. Standing Piriformis Stretch

With this exercise, we’ll be targeting the glutes. When you stretch, the weight will shift and pelvic balance is engaged. Also, because your glutes cover the piriformis muscle, this exercise is very effective.

How to perform?

  • Stand upright with your back against the wall. Now walk, approx. 24 inches and position your knees over the ankles and lower your hips at 45-degrees towards the floor.
  • Next, gradually lift the left foot off the ground and place the outside of the left ankle on the right knee.
  • Finally, lean forward and lower your chest towards the knees while keeping the back straight.
  • Stop at the point where you feel maximum stretch in your glutes.
  • Hold this position for a minute.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Do this exercise twice or thrice a day.

3. Supine Piriformis Stretch

We’ve divided this one into three types of stretches.

a) Lying Stretch

  • Firstly, lie on your back and place hands on the same side of one knee while the other hand on your raised heel.
  • Now, gradually raise your knee towards your shoulder and cross your calf across the body towards your opposite shoulder.
  • Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and release.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

b) Lying Stretch Without Crossover

Lie on your back and raise one knee and the same-side hand towards your shoulder of the same side.

  • Now, cross the calf across your body but this time keep your knee in line with your shoulder on the same side.
  • Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds and gradually release.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

c) Deeper Stretch

  • Once again lie on your back and bend both the knees and place one of your ankles over the opposite leg, just above the knee.
  • Now, begin by raising your bottom leg off the floor and towards your chest until you feel pull in your pelvis.
  • Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and gradually release towards the floor.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

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