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Stretch of the Week: Seated Piriformis Stretch

by Athletico2 Comments

Happy summer! It’s the third week of June and we are continuing our theme of chair stretches.

I hope you have been allowing yourself some time each day to take a break from sitting and stretch!

This week we will learn a seated piriformis stretch. This will target not only the piriformis, but also the gluteal and outer hip muscles, which can become tight when we sit for long periods of time. You will need a chair for this stretch, preferably one without wheels. If your chair has wheels, make sure they are locked in place.

If you have a history of hip pain, hip replacement or other hip, low back or sacral injuries, this may not be the right exercise for you and you may want to refrain from this week’s stretch. As with beginning any exercise program, it is recommended to consult with your physician, physical or occupational therapist to determine which exercises are best for you.

Starting Position:

  1. Sit at the edge of the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your right ankle on your left thigh close to the knee. Flex the right foot (bringing your toes towards your shin).  Sit up tall and straight with both sits bones on the seat.

seated piriformis chair stretch of the week

Performing the Seated Piriformis Stretch:

  1. Place your left hand on your right heel and your right hand on your right thigh area near the knee. Next, draw the outside of your right knee towards the outside of your right hip. This will cause the thigh to rotate outward which will help facilitate more of a stretch through the back and outside of the hip. You can gently add pressure from your right hand to your right thigh, pressing towards the floor for a greater stretch. If you feel a strong stretch, stay in this position. See photo labeled 1. If you are not feeling a strong stretch, then move on to step 3.
  1. If you have more open and flexible hips, you can increase the intensity by leaning your chest towards your right shin. To do this, draw the belly button toward the spine, keeping the spine long and tall as you lean forward. Do not round your back. Head stays in line with the spine. As you are leaning forward, bend the elbows keeping the pressure through your hands. See photo labeled 2.
  1. Hold the stretch from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your comfort level. To come out of the stretch, inhale, straighten up to sitting, and place the right foot to the floor. Now perform the stretch on the other side.

Questions? Email me at

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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