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Stretch of the Week: Reclined Pigeon

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The final week of July’s stretch is called Reclined Pigeon. This will stretch the outer hip, piriformis, gluteal, and low back musculature. You will get a bonus stretch through the front hip flexors as well!

Do not perform this stretch if you have knee injuries or sacroiliac issues. Please discontinue this stretch if you experience any tingling, numbness, or sharp pain in your hips, legs, or low back. Please consult your physician before performing the stretch if you have had any surgeries on your knees, hips or low back. If you have difficulty getting up and down from the floor please skip this stretch.

How to perform:

  1. Lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your right knee, placing your right foot on the floor as shown in photo 1.
  1. Bring your right knee toward your chest. Your left leg remains straight and both of your feet are flexed, as shown in photo 2.
  1. Take your left hand to your right ankle and begin to draw your foot across your chest, as shown in photo 3. Keep both of your feet flexed. Bring your belly button to your spine. Keep your left leg straight throughout the stretch. It should be as if you could touch the back of the left thigh to the floor. Relax your jaw, neck and shoulders. You can stay in this position if you’re already feeling a great stretch, or you can proceed to step 4.
  1. Attempt to get your shin parallel with your chest. Take your right hand behind your right knee to help bring your leg closer to your chest as shown in photo 4.

*Tip: If it is difficult to get your leg in this position because of a very tight hip, then bend your left leg so that your foot is on the floor as shown in the modified photo. This will make it more accessible.

  1. Stay in the reclined pigeon stretch for up to one minute. Then place your right foot back on the floor. Straighten both of your legs out to the floor before repeating on the other side.

stretch of the week reclined pigeonstretch of the week reclined pigeonInterested in learning more? 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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