Figure Four Piriformis Stretch

11 Jul Figure Four Piriformis Stretch

Extensibility of the soft tissue surrounding the hips allows for this joint to move through a large range of motion. The hip is a classified as a ball and socket joint allowing for this joint to perform operate in the frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes of motion.

Limitation to the extensibility of the soft tissues surrounding the hips can limit the ranges of motion the hip is capable to move through in the aforementioned movement planes. These limitations lead to movement dysfunctions, poor patterning, limitations in power outputs, and a higher potential of injury to the lower back.

Why It’s Important: Soft tissue extensibility provides the hip joint to move through its’ intended ranges of motion. This allows for optimal firing patterns within the kinetic chain, the generation of rotary power, and the ability of the kinetic chain to maintain the postural positions required of human movement.

The piriformis is a “pear shaped” muscle on the posterior side of the hip located in the gluteal region. The functioning of the piriformis is as a lateral rotator of the hip, stabilizers of the hip joint, and the opposing muscle to medial rotation.

Improves Your: Creating extensibility within the piriformis provides for optimal functioning of this muscle as it relates to the functional movement patterns of the hip.

Target Area: Piriformis

The Common Problem: Limitations in extensibility within the piriformis limits optimal functioning within the hip joint. In addition, the overuse of stabilizers and synergists within the hip can occur due to limitations in the functioning of the piriformis. Over time, soft tissue related injuries can occur due to this poor patterning within the hip.

The Solution: A comprehensive strength and conditioning program will utilize a series of soft tissue extensibility exercises in the form of self myofascial release, static stretching, joint range of motion, and dynamic warm ups to improve and maintain mobility within the kinetic chain.

Figure Four Piriformis Stretch

Set Up:

  • Lay on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor



  • Slowly place the outside of your right ankle on the thigh of the left leg
  • Grasp the right ankle with your left hand and place the right hand on the inside of the right knee
  • Elevate the left leg to a position where the lower leg is parallel to the floor and the knee is bent at 90 degrees
  • If an additional stretch is required, simultaneously pull with the left hand and press with the right hand until a stretch is felt
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success.  He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renown Titleist Performance Institute.