The figure 4 is an excellent stretch for the buttocks and specifically the piriformis. It is also, one of the first stretches I remember being taught.
The exercise called the ‘figure 4’, was first introduced to me in high school track and field practice, freshman year. A varsity team leader called out the stretch.
In a seated position, she crossed her ankle across the opposite bent knee. We sat in a circle and counted for 30 seconds each side.
I go back to the memory every time I show “figure 4 “ to a client.
Benefits of stretching piriformis muscle:
-relieves hip and low back tension
-improves hip mobility
-helps prevent injury
-speeds up the recovery process
TIPS: *Do this after a brief warm up (ex. walking, hip circles)
*Keep your navel in toward the spine.
*Breathe deeply through the nose.
*Stay for 5 breaths each side (inhale/exhale=1)
The figure 4 stretch can be achieved in various positions.
Back on the floor
Seated on the floor
Seated in a chair
I show different versions of the same stretch because there may be a situation where each version is handy. I have also noticed, some variations are easier to get into depending on the individual.
See a recent video I did using 4 figure 4 variations:
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Thank you for reading this blog! Please share your experience with the figure 4 stretch in the comments section below.