How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch


Tight hips will be a actual ache within the behind, however the determine 4 stretch can enhance flexibility and mobility in your hips, glutes, and piriformis—a small muscle that may turn into infected when your hips are tight.

This hip stretch will be useful any time you’re feeling sore and tight. Ideally, the determine 4 stretch must be carried out after a dynamic warm-up or throughout a post-workout stretch, says Tom Biggart, a bodily therapist and strength coach within the higher Boston space.

Here’s how to carry out the determine 4 stretch — and the way to work it in your routine.

How to Do the Figure 4 Stretch

  • Lie in your again along with your toes flat on the ground.
  • Cross your proper ankle over your left knee and preserve your proper foot flexed.
  • Bring your left knee towards your chest. Reach your proper hand by your legs and interlace your fingers just under the crease of your left knee.
  • Using your arms, pull your left knee towards your chest, pausing once you really feel a stretch in your proper glute and hip.
  • Hold there for at the least 5 breaths (although you’ll be able to maintain the stretch for up to two minutes) then launch and repeat in your left facet.

Want to change the depth of the determine 4 stretch? One of the simplest methods is to change the angle at which you bend the knee on the leg you’re stretching. “More knee bend will increase the stretch, and less knee bend will decrease the stretch,” Biggart says. You may also interlace your fingers in entrance of your shin as an alternative of behind the knee for a deeper stretch.

How Does the Figure 4 Stretch Help?

Sure, it feels good, however what’s the determine 4 stretch truly doing for you?

The determine 4 stretch can assist preserve your hips and glutes healthy and cell. There are six totally different muscle groups which might be stretched when performing it, Biggart says — the piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, obturator externus, and quadratus femoris. This group of muscle groups helps to rotate the thigh outward on the hip joint. “One stretch plus six muscles equals warm and fuzzy feelings,” Biggart provides.

In explicit, the stretch you’re feeling deep in your glutes is a muscle known as the piriformis, which runs from the bottom of the backbone to the highest of the femur and helps with hip rotation and stability.

Because of its shut proximity to the sciatic nerve, issues with the piriformis muscle (like swelling, tightening, or muscle spasms) can irritate the sciatic nerve and trigger ache and discomfort within the hip and buttocks — a painful situation known as piriformis syndrome. “Keeping the piriformis mobile can reduce irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve,” Biggart says.

Figure 4 Stretch Variations

Want to get much more out of the determine 4 stretch? Try certainly one of these variations.

Seated Figure 4 Stretch

  • Sit on the ground along with your knees bent and toes flat on the ground.
  • Place your palms on the ground barely behind your hips, to enable you to keep balanced.
  • Cross your proper ankle over your left knee and preserve your proper foot flexed.
  • Keeping your decrease again in its pure arch, press your palms into the ground and lean your chest towards your knees, stopping when your proper glute and hip start to really feel a stretch.
  • Hold for at the least 5 breaths, then launch the stretch and repeat on the other facet.

Figure 4 Pose on the Wall

  • Lie in your again close to a wall, along with your legs up the wall.
  • Bend your knees so your toes are flat towards the wall.
  • Cross your proper ankle over your left knee and preserve your proper foot flexed. Press your left foot firmly into the wall. Interlace your palms behind your left knee, or allow them to relaxation on the ground beside you.
  • Keeping your sacrum (the bony space on the again of your pelvis) on the ground, slowly transfer your left foot down the wall. As you do, your left knee ought to naturally transfer towards your chest. Pause once you really feel a stretch in your hips and glutes.
  • Hold for at the least 5 breaths (or work up to two minutes per facet). Release the stretch and repeat in your left facet.

(Looking for much more selection? This checklist of glute stretches consists of two extra determine 4 stretch variations!)

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