Category Archives for "stretch"

How to Release the Piriformis Muscle

The piriformis muscle is one of the most irritated spots on a human body. It attaches to the outside of each hip and to your sacrum, the spine’s lowest section. Its job is to turn your leg outward. The major issue for many people is that the sciatic nerve runs through or under the piriformis muscle. If your piriformis is too tight, it can lead to pinching and sciatica-like symptoms in the affected leg. When the piriformis irritates the sciatic nerve, it leads to pain in the buttocks as well as referring pain along the sciatic nerve felt down the back of your thigh or in the lower back.

Step 1

Stretch the piriformis. This is the first step in releasing the muscle. Lie on your back. If you need to release the muscle on your right side, bend your right knee, bring it across your body, and point the knee toward your left shoulder. Move the bent knee back to the starting position. Put your hands under your bent knee and bring it to your chest. You will feel a stretch in your buttock region–stretching the piriformis. Use progressive piriformis stretching. Start with five seconds, and gradually work up to 60 seconds of sustained stretch. Repeat several times throughout the day. If your pain is on the left, utilize the same procedure on the left side of the body.

Step 2

Take a tennis ball, place it under your piriformis and lay on it. This will work out a trigger point, or a knot within the muscle. Lay on the ball for 30 seconds. Relax for one minute. Repeat the process four to five times.

Step 3

Utilize a foam roller. This also can work out a trigger point. If you need to release the piriformis on the left side, start by lying on your left side and placing your left elbow on the mat or floor. This will stabilize your upper body. Place the foam roller beneath the back side of your left hip, under your piriformis. Roll back and forth to release the tension in the muscle. Do the same thing on the right side if that is where you are experiencing pain.

Step 4

Treat other biomechanical problems simultaneously for best results and to prevent future problems. For example, overpronation of the foot can contribute to the problem. Pronation happens as the foot rolls inward and the arch of the foot flattens. Leg-length discrepancies also are commonly associated with piriformis problems, and can be corrected with use of orthotics. Prescription orthotics can be obtained by visiting a chiropractor and undergoing a gait analysis. Stretching may need to be combined with physical therapy for issues like overpronation.


Keep hydrated and take extra vitamin C, calcium and magnesium to promote tissue healing.

Things You’ll Need

  • Tennis ball
  • Foam roller
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5 Ways to Stretch Your Calves (a Must For Runners and Heel-Wearers!)

The calves are one of the most overused and overlooked muscles in the body, and if you wear heels, run regularly, or both, stretching your calves is a must, since tight, shortened calves can lead to injury. These five calf stretches can be done almost anywhere, so click through to learn how to do them and then add these stretches to your daily routine!

Wall Calf Stretch

This is a classic calf stretch that you can do just about anywhere.

  • Stand a little less than arm’s distance from the wall.
  • Step your left leg forward and your right leg back, keeping your feet parallel.
  • Bend your left knee and press through your right heel.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch legs.

Wall or Curb Stretch

This is one of the easiest stretches to do as soon as you finish a run. If you have weak Achilles tendons, do the variation using a wall instead of a ledge.

  • Find a wall and stand a few inches away. With one foot, put your toes on the wall, keeping your heel on the floor, and flex.
  • Hold for about 10-15 seconds, then alternate with your other foot.
  • You can also do this stretch using a curb or step and hanging your heels off the ledge.

Seated Calf Stretch

This is a simple way to stretch your calves while sitting.

  • Sit comfortably on the floor. If the backs of your legs are really tight and you find yourself slumping, sit on a pillow so you can keep your spine straight.
  • Fold your right leg in and reach your left leg long.
  • Wrap a yoga strap or Theraband (or an old tie or belt from your bathrobe) around the ball of your left foot.
  • Use the strap to pull your toes toward your head.
  • Do not jam your knee into the floor and keep your left heel on the ground.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat of the other side.

Downward Facing Dog

This basic yoga pose is a great calf stretch.

  • Begin in a plank pose with your hands under your shoulders then lift your pelvis up making a “V” with your body. Spread your fingers wide.
  • Work on bringing your heels toward the ground.
  • Allow your heels to flare out slightly wider than your toes.
  • Reach your sits bones, on the bottom of your pelvis, high to the ceiling to increase the stretch.
  • To deepen the stretch in your calves, try treading lightly by pressing down on one foot while bending your other leg (as shown). Hold a few seconds per leg and then switch.
  • Hold or alternate your feet for a total of 30 seconds.
  • You can increase your stretch even more by lifting up one leg into Three-Legged Dog.

Calf and Shoulder Stretch at the Wall

This stretch is a great multitasking stretch that opens the shoulders as well as the calves.

  • Stand in front of a wall with your feet together. Place your hands on the wall shoulder-width apart.
  • Rock your weight back on your heels without locking your knees, so your toes get pulled off the ground. Reach your bum out as far as you can by lengthening through your spine. Tuck your chin to feel a deep stretch in the back of your neck.
  • Stay here for thirty seconds and then shift your weight forward, placing your toes back on the ground.
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6 Stretches to Prevent Rounded Shoulders

When you spend the majority of your time with your arms in front of you, it becomes habit for your body to round the shoulders. As a result, the muscles in the upper back and neck strain, overstretch and overwork. The chest muscles shorten, the small muscles between the shoulder blades weaken and the back muscles stretch and lengthen. Smaller muscles that are not designed to be postural muscles have to work doing a job they were not designed to do.

And all this poor posture can have a tremendous impact on our health. Poor posture causes all sorts of muscle and ligament imbalances which can lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing and other more devastating health problems. If you are having pain, it’s important to see a physical therapist and/or a chiropractor who can help your muscle imbalances and align your spine properly.

When your body is aligned it means that your heels, knees, pelvis, and neck are directly stacked on top of each. Your body will not only be able to move so much more efficiently, but you will be able to carry heavier loads, tire less easily, have better digestion and will be less susceptible to injury.

These stretches, yoga poses and exercises are very important to work into your regular training program for improved posture and to combat rounded shoulders. If you sit at a desk or have your arms out in front of you for a large portion of the day (driving, texting, typing, etc.), it’s extra important that you do these as often as you can.

The first 3 can be done sitting on a chair, standing, kneeling, or sitting on the floor. These are great stretches for someone with a desk or office job and can be done (and highly recommended) anytime throughout the day.

Back Bound Hand Pose

Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and bring both arms and hands behind you. Grab the right elbow with the left hand and then grab the left elbow with your right hand. If this is too hard, grab your wrist or forearm with the opposite hand. Take a few deep breaths. Lift your chest and keep your shoulder blades down and back. Now repeat by grabbing your left elbow with your right hand this time.

Shoulder Squeeze

Bring your shoulder blades down and back and clasp your hands behind you. Slowly lift your arms as far as you are comfortable as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. I like to pretend there is an orange in between my shoulders and I am trying to squeeze the juice out of it by my shoulders. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles as you are doing this stretch.

Cow Face Pose

Place the back of your left hand on your lower back and slide it up as far as it will comfortably go. Now stretch your right arm up and bend your elbow reaching behind you to grab your left hand. This is difficult, so if you can’t do it, do not worry. Just go as far as you comfortably can and over time you will get better and better. Remember to keep your chest lifted and your shoulders down and back. Hold for a few breath cycles (30 seconds or so) and then repeat sides.

These 3 yoga poses below are excellent for expanding and stretching the chest, strengthening and reducing tightness of the shoulders, releasing tension in the back, all which will give you excellent results for rounded shoulders and better posture.

Baby Cobra Pose

Lie on your stomach with your hand directly beside your shoulders. Inhale and slowly press yourself up, keeping your elbows bent. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles and then come back down.

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath and raise your hips off the floor as high as you are comfortable going. Now draw your shoulders down and back and clasp your hands together if possible. Try to reach them as far to your feet as possible. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles and lower your body gently to the floor.

Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor with your back to a chair. Keep your feet hip width apart and grasp the chair with your hands. Now push your pelvis forward and lift your chest to the sky. Breathe deeply as you keep pushing your shoulder blades back and down and keep lifting your chest as far as you can comfortably go. Hold this pose for a few breath cycles.

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Stretches You Can Do At The Office

Let’s face it. Too much of our time is spent sitting these days, and it’s not always easy to think about doing your stretches after you get home from a loooong day at the office. So why not incorporate some stretching into your work day?

1. Neck side stretch: hold on to your chair with one hand and lean your head away from that hand. This creates a bit of a traction across the neck and shoulder. For a deeper stretch, gently pull your head with your opposite hand.

2. Neck and back stretch: this one is double duty. First sit up tall, open your chest and stretch your head to the ceiling. Next, round your upper and lower back and look down towards the ground. You should feel this stretch all the way down your spine.
3. Spine twist stretch (do not do this stretch if your are dealing with any disc issues): Use the arms of your chair or the back of your chair, depending on what you have or what feels comfortable.

4. Folded back stretch: plant your feet on the ground and bend forward over your legs. Relax your head and look down at the ground.
5. Side stretch: hold onto the chair with one hand and lift the other arm up and over your head. Try not to collapse, but instead keep your torso long on both sides. You can also perform this stretch with both arms over your head if you prefer.
6. Glute stretch: cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Lean forward slightly to deepen the stretch. This is not necessarily going to be an option if you happen to be wearing a more fitted skirt or dress since your outfit will restrict your movement.
7. Hip flexor stretch: sit on the edge of your chair and keep one foot front and stretch the other leg back. Keep your pelvis tucked under yourself until you find a stretch at the front of the hip of the leg that is stretched back.
This stretch can also be done standing if it is comfortable for you.
8. Hamstrings stretch: keep your knee straight and your toes pointing to the ceiling of the leg you are stretching. You might get some stretch in your calf from this position as well!
9. Ankle rotation: pretty self-explanatory. Ankles are often forgotten, but it is good to give them some attention, especially if you are wearing sturdy or heeled shoes.

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Stretches for a Pain in the Tailbone

The tailbone, located at the bottom of the spinal column, is known in anatomical terms as the coccyx. Pain found in this area is the result of overuse, trauma or tightness in the neighboring muscles — which include the glutes, adductors and piriformis. Stretches can help alleviate pain and keep the tailbone area more flexible.

Cat Cow Combo

The Cat Cow Combo is two yoga poses blended together in one exercise. Assume an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Take a big breath in as you arch your back and look straight up in the air. After holding for a full second, exhale and round your back in the air as high as possible. When doing this, drop your tailbone down and fix your gaze back down on the floor. Hold this again for a second and continue to alternate each position with each breath.

Knee Pull-in

A knee-to-chest pull-in helps stretch the lower back and glutes area from a lying position on the floor. You can do this with both legs or one at a time. Lie face-up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Carefully raise your feet and grasp the back of your thighs, just below your knees. Pull your knees in toward your body as far as possible and hold this for 20 to 30 seconds. Perform the single-knee-to-chest pull-in the same way, except keep one leg straight.

Lying Groin Stretch

The lying groin stretch lengthens the adductors and external rotators that run up the inner thighs to the pelvic area near the front of the tailbone. Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Carefully lower your knees to your sides as you place the soles of your feet together. Position your hands on the insides of your thighs and apply light downward pressure to emphasize the stretch, and hold this for 20 to 30 seconds. This stretch is commonly done from a seated position, but this variation causes stress on the tailbone — which can exacerbate your pain.

Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is found deep inside the glutes area. It runs from the top of the femur to the coccyx. A piriformis stretch helps lengthen this muscle. Get into an all-fours position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your left knee on the floor, move your right leg forward and position your outer shin on the floor at an angle to your body. Lean forward and lower your hips toward the floor as far as possible. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, slowly release and switch sides. When doing this stretch, flatten the top of your back foot out on the floor and straighten your leg.
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6 Great Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors

Shakira said ‘Hips don’t lie’. Talking about hips, they are probably the first part of our body to get bloated. The Hip flexor is an important muscle group, which helps move the knees to the chest and the legs front to back and sideways. As many people sit on workstations all day, the hip flexors can become tight and stiff. So, how do we make them supple and trim again?

This is where the hip flexor stretches come to the rescue! These stretches help loosen the hip flexors and improve their flexibility. So, want to know the different types of hip flexors? Then give the following lines a read!

Hip Flexor Stretches – 6 Types:

1. The Standing Hip Hinge:

This is an ideal warm-up exercise to stretch hip flexors. Support your back with your hands and bend the upper body back. Hold for a while and return to the starting position. To add more intensity kneel down and perform the same exercise. The kneeling down will stretch the hip flexors and the quads as well. This is one of the best exercises for back pain and tight hip flexors.

2. The Camel Yoga Pose:

The camel yoga pose stretches the hip flexors. It is also a great way to expand the chest and improve spinal flexibility. A camel yoga pose helps tighten the hips and builds muscle in the arms. Yoga says that the posture promotes the flow of oxygen with every new breath. The pose also helps strengthen arms and shoulders. This pose is slated to open up your heart chakra and you feel more in sync with the world.

3. The Garland Pose:

This pose is designed to free the hips and help improve balance. The garland pose helps improve flexibility in the thighs, ankles and calf muscles. It also tones the core. You can switch to using a chair to sit down if the squatting is difficult or your back problems prevent you from performing this pose. While sitting on a chair, lean the upper body toward your thighs. Keep your feet planted to the ground and your thighs perpendicular to the calves.

4. The Reclined Bound Angle Pose:

The reclined bound angle pose helps stretch groin and inner thighs, while expanding the chest. Ensure that you keep the spine upright and you don’t arch it. For added support, consider placing a hand towel under the lower ankles to reduce discomfort and one under the head to avoid the neck from compressing. The pose helps relieve fatigue and even mild depression.

5. The Perfect Pose:

According to legend, the perfect pose can help you acquire supernatural powers. It usually opens up the hips and stretches the ankles and the back. Yoga is usually represented universally by this pose. It is believed to help dispel nervous energy. The pose helps calm your thoughts. It is believed to have great benefits on people suffering from asthma.

6. Downward Facing Frog Exercise:

The downward frog pose helps open up the flexors as you go down to the floor. To simplify the position, place a pillow or hand-towel under the knees and ankles. If you still don’t find the position comfortable and you strain your ankles, push them towards each other instead of letting your feet around the sides.

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Stretches to Relieve the Pain of Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock, and connects the sacrum to the top of the femur, or thigh bone. Its function is to roll the leg out to the side. Piriformis syndrome is pain deep in the buttock caused when the piriformis muscle traps the sciatic nerve. Symptoms include pain deep in the buttock, which often radiates up into the low back or down the leg along the path of the nerve.


The piriformis muscle can become too short and tight because of overuse and repetitive motion, direct trauma or a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long periods of time keeps the piriformis muscle shortened. Running on hard or uneven surfaces, in poor-fitting shoes, or running with your toes turned out can irritate the piriformis.


While the pain is acute, rest for the first 48 to 72 hours. Use ice packs for 20 minutes several times a day to reduce pain and inflammation. Continuing to exercise in pain can make further injure your muscles. After the pain begins to subside, you can begin a program of stretching and strengthening your muscles.

Seated and Supine Stretch

Sit in a chair with both legs in front of you and feet on the floor. Cross the ankle of the affected leg over the opposite knee. Wrap your arms around your knee and foot, as if cradling the lower leg, and lift them until you feel a stretch deep in the buttock. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat at least four times. Perform the same move on your back. Lie on your back with both legs straight. Bring the knee of the affected leg to your chest and then push it over to the opposite shoulder with your hands until you feel a stretch deep in the buttock. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat at least four times.

Fire Log Pose

Sit on the floor and bend your left knee. Lay the outside of your left leg on the floor and position your left lower leg in front of you. Lift your right leg off the floor, bend the knee and lay the outside of your lower right leg on top of the inside of your left lower leg. When you look down you should see a triangle-shaped space between your pubis and your stacked lower legs. Sit tall and breathe in this pose for up to a minute before switching sides.

Kneeling Stretch

On your hands and knees, bring the knee of the affected leg forward, swing the knee out and bring the foot up toward the opposite side so the lower leg is at a right angle to your body. Stretch the other leg out straight behind you and lean your body into the bent leg, keeping your spine straight. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, and repeat at least four times. Don’t do this stretch if it hurts your hip or knee.

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Simple Stretches to Relieve Stress

These stretches help relieve your stress, but they can also boost your mood, improve your work performance, relieve headaches, reduce neck pain and reinvigorate you from any stresses in your life!

First, what you need to do is breath. Take a few seconds before you do the stretches to try a few breathing exercises. Close your eyes and just focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this about 10 times for one set. Try this for about three sets before you start your stretches. It will put you in a more relaxed state!

Shoulder and Neck Stretches: The first stretch has you sitting in your chair. Plant both feet on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Put both your hands behind your neck and interlock your fingers. Now tilt your head towards the floor and press your shoulder blades together. You’re going to want to hold this for about 10 seconds and then release. Do this three more times.

Cat Pose: This move you will start on all fours. Begin with a straight spine and your head facing the floor. When you exhale, curve your back by rounding your spine up. You’ll end up looking at your belly button. Now slowly inhale and on your next exhale return to your starting position.

Arm Stretches: Again, you’ll want to be sitting straight in your chair with your feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart. With your fingers interlocked in front of you, stretch out your arms. You’ll want to rotate your wrists until your palms are facing away from your body. Hold this for 10 seconds before you raise your arms above your head for another 10 seconds. Now do this three more times.

Lower Back: Sitting in your chair, lean forward and grab your ankles with both hands. This move lets you feel your lower back stretching out! Again, hold this for 10 seconds and repeat three more times.

Leg Stretches: From your sitting position, raise one leg and straighten it before you. Hold this for 10 seconds before rotating your foot to the left and then to the right. Repeat this with the other leg. You’ll want to do this five more times with each leg.

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