One of the Most Effective Fascia Stretches You Can Do

Recently I hinted about some great stretches I had been teaching to keep your fascia hydrated and highly flexible.

Well, the time has come and I’ve really been looking forward to sharing this extremely effective fascia mobility exercise I learned at the Fascial Conditioning workshop with Robert Schleip.

This exercise is called the Fascia Cat Stretch and it's helping to create some truly stellar movement and release in people's bodies and getting rave reviews from everyone who’s doing it. It goes right to the areas where people need the most release and movement and I've yet to find two people who feel this stretch in the exact same place.

One woman I've been working with for three years has gorgeous posture when she's standing, or sitting with her knees bent. But sitting with straight legs out in front is a completely different story. She can't do it without her back slumping big-time.

She dreads Pilates exercises that require her to sit with her legs straight out in front and while she does modify by bending her knees, one of her goals is to sit tall with gorgeous posture and straight legs.

She's been consistently practicing a variety of stretches for two years, working toward this goal. She's definitely made progress with her flexibility and gained tons of deep strength in her body, but sitting tall with legs straight out has eluded her.

The first time she did the Fascia Cat Stretch, she looked at me when it was over and told me she had never before felt her body stretch in that area. And she could totally feel how her body was inhibited by this area of tightness.

I knew we had finally found the missing puzzle piece her body had needed. I haven't been this excited by an exercise in a long time!

By adding this into the flexibility training she is already doing, she’s finally starting to make major progress toward her goal. I know it’s just a matter of time before she’s sitting tall with her gorgeous posture while her legs are straight out in front of her.

I hope you enjoy the Fascia Cat Stretch. If you try it out, I'd love to here how it feels in your body and where you felt it. Let me know in the comments below, or just click the contact link at the top of the page and send a note.

See you in the studio,

P.S If you are in a hurry and want to get straight to the exercise itself, it starts at minute two.

Picture of Sydney


I’m here to help you get stronger and more flexible through alignment-based restorative exercise so you can enjoy all the activities you love in life. You can work with me in two convenient ways: digitally through the Pilates Tonic Online membership or personally with in-person Restorative Movement Sessions.

55 Responses

  1. I’ve done this at home a time or two but haven’t remembered all the cues. This video is a huge help. Does the chair height matter? Thanks so much, Sydney!

    1. Great question Anne! The height of the chair will change where you feel the exercise. I’d try try a couple different heights and see what feels best in your body. I think it’s great to vary the chair height from time to time as well. Thank you for your feedback!

  2. That feels fantastic! I love learning about the fascia and can’t wait for more. Thanks for sharing. I feel so open and stretched now.

  3. That is such a good stretch and because everyone feels it differently, it benefits so many people.
    Thank you for sharing x

  4. I just completed 6 months of cancer treatment (most of it chemo but 6 weeks with combined radiation for Stage 2 rectal cancer). Though my last radiation was 10/20/13, by December I noticed tightness in what I thought were the muscles where your legs meet your torso. Seems it’s fascia? Sitting & standing aren’t the problems; it’s when you try to bring your leg up & cross it over your knee – as if to put on socks or shoes, or if I want to sit Indiana style. The pain is quite intense. I’m going to try your “cat stretch” to see if that helps. Much appreciate your video!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Angela! I’ll be posting another video in the next month that’ll be great for the area where you are describing the tightness you’re feeling.
      In the meantime, I’d love to hear how the fascia cat stretch goes after you try it out.

  5. At 73 doc said i was just getting old! But in july i could hit a golf ball 215 yds. I hit hard rough and pretty sure i hurt soft tissue which didn’t show up on MRI. Recommended shots in spine rest of my life. Not what i want to do I can now stand straight. Cant be on my feet or walk for more than an hour. Read about fascia. Did your cat stretch. Feels sooo good. Thinking fascia is so tight after sitting for 3 months. Will let u know if it helps me get back on the course.

  6. Would you recommend this for someone who has strained that lower part of the back or has muscle spasm of that lower back?

  7. Love this! Thanks for sharing,
    (And nice meeting you at the MJB workshop!)

    1. Hi Ashley! It was great meeting you too. I’m glad you enjoyed the video and I look forward to seeing you again sometime.

    1. Hi Morgan, The jury is out on whether stretching helps chronic compartment syndrome. Stretching will likely enhance blood flow to the area, but you would need to talk to a medical professional about your specific situation.

  8. I adore this exercise. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve neglected my fascia for too long and am in a mess because of this. This video (and I’m just about to visit your website) is my way forwards.

  9. Oh my goodness! Just found this video- thank you! I have extremely inflexible legs and a tight lower back and glutes, have been trying for ages to improve with hamstring and other stretches with little success. Just tried this stretch and it was, well, excruciatingly painful! Which is telling me that I need to stretch my fascia A LOT. I will be doing this regularly now- only a little more gently at first! Thank you.

  10. My fascia is extremely tight, especially going down my left thigh/lower leg and can be quite painful at times. Are there any other fascial stretch exercises you can recommend to help me out? I’ve had problems relating to my scoliosis for years but lately for some unknown reason, I’ve been straightening out and I think the fascia has been left behind. It needs a little extra help and encouragement. I normally experience tightness in the area of my QLs, left hip and down left leg. The right side isn’t quite so bad. Thanks.

    1. Hi Sharon, In my opinion, time invested in feet and lower legs pay off massive dividends throughout the rest of the body.

      Here’s a post with links to some specific foot and lower leg exercises:

      You might also find the Hip Flexor Workshop series helpful:

      While all of the exercises above also affect the fascia, all of these exercises listed below are even more fascia specific:

      This one is for the back of your legs:

      This one’s for mid-back and arms:

      The side of your body:

      And finally, some of my favorite breathing exercises for releasing your back:

      Hope this helps! If you try any of the exercises I’d love to hear how it goes. Thanks for your question!

  11. I came across your website while searching online trying to find some ideas to help my daughter’s tight fascia in her neck, shoulder and upper back areas. She’s 13 and has been suffering with it now since March. She’s been going to physical therapy to help relieve it but after a few hours, the pain is back and she’s constantly moving her neck around again trying to get relief. I’m really hoping that doing this stretch will help her. Do you have any other stretches that you would suggest?

  12. Hi Sydney! I just wanted to tell you how much i have learned from your blog that affects not only the quality of my workout but also in daily life since my body feels much better!
    Constantly being in a symphathetic state , working out , breathing shallow and a lack of fascial elasticity have caused me more pain than i had realized. Although now i am still at the beginning of my journey of healing my body, i am much more aware of the bad positions/tension in my body so i am able to notice it and correct it right away. I sill try doing this stretch and 3-min breathing (i just did for the first time) every day! This fascia stretch is a bit hard to understand . I am pretty sure that i didnt do it right (haha) but simply breathing deeply in different positions soothed me.
    I live in Hong Kong . I have never taken Pilates classes before and i would be thrilled if i have a chance to take your lesson:(

  13. Thank you, this is excellent. I am taking a medication that suppresses oestrogen and my osteopath said my fascia is tight and rigid as a result. Yes, I feel dried up like a prune. This excercise is perfect for me and easy to do in the morning. It reminds me of several exercises in Kundalini Yoga all rolled into one. I like the movement aspect and also gives the legs a good stretch. Blessings from Israel.

  14. Hello, from what I can understand of the video, the stretch must be very helpful. I am slightly hard of hearing and although your voice is really clear, the music inhibits my ability to follow along, which defeats the purpose, like if you say inhale, etc, I’m not sure of what I’m hearing. 🙁
    I decided to sit an watch through the video a couple of times to try to understand what I’m supposed to do and then I’ll try following along with you. I can understand much better when I see your lips, obviously. I do wish the video was captioned and that you don’t have that music throughout. I realize the music is meant to be relaxing, but……..

  15. I’m tight in my thigh area .. front and back . There’s times when It feels like it wants to release but it never really does . Anything you can help me with ?

  16. Oh my gosh, that incredibly intense. I assume I needed it badly. BreAthing issues, ribs and clavicles that pop out of place. I’ve got a D.O. husband who does OMM to try to help…looking for more self relief. Hope to try it again tomorrow….is it normal to be that deep of a stretch?

    1. Hi Kat, this exercise can be intense for sure. A great way to ease the intensity is to do the exercise with your hands on something higher, like a taller chair-back or a kitchen countertop. Hope this helps!

  17. Hello, I find this extremely interesting and want to do the stretch, but I have hearing issues. It would be wonderful if your videos were captioned. Barring that, if the background music wasn’t playing I’d have a chance of understanding. When you turn to the side, I can no longer read your lips, then the music is impeding my hearing your voice.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this feedback, Jackie. I will have this video transcribed and captioned, which may take around 4 days. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready!

      I’m also looking into having the other videos captioned. Thanks again!

  18. Thank you so much for this video! I have been recovering from a partial tear of my Achilles (higher up, in my calf) for a looong time, and I had reached a sticking point that this stretch helped immediately. I have since explored your other fascia, hip and calf videos, and I’m very grateful!

  19. I just watched this since my low back fascia is tight. It looks like it would feel awesome. I have osteoarthritis and mild osteoporosis. I do physical therapy core and leg strengthening exercises, but need something for this particular area. Is the cat exercise as you are doing it safe for people with osteoporosis? My doctor has not restricted my activity.

    1. Hi Sharon! It is a safe exercise for osteoporosis. That said, try it with your hands on something higher, like a kitchen counter or chair back to start with, and see how it feels. Thanks for your question, and I’d love to know how it goes!

  20. Been trying and researching stretches for what seems like months, I have learned so many positions and poses with little success. This one finally worked significantly in relieving all my pain in that area.

  21. hi had a massive infection last year which caused me to loose my five toes and a disc in my neck since then i have pins and needles from my chest down to my toes, now i am feeling tightness in my ankles, calves and buttocks. i was bed riddon for at least five months , so i dont know if my fachia has tightened.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Linda. Gentle movement and stretches go a long way. Finding a movement professional in your area to help guide you would be a great place to start. Wishing you all the best as you recover!

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