The Flamingo Stretch for Chronic Sitters and Heeled-Shoe Wearers

We’ve talked a lot about how frequent daily sitting over time shortens the muscles and soft tissue on the front of your hips and we’ve demonstrated an effective stretch to help with shortened, painful hip flexors. We’ve also talked about how the lifted heels in shoes can shorten your calves; even the smallest heel in a running shoe or men’s shoe can have this effect.

Did you know that chronic sitting also contributes to shortened muscles and soft tissue on the back of your legs?  And, if you sit for long periods of time while wearing heeled shoes (even a small heel!) it’s a double whammy!

Today’s exercise comes from the Fascial Fitness® repertoire. It’s a stretch that focuses on maintaining oppositional length in the back of your leg while adding movement at the same time. This is what makes this stretch so effective.

If you’re a chronic sitter, or positive-heeled shoe wearer, this is an important stretch for you. However, to get the best results that last, you have to change how you’re using your body, too.

In addition to this exercise, try changing your position frequently throughout the day by standing up, walking around, or even sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you.

Basically, decrease the amount of time you spend with your knees bent for long periods of time.

One last thing before you try the exercise—be super diligent with yourself about maintaining your lumbar curve throughout the entire stretch. This allows you to truly find the length in the back your leg without compromising your low back, or avoiding the full benefit of the stretch.

I’d love to hear what you discover in the comments below!

See you in the studio,




Hi, I'm Sydney and I'm a Restorative Movement Specialist here at Pilates Tonic. My goal is to empower you with tools to connect and live in your body in new and better ways. I'm a passionate advocate for wellness through optimally aligned movement and I look forward to designing a customized alignment and movement program just for you! If you want to find out more, just give me a call at 423.702.5233, or email me at See you in the studio!

16 Responses

  1. I especially felt this stretch along my upper legs (from the knee area on up). You suggested three times a week– but could it be done every day? Thanks so much for these videos.

  2. Thanks, Sydney. This is a really nice hamstring stretch that also gets the calf. It’s a great “transition” stretch after a day of sitting at work before trying to warm up for a workout. My husband really likes this one, too.

  3. This stretch is amazing. My hips, hamstrings, and calves have been tight forever and really affected my gait and gave me back pain. I’ve been to chiropractors and physical therapists with some relief, but not much. This exercise is by far one of the most effective things I’ve done, it’s helped improve my gait and also helps me move better when I’m exercising. The stretches on your website are great!! I wish your studio was in my area!

  4. It felt like my first stretched leg grew a quarter inch and then after the second leg, they were even again. Thank you for this!

  5. Hi Sydney,
    Do you actively engage your quads to keep your knees from bending during this stretch? Mine never straighten fully but I also have very tight hip flexors that tend to want to jump in and take over.
    Thank you for sharing so many great remedial exercises 🙂

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