How to Get the Most Out of Your Figure Four Stretch

Some stretches are fantastic to practice every day. But if you do them the same way each time, you might be missing benefits that could make a massive difference in the way you feel and move.

Two keys to safe, successful stretching are variety and alignment.

Think of it like mowing a lawn but only going over the same strip of grass with each pass. There’s a lot more grass that needs cutting, but you have to change your mower’s range, direction, and blade height to get to it.

In today’s video, I’ll show you how to safely and effectively add more variety to the famous Figure Four Stretch by “setting your mower blade” (your pelvis) so that you can clear out the grass you’ve been missing in the “hip-socket-lawn.”

This tip changes everything about this exercise, and I’d love to hear how it goes. So make sure to tell me in the comments below.

With lots of stretch variety,


P.S. I do a variation of the Figure Four exercise every day! If you’re curious to learn more about alignment and exercises that pack the most punch when practiced daily, stay tuned. I have a program in the works that will help you move with more freedom and ease while addressing what your body needs the most!



Hi, I’m Sydney… I’m here to help you get out of pain and 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.

18 Responses

  1. Sydney, I do this stretch with my clients and so true…keeping the tailbone down makes such a difference. I want to ask you about restorative stretching. I am in Nashville…may I call you or set up a time on Zoom?

  2. Hi Sydney, thanks for another great video with helpful information! The Figure 4 stretch was something my surgeon recommended after my hip surgery, and I do it regularly – so I really appreciated your highlighting how the position of the pelvis impacts the stretch.

  3. Yes, thank you Sydney! I tried it and I really felt the difference. I have rolled up as far as I could in holding this pose. Your way today is so much better, and far more effectively felt. Thank you again

  4. Great tip. I am of the mind-set that “more is better” so always pulled my leg in towards my body “more”. Enjoyed this “less is more” variation. Thanks for always keeping us informed.

  5. This is a really helpful tutorial. Thank you so much. I have been going to Pilates classes for many, many years and this is the first time I have really understood how this exercise should feel. I have short arms and very stiff glutes and lower back so have always struggled with keeping my back neutral. A real eye+opener for me…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More To Explore