This Piriformis Stretch Will Help You Ease an Aching Back and Tight Hips


There’s a little muscle located deep on the back of your pelvis called the piriformis.

It’s a small muscle, but don’t let the size fool you; the sensations are huge when the piriformis gets too tight.

For some, a tight piriformis leads to a sore and achy lower back.

For others, its tension compresses the sciatic nerve shooting more severe pain through the buttocks and down the leg.

A tight piriformis also contributes to SI joint problems, especially when the piriformis on one side gets tighter than the other.

Don’t worry, if you experience any of the issues above, you’re on your way to relief.

The exercise in today’s video uses a contract-and-relax technique to release the piriformis. It’s one of the most effective stretches I’ve found for this, and I hope it will leave your body saying, “Ahhh, that feels better!”

If you try it, I’d love to know how it goes. Was it intense? Or maybe stronger on one side than the other? How about your back? Does it feel less tight?

Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy releasing,


P.S. I hope you’ll join me on October 20 at 1:00 PM EDT, where we’ll spend 90 minutes exploring:

  • Your body’s  natural “core intelligence”
  • Activating the core vs. pulling in the stomach
  • Deep core vs. superficial core muscles
  • What happens to the pelvic floor during core work

I’m super excited about this new class and would love to see you there!

You can learn more and register at the link below. 

Your Core & Pelvic Floor with Sydney Craig

Space is limited, so if you’re interested, grab your spot now.

(There’ll be a recording, too, in case you can’t attend live. 🙂 )



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 [email protected] See you in the studio!

12 Responses

  1. Obviously, I need to do this stretch! I could feel it as soon as I began to put my arm around my leg! I’ll be doing this regularly.

    Thanks, Sydney!

  2. Hi Sydney 😊
    Yes, piriforms not so much address, and the really cause of lower back and sciatic pain ! When it gets irritated , is a trick !
    This one is one of the most effective stretching indeed !
    In love and sharing, good life to all ❤️😘

    1. Hi Louisa, sure thing! There are a couple of ways you could approach this exercise from the floor. One is starting with both legs straight out in front of you on the ground and then crossing the side you’d like to stretch over the other leg placing that foot on the floor. From there, you’d follow the rest of the instructions in the video. You could also start from a “criss-cross applesauce” position and take one leg over the other, placing the foot on the ground. Thanks for your question, and I hope this helps!

  3. Sydney! How did you know I needed this right now? I’m fresh off a 2-day backpacking trip in NC, covering 22 miles on the AT with about 3,500′ elevation gain. This is perfect. Thank you!!!

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