Pigeon Stretch

Pigeon Stretch

The pigeon stretch is a popular yoga pose and stretching exercise that deeply targets the glutes and hip external rotators, like the piriformis muscle, helping to increase hip flexibility and alleviate lower back tension. By positioning one leg bent at a right angle in front of you while extending the opposite leg straight back, this stretch provides a deep release for the hips and lower back.

Ideal for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, the pigeon stretch helps reduce tightness in the glutes, which is crucial for improved movement patterns in activities like running, cycling, and weightlifting. It also helps alleviate discomfort caused by prolonged sitting or repetitive lower body movements, making it beneficial for anyone seeking better posture and reduced lower back tension.

Incorporating the pigeon stretch into your stretching or yoga routine will enhance flexibility and range of motion, particularly in the hips and lower back. Adjust the intensity by varying the depth of the stretch or using a yoga block for support. Practicing this regularly will improve hip mobility, reduce tightness, and promote balanced movement patterns for better posture and pain-free daily activities.

Equipment Needed

Open floor or yoga mat

Instructions for the pigeon stretch:

  1. Starting in a plank position 
  2. bring one knee towards your chest and your shin across your body
  3. Lay down on top of your shin
  4. Try to press your hip down and forward, instead of pushing your chest towards the ground
  5. Hold for the prescribed amount of time and switch sides

Common Errors

Many people start the position correctly but then push their chest to the floor. This robs some of the effect from the hip. 

Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Don’t sink your hips as deep

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Pull your ankle up so your shin is more perpendicular to your body. This will change the stretch and increase the sensation for most people.

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