Do Your Clients Have Tight Hips? In particular the Piriformis and the External Rotators of the Hips?
You can tell if your client has a tight piriformis muscle because they will turn their feet out on the eccentric, or lowering phase of a squat.
There are many other tests you can do to test which muscles are tight or weak in the body.
The piriformis muscles commonly get tight as a result of long hours seated in the car, sat on the sofa or in the office.
What is the Piriformis Muscle?
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Key Facts about the Piriformis
- Origin: Anterior Surface of the Sacrum
- Insertion: Superior Greater Trochanter
- Joint: Hip
- Joint Action (concentric phase): Hip Abduction and Hip External Rotation
- Exercise example: Hip Abductor Machine, Squats, Sumo Squat, Mini-band squats, Lateral Lunges, Turning the leg out from the h
This muscle is responsible for external rotation of the hip, and sits very close to the sciatic nerve. This means that if it become inflamed or over tight, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause “sciatic pain” symptoms. So, if your client complains of back pain or shooting pain/numbness down the leg, and they often turn their leg out from the hip (standing with feet at 10 to 2 position), then it is always worth suggesting the piriformis stretch.
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If your clients have tight hips then here is a stretch that will really help the Piriformis and External Rotators relax.
The Pigeon Pose is a great way to stretch the piriformis if your clients have tight hips.
To direct your client’s into the position start them in a press-up position and bring the right knee close to the right hand. Then encourage the client to evenly press both hips into the floor, they will feel a stretch on the hip flexor of the left leg and the piriformis of the right leg.
If they are quite flexible, then they can progress the stretch by bringing the foot up, so the lower leg is parallel to the chest and shoulder.
To make the stretch easier, you can lift the front leg up onto a plyo box, a bench or even a bed at home. This lifts the knees and hips off the floor and makes it much easier to get in and out of.
Check out this Short Video to explain how this stretch will help relax your client’s tight hips:
If your clients have tight hips, then teach them this stretch and get them to hold it for 15 -30 seconds each side, 3-5 times per week.
If you like this video, hit the thumbs up button, and share this with your clients that have tight hips.
Comment below, what other muscles do you commonly see as tight in your clients…
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- A selection of exercises that work each muscle
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Muscle Memory Mock Questions
1. Which Joint does the Piriformis?
A. The Hip
B. The Shoulder
C. The Elbow
D. The Cervical Spine
2. What is the Insertion of the Piriformis?
A. The base of the Skull
B. The Greater Trochanter
C. The Sacrum
D. The Lower Femur
3. When the Piriformis Contracts Concentrically which movement occurs at the Hip Joint?
A. Adduction and Internal Rotation
B. Abduction and External Rotation
D. Internal Rotation
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