written by runnergirl training
The piriformis muscle can be quite painful for many athletes. It is a deep glute muscle that has the sciatic nerve in close proximity which can be easily aggravated. Check out a few stretches to ease the irritated piriformis.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross on leg over the other at the knee and pull the bottom leg toward your chest. The top leg should feel a stretch in the glutes. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times on each side.
Use a lacrosse, tennis or baseball to roll over the piriformis. An easy way to perform this stretch is to place the ball under your glutes while seated on the floor. You can also place the ball between you and a wall and perform it as well. If you feel a painful spot hold for 20 seconds while breathing slowly. The tension spot should dissipate. Repeat on each side.
Apply Ice or Heat
You can also apply an ice pack or heat to the piriformis to ease the tension. If it is a recent injury it is best to use ice to reduce inflammation. If it is an older injury try heat. Use for 15 minutes at a time and place a towel between your skin and the ice or heat.
Once you are able to calm down the piriformis then you can focus on strengthening it and avoiding overuse. Focus on exercises such as floor bridges, resistance band loop lateral lunges & donkey kicks. The above stretches will help alleviate the painful pirformis and the exercises will help correct the muscle strain imbalance.