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Want to be a stronger runner? Pay attention to your piriformis

Add strength and mobility exercises to build structural tolerance and prevent injuries

Many runners and triathletes may not be aware of the piriformis muscle until they experience an injury or inflammation–we’re here to help you prevent that from happening. The piriformis is found in the buttocks area and works to stabilize the hip and pelvis.

The piriformis helps you upwardly rotate the hip and leg smoothly as you run, a key factor in running performance. If the piriformis is tight or becomes inflamed, it can cause intense pain and discomfort in the hip and leg, and impact performance.

Try adding these exercises to your mobility routine, or move through them while watching TV.

Related: Which yoga routine is best for triathletes

Seated piriformis stretch

Sit on the edge of a chair with your affected leg crossed over your other leg. Place your ankle on the opposite knee and gently press down on the raised knee to feel a stretch in the buttocks.

Pigeon pose

Start in a downward-facing dog position. Bring your affected leg forward and place it behind your hands, keeping your knee bent. Lower your hips toward the ground until you feel a stretch in the buttocks.

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Lunge stretch

Step forward with your affected leg and lower your back knee to the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the buttocks–this also targets your hip flexors and is a great mobility exercise for runners, regardless of whether they are experiencing lower leg issues.


Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent. Lift your top knee up while keeping your feet together–banded clamshells are also a great option for a more intense exercise.

If you have a few extra minutes and are looking for a full mobility workout to tackle the piriformis area and start boosting strength and mobility, try this slightly longer yoga routine. You’ll enjoy the mellow-mind yoga benefits and really soothe and strengthen the piriformis area.

This story originally appeared on runningmagazine.ca