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Piriformis...stretch my what?


Spend any time in a Pride Performance DDPY class and you will hear this word spoken about with love. Sometimes after a workout we get asked, "What's a piriformis and why are you so specific about it?" I am always glad to explain it. But this got me thinking, maybe I should write it down just in case someone is too shy to come up and ask.


The piriformis is a muscle which attaches to the femur and the sacrum. The sacrum is the large triangle shaped bone at the base of the spine. It works with five other muscles known as lateral rotators of the hip. These muscles are used in some combination in almost every movement in your leg/hip. Are you seated reading this? Take a second, remember not to hurt yourself, and widen your knees from each other. One of the muscles to do this was the piriformis. If you want an example from a standing position, just sidestep left or right.

Tight lateral rotators of the hip reduces the range of motion for your hip. You know saying lateral rotators of the hip is a mouthful! This is why I just say piriformis. Over time these muscles continue to get tighter and more range of motion is lost. I sit too much throughout the day and this does nothing but irritate the piriformis. To borrow inspiration from Master Yoda, Irritation leads to Inflammation...inflammation leads to pain...and pain leads to suffering...exercise you MUST. This is why I work those lateral rotators of the hip (...Piriformis) any chance I get.