Hip serie for piriformis and hip pain [VIDEO]

Piriformis syndrome is such a tricky and frustrating chronic condition.  It has been my experience that doing too little or too much can get you back to square one. I am sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I am excited to share a quick exercise series that will help you alleviate piriformis and hip pain.

When you are in the middle of a pain episode (which can last up to a month in some cases), you may feel that you are not doing enough stretching… and so you stretch more.  I have always been guilty of being a chronic “stretcher”. I literally stretched everywhere, every 20 minutes.  I certainly overdid it to the point where my hips felt even more unstable, the tightness was constant despite the stretching and piriformis spasms intensified.


To be honest with you, I only started feeling better when I reduced stretching and focus more on strengthening.  NOW, I am not suggesting you don’t stretch and this is totally my personal experience – we all deal with illness differently. However, doesn’t strengthening what is weak (glutes) and stretching what is tight (hips) make more sense?


If you are sitting all day long, it is very (very) likely that your glutes and core are getting weaker.  Imagine stretching something that is already long and weak. I always like to imagine what I’m doing to my muscles as it strengthens my mind-body connection, and that is key to being in tune with your body.

When  your glute muscles are weak (including the piriformis muscle), your pelvic girdle loses it’s stability. As one muscle compensates for the others that are not strong enough, you start overloading that particular muscle (piriformis) and it starts spasming.

In this post, I want to share with my most favorite exercise series that I used to do every day to strengthen and activate my hip muscles. I am sure you will feel much more stable at the pelvic level which should alleviate the pain.

PLEASE NOTE, if you are experiencing intense spasms, it is advised not to complete this serie.  Let your body rest and consult your physician. Once the pain starts subsiding, you can start with 1-3 exercises from this series and move up from there.


I normally do one round with minimum to no rest, and I repeat on the other hip then another repetition for each hips (R/L then R/L)

FORM: when you lay on your side. Make sure you are not rotating your hips forward or backwards. I use a wall to help me stay in one straight line. I also put my hand on my top hip to help me feel if I am rotating to either sides. Focus on keeping your abdominal muscles engaged throughout each movement, which will help you stay stable.

Series breakdown:

complete as many reps as you can within the range below. Keep track of how many you were able to complete with proper form.

Side leg raises: 10 reps.

Side bicycle: 8 to 10 reps.

Big side leg raises: 10 reps

Hip circles: 8 reps clockwise, and 8 counter-clockwise.

Side kicks: 10 reps


I personally do two rounds every morning. I also do one round before a lower body workout. Activating your glute muscles before a leg workout is super important.  You will notice that as you do the exercises with proper form, the more difficult they will feel.  There is a huge difference between being mindful doing every repetition, and just doing an exercise for the sake of doing it.

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  • Great recommends! I will use these on the daily…since I find I have more time in the evening, I will use these then. I wish I had time in the mornings…maybe this means I need to just get up 15 minutes earlier to incorporate these into my daily regimen…Thanks Sofia! Be well.

    • Yes Heather, it really doesn’t matter when you do them they don’t take more than 5 minutes. They are also great before working out the lower body as they activate your hip muscles 🙂 and getting up few minutes earlier is what I’ve done for two years. There is not enough time in the day otherwise.

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