Resistance Band Exercises for Piriformis Syndrome

Woman doing exercises with a resistance band
Image Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Piriformis syndrome can happen when your sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle. Piriformis is located in your buttocks, deep under your gluteus maximus muscle. The sciatic nerve goes directly under and even through the piriformis muscle, and thus tightness in your piriformis can lead to pinching of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms of the syndrome include pain in your buttocks and hips or radiating pain felt in the back, thigh, calf and foot. You can help relieve the condition with resistance band exercises that help stretch the piriformis muscle.


Step 1

Do a bridge exercise. Wrap a resistance band around your thighs. If you do not have a circular band, tie the ends of your band together to make a loop. Lie on your back with knees bent, and place your feet hip-width apart. The elastic band should be tight and provide resistance to your thigh and buttocks muscles. Tighten the muscles in your abs and buttocks and hold throughout the movement. Push your hips and back up from the floor without arching your back. Hold for five seconds and then slowly lower your spine back down on the floor. Repeat for 20 times and do total of three sets.


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Step 2

Lie on the floor on your side and do a clam exercise using a looped band. Place the elastic band around your thighs. Keep your legs together, bend your knees and tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks. Slowly raise the knee of your top leg upward, while keeping your ankles and feet together. Hold for five seconds and lower. Repeat for 10 to 20 times and switch to opposite side.

Step 3

Perform a lateral step using a looped resistance band. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bend and the band placed around your thighs. Take a step to the right with your right leg, while keeping your knees bend. Return your right leg back to the original position and repeat with the left leg. Perform 10 repetitions to each side and do total of three sets.


Step 4

Squat with a looped resistance band around your thighs. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart so that the resistance band is tight. Squat down by pushing your buttocks backward and bending your knees. Hold for five to 10 seconds and slowly return to the staring position. Repeat 15 to 20 times.


A case study published in the "Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy" suggests improving the strength of your gluteus maximus muscle to reduce the demand on your piriformis muscle.

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