The pigeon stretch is a highly utilized mobility drill. And for good reason. It is a great “catch-all” of both the anterior and posterior chain muscle groups that can be easily transitioned into prerequisite movements such as the back, front, and overhead squat, as well as the more dynamic and progressive olympic lifts.
Unfortunately, many coaches and athletes miss the opportunity to set their clients or themselves up for success with the stretch. Too often we see an overly-tight person (middle aged male) trying to ram the body into position at the expense of ligament and capsule integrity. Much the same, we see Miss Yoga Queen USA throwing the body into excessive, destabilized, and non-transitional positions.
- Get as Realistic (squat-like) as Possible – Don’t hang out with the knee off the ground and don’t let the low back round or totally destabilize
- Mobilize – That means move around to clear out tight areas. Don’t go crazy but some variance of position can increase range of motion, decrease tissue damage, and identify tissue that needs more attention
- Don’t forget the Setup – Lead foot, trail hip, and trail foot should be in alignment as well as the femoral heads being aligned closely to the torso. Doing so will ensure and realistic and transitional setup.
We respect that both ends of the spectrum are trying to do the right thing with this exercise, but we thought it important to go through the setup and variations of this exercise to ensure that mobility time is not only well spent, but naturally sequences into better movements.
Enjoy and Keep Moving