Pilates Exercise of the Month: Sciatic Stretch

Image of Exercise
Image of Exercise


To stretch the sciatic nerve

Starting Position

Lie supine on the floor with both knees bent.  Bend the right knee in towards the chest and place a stretch band behind the foot.  The band is held in the opposite hand to the foot (i.e. left hand).  Extend the right leg away from the body until the leg is as straight as possible.  Bring the leg towards the chest (hamstring stretch) as far as a neutral pelvis allows


Inhale - to prepare

Exhale - Guide the right leg across the body towards the left side, using the band to pull it gently over to the opposite side.  Simultaneously bring the left bent knee also towards the opposite right side, ensuring that the foot stays on the floor.  Effectively the legs criss cross eah other.

There are 2 actions for the straight leg here: the leg comes towards the chest: the leg comes across the body.  Use the right hand to press down on the right hip so that it does not lift away from the floor as the leg comes across the body.

Target Muscles

Sciatic nerve, hamstrings


  • Ensure that the hip and buttock of the straight leg stays on the floor to prevent them from lifting
  • Keep the waist long and equal on both sides to avoid hip hitching
  • Keep the foot flexed to ensure a nerve stretch
  • The knee must be as straight as possible to gain maximum benefit from the stretch
  • A nerve stretch can often be unpleasant so be careful not to go too far and overstretch
  • Ensure the spine stays in neutral with the head on the floor
  • Keep the neck long

Contra Indictions

More Exercises... 1 - 20 of 61
Glass Table

To work the abductors whilst maintaining length in the waist and pelvic stability

More info about Glass Table

To work the abdominals and move sequentially through the spine with control

More info about Teaser
The Spine Twist

  To strengthen the core and oblique abdominals, whilst maintaining a neutral spine with good posture and good use of scapula stability

More info about The Spine Twist
The Boomerang

  To work the abdominals and achieve segmental control of the spine and to stretch the back

More info about The Boomerang
Chalk circles

  To learn how to rotate and stretch the thoracic spine, whilst maintaining a neutral lumbar spine.  To open out the chest and shoulders.

More info about Chalk circles
Legs in straps on the Reformer

  To prepare the body and mind for the more challenging work later on when the feet are in the straps.  To reinforce the powerhouse connection.

Prone Frogs

  To work in turn out, whist strengthening the gluteals and to maintain scapula stability

More info about Prone Frogs
The Eagle

  This exercise strengthens the mid back muscles and scapula stabilisers.  The lats are much more involved in this version.

More info about The Eagle
Quadricep Lean Backs with Pelvic Rock

  To work the quadriceps


  To open the chest and shoulder muscles and learn good workings of the scapula stabilising muscles


  To work the abdominals whilst maintaining scapula and pelvic stability


  To work the oblique abdominals whilst achieving segmental control of the spine

More info about AROUND THE GLOBE
Legs in straps

  To prepare the body and mind for the more challenging work later on when the feet are in the straps.  To reinforce the powerhouse connection.

More info about Legs in straps

  To maintain a strong bridge position with neutral pelvis and also maintain an equal height in the pelvis whilst the feet push the roller forwards and backwards


 To work the core abdominals, whilst maintaining lumbar and scapula stability.  To challenge balance and co-ordination

More info about SINGLE LEG DOGGIES
Side lying obliques

  This exercise strengthens and stretches the oblique abdominals and lateral flexors

More info about Side lying obliques
Hip Circles

  This is a challenging exercise for the core abdominals to maintain pelvic stability

More info about Hip Circles

  To work the abdominals whilst maintaining a neutral pelvis

The Scale

  To work the abdominals and stretch the hamstrings, whilst hinging from the waist

More info about The Scale

  To strengthen the upper body whilst maintaining scapula stability

More info about Dolphins
1 - 20 of 61
Photo of Matwork product
Over one hundred pages of exercises are contained in this comprehensive manual designed specifically...
Photo of Reformer product
One hundred pages of exercises are contained in this comprehensive manual designed specifically for ...
Photo of Power Ring product
Power Ring
The Ring is particularly effective in helping to reinforce and focus on the Powerhouse connection.  ...
Photo of Stretch Band product
Stretch Band
The Band is a simple, cheap and effective piece of equipment for anybody and its easily transportabl...
Photo of Small Ball Workout product
Small Ball Workout
Inject fun, variety and challenge into your matwork sessions by adding the small Pilates soft ball i...
Photo of Gymnastics Ball Workout product
Gymnastics Ball Workout
The Gymnastic ball is a versatile piece of equipment which will add variety and challenge to your wo...
Photo of Foam Roller Challenge product
Foam Roller Challenge
The foam roller is a great tool to learn control and balance.  This manual covers basic and intermed...

Register now to get listed in our Pilates Instructor Directory and gain access to special offers!

register now
Your Account
Your Basket
  • Items: (0)
  • Total: £0.00
Edit Basket
Instructor of the month
Pilates Promotions
Pilates exercise of the month