The Pigeon Stretch is a mobility stretch that is performed throughout Crossfit boxes and gyms. The main goal of this drill is to improve hip mobility. It can be a very effective mobility drill if it is performed correctly and is “felt” in the proper areas.
A typical Pigeon Stretch looks like so:
Photo credit: https://dutchsmilingyogi.com/rajakapotasana-pigeon-pose/
Ideally, the stretch someone should feel when performing this movement is in the back of the hip, towards the glutes.
There are athletes and clients that do not feel it in this area. Sometimes, people will feel nothing at all. Other times, people will feel a “tightness” in the front of the hip or in the hip joint itself. With this particular movement, someone should not feel a “stretch” in the front of the hip since this tissue is on slack.
Typically, the reason why someone may feel the pigeon stretch in the front of their hip is because of their bony anatomy at their hip. Most people have two hip joints. But, between people and between right and left sides, the bony anatomy can vary. One hip joint may be more shallow compared to another. There may be more bony overgrowth one side compared to another.
photo credit: themovementfix.com
If someone is trying to force their hip into the pigeon pose, they may be feeling bony compression of the acetabulum onto their femoral neck. Ideally, someone should not feel the pigeon stretch in the front of their hip. There can also be bony changes that have occurred over time, such as cam and/or pincer lesions that could be altering the joint position and where the person feels the stretch.
Photo credit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00572
Instead, there are various hip mobility drills that someone can perform to make sure they are feeling it in the correct areas.
Mobility drills such as:
Quadruped Hip ER Mobilization
Seated 90/90 Hip ER/IR
Seated 90/90 Hip ER/IR w/ Kettlebell
If you are not feeling the “Pigeon Stretch” in the back of your hip, in your glute, where you are supposed to feel it, make some modifications to your mobility program to feel it in the correct areas.
Here I will be writing and posting about topics ranging from physical therapy, injury prevention/reduction, and strength and conditioning.