Quadratus Femoris Stretch: Standing Pigeon

quadratus femoris stretchquadratus femoris stretch

A quadratus femoris stretch can be found in yoga poses such as baddha konasana, janu sirsasana and eka pada rajakapotasana (pigeon). The quadratus femoris like its name implies is a quadrilateral muscle located at the back of the hip joint connecting the ischium of the pelvis to the back of the femur head. It is an external rotator and adductor of the leg while also stabilizing the femur in the hip socket. I have written before about quadrate muscles as stabilizers and the importance of quadratus femoris and quadratus lumborum in connecting the legs to the pelvis and ribcage.

Any quadratus femoris stretch will also work the piriformis muscle to which I attach the utmost importance due to it being one of only two muscles connecting the legs to the spine (along with the psoas major). All of the postural issues that lead to a tight piriformis—tucked pelvis, turned out feet, etc.—apply to quadratus femoris as well.

As much as I love the poses I mentioned at the top, today I will highlight another favorite shape that is a quadratus femoris stretch, what I call:


quadratus femoris stretch      quadratus femoris stretch

  • Stand with the feet hip distance apart and parallel.
  • Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Flex the right foot to the best of your ability.
  • Bend the left knee and begin to squat. Think about lowering down backwards more than leaning forward sticking the butt out.
  • Don’t let the left knee move past the toes.
  • If you can bring the forearms onto the right shin, place them there and hold.
  • Ideally the right shin is parallel to both the front of your mat and the floor.
  • Breath.
  • Change sides.

This pose is both a deep quadratus femoris stretch and a precursor to the more advanced arm balance Eka Pada Galavasana, or Flying Crow. There is so much I like about Standing Pigeon beyond the quadratus femoris stretch though that is awesome. The standing balance piece is excellent as well as the butt and hamstring work that is accomplished when standing up with proper alignment.

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Scapular Rotation: Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen