Piriformis syndrome is a frustrating condition that's literally a pain in the butt for runners. This throbbing ache originates in the buttocks and often radiates down the legs and/or to the spine. The culprit is an overtaxed piriformis muscle (from running on uneven ground or having tight hamstrings, for example) that spasms and aggravates the sciatic nerve. (Search: Is piriformis syndrome normal, and how long does it last?) This routine will help keep your piriformis strong and flexible. Do the exercises three times each week, after a run.
Video: 30-second stretches for runners
Bonus Postrun Relief
After a long run or intense workout, end your stretching session by placing a tennis ball under your right sit bone. Put all of your weight on the ball and slowly rotate your hips to release the piriformis. Do this for several seconds, and then switch sides.
Sage Rountree is a USA Triathlon- and RRCA-certified coach and yoga instructor.
More: The 10 Laws of Injury Prevention
Lie on your right side with your knees bent. Rest your head on your hand or on your arm. Contract your abs and slowly open and close the top leg 20 times. Rest and repeat; switch sides.
Begin on your hands and knees. Bring the heel of your right foot in front of your left hip. Relax into this position and hold while taking 10 to 20 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
Start in a plank position. Rotate your body so that you're balancing on your right hand. Slowly, with control, lift and lower your top leg five to 10 times. Rest and switch sides.
Stand on your left leg. Rest your right foot on your left knee and do a single-leg squat. With your hands on your hips, hold this position for a few seconds. Return to start and repeat 10 times on each leg.
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