Try this Simple Sartorius Stretch
To achieve a sartorius muscle stretch, find a position that combines the movements of hip extension, internal rotation and adduction. In a seated position turn your thigh inwards, pushing your hips forward, and pressing your knee to the ground.
The sartorius stretch featured in the video above combines these three movements to target the sartorius muscle brilliantly.
Usually when we think about the muscles of the anterior thigh, we immediately think about the quadriceps muscles (vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and rectus femoris). It is important however that we don’t neglect the sartorius muscle.
Much like the rectus femoris muscle, the sartorius muscle of the thigh crosses both the hip and the knee. However, unlike rectus femoris, the sartorius muscle contracts to create external rotation, abduction and flexion of the hip.
Therefore to stretch the sartorius muscle we need to find a position that combines internal rotation, adduction and extension of this hip.
Why Does the Sartorius Muscle Get Tight?
As with many other soft tissues, the sartorius muscle can become tight either as a result of an acute muscle tear or through overuse, or perhaps due to long periods spent in a specific position.
If you spend a long time sitting in a cross-legged position, or in the car in a driving position where were your knees are wide apart (knees either side of the steering wheel), your body will adapt to the time spent in combined hip flexion, abduction and external rotation. This may result in you developing tightness in the sartorius muscle, as it gets used to being held in a shortened position.
In the case of recovery from acute injury to sartorius, or overuse of the muscle, it’s important not just to stretch the tissue but also to strengthen sartorius.
How to Strengthen the Sartorius Muscle
There are a number of exercises you can use to effectively strengthen the sartorius muscle.
For more info about strengthening sartorius, visit our accompanying article:
Here are a couple for you to get started with…
Providing the step is high enough (I usually recommend just below knee height), placing the foot in the crossover step-up position forces you to combine hip flexion with external rotation, which really targets sartorius.
Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps, alternating sides throughout.
Lateral Band Walks
These lateral band walks or “crab walks” are great for strengthening the abductors and external rotators of this hip, including the sartorius muscle, as you work against the resistance of the band.
Aim for 3 sets of 1-minute stepping, alternating sides throughout.