The Right Way To Do A Butterfly Stretch

The butterfly stretch will stretch out your hip flexors, inner thighs, and groin. It's the perfect stretch for relieving any tightness in those areas, but remember to always stretch after workouts when your muscles are warm. The butterfly stretch is also a yoga pose called the butterfly pose or badhakonasana.

Here's how to get the most out of the hip-opening stretch: Start in a seated position with the bottoms of your feet together and your knees bent. Straighten your back and engage your core for good posture. Take a deep breath and allow your legs to relax, allowing your knees to fall closer to the floor. If you need help keeping your back straight, sit with your back against a wall. You can hold your ankles or feet during this stretch.

If you're not feeling the stretch yet, you can gently press your knees closer to the floor using your elbows or hands. Push toward the floor until you feel pulling in your inner thighs. If you feel any pain, bring it back so you just feel pulling. Breathe slowly and steadily while stretching — and always avoid bouncing.

Hold this stretch for up to 60 seconds. If you feel any pain or soreness the next day from the butterfly stretch, you've overdone it. Make sure to hold the stretch only as long as you can without pain (via The Art of Living, Healthline, Harvard Health Publishing, and Verywell Fit).

Butterfly stretch variations

If you're comfortable in the butterfly stretch, try bending at your hips. Take a deep breath and exhale while slowly bending forward until you feel the pulling — not pain. Keep your back straight and avoid allowing it to curve. Put your hands on the floor in front of you and try using a yoga block to rest your forehead on. It can help you relax into the stretch while having some support for your head. Hold for up to 60 seconds. 

If it's still easy for you, try moving your feet closer to your body. Move slow and steady by moving one foot at a time. You can also try placing a yoga block under your feet for a more intense stretch. If you're comfortable with the yoga block, bend at your hips to make it a little more difficult, but remember to stop if you feel any pain. You should only feel pulling. 

If you have a knee injury, groin injury, sciatica, or lower back problems, you can use a modification for this stretch. And always ask your doctor before doing a butterfly stretch if you have any injuries or back problems. If you do have back pain or injuries, your healthcare provider may recommend placing cushions under your outer thighs and moving your knees farther away from your body, but like always, stop if you have any pain (via ACE Fitness).