How to Do a Butterfly Stretch

The butterfly stretch is one of the simplest stretches, and works on your inner thighs, hips, and groin. It can improve your flexibility for a variety of motion sports, including cheerleading, gymnastics, tumbling, and ballet, and is a good exercise for cooling down after a workout. Best of all, the butterfly stretch is very easy to do.


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    Exercise. The butterfly stretch is useful as a cooling down stretch. Before doing it, you will want to have done at least five to ten minutes of light to moderate cardio activity, such as walking or cycling. Stretches like this before you are warmed up can result in an injury.
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    Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Keep your legs in front, and sit up straight to elongate your spine.
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    Bring the soles of your feet together. Your knees should bend and point outward. It may be easier to bring one in first, then the other to meet it. Make sure you are sitting upright, with your head above your spine.[1]
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    Bring your heels as close to your body as you can. Hold on to your ankles and pull your feet towards your pelvis. Get as close as possible, but don't force the position beyond your comfort.
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    Lean forward. Make sure your back stays straight. You can use your elbows to push gently on your thighs for a deeper stretch.[2]
    • If you are a beginner, you don't need to lean too far, just enough to feel the stretch. As you get more comfortable doing it, you may be able to lean further forward.
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    Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Stay still in this pose, and don't bounce up and down, even slightly. If you start to feel pain, especially in your knees, stop the stretch.
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    Relax and repeat the stretch. To really make this effective, you will want to repeat the stretch. Hold the position for 30 seconds two to four times, depending on your tightness, flexibility, and comfort.[3]


  • Stretching should not hurt. It is meant to help you warm up or cool down around a workout. If you feel pain while stretching, stop.
  • Be careful to avoid overstretching. Stretching further than you are able, or for too long, can lead to muscle pulls and tears.

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Categories: Yoga