How to Do a Butterfly Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a butterfly stretch to improve flexibility in your inner thighs, groin, and pelvic floor, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Are your hips feeling a little tight? This is the stretch for you. The butterfly exercise loosens up your inner thighs and hips and works your pelvic floor. Bonus: You can make it as gentle or intense as you’d like by adding some pressure to your knees or just letting gravity do its work. Suggestion: Try doing this stretch in bed when you wake up in the morning. Trust us, it’s a great way to loosen up and get moving after a long night. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Butterfly Stretch?

The butterfly stretch is an exercise where you place the soles of your feet together and allow your legs to drop out to either side toward the floor — like the shape of a butterfly. 

What Muscles Does a Butterfly Stretch Work? 

The butterfly stretch primarily works your hips and inner thighs. It’s also a good move for reducing tension in your pelvic muscles. As you stretch and stabilize these areas, you may notice your back pain decrease, and that it’s easier to do things like climb stairs, and get in and out of a car.

Benefits of Butterfly Stretch

Better mobility in your hips. This can be especially helpful if you tend to sit a lot — which can cause your hip flexors to tighten up.

Less hip and low-back pain. Static stretches like the butterfly exercise that loosen the muscles around your hips have been shown to ease tightness and reduce pain in your hips and lower back. 

Improved pelvic floor function. The butterfly stretch helps relax the muscles in your pelvic floor, which may reduce tension and pelvic pain.

Butterfly Stretch: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

To do a butterfly stretch:

  • On a yoga mat, lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor. 

  • Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall comfortably out to your sides and towards the floor. Focus on breathing slowly as you hold this position. 

  • Return to the starting position.

  • As you do this exercise, you might feel a gentle stretch in your groin area and inner thigh muscles. 

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

To make a butterfly stretch easier:  

  • Place pillows on either side of your legs to support the weight of your knees as they stretch out to your sides. 

To make a butterfly stretch harder: 

  • Start by sitting on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to your sides and toward the floor. For more of a stretch, add some gentle pressure with your hands to move your knees further toward the floor as you hold the stretch.   

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Konrad, A., et al. (2021). The Influence of Stretching the Hip Flexor Muscles on Performance Parameters. A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 4, p. 1936. doi:10.3390/ijerph18041936

  2. Boukabache, A., et al. (2021). Prolonged Sitting and Physical Inactivity Are Associated with Limited Hip Extension: A Cross-Sectional Study. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, vol. 51, p. 102282. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2020.102282

  3. Hatefi, M., et al. (2021). The Effect of Static Stretching Exercises on Hip Range of Motion, Pain, and Disability in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain. Journal of Experimental Orthopaedics, vol. 8, no. 1. doi:10.1186/s40634-021-00371-w

How to Do a Butterfly Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a butterfly stretch to improve flexibility in your inner thighs, groin, and pelvic floor, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Jan 3, 2024

Are your hips feeling a little tight? This is the stretch for you. The butterfly exercise loosens up your inner thighs and hips and works your pelvic floor. Bonus: You can make it as gentle or intense as you’d like by adding some pressure to your knees or just letting gravity do its work. Suggestion: Try doing this stretch in bed when you wake up in the morning. Trust us, it’s a great way to loosen up and get moving after a long night. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Butterfly Stretch?

The butterfly stretch is an exercise where you place the soles of your feet together and allow your legs to drop out to either side toward the floor — like the shape of a butterfly. 

What Muscles Does a Butterfly Stretch Work? 

The butterfly stretch primarily works your hips and inner thighs. It’s also a good move for reducing tension in your pelvic muscles. As you stretch and stabilize these areas, you may notice your back pain decrease, and that it’s easier to do things like climb stairs, and get in and out of a car.

Benefits of Butterfly Stretch

Better mobility in your hips. This can be especially helpful if you tend to sit a lot — which can cause your hip flexors to tighten up.

Less hip and low-back pain. Static stretches like the butterfly exercise that loosen the muscles around your hips have been shown to ease tightness and reduce pain in your hips and lower back. 

Improved pelvic floor function. The butterfly stretch helps relax the muscles in your pelvic floor, which may reduce tension and pelvic pain.

Butterfly Stretch: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly Stretch

To do a butterfly stretch:

  • On a yoga mat, lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor. 

  • Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall comfortably out to your sides and towards the floor. Focus on breathing slowly as you hold this position. 

  • Return to the starting position.

  • As you do this exercise, you might feel a gentle stretch in your groin area and inner thigh muscles. 

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Tap into pain relief. Anytime, anywhere with our app.

Get exercises from a licensed physical therapist and more to relieve your pain. All right from your phone. At $0 cost to you.
Start your app tour

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

Butterfly Stretch Modifications

To make a butterfly stretch easier:  

  • Place pillows on either side of your legs to support the weight of your knees as they stretch out to your sides. 

To make a butterfly stretch harder: 

  • Start by sitting on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to your sides and toward the floor. For more of a stretch, add some gentle pressure with your hands to move your knees further toward the floor as you hold the stretch.   

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

Looking for pain relief? Check if your employer or health plan covers our program

Hinge Health is available to over 1,600 companies and benefit plans!

References

  1. Konrad, A., et al. (2021). The Influence of Stretching the Hip Flexor Muscles on Performance Parameters. A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 4, p. 1936. doi:10.3390/ijerph18041936

  2. Boukabache, A., et al. (2021). Prolonged Sitting and Physical Inactivity Are Associated with Limited Hip Extension: A Cross-Sectional Study. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, vol. 51, p. 102282. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2020.102282

  3. Hatefi, M., et al. (2021). The Effect of Static Stretching Exercises on Hip Range of Motion, Pain, and Disability in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain. Journal of Experimental Orthopaedics, vol. 8, no. 1. doi:10.1186/s40634-021-00371-w