The Best Sciatic Nerve Exercises

Doing sciatic nerve exercises might be the last thing you want to think about when you have a pain in your butt!

Once your pain has lessened it’s a good idea to start doing some easy stretches and movements to help ease that sciatic nerve pain.

What exercises are best you wonder?

I will outline a variety of sciatica exercises.

You can pick and choose which work best for you.

Sciatic Nerve Relaxation Stretch or Pose:

Sciatic Nerve Relaxation Pose image

This exercise or "pose" actually helps to relax the sciatic nerve when it is flared up and giving you spasms.

Do this pose when you are in pain and before you begin the other exercises.

Lie on your back with your legs long, then bend the knee of the affected leg bringing your foot against the inside of the opposite knee.

Try to relax the muscle as you breathe keeping your hips even with the sky and your bottom flat on the floor.


Within a couple of days following a sciatic nerve attack and the pain is subsiding you can begin to do easy back and hip stretches and warm-up exercises to bring circulation and warmth back to the legs and lumbar spine.

hip stretches image

Gentle ways to relax and warm up the sciatic nerve may include walking, taking a hot shower, or lying on the floor and doing gentle stretches like the low back stretch shown above to help increase your range of movement before you do sciatic exercises.

You can do whatever feels best to you.

Watch the 5 Best Sciatic Pain Exercises

Whole Body Sciatic Nerve Exercises:

Walking is a great way to warm-up the body especially the legs helping to increase circulation. You can begin by walking just for a few minutes gradually increasing your time as your pain lessens.

Swimming is another good whole body exercise. Avoid swimming the breaststroke as it causes your back to arch and compress the lower spine.

Bicycling is one of the many non weight-bearing sciatic exercises that you may choose, and it’s great for the circulation in your legs.

Hip and Back Exercises using Pilates Techniques: Find these exercises and many more in the new Pilates ebook here!

Hip exercise image


This is a great Pilates exercise to strengthen the hamstrings and stabilize the deep pelvic floor muscles.

Caution! This exercise may or may not work for you depending on the cause of your sciatic pain.


Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent with ankles directly under the knees.

As you exhale flatten your spine into the mat and curl your tailbone up and away as you continue peeling the spine until your hips lift up off the mat.

Feel the weight in your shoulders and evenly in the feet. Breathe in at the top, then exhale as you peel your spine back down.

Start with small bridges lifting only the lower back then increase your range of motion peeling up through the ribs as comfortable. Repeat up to 10 times.

Kneeling Arm and Leg Extension:

kneeling arm and leg exercis

This is a good exercise to improve your balance by strengthening the pelvis and core muscles including your side obliques.

Kneel on your hands and knees with spine neutral (abdominal muscles pulled in) and chest high.


Inhale as you extend opposite arm and leg away from your mid-line until they are parallel with the floor then exhale as you pull them back in.

Repeat for 6-10 repetitions holding for a 2 count on the extension.

Single Leg Stretch:

Pilates single leg stretch imag

Great Pilates exercise for stretching the legs and lower back while strengthening the deep abdominal muscles.


Lie on your back with one knee pulled into your chest and the other leg extended at a 45 degree angle, the head and shoulders are lifted with the abdominal muscles supporting them.

Inhale and exhale as you switch legs repeating the sequence for 8- 10 repetitions.

Keep the head and torso very still as you just move the arms and legs only.

Side Kicks:

Good sciatic nerve exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that stabilize the hips and pelvis.

Clam Shell:

side kicks clam shell image

This hip exercise helps to strengthen the deep gluteal muscles that stabilize the pelvis and hips.

Lie on your side with knees bent, hips and shoulders aligned, and your heels squeezed together.


Keep the hips still as you open the top knee and squeeze your heels together feeling the work in the deep gluteal muscles of the buttocks. Repeat for 10 repetitions on each side.


Not all of these sciatic nerve exercises may work for you depending on the cause of your pain. Pick and choose the ones that you enjoy, don’t give you pain, and where you see the most benefits.

Long term take steps to correct what is causing your sciatic pain so it goes away for good. This may be doing things to correct or improve your posture.

Leave Sciatic Nerve Exercises and find out all the many ways Pilates exercises can benefit your hips!

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