In this photo I am relaxed and standing on one leg. I am not pushing or holding my knee down. I should have taken the picture without my hand resting on my knee, but I didn't. This position does not cause me any pain and it is not difficult for me.

enter image description here

This is the exact same position on the other side. On this side the position is mildly painful at rest. It hurts to push my knee down. I cannot push more than a couple inches. When I do it does not feel like a tendon or muscle stretch. It feels like I'm trying to make my leg move in a way that its not designed to move. Standing in this position for a minute made my leg tingle and start to go numb. Or maybe just because I tried pushing my knee down. Its hard to explain how it feels, but its not "stretching". It doesn't feel like any other stretches, including the same position on the other side.

enter image description here

Does this indicate a problem beyond asymmetrical muscle development and flexibility?

When I do the figure four stretch I definitely do have tight glutes on that side, which I've started working on. However, It doesn't feel like that alone could account for this level of asymmetry. Or is this amount of imbalance common?

What other muscles in the kinetic chain do you recommend I focus on and do you have any specific stretches to recommend?

A month ago I couldn't touch the floor. With regular stretching I can now touch and hold my palms to the floor, so I don't think its my hamstrings or calves. I also did a hip flexor test I found online and it was no problem for me, for whatever that's worth.

I have not found any other stretches where I'm notably asymmetrical. With that said, I don't really know what I'm doing, so don't assume I do.

Thanks in advance for your help!

  • The question of "why" this is the case can't really be answered here, as we are unable to diagnose your issues. But if you rephrase it to "what are some common causes for...", then it's more on-topic for the site. Either way, only a doctor or a physical therapist can truly judge your particular case.
    – Alec
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 8:00
  • @Alec Title updated.
    – Kirkland
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 8:33
  • Just curious, do you sit on your wallet at all?
    – C. Lange
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 17:03
  • @C.Lange No. Many years ago I ditched the traditional wallet and instead carry only the insert with a couple cards (debit, credit, driver license, etc) in my front pocket. However, I do have a very sedentary job.
    – Kirkland
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 21:11
  • 2
    @C.Lange "Cross-legged" as in knee over knee? Rarely. But now that you mention it, sitting with an ankle on your opposing knee (as people often do) is a sitting figure four position. Is that what you meant? When I do that (casually, not meaning to stretch) I always do the easy / flexible side. Again, not often (I don't think), but I do. I hadn't thought of that. Maybe the asymmetry is just from years of inadvertently only stretching one side combined with a very sedentary occupation and bad sitting posture. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!
    – Kirkland
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


The issue seems to be that you've got varied flexibility between the two sides of your hips. I'm not certain if one is more flexible than the other or if one is more inflexible than the other but it doesn't quite matter.

From personal experience, I can think of two things that inadvertently have affected my hips:

  1. Sitting on a thick brick of a wallet.
  2. Sitting with the leg crossed (ankle-on-knee).

Cross-legged sitting position.

But now that you mention it, sitting with an ankle on your opposing knee (as people often do) is a sitting figure four position. Is that what you meant? When I do that (casually, not meaning to stretch) I always do the easy/flexible side.

Even if I try it right now, I have a "favourite" leg-up-side and this side is more flexible for me as well. This is probably some flexibility that you've developed inadvertently over the years of sitting the same way. Similar to how your right arm might be stronger just by being right-handed.

This doesn't really indicate a problem beyond asymmetry unless it causes you pain beyond simple stretching. You could probably solve this the same way, make a conscious effort to sit with your opposite leg on your knee or continue with your regular figure four stretches and I bet that you'll develop the symmetrical flexibility you're looking for.

  • I definitely think you may be right. This affirms my suspicions by providing some clarity for the contributing factors. If no one jumps in over the next day or so with any other competing insights I'll accept this answer. Thanks again!
    – Kirkland
    Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 22:57

Your hip internal rotators may be tight and weaker compared to your external rotators. Hence, the imbalance.

I’ll stretch the hip internal rotators and strengthen my hip external rotators (glute max).

You can do exercises which encourage hip external rotation like putting a band around your knee while squatting.

Something interesting I learned is that inability to touch the floor may not always be associated with tight hamstrings. It can be where our body “bends” from. When we bend forward to touch the floor, ideally, we will want to bend from the hips. For that to happen, our glutes need to be strong to “anchor” us. If not, the movement will happen higher up the chain and that will often be our lower back. No matter how flexible we are, if you bend from the lower back, you won’t be touching the floor.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.