Single Knee to Chest Stretch

Original Editor - Neha Duhan Top Contributors - Neha Duhan, Sehriban Ozmen, Kim Jackson, Daan Vandebriel and Lucinda hampton

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Stretching plays a pivotal role in any physical activity as it improves blood circulation and provides nutrients to joints. It also alleviates muscle soreness and stress.[1]

Method[edit | edit source]

Starting position: Lie on your back with a targeted leg fall off the bed. Keep your hips level and your lower back down on the floor.

Action: Bend your other knee and hug your knee towards your chest, placing hands on your leg. Then breathe deeply and hold this position for several seconds. Then, relax and lower the knee to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. [2]

The video below demonstrates how to perform the modified version of the exercise: [3]

Clinical Significance[edit | edit source]

Single knee-to-chest is part of the exercise concept developed for individuals with chronic low back pain, known as Williams flexion exercises.

The theory underlying these exercises can be explained as follows: When pressure is placed on the posterior aspect of the lumbar vertebral with extension, disc herniation can occur. This is due to increased lumbar lordosis; lumbar lordosis would decrease by limiting the pressure placed on the posterior aspect of the lumbar vertebra. The decrease in pressure would improve by improving the flexion of the vertebral disc, leading to decreased disc herniation, thus reducing the incidence of chronic low back pain. The exercises also open the intervertebral foramen to provide additional lumbar stability. [2]

Williams felt that single knee-to-chest exercise helped open the intervertebral foramen, stretched the ligaments, and distracted the apophyseal joints.

When patients perform these exercises regularly;

  • it reduces the pain,
  • improve the stability of the lower pelvis,
  • increase the range of motion.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lam OT, Strenger DM, Chan-Fee M, Pham PT, Preuss RA, Robbins SM. Effectiveness of the McKenzie method of mechanical diagnosis and therapy for treating low Back Pain: literature review with meta-analysis. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy. 2018 Jun;48(6):476-90.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dydyk AM, Sapra A. Williams Back Exercises.
  3. Collegiate Sports Medicine(Red Deer).Knee to Chest Exercise. Available from [last accessed 23/10/2020]