Strengthening the muscles that connect to the sacrum and hip bones including those in the groin, thighs, abdomen, and lower back can help decrease pain, improve mobility, and restore function in the sacroiliac (SI joints).

Common strengthening exercises for sacroiliac joint pain include:

Lying Hip Adduction

To perform the hip adduction exercise, begin by lying on the back on a comfortable surface with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

  • Place a medium rubber exercise ball (about the size of a dodgeball) between the knees.
  • Squeeze the ball with both knees for 5 seconds, and then release.

Repeat this exercise 10 times to strengthen the hip adductors and lower abdominal muscles.


Lying Hip Abduction (Resistance Band)

To perform the lying hip abduction exercise with a resistance band, begin by lying on the back on a comfortable surface with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

  • Place a resistance band around the thighs, just above the knees, and engage the core and buttock muscles.
  • Bend the knees with feet slightly apart and gently pull the legs open, as tolerated, to create tension in the band.

Aim to complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Adjust the resistance by using a different band or moving it higher up the thighs.

Bridge Pose

To perform the bridge pose, begin by lying on the back with both legs straightened out and flat on the ground.

  • Slowly bend both knees while keeping feet flat on the ground, and toes pointed straight forward.
  • Lay the arms flat on the side of the body with palms facing down.
  • Inhale, slowly raise the hips while engaging the abdominal and buttock muscles.
  • Lift the hips as high as possible, without pain, to make a straight line from the shoulder to the knee.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release.

Begin holding the bridge pose for 1-2 breaths initially and slowly work up to 5-10 breaths. Aim to complete one set of three poses daily.

Triangle Pose

To perform the triangle pose, begin in a standing position with feet about 3 to 4 feet apart, the left foot turned out 90˚, and arms stretched out horizontally.

  • Take a deep breath and as you exhale, bend your upper body sideways toward your left side until your hand rests on your left shin bone and your right hand is extended upwards with the fingers pointing to the ceiling.
  • Ensure that your hips are facing forward and not rotated.
  • Pull the shoulder blades back and lengthen the spine.
  • If resting the hand on the shin is difficult. Place one or two yoga blocks near the left foot and place your hand on the yoga block.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds while taking steady, deep breaths, and repeat on the opposite side. Aim to complete one set of three stretches on each side.


Bird-Dog Pose

To perform the bird-dog pose, start by getting on all fours with arms and legs shoulder-width apart in the quadruped position.

  • Extend the right leg outward with a straight back and toes pointing away from the body.
  • Simultaneously, extend the left arm out in front of the body.
  • Hold the stretch for 5 seconds initially and slowly work up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Aim to complete one set of three stretches on each side.

Additionally, strengthening exercises, such as squats or lunges, can help strengthen the buttocks and thigh muscles, which play important roles in supporting the pelvis and SI joints.

Other SI Joint strengthening exercises may be recommended by a doctor, physical therapist, or other licensed health professional.

Darren Riccio is a licensed physical therapist who has been working in the fields of physical therapy and rehabilitation and fitness since 1995. He is also certified in Maitland orthopedic manual therapy techniques, Olympic weight lifting, sports performance coaching, as a running coach, and fitness training.