Glute Stretches

| July 30, 2013 | Reply

Having strong glutes is vital for the proper and untroubled movement of your whole body whereas it plays a major role in avoiding injuries and alleviating from painful conditions. Unfortunately, stretching that specific body area is often neglected – even by those who engage into intense cardiovascular workouts (and naturally make great use of the gluteal muscles) or those who have a typical office work –, and that tends to put increased tension on those muscles and ultimately cause atrophy. So, here are some facts on glute stretches.

gluteal muscles

Gluteal muscles

The Area

Anatomically, the gluteus muscles are considered among the most powerful muscles of your body. More specifically, they consist of three muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus) which are located, in sets of two, at both sides of your buttocks and are in charge of controlling a wide range of movements of the upper leg, such as rotation and extension of the thigh as well as abduction and rotation of the hip; characteristically, gluteus muscles enable your body to get up from a sitting position.

Glute Stretching Exercises

Here is a bunch of some relatively simple glute stretch exercises – notice that you should carefully our guide on stretching before trying any of them! The photos below will also help you better understand the stretches presented below!

  • A simple passive/static stretch! Find a flight of steps and position one foot on top of the second step; next, push the other leg backwards while moderately flexing your knee while keeping your back straight; by doing so, you will sense a pull in your glutes; stop it there and hold it; repeat with the other leg (photo 1).
  • Let’s have a look at the Pretzel Stretch. Assume a lying position on the floor; keeping your feet on the floor, bend your knees; now, lift one leg and put its ankle behind the thigh of the other leg while grabbing the back of the thigh of the floor leg with your hands; pull that leg towards your chest (passive stretch), and you will feel the stretch, holding it there (static stretch); repeat with the other leg (photo 2).
  • A good static stretch involves lying down on the floor with your legs extended; now, bend your left leg and place its heel outside and above the right knee; then, slightly sit up your torso and from the right side, lifting your arm and placing the outside of its upper part on the outside of your left knee; in that position, you will feel a slight pull in your left gluteus, which you hold there; repeat with the other leg and arm (photo 4). Another variation of this stretch is shown on photo 5.
  • A more dynamic approach: start again by lying down on the floor with your arms on the side of your body, placing your heels in close proximity to your glutes; now, raise your left leg above the ground and extend it in the air; then, push your hips up with the help of the right heel, contracting the hamstrings and glutes of that leg; hold that position momentarily and gently but swiftly go back to the initial position; do 10-15 repetitions for the same leg and then another set for the other leg.
  • A few yoga stretches can also stretch your glutes pretty efficiently! Pigeon stretch (photo 6)  is a typical yoga pose that is ideal for stretching glutes!

Generally, hold your stretches for about 30-45 seconds, performing 2-3 sets for each leg. As it  happens with every body are you can apply different forms of each stretch, on your own or by means of a partner.. for example a trainer can help you perform the Pretzel stretch if you find it difficul to apply it on your own (photo 3). If you are not aware of the different stretching types, you should read this.

Benefits

Habitual glute stretching can reward you in every aspect:

  • It increases your suppleness
  • It delays fatigue on your gluteus muscles
  • It significantly decreases the risk of an accidental injury on the knees or ankles, especially for those who practice cardiovascular activities (i.e. running/jogging) or martial arts; in fact, stretching your glutes before and after your work-out routine is the ideal way of inhibiting the stiffness which naturally arises in that area after long and intense running or exercising programs
  • It speeds up the recovery after work-out thanks to the increased blood flow to the muscles
  • It fights pain coming from pulled glutes which is frequently sensed not only in that area but also in the back; actually, research has proven that stiffened gluteus muscles and hamstrings are typically associated with lower back pain and back problems, since tight glutes leave all the load to the lower back muscles; that particular stretching benefit becomes of even greater importance for women in pregnancy, who have to deal with extra weight in the front of their body along with hormonal changes; therefore, performing glute stretches contributes to the reduced pressure experienced on the back and the knees
  • It has a beneficial affect on your alignment and posture
  • It can delay symptoms of immobility which emerge with aging

What To Consider

As you may have noticed by the above described examples, stretching your glutes is a bit complicated venture! So, keep the following in mind before carrying them out.

  • Perform a detailed warm-up of your lower body
  • Don’t forget that mild tension to your gluteus is what you are pursuing!
  • Due to the complexity of the movements involved, you may sense pain which you shouldn’t ignore; on the contrary, stop and repeat without exceeding your limits, and if the pain insists, move to another exercise or even abort your program
  • Since active and passive stretching are common ways of performing those exercises, make sure you contract the opposite muscles in a regulated manner

As a general piece of advice, consult a physiotherapist or a trainer before implementing a glute stretching routine. And never forget our stretching guide!

Photos & Videos

In order for a better understanding of the aforementioned, we gathered a few glute stretching photos as well as a helpful video:

Flying Stretch

Photo 1 – Flying Stretch

pretzel stretch

Photo 2 – Pretzel stretch

passive glute stretch

Photo 3 – Passive variation of Pretzel Stretch

Lying Stretch

Photo 4 – Lying Stretch

lying glute stretch

Photo 5 – Another variation of the Lying stretch of Photo 4

pigeon pose

Photo 6 – Pigeon Pose

Our Opinion

Glute stretch is an excellent way of fortifying your muscles and impeding their tendency for stiffness or atrophy whereas preventing from the overuse of other muscle groups. So, either you live a calm or you enjoy a more athletic lifestyle, don’t forget to frequently stretch that important set of muscles!

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Category: Stretching specific Body Areas

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