We’re talking stretching today baby! Did you even know how important it is to stretch your glutes? I bet you didn’t.
Well the answer is that it’s super important! In this post you’ll find out why it’s especially important to stretch the glutes, how to do it effectively, and some of my recommended best stretches for glutes that I just love. I hope you will love them just as much!
Let’s face it, it’s not the most intuitive thing in the world, knowing how to stretch your gluteal muscles. Stick around though, and I’ll show you how with some of my favorite glute stretches that I have found to be the best for targeting this area.
Do You Really Need To Stretch?
I’m definitely one of the guilty ones when it comes to thinking that I don’t need to stretch (hey.. I’ve gotten away with it with no consequences thus far, right?).
But the more I’ve researched into it, here’s what I’ve found:
Although you can sometimes get away with not stretching – and many people do – you are missing out on a whole lot of benefits if you don’t stretch your muscles.
The benefits of stretching are well documented and can range from:
- Reducing post-workout muscle soreness (DOMS anyone?)
- Keeping your muscles working effectively
- Decreasing the risk of injury
- Improved flexibility, joint range of motion, and athletic performance
- And even just feeling good/relaxing
Why You Should Especially Stretch Your Buttocks and Glutes
When it comes to the glutes, stretching becomes even more important.
Not only are the glutes one of the largest muscles in your body, but they play a crucial role in your pelvic alignment and overall body posture.
They are also notoriously one of the most muscles likely to be inactive, underused, and/or tight (blame the modern sedentary lifestyle).
Problems with the glutes (usually caused by them becoming weak from disuse) can manifest in all sorts of ways you wouldn’t even think of – like weak knees, incorrect alignment, muscle imbalances, sciatica/piriformis syndrome, back pain, poor posture and even hip and leg pain.
And in typical human form, we usually only start to pay attention when either pain becomes unbearable or we suddenly realize we are struggling to perform a simple action like getting up out of our seat.
Stretching is one way to help keep the gluteal muscles in good condition. Plus, if you’re trying to grow a bigger butt through exercise, you’ll definitely want to stretch as stretching goes hand in hand with muscle hypertrophy.
It can also help to establish more of a mind-muscle connection with your glute muscles, which can help address inactive glutes.
I trust that you don’t need any more convincing that it’s a good idea to try and incorporate some of these stretches into your routine to keep problems at bay.
How To Stretch Your Glutes
Stretching the glutes is fairly easy – and can even become a relaxing wind-down routine that you might look forward to.
The number one reason why people don’t stretch is that they can’t find the time.
But stretching doesn’t have to take ages, or be some complicated affair.
You’ll get the most benefit for stretching for longer, but if you’re strapped for time, even short stretches held for 10-30 seconds can be of benefit.
Also, most people may find that once they start, it actually feels pretty good, so you’ll tend to spend longer than you initially thought.
Static stretching (where you assume a still position as opposed to pulsing or bouncing) is recommended by the majority of professionals.
Basically, when you stretch, you want to do follow this formula:
- Assume the initial position for the stretch and gently move your body deeper into the stretch so that you can feel a stretch in the target muscle.
- When you reach a point of discomfort, stop and hold, while trying to relax the muscle. You are basically waiting here for the muscle to ‘relax’ until the feeling of discomfort lessens.
- At this point, you can move yourself slightly deeper into the stretch, and repeat step 2.
It’s fine to stay at step 2, if you find that the muscle doesn’t want to allow you to move deeper into the stretch. Don’t worry, you’re still getting all the benefits. Never force anything.
Remember, stretching is not about pushing, it’s about letting go!
The longer you stretch for, the more benefits you’ll see. But consistency is also key, so be sure to stretch regularly.
When stretching, to avoid injury and for the most effectiveness, follow these points:
1. Don’t Force Anything
This means you should use a gentle force or pull to get yourself into a position where you feel the stretch in the target muscle, but don’t force yourself further than this by bouncing or pulsing – this is more likely to cause more harm than good.
2. Avoid Pain
Never try to stretch so deeply or aggressively that you are in pain.
When stretching, you should be able to ‘feel’ the muscle being pulled (and maybe even a little discomfort), but if this sensation escalates to the point where it starts to hurt, then you’re going too far and this is not what stretching is about.
3. Maintain Good Form
Make sure you are stretching the right muscle by maintaining good form.
For some stretches, it can be easy to change the stretch to a different muscle simply by changing your positioning or even shifting just a few degrees.
Pay attention to the feedback your body is giving you to ensure that your stretch is properly targeting the desired muscle.
Best Stretches For Glutes
1. Figure 4 Stretch / Pretzel Stretch
Also called a piriformis stretch (as it gives a very good stretch to the piriformus muscle), this has got to be one of your staple glute stretches.
There are a few variations, you can either do it lying down, sitting up on the floor, or seated on a chair (and bending forward).
Cues here for an effective stretch are to keep the ankle on your upper bent leg flexed/pulled back (this will protect your knee), and to keep the pelvis/spine in a neutral position – try not to let it round forward as you lean towards your bent leg to deepen the stretch.
2. Knee to Chest
This stretch targets other muscles of the legs in addition to the glutes, but it’s easy to perform from either a standing position or lying down (if you struggle with balance).
For extra bonus points and to feel it even more in your glutes, try the rotation variation shown in the video below:
3. Seated Crossover Glute Stretch
This stretch is also a very popular glute stretch, but if you are very flexible you may not get as deep a stretch in your glutes as with the Figure 4/Pretzel Stretch.
In this exercise, you should feel the stretch in your glute muscles on the side of the bent leg. To add even more stretch, add a little rotation of the upper body from your pelvis.
Make sure that you keep your spine in a neutral position throughout the exercises and don’t let the back round (think “chest up!” to ensure this).
4. Pigeon Stretch
This is a very deep stretch for both the hip flexors as well as the glutes, and some may not even be able to get anywhere near this position.
It’s also a bit of a scary one if you have any knee problems, so be very careful with this one.
This video shows a few different ways to get into the pigeon pose (but be sure to go at your own pace and listen to your body!):
5. Double Leg Crossover and Sit Back
This stretch has its origins in yoga, but the positioning of the legs combined with a forward fold gets oh-so-deep into the glutes.
Again, be careful of your knees here and if you have any knee issues it might be safer to stay away from this one.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how to ease into it:
When To Stretch
You can stretch anytime to start seeing benefits. It’s that easy!
However, if you are planning on coupling your stretching with a workout program, I’d say incorporate your stretching afterwards (not before).
Most professionals recommend doing the bulk of your static stretches until after a workout as there is some evidence to suggest that pre-workout stretching can increase your chances of injury.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t stretch before you exercises, but if you’re planning on doing a lot of stretching, it’s probably best done after you’ve worked out the muscles.
That’s all for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed the glute stretches that I’ve shared with you today – play around with them and find which ones work for you!
Do you usually incorporate stretches into your routine? If not, what’s the biggest reason why you don’t? Drop me a comment below and let me know!