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Glute stretches include any kind of stretching exercise intended to increase flexibility in the gluteal muscles, which include the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius. Several types of stretches may be used to stretch the glutes, but passive stretching is the most recommended for the casual exerciser. Passive stretching is a technique in which the force is applied to the muscle to lengthen it and the stretch held, typically for 20-30 seconds, without the person applying any resistance by tensing opposing muscles. All attempts should be made to keep the muscle relaxed, and the stretch should be held without bouncing.
Passive glute stretches include the piriformis or figure-4 stretch, the seated twist stretch, and the supine twist stretch. To perform the piriformis stretch, which targets the piriformis, glutes, and other hip muscles, the person should lie on his back with the right knee bent and the left ankle crossed over the right knee. He should then grab his right thigh and pull it in toward his chest with the left knee pointing straight out to the side, hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite leg.
To perform the seated twist stretch, one should sit on the floor with the right leg extended in front of him, the left knee bent, and the left foot placed on the floor to the outside of the right knee. Sitting up as straight as possible, he should then rotate the spine to the left, twisting so that his right elbow presses against the outside of the left thigh. Like the other glute stretches, this one should be held for 20-30 seconds, and then repeated on the opposite side.
For the supine twist stretch, the person should lie on his back on the floor with the right leg straight and the left knee bent, left foot planted on the floor alongside the right knee. Extending his left arm straight out to the side, he should grab the outside of the left knee with his right hand and slowly pull the left knee across the body to the right, twisting as far as the spine and hips will rotate without the left shoulder blade coming off the floor. This glute stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds as well, and then repeated on the opposite side.
Again, each passive stretch should be performed while keeping the hip muscles as relaxed as possible, and the muscle should not be forced. The ideal stretching technique involves slowly and carefully extending the muscle to the point of mild discomfort, not pain, and holding with no movement throughout the duration of the stretch. Each of the glute stretches should be completed twice on each side, and experts recommend performing these stretches at the end of each workout as part of a cool-down routine.
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