Your gluteus maximums is the largest and most powerful muscle in the human body. It plays an integral role in human movement and your athletic performance, through generating power and force. Overworking and constant physical stress through exercise, can create muscle soreness, tightness, and tension.
Stretching your glutes can alleviate muscle tightness and tension in your muscles. Tightness in your glutes can cause pain in your pelvis, hips, your lower back, your knees and inhibit overall athletic performance. Stretching is important to help increase your flexibility and range of motion, to alleviate pain, and reduce the risk of injury. We’re going to talk about how to stretch your glutes to alleviate pain, improve your athletic performance, and reduce your risk for injury when you’re under the barbell.
The glutes assume three different functions, to act as a local and global muscle stabilizer and to exert force, as a global mobilizer. As a stabilizer, the gluteus maximus connects with the erector spinae, lumbar fascia, and sacroiliac joint, by bracing and compression via contraction of the psoas major. It’s connection with the iliotibial band also plays a major role in the stabilization of the knee and knee extension.
Your glutes produce a large amount of force and power contributing to hip extension external rotation of the femur, hip abduction, and adduction.
The glutes consist of three major muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.
The glute max is the largest of the three, and the most powerful. It’s main function is counteracting and controlling the flexion of the hip and to extend and externally rotate the thigh.
Causes Of Tight Glutes
Tight glutes can result from a variety of factors, such as poor posture, prolonged sitting, lack of warmups, muscular imbalance, muscle weakness, and poor form while exercising.
4 Best Glute Stretches
Your glutes are attached to your hips, pelvis, legs, and lower back. That’s why, tight glutes can contribute to tightness and tension in your low back, hips, and knees.
1. Piriformis Wall Stretch
The piriformis wall stretch can also be performed with your elevated foot on the floor and opposing foot over your knee, which is similar to the figure four stretch. This stretch is great for a deeper glute stretch, by pushing your knee against towards your chest against your heel and knee with opposing force.
How To Wall Stretch
- Elevate your right foot flat on the wall at 90 degrees.
- Place your opposing or left foot across your knee.
- Push your left knee away from you and your right knee towards you.
- Repeat on the other side.
2. Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose is a popular glute stretch and commonly performed in yoga. Placing your leg crossed in front of you and stretching forward can create a great glute stretch in your glute medius and minimus.
How To Pigeon Pose
- Starting on al fours, bring your right leg to your left wrist.
- Set your shin on the floor with your ankle toward the ground.
- Slide your left leg back so you feel a stretch and get your hips even and square.
- Exhale and walk your hands forward and slowly bring your chest toward the floor.
- Hold this position for a few deep breaths
- Slowly crawl your hands back and sit up
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Seated Floor Twist
The seated floor twist is an easy and effective glute stretch and perhaps the most popular and well known.
How To Seated Floor Twist
- Seated floor twist is a popular stretch in yoga and effective glute stretch that pulls the gluteus maximus and medius very well.
- Start in a seated position and stretch your legs out in front of you.
- Bring your left leg across the right, placing your left foot on the floor and bending your left knee.
- Exhale and twist to the left, letting your arms fall comfortably to your bent knee.
- Push your elbow into your knee for a deeper stretch.
- Take in a few deep breaths and hold.
- Untwist and repeat on the other side.
4. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is one of the most common and effective glute exercises and stretches, to help target and contract your glutes. Often used as a glute exercise, the contraction of your glutes can help alleviate taut glutes.
How To Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your feet hip-width distance apart and gently contract your ab muscles.
- Gently breathe out while keeping your abs contracted and then lift your hips up and off the floor.
- Gently contract your glute (butt muscles) and don’t lift your hips past the point of comfort.
- Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, inhale, and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times
Glute Stretches: Takeaway
Your glutes are the central connector to several prominent and integral components to your movement, including your hips, pelvis, low back, and knees. tight glutes can create pain and inhibit movement and athletic performance. Stretching your glutes is crucial to adequately warm up and cool down for proper movement and performance.
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