Your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus muscles -- glutes for short -- are essentially your butt. The largest and most powerful muscle group in your body, glutes are responsible for movements such as extending your hip to the rear when you sprint or climb stairs. Stretch your glutes with static stretches you hold for 30 to 60 seconds to improve your flexibility, or 15 to 30 seconds to maintain it. Repeat stretches on each side two to three times.
This simple stretch is easy to perform and also helps to relax your lower back. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your hands by your sides. Bend your left leg and hold on behind your knee. Gently pull your knee into your chest. Hold this position for the desired duration before relaxing and changing legs. Try to keep your head and shoulders on the floor throughout this exercise.
Figure Four Stretch
The figure four gluteus stretch will help loosen your gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, which is located on the side of your hip. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your left ankle over your right knee. Place your hands behind your right thigh and pull your right leg toward you. Keep your head and shoulders on the floor throughout this exercise. Relax and try to gently pull your leg closer in toward you. On completion, release the stretch and then change legs.
Primal Squat Stretch
The primal squat stretch is an effective lower body stretch that is also a common resting position in many Eastern countries. Westerners often find this position challenging, so don’t be concerned if this exercise is difficult at first; with practice you will be able to adopt the position much more easily. A squat stretch is best performed barefoot. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold onto a door handle or banister for balance. Slowly squat down until your thighs are resting against your calves and your shoulders are between your knees. Keep your heels flat on the floor and your head up. Hold for the desired duration. As you become more proficient at this exercise, you will not need to hold onto anything for balance.
This exercise stretches your entire lower body but places a significant emphasis on the glutes on your leading leg. Take a large step forward and bend your legs so that your rear knee rests on the floor. Place your hands on your front thigh and keep your torso upright. Slide your rear leg backward to intensify the stretch. Swap legs and repeat. Get a deeper stretch by elevating your front leg. Rest the front foot on a 4- to 6-inch high step to increase the effect of this stretch on your glutes.
- Yoga Anatomy: Your Illustrated Guide to Postures, Movements, and Breathing Techniques; Leslie Kaminoff
- Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training; Thomas Kurz
- Stretching: 30th Anniversary Edition; Bob Anderson and Jean Anderson