The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle of the gluteal complex, which also includes the gluteus medius and minimus, tensor fascia latae and the deep hip rotators beneath the gluteal complex. Its function is to extend, flex, abduct, adduct and rotate your hip joints and the legs. Stretching the gluteus maximus can help decrease the pressure placed upon the sciatic nerve and alleviate hip and low back stiffness, but check with your physician to make sure you have no restrictions.
Tabletop Hip Stretch
Stand in front of a table or similar platform that is as high as your hip joint. Place your left leg on the table, so that your left foot is directly in front of your left hip. If you need help with balance, place your hands on the table or on a nearby wall.
Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle and try to get the outside of your left leg to lie flat on the table. Lean forward at your waist until your feel a stretch in your left buttock. Put your hands on the table in front of your lower leg.
Gradually raise your torso up, and switch leg position. Perform two sets of stretches on both sides of your body.
Supine Piriformis Stretch
Lie on the ground on your back with both legs against the wall about hip-distance apart. You can bend your knees slightly to make the starting position more comfortable. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh near your kneecap. Put your arms out to your sides. Do not rotate your pelvis as you move.
Push your right knee toward the wall. As your right knee moves away from you, your right foot will move slightly toward your face.
Switch leg positions, and perform the same stretch on your left hip. Perform two sets of stretches on each hip.
Supine Hip Rotator Stretch
Lie on the ground on your back with your arms out to your sides. Put your feet about hip-distance apart on the ground.
Cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh near the kneecap. Rotate your pelvis to bring your right foot on the ground and your left outer thigh on the ground. Do not lift your lower back too far off the ground.
Bring your hip and legs back to the starting position. Switch leg position, and perform the stretch on your left hip. Perform two to three stretches per side.
- Stretch to Win; Ann Frederick and Chris Frederick
- Pain-Free Program; Anthony Carey
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- ExRx.net: Lying Wall Glute Stretch
- ExRx.net: Standing Glute Stretch
- Stretching Anatomy, 2nd Edition; Arnold Nelson and Jouko Kokkonen